January 7, 2016
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 14 C 1107 - James
F. Holderman, Judge.
EASTERBROOK, MANION, and SYKES, CIRCUIT JUDGES.
Neita was arrested and charged with multiple counts of animal
cruelty and neglect under Illinois law after surrendering two
dogs to Chicago's Department of Animal Care and Control.
An Illinois judge found him not guilty on all counts. Neita
maintains that the officials who arrested and prosecuted him
had no basis to do so; he brought this suit for damages under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Illinois law. The district court
dismissed Neita's federal claims for failure to state a
claim and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
the state-law claims. Because the allegations in Neita's
complaint are sufficient to state claims for false arrest and
illegal searches in violation of the Fourth Amendment, we
formerly owned and operated a dog-grooming business and
rescue shelter called A Doggie Business. On February 14,
2012, he brought two dogs to Chicago's Department of
Animal Care and Control. One of the dogs, Osa, had become
overly aggressive and attacked and killed another dog in
Neita's care. The other dog, Olive Oil, had become ill
after whelping a litter of puppies.
Neita arrived with the dogs, Cherie Travis, an Animal Control
employee, called the police. Chicago Police Officers Jane
Raddatz and Melissa Uldrych responded to the call and, after
speaking with Travis, arrested Neita. The officers then
searched Neita, his vehicle, and later his business premises.
The State's Attorney charged Neita with two counts of
animal cruelty and thirteen counts of violating an animal
owner's duties under Illinois law. An Illinois judge
found him not guilty on all counts.
his acquittal Neita filed this action against Travis,
Officers Raddatz and Uldrych, and the City of Chicago, among
others. The complaint alleged that
the individual defendants were liable under § 1983 for
false arrest and illegal searches in violation of the Fourth
Amendment and under Illinois law for malicious prosecution
and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The
complaint also sought statutory indemnification from the City
of Chicago for the acts of its employees. See 745
Ill. Comp. Stat. 10/9-102. Neita twice amended his complaint,
and the defendants moved to dismiss each iteration for
failure to state a claim. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
judge granted the motions. He dismissed the first amended
complaint without prejudice, giving Neita an opportunity to
replead. But the second amended complaint fared no better.
The judge dismissed the federal claims with prejudice,
holding that Neita had failed to adequately plead any
constitutional violation and that further amendment would be
futile. The judge then relinquished supplemental jurisdiction
over the remaining state-law claims, dismissing them without
prejudice to refiling in state court. This appeal followed.
review of a Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal is de novo. Olson v.
Champaign County, 784 F.3d 1093, 1098 (7th Cir. 2015).
To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual allegations to state a claim for relief
that is legally sound and plausible on its face. Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The federal
claims in Neita's second amended complaint consist of a
false-arrest claim against the individual defendants and
several illegal-search claims against Officers Raddatz and
prevail on a false-arrest claim under § 1983, a
plaintiff must show that there was no probable cause for his
arrest. Thayer v. Chiczewski, 705 F.3d 237, 246 (7th
Cir. 2012). Neita's claim thus requires us to decide
whether he has adequately pleaded a lack of probable cause.
officer has probable cause to arrest if "at the time of
the arrest, the facts and circumstances within the
officer's knowledge … are sufficient to warrant a
prudent person, or one of reasonable caution, in believing,
in the circumstances shown, that the suspect has committed,
is committing, or is about to commit an offense."
Id. (quoting Gonzalez v. City of Elgin, 578
F.3d 526, 537 (7th Cir. 2009)). That determination depends on
the elements of the underlying criminal offense. Stokes
v. Bd. of Educ., 599 F.3d 617, 622 (7th Cir. 2010).
Neita was arrested for violating Illinois statutes on animal
cruelty and an animal owner's duties. The former provides
in relevant part that "[n]o person or owner may beat,
cruelly treat, torment, starve, overwork or otherwise abuse
any animal." 510 Ill. Comp. Stat. 70/3.01. The latter
requires animal owners to provide "(1) a sufficient