Woman suing Wood River and police officer over stalking allegations responds to defense motion to dismiss

By Ann Maher | Sep 17, 2014

A woman suing the City of Wood River and one of its polilce officers alleging stalking and harassment has responded to a defense motion to dismiss saying the complaint was timely filed and it does properly state a cause of action.

Traci Quigley filed suit June 16 in Madison County Circuit Court against Jeremy Elliott, individually and as police officer, and the city.

Her attorneys say that Elliott's conduct, which allegedly included sending her sexual text messages and parking his police vehicle in an alley nearby her home, ended on June 17, 2013, and was therefore filed within the one-year statute of limitation.

Quigley is represented by Janel Freeman and Ed Unsell of East Alton.

Citing provisions of the Illinois Stalking No Contact Order Act and the Domestic Violence Act, they say that a claim of harassment and/or stalking is similar to a hostile work environment, all of which which require a course of conduct that occurs over a period of time.

"It is the termination of the offensive conduct that dictates the statute of limitation period and not the beginning of such conduct," they wrote Aug. 4 in a memorandum in opposition to a defense motion to dismiss.

Elliot, represented by Peter Jennetten of Peoria. argues that Quigley's claim should be barred by the statute of limitations because she alleges the conduct took place from June 2, 2013.

His response, filed July 28, also states that Quigley's suit fails to state a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Quigley alleges Elliot ran her name through his police computer to determine whether she had any existing warrants and retrieved her personal information, including cell phone number. She also says that he texted her inappropriate sexual suggestions over the course of several weeks and that he would drive by her house and park nearby. He also allegedly pulled over a friend of Quigley's without probable cause.

"These actions alleged are not 'extreme and outrageous,' Jennetten wrote. "As the Illinois Supreme Court noted, liability 'does not extend to mere insults, indignities, threats, annoyances, petty oppressions or trivialities...Plaintiff has allged nothing more than petty oppressions and indignities."

Jennetten also wrote that Quigley failed to allege that Elliott knew that his conduct would cause severe emotional distress and she failed to allege that she suffered severe emotional distress.

Quigley's attorneys countered the defense argument.

"In the case at hand, Defendant Elliott used his position of authority to get personal information from the Plaintiff," Freeman and Unsell wrote. "He then used that information to harass and stalk the Plaintiff. In addition, he abused his authority to pull over a third party which intimidated the Plaintiff.

"His behavior escalated to the point Plaintiff purposefully hid her vehicle from her lawful residence to avoid having Defendant Elliott contact her.

"This behavior was extreme and outrageous. The role of a police officer is to protect law abiding citizens, not terrorize them.

"Defendants may assert that the behavior is not extreme and outrageous, but this is an issue of material fact that should be left to the trier of fact to determine."

Another attorney representing Elliott, Christopher Galanos, wrote in response that plaintiff's citation of the Illinois Stalking No Contact Order Act and Domestic Violence Act statutes are inapplicable because neither act provides for a civil remedy. 

Galanos also wrote that Quigley's complaint does not provide sufficient facts or detail to "implicate the continuing tort theory." 

He wrote that the only specific alleged misconduct occurred on June 2, 2013, and the complaint was not filed until June 16, 2014.

"...[T]he complaint is untimely and must be dismissed pursuant to 2-619(5)," he wrote. 

Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian presides. Hearing on the defense motion to dismiss had been set for Sept. 5, but was canceled. As of Sept. 16 it had not been rescheduled. 

Madison County Circuit Court case number 14-L-865.

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