No. 96 C 7533United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
March 27, 2000
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
JAMES B. MORAN, Senior United States District Judge.
Plaintiffs Arnold Zoglauer (Zoglauer) and Deborah S. Ceszyk (Ceszyk) bring this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the City of Wheaton (Wheaton), several officers employed by the City of Wheaton Police Department (officers), and towing company owner Robert West (collectively “defendants”), alleging deprivation of their liberty and property without due process of law in violation of the Fourth, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, as well as infringement of various state laws. Defendants have moved for summary judgment and plaintiffs have responded with a cross-motion for partial summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, we grant defendants’ motion and deny plaintiffs’ cross-motion.
At approximately 11:30 p.m. on the night of November 15, 1994, Officer Dustan Dobbs approached Zoglauer and a minor child in the Town Square shopping center parking lot (Town Square parking lot). Zoglauer and the minor child were rummaging through a e construction bin; parked nearby was a white van (plf. 12(N) at ¶ 21). Officer Dobbs had responded to an alarm call in the vicinity the night before and therefore decided to investigate. Officer Dobbs requested identification and Zoglauer produced a valid State of Illinois identification card, but stated that he did not have a driver’s license (plf. 12(N) at ¶¶ 24-27). Zoglauer told Officer Dobbs that his wife, Ceszyk, had driven the van, which belonged to her, and that she was shopping at the Jewel Food Store (Jewel) located approximately one-half mile away (plf. 12(N) at ¶ 28). Officer Dobbs suspected that Zoglauer had been driving the van without a license, and he then either suggested or directed Zoglauer to walk to Jewel and return with his wife (def. 12(M) and plf. 12(N) at ¶¶ 29-31). By this time, Officer Michelle Lioran had arrived on the scene. Officer Horan followed in her squad car as Zoglauer and the minor child walked to Jewel (def. 12(M) at ¶ 32). Officer Dobbs remained in the Town Square parking lot with the van.
When Zoglauer emerged from Jewel with Ceszyk, Officer Horan asked Ceszyk to produce a driver’s license. Ceszyk refused to do so and Officer Horan informed her that she would not be able to drive the van without a valid license. At Officer Horan’s suggestion or direction (it is disputed as to which), plaintiffs and their minor child then walked back to the Town Square parking lot, once again followed by Officer Horan in her squad car (def. 12(M) and plf. 12(N) at ¶¶ 33-37). While Zoglauer was away, Officer Dobbs ran the van’s vehicle identification number (VIN) through the state’s database and discovered that it differed from the registration number associated with the van’s license plates (def. 12(M) at ¶ 38). When the plaintiffs returned to the scene, Officer Dobbs requested Ceszyk to produce a driver’s license and informed her that she would not be allowed to drive the van without a valid license. Ceszyk again refused to do so, claiming that she was not operating a vehicle (def. 12(M) and plf. 12(N) at ¶ 39-42). Commander Donald Wilson and Officer Robert Miller then arrived at the Town Square parking lot. Apprised of the situation, Commander Wilson also asked Ceszyk to produce a license and told plaintiffs that neither of them would be allowed to drive the van without a valid license. Ceszyk again refused the request (def. 12(M) at ¶ 41). Zoglauer eventually was allowed to move the van to a marked parking space in the Town Square lot and lock the vehicle. Plaintiffs and their minor child then walked back to Jewel to complete their shopping.
Later on that night, at approximately 1:00 a.m., Officer Miller encountered plaintiffs’ van being driven in the vicinity of the Town Square parking lot Defendants claim that Officer Dobbs noticed the van being driven away from the lot with its lights off and then radioed Officer Miller, who observed Zoglauer driving the van. Plaintiffs contest both of these points, asserting that the van’s lights were on and that Ceszyk was the driver (def. 12(M) and plf. 12(N) at ¶¶ 43-44). Aware that they were being closely followed by a squad car, plaintiffs pulled into a nearby parking lot owned by a radiology company, parked the van, and turned off the engine. Officer Miller followed plaintiffs’ van into the parking lot and stopped behind it (def. 12(M) at ¶ 46). Officer Dobbs and Commander Wilson arrived at the radiology company’s lot shortly thereafter. Prior to their arrival, Officer Miller had informed the other officers that Zoglauer had been driving the van; plaintiffs assert, however, that Ceszyk had been driving and that Zoglauer and Ceszyk changed places after she had parked, so that Zoglauer was in the driver’s seat of the van (clef. 12(M) and plf. 12(N) at ¶¶ 45, 49). Whichever version is true, it is undisputed that Zoglauer emerged from the driver’s side of the van, whereupon Officer Miller placed Zoglauer under arrest for driving without a valid license and issued Zoglauer a citation for lack of insurance and improper registration (def. 12(M) at ¶¶ 49, 53-54).
While Zoglauer was being arrested, Ceszyk exited from the passenger side of the van and was asked by Commander Wilson to produce a driver’s license. Ceszyk again refused and stated that she would not drive the van because she now knew that the license plates were suspended (def. 12(M) at ¶ 55). Ceszyk returned to the open passenger-side door of the van, it is disputed as to why, but Commander Wilson physically blocked Ceszyk from entering and/or locking the vehicle. Commander Wilson informed Ceszyk that the van would be towed, and Ceszyk responded that the police did not have the authority to do so since the van was parked on private property. (def. 12(M) and plf. 12(N) at ¶¶ 55-57). Ceszyk and her minor child then left the parking lot and returned to Jewel, where they called a cab and returned to their home. Zoglauer was taken to the Wheaton Police Department, arriving at approximately 2:00 a.m, where he remained until he was allowed to leave at approximately 2:30 a.m. Zoglauer was not interrogated or questioned while at the police department (plf. 12(N) at ¶ 58).
Meanwhile, back at the radiology company’s parking lot the officers were making arrangements to have plaintiffs’ van towed. Defendants state that it is the Wheaton Police Department’s policy to impound a vehicle left on private property following the custodial arrest of its driver, unless the arrestee can arrange for another licensed driver to take possession of the vehicle within 15 minutes or demonstrate that he was authorized to leave the vehicle on the property (def. 12(M) at ¶ 60). Plaintiffs state that there is no such department policy and point out that defendants have produced no documentary evidence of such a policy. Whether there was in fact a policy or not, Commander Wilson had ordered that plaintiffs’ van be towed and Officer Miller therefore entered the van to inventory its contents. According to defendants, the inventory of plaintiffs’ van also was done pursuant to department policy (def. 12(M) at ¶ 61). Plaintiffs state that Officer Miller searched the van for evidence of a crime and not for inventory purposes, citing the fact that Officer Miller made no written inventory of the van’s contents (plf. 12(N) at ¶¶ 61-62). When Officer Miller finished with the van, a tow truck driver from West Sons Towing, Co. (West) towed it away. Officer Miller did not obtain a written receipt from the tow truck driver, but did obtain a business card with contact information. Zoglauer was given this business card before he was released from the Wheaton Police Department (plf. 12(N) at ¶ 63).
On November 17, 1994, Ceszyk mailed to West a “Notice of Violation of United States Code, Title 42, Section 1983,” in which she alleged that plaintiffs’ rights had been violated and demanded return of her van (def. 12(M) exh. 6). On December 5, 1994, Zoglauer sent a letter to West asking to recover his tools which had been left in the van (def. 12(M) exh. 6). In a letter dated December 9, 1994, West informed Zoglauer that he could retrieve his tools if he and the van’s owner came to the company’s lot and that the owner could recover the van upon payment of towing and storage charges (def. 12(M) exh. 6). Plaintiffs did not receive a tow receipt or invoice from West, and did not pay the charges or recover the van.
On December 21, 1994, Chief of Police Carl Dobbs received a “Notice of Violation of United States Code, Title 42, Section 1983” from Ceszyk, alleging violation of plaintiffs’ rights and demanding return of the van (def. 12(M) exh. 6). Chief Dobbs communicated with West and a Wheaton official regarding Ceszyk’s notice. Later that same day, Chief Dobbs telephoned Ceszyk to discuss her complaint. Ceszyk informed him that she would not speak of the matter over the telephone and requested that he put any communication in writing (plf. 12(N) at ¶ 69). On December 28, 1994, Deputy Chief Mark Field sent a letter to Ceszyk on behalf of Chief Dobbs, explaining why the van had been impounded and advising that she could recover the van from West after payment of towing and storage charges (Field aff. exh. A). On January 12, 1995, Ceszyk responded to Chief Dobbs in writing, reasserting that her van had been impounded in violation of state law (def. 12(M) Exh. 6). Chief Dobbs communicated with West and a Wheaton official regarding Ceszyk’s letter, but did not further respond to either Ceszyk or Zoglauer.
On March 3, 1995, Zoglauer filed a “Demand for Return of Property” with the state as part of the traffic court proceedings resulting from his citations for driving without insurance and proper registration (def. 12(M) Exh. 6). During a hearing regarding the citations, the traffic court instructed the assistant state’s attorney to call Wheaton to inquire about the van. A Wheaton operator informed the assistant state’s attorney that no vehicle had been confiscated as a result of the citations. Zoglauer presented the correspondence front Chief Dobbs to the court as evidence that the van in fact had been impounded, and the court informed Zoglauer that he could retrieve the van from West after payment of the applicable charges. The traffic court then denied Zoglauer’s demand (plf. 12(N) exh. 4).
Nearly a year later, Officer Allan luff received a vehicle disposition request from West requesting permission to dispose of the van as unclaimed or abandoned property. Defendants state that after receiving this request from West they sent an owner notification form to Ceszyk on February 16, 1996, advising her that if she did not claim her vehicle within 10 days it would be sold as junk or salvage (Huff aff. exh. B). Plaintiffs’ contest these facts. They point out that the vehicle disposition request attached to Officer Huff’s affidavit is dated February 15, 1995, and therefore there is some dispute as to the timing of this sequence of events. Furthermore, plaintiffs state that they did not receive the owner notification form from defendants until after this lawsuit was filed (plf. 12(N) at ¶¶ 72-75). By February 27, 1996, neither the Wheaton Police Department nor West had heard from plaintiffs, so Officer Huff transferred ownership of the vehicle to West for the purposes of authorizing its sale as junk or salvage (Huff aff. exh. D).
Based on these factual allegations, plaintiffs filed this pro se
lawsuit alleging that defendants had deprived them of their constitutional rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and had conspired to do so (Counts I and II); that Wheaton had failed to adequately train its police officers (Count III); and that Wheaton, Chief Dobbs and Robert West had failed to prevent the destruction of the van (Count IV). Plaintiffs also raise various state law claims (Count V). Wheaton and the individual officers have moved for summary judgment, arguing that these allegations do not amount to a violation of plaintiffs’ civil rights. Defendant Robert West, owner of the towing company, has also moved for summary judgment on the additional grounds that he was not personally involved in any of the alleged civil rights violations described above. We agree with defendants and therefore grant their motions.
Plaintiffs’ allegations can be organized into eight general categories of wrongdoing. In Counts II and IV of their complaint, plaintiffs allege that the following categories of conduct violated their constitutional rights: (1) unlawful search and seizure at the Town Square parking lot; (2) unlawful search and seizure during the traffic stop and arrest of Zoglauer; (3) unlawful interrogation of Zoglauer; (4) unlawful search and seizure of the van following the arrest; and (5) unlawful disposal of the van. In Counts I and III, plaintiffs allege constitutional offense based on (6) defendants’ conspiracy to violate their civil rights and (7) the Wheaton Police Department’s failure to adequately train its police officers. Finally, in Count V, plaintiffs allege (8) that defendants violated various state laws. Keeping in mind the summary judgment standards of Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986), we address each of these categories of alleged misbehavior below.
I. Events in the Town Square Parking Lot
Plaintiffs claim that their Fourth Amendment rights were first violated during their encounter with the officers in the Town Square parking lot. It is well settled that not all encounters between the police and citizens implicate the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. See United States v. Scheets, 188 F.3d 829, 836
(7th Cir. 1999), cert. denied, 120 S.Ct. 837 (2000); see also Terry v.Ohio, 392 U.S. 1, 19 (1968). The Seventh Circuit recognizes three categories of police-citizen encounters:
The first category is an arrest, for which the Fourth Amendment requires that police have probable cause to believe a person has committed or is committing a crime. The second category is an investigatory stop, which is limited to a brief, non-intrusive detention. This is also a Fourth Amendment “seizure,” but the officer need only have specific and articulable facts sufficient to give rise to a reasonable suspicion that a person has committed or is committing a crime. The third category involves no restraint on a citizen’s liberty, and is characterized by an officer seeking the citizen’s voluntary cooperation through non-coercive questioning. This is not a seizure with the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.
United States v. Johnson, 910 F.2d 1506, 1508 (7th Cir. 1990) (citations omitted), cert denied, 498 U.S. 1051 (1991). We are to apply a “reasonable person” standard to determine whether a seizure has occurred within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment and thereby decide how to classify the police conduct at issue. See Scheets, 188 F.3d at 836.
Defendants argue that the events in the Town Square parking lot were consensual and therefore fall within the third category of encounters, for which the degree of suspicion required to justify the police conduct is zero. See United States v. Withers, 972 F.2d 837, 841 (7th Cir. 1992). In order to determine whether an encounter is consensual, a court must look to the totality of the circumstances. See United States v.Rodriguez, 69 F.3d 136 141 (7th Cir. 1995). The Seventh Circuit has identified a number of factors as particularly relevant to this determination, including whether the encounter occured in a public or private place; whether the suspect was informed that he was not under arrest and free to leave; whether the suspect consented or refused to talk to the investigating officers; whether the suspect was removed to another area; whether there was physical touching, display of weapons, or other threatening conduct; and whether the suspect eventually departed the area without hindrance. See Scheets, 188 F.3d at 836-37.
When tested against these factors, the evidence indicates that Officer Dobbs’ initial contact with Zoglauer was consensual and therefore required no suspicion on the part of the officer. Officer Dobbs approached Zoglauer in the Town Square parking lot and asked him to produce identification. Officer Dobbs reviewed Zoglauer’s state identification card and ran the information through the state databases (def. 12(M) at ¶¶ 22-27). Even when a police officer has no basis for suspecting a particular individual, he may generally ask questions of the individual and examine identification, so long as he does not require compliance, either explicitly or implicitly, with his request. SeeI.N.S. v. Delgado, 466 U.S. 210, 216 (1984); Withers,972 F.2d at 841-42. The objective evidence in the record indicates that Zoglauer was not forced to comply with Officer Dobbs’ request. It is undisputed that Officer Dobbs questioned Zoglauer in an open parking lot, Zoglauer was not removed to another area, Officer Dobbs neither drew his weapon nor physically touched Zoglauer, Officer Dobbs never told Zoglauer that he was not free to leave, Zoglauer responded to Officer Dobbs’ questions and request for identification, and Zoglauer eventually left the parking lot to go to Jewel (def. 12(M) and plf.12(N) at ¶¶ 22-31). Up to this point in the night’s events, there was no conduct amounting to a Fourth Amendment seizure.
While the initial contact between Officer Dobbs and Zoglauer was consensual, the encounter may well have “ripened into an investigatory stop” when Officer Horan followed behind Zoglauer and the minor child as they walked to Jewel. Scheets, 188 F.3d at 837; see United States v.Odum, 72 F.3d 1279, 1283 (71h Cir. 1995). It is doubtful that a reasonable person would feel free to leave when they are being closely trailed by an officer in a squad car as they walk. When Ceszyk emerged from Jewel, the record indicates that Officer Horan’s squad car was parked directly in front of the store exit and that Officer Horan may have ordered plaintiffs to return to the Town Square parking lot to resolve the situation (def. 12(M) and plf. 12(N) at ¶¶ 35-37). On their walk back to the Town Square parking lot, plaintiffs again were closely trailed by Officer Horan’s squad car. It is not objectively clear that plaintiffs were free to leave, and plaintiffs certainly did not feel that they were (see id).
Even if Officer Horan’s conduct transformed the encounter into a seizure, however, there is no Fourth Amendment violation here because the record reveals that the officers had a reasonable, articulable suspicion that a crime had been or was about to be committed. See Terry,392 U.S. at 30; Scheets, 188 F.3d at 837. In determining whether there was reasonable suspicion sufficient to justify an investigatory stop, we again employ a totality of the circumstances test and also take into account both “the experience of the law enforcement agent and the behavior and characteristics of the suspect.” Odum, 72 F.3d at 1284; seeUnited States v. McCarthur, 6 F.3d 1270, 1277 (7th Cir. 1993). Here, the totality of the circumstances supports the officers’ claim of reasonable suspicion. During the encounter at the Town Square parking lot, Officer Dobbs learned that Zoglauer did not have a driver’s license, was not accompanied by a licensed driver in the parking lot, and most likely had driven the van to the parking lot (def. 12(M) at ¶¶ 24-28).
Officer Dobbs also learned that Zoglauer’s wife, the alleged driver, was shopping at the Jewel store located one-half mile away (def. 12(M) at ¶ 28). Furthermore, Officer Dobbs testified that he ran the van’s VIN through the computer and discovered that it differed from the registered VIN associated with the van’s license plates (def. 12(M) at ¶ 38). Based on these facts, Officer Dobbs developed the reasonable suspicion that Zoglauer had driven the van without a license and proper registration, or was about to do so, and therefore he had violated or was about to violate Illinois law. See 625 ILCS 5/6-101 and 5/3-703. The reasonableness of this suspicion was bolstered by Ceszyk’s repeated refusals to produce a valid driver’s license. The investigatory stop of plaintiffs did not ripen further into an arrest, however, as the officers eventually allowed Zoglauer to move the van to a marked parking spot and return to Jewel with his family. The entire encounter, from the initial contact between Officer Dobbs and Zoglauer to the family’s departure for Jewel, lasted approximately one hour. We do not find a Fourth Amendment violation in these events.
II. Traffic Stop and Arrest of Zoglauer
Plaintiffs next claim that the traffic stop and arrest of Zoglauer in the radiology company’s parking lot violated their constitutional rights. Under the Fourth Amendment, a police officer may lawfully stop and question a motorist if he witnesses or suspects “a violation of traffic laws, even if the offense is a minor one.” United States v.Tipton, 3 F.3d 1119, 1122 (7th Cir. 1993); see Whren v. United States,517 U.S. 806, 810 (1996) (holding that the “decision to stop an automobile is reasonable where the police have probable cause to believe that a traffic violation has occurred.”). Officer Miller had at least two valid reasons to suspect a traffic offense had occurred when he stopped plaintiffs’ van in the radiology company’s parking lot. First, Officer Miller knew or suspected that the driver of the van did not have a valid license. Officer Miller was present earlier in the evening at the Town Square parking lot and was aware that Zoglauer had admitted to not having a valid driver’s license and that Ceszyk had repeatedly refused to produce a driver’s license when requested to do so by Officers Horan and Dobbs and Commander Wilson. Thus, regardless of whether it was Zoglauer or Ceszyk who was driving the van, Officer Miller was justified in stopping the van on his well-founded suspicion that its driver did not have a valid license and thereby was violating state traffic laws. See 625 ILCS 5/6-101. Second, Officer Miller also knew from earlier in the evening that the van’s VIN did not match the registered number associated with the van’s license plates. Improper registration is a violation of state law, see 625 ILCS 5/3-703, and constituted another grounds for Officer Miller’s conduct. In sum, the traffic stop did not violate plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment rights.
Nor was there any constitutional offense when Officer Miller arrested Zoglauer. As discussed above, the Fourth Amendment requires that the police have probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed before they can arrest a suspect. See Johnson, 910 F.2d at 1508. Here, Officer Miller states that lie witnessed Zoglauer driving the van and it is uncontested that Zoglauer exited the van from the driver’s side door (def. 12(M) at ¶¶ 44, 49). Based on these facts and his prior knowledge that Zoglauer had admitted to not having a driver’s license, Officer Miller had probable cause to believe that Zoglauer had been driving without a valid license in violation of state law. See 625 ILCS 5/6-101; Lanigan v. Village of East Hazel Crest, 110 F.3d 467, 474 (7th Cir. 1997). The arrest of Zoglauer therefore was appropriate. As for Ceszyk, she was not placed under arrest and was free to leave the scene, and eventually did leave the scene. Since she continued to refuse to produce a driver’s license, the officers appropriately did not allow her take possession of the van. Nothing in these facts amounts to a Fourth Amendment violation.
III. Interrogation of Zoglauer
Plaintiffs also claim that Zoglauer was at no time given his Miranda
warnings, constituting yet another alleged constitutional offense. SeeMiranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). This argument requires little comment. Miranda applies to custodial interrogations, at at 444, and there is no evidence that Zoglauer was interrogated while in custody. Zoglauer admits that he was not questioned while at the Wheaton Police Department (i.e., while he was in custody) (plf. 12(N) at ¶ 58). Any questions asked of Zoglauer prior to his arrest similarly do not implicate Miranda because he was not in custody at the time, and police officers are not required to give Miranda warnings during a traffic stop. See Berkemer v. McCarty, 468 U.S. 420, 436-441 (1984); People v.Gonzales, 704 N.E.2d 375, 385 (Ill. 1998), cert. denied, 120 S.Ct. 75
(1999). Miranda simply does not apply here.
IV. Impoundment and Inventory of the Van
Next, plaintiffs claim that their van was searched and seized in violation of their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. A police officer may lawfully impound a vehicle after arresting its driver, if impoundment is in furtherance of the police department’s public safety or community caretaking functions, consistent with standard police department procedures, and if the arrestee is unable to provide for speedy and efficient removal of the car. See United States v. Duguav, 93 F.3d 346, 351-54 (7th Cir. 1996). All three requirements are met here. First, police officers, as community caretakers, are often authorized to tow and impound vehicles. In the leading case on community caretaking, SouthDakota v. Opperinan, 428 U.S. 364 (1976), the Supreme Court held that the police can “remove and impound automobiles which violate parking ordinances and which thereby jeopardize both the public safety and the efficient movement of vehicular traffic. The authority of police to seize and remove from the streets vehicles impeding traffic or threatening public safety or convenience is beyond challenge.” Id at 369; see alsoColorado v. Bertine, 479 U.S. 367, 370-73 (1987); Cady v. Dombrowski,413 U.S. 441-443 (1973). Here, the officers towed plaintiffs’ van pursuant to their community caretaking function. Although the van was parked on private property and not on a public street, the undisputed evidence indicates that plaintiffs did not have the authority to park their van in the radiology company’s parking lot. Plaintiffs have never claimed that they were customers or invited guests of the radiology company or that they had any property right in the parking space. Unless it was towed, the van would have remained overnight and indefinitely in a private company’s lot without permission. Under these circumstances, impounding the van was in furtherance of the officers’ role as community caretakers. See United States v. Jensen, 1997 WL 610462, at *6 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 19, 1997) (permitting impoundment of car left in a shopping mall parking lot as consistent with community caretaking function) aff’d, 169 F.3d 1044 (7th Cir. 1999).
Second, impoundment was completed in accordance with the Wheaton Police Department’s standard procedures. Defendants have submitted affidavit testimony of the police department’s standard routine regarding impoundment of vehicles upon the driver’s arrest. According to this evidence, it is the department’s policy to impound a vehicle left on private property following the arrest of its driver, unless the arrestee can arrange for another licensed driver to take possession of the vehicle or demonstrate that he was authorized to leave the vehicle on the property (Wilson aff. at ¶ 12). While defendants have not produced any written documentation evidencing this standard procedure, the Seventh Circuit has held that a written policy is not required. See Duguay,93 F.3d at 351. The defendants’ affidavit testimony is not controverted by any evidence, and there is nothing in the record that undermines the credibility of their stated routine. Compare Id. at 352. We are satisfied that plaintiffs’ van was impounded in accordance with the Wheaton Police Department’s standard procedures.
Third, the record also makes clear that plaintiffs were not willing or able to arrange for the speedy removal of the van from the radiology company’s lot. Even after Zoglauer was arrested, Ceszyk continued to refuse to produce a driver’s license (def. 12(M) and plf. 12(N) at ¶¶ 55-57). Plaintiffs also refused the officers’ invitation to contact a licensed third party to come to the scene and assist them. The absence of any licensed driver who could lawfully drive the van further justified the officers’ decision to impound the vehicle. See Duguay, 93 F.3d at 354
n. 2 (“Impoundment may be appropriate where no passenger has a valid license.”); United States v. Griffin, 729 F.2d 475, 480 (7th Cir.) cert. denied, 469 U.S. 830 (1984). In sum, the impoundment of plaintiffs’ van did not offend the constitution.
Once lawfully impounded, the police may inventory the contents of an automobile pursuant to standardized routine or procedure. See Opperman,428 U.S. at 368-69; United States v. Jackson, 189 F.3d 502, 508-09 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 120 S.Ct. 432 (1999); United States v. Velarde,903 F.2d 1163, 1165-66 (7th Cir. 1990). Defendants attest that Officer Miller’s search of plaintiffs’ van after Zoglauer’s arrest was consistent with the department’s standardized procedure of conducting an inventory of a vehicle’s contents prior to impoundment (Miller aff. at ¶¶ 17-18). Again, plaintiffs have not contradicted defendants’ affidavits with any evidence. Our review of the record indicates that Officer Miller’s inventory search of the van was reasonable and therefore did not violate plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.
V. Disposal of the Van
Plaintiffs claim that their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights were further violated when defendants disposed of their van. Contrary to plaintiffs’ assertion, the van was properly impounded and the storage and ultimate disposal of the van did not breach their constitutional rights. Plaintiffs were at all times aware of where their van had been impounded. Zoglauer was given West’s business card when he was released from the Wheaton Police Department in the early hours of November 16, 1994 (def. 12(M) at ¶ 63). The next day, Ceszyk sent a “Notice of Violation” to West demanding return of her van (def. 12(M) Exh. 6). Clearly, plaintiffs knew that the van was being held by West. Plaintiffs were also made aware of what they needed to do in order to recover their van. In response to Zoglauer’s December 5, 1994 letter, West informed plaintiffs in writing that Zoglauer could recover his tools from the van by coming to West’s lot with the owner of the van, and that the van would be returned to the owner upon payment of applicable towing and storage fees (def. 12(M) Exh. 6). West’s conduct was consistent with Illinois law. See 625 ILCS 5/4-204.
Plaintiffs also were in continuous contact with the Wheaton Police Department regarding their van. On December 21, 1994, Ceszyk sent a “Notice of Violation” to Chief Dobbs demanding return of her van (def. 12(M) Exh. 6). Chief Dobbs responded by telephone that same day, and Deputy Chief Field followed up with a letter on December 28, in which he explained why the van had been impounded, advising Ceszyk that she could recover the van from West after payment of applicable charges, and offering to answer any questions (Field aff. exh. A). Ceszyk concedes that she received Deputy Chief Field’s letter and that she responded by again notifying Chief Dobbs that her van was impounded in violation of the law (plf. 12(N) at ¶ 70).
More than a year later, just before the van was sold for scrap, defendants provided plaintiffs with another opportunity to claim their vehicle. On February 16, 1996, after receiving a vehicle disposition request from West, Officer Huff sent an owner notification form to Ceszyk in which he notified plaintiffs that the van would be disposed of in ten days unless it was claimed (Huff aff. exh. B). Defendants received no response, and therefore on February 27, 1996, the Wheaton Police Department transferred ownership of the van to West for the purposes of authorizing its sale as junk or salvage (Huff aff. exh. D). In taking these actions, defendants again acted in accordance with Illinois law See 625 ILCS 5/4-208 and 5/4-209,
The evidence regarding the disposal of plaintiffs’ van reveals no constitutional violation. Defendants provided plaintiffs with adequate notice and opportunity to be heard regarding the van on a number of occasions, and provided clear instructions as to how plaintiffs could recover their vehicle. Plaintiffs also availed themselves of state court remedies. In addition to Zoglauer’s demand for return of the van during his traffic court proceedings, both Zoglauer and Ceszyk have demanded that the van be returned in two separate state court actions (West 12(M) exhs. B C). In these two state cases, plaintiffs have sued West alleging trespass to chattel, conversion, and other violations of state law in connection with the impoundment and disposal of their vehicle.
Plaintiffs were given opportunities to be heard by defendants and have taken advantage of state remedies; therefore, they have suffered no deprivation of their due process rights. See Holstein v. City ofChicago, 29 F.3d 1145, 1148 (7th Cir. 1994) (holding that Illinois’ post-deprivation procedures adequately protected due process rights of owner of towed vehicle); Vajk v. Galvin, 1999 WL 680103, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 23, 1999) (“the obvious existence of an adequate post-towing tort remedy for loss of use of a motor vehicle under state law . . . negates the notion that [plaintiff] suffered any deprivation of a property interest without due process”).
VI. Conspiracy and Inadequate Training
In their final federal law allegations plaintiffs claim that their constitutional rights were violated as a result of a conspiracy on the part of defendants and Wheaton’s failure to adequately train its police force. These claims fail, however, because plaintiffs were not deprived of their constitutional rights in the first place. As the above discussion makes clear, defendants did not violate plaintiffs’ civil rights, either during the events of November 15-16, 1994, or in the disposal of the van fifteen months later. Therefore, there is no foundational civil rights violation upon which defendants can build their claims of conspiracy and inadequate training.
VII. State Law Claims
Lastly, plaintiffs allege a variety of state law causes of action. Count V of the complaint simply states that the actions of the officers constitute “intentional infliction of emotional distress, outrageous conduct, invasion of privacy, assault and battery, false arrest, malicious prosecution, perjury, negligence, gross negligence, and negligent hiring, retention and supervision under the laws of the State of Illinois” (cplt. ¶ 64). Plaintiffs do not elaborate on this laundry list of claims in their complaint and have not developed their state law theories during the course of this litigation. We also note that plaintiffs have filed two lawsuits in state court related to the events they complain of in this case, and that at least one of those lawsuits is still pending in the Circuit Court of Du Page County. Therefore, having dismissed all federal claims, we refuse to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiffs’ remaining state law claims See 28 U.S.C. § 1367 (c).
For the reasons stated above, we grant defendants’ motions for summary judgment and deny plaintiffs’ cross-motion for partial summary judgment.