Justia U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries

Allin v. City of Springfield

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Allin and Baskett lived together in Allin’s residence. Allin, in poor health, signed over the titles to several vehicles, including a 2001 FLSTS Harley Davidson motorcycle, to “make it easier for his survivors.” The Illinois Secretary of State issued a certificate of title in Baskett’s name. Months later, Baskett moved in with her sister, McClure. Allin refused Baskett’s request for financial help. He discovered that the Harley title was missing. He filed a theft report. McClure contacted her co-worker (Sergeant Barr’s wife) about Baskett’s fears about retrieving her belongings. Springfield officers, including Barr, were present when she went to collect her property. Allin and Baskett presented conflicting stories about the motorcycle. A title search showed that the motorcycle had been in Baskett’s name for six months. A computer search did not indicate that it was reported stolen. Barr stated that he would not prevent Baskett from taking the motorcycle. Hours later, with no officers present, Baskett removed the motorcycle. Later, police officers and Baskett met at a motorcycle dealership to have the security system modified so that the motorcycle was operational. Barr bought the motorcycle from Baskett for $7,000, Allin sued the city, Barr, and Baskett, raising 42 U.S.C. 1983 and state law claims. The Seventh Circuit held that Barr was entitled to qualified immunity on unreasonable seizure of property and civil conspiracy claims. Barr did not act plainly incompetently nor knowingly violate the law. The parties presented their dispute; Baskett produced a certificate of title, which “provide[s] the public with a readily available means of identifying the owners.” View "Allin v. City of Springfield" on Justia Law