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Platt v. Brown

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

October 5, 2017

Michael Platt, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Dorothy Brown, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued September 18, 2017

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. l:16-cv-3898 - John Z. Lee, Judge.

          Before Bauer, Flaum, and Sykes, Circuit Judges.

          Flaum, Circuit Judge

         Appellant Michael Piatt, individually and on behalf of a putative class, challenges Illinois's imposition of a mandatory 1% bail bond processing fee pursuant to 725 Ill.Comp.Stat. § 5/110-7. He argues this fee violates his and similarly situated plaintiffs' due process and equal protection rights under the United States and Illinois Constitutions. Appellant also alleges this practice violates the uni- formity clause of the Illinois Constitution and constitutes unjust enrichment under Illinois common law. The district court dismissed his complaint for failure to state a claim. We affirm.

         I. Background

         Prior to January 1, 2016, criminal defendants in Cook County could secure their pretrial release in three ways: (1) personal recognizance, see 725 Ill.Comp.Stat. § 5/110-2; (2) execution of a full deposit bail bond, to be fully returned to the defendant upon performance of the bond conditions, see id. § 5/110-8; or (3) execution of a 10% bail bond, 10% of which (i.e., 1% of the total bail amount) is retained by the State upon performance of the bond conditions (the "Bail Bond Fee" or the "Fee"), see id. § 5/110-7.

         In 2014, plaintiff Michael Piatt was arrested and charged with murder. His bail amount was set at $2 million. Plaintiff secured his pretrial release by executing a 10% bail bond of $200, 000. After plaintiff's trial (where he was acquitted), the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County returned $180, 000-his original 10% deposit less the 10% Bail Bond Fee of $20, 000.[1]

         In 2015, the Illinois General Assembly passed H.B. 1119, which contained an amendment to § 5/110-7 that caps the Bail Bond Fee at $100 in counties with a population greater than 3, 000, 000. H.B. 1119, 99th Gen. Assemb., Reg. Sess. (111. 2015). H.B. 1119 became effective January 1, 2016. Id.

         Plaintiff brings his suit individually and on behalf of a putative class of individuals who paid a Bail Bond Fee of more than $100 in the five years preceding January 1, 2016. He sues Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County Dorothy Brown and Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas in their official capacities. Plaintiff alleges that the State's retention of the 1% Bail Bond Fee violated his and other plaintiffs' due process rights under the United States and Illinois Constitutions because the Fee bears no rational relationship to the cost incurred in administering bail bonds. Furthermore, plaintiff asserts that the Fee violated his equal protection rights under the United States and Illinois Constitutions because he and other similarly situated plaintiffs paid significantly higher Bail Bond Fees than other criminal defendants. Lastly, plaintiff claims that the Fee violates the uniformity clause of the Illinois Constitution and constitutes unjust enrichment under Illinois common law.

         Defendants-appellees moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         II. Discussion

         We review a district court's grant of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss de novo. Kubiak v. City of Chicago, 810 F.3d 476, 480 (7th Cir. 2016). To survive a motion to dismiss, the plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement/ but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). In reviewing a 12(b)(6) motion, "[w]e accept as true all of the well-pleaded facts in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff." Kubiak, 810 F.3d at 480-81.

         A. Federal ...


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