The Town of Normal and three police officers have asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by a widow who alleges a cop stole $12,000 from her home after her husband overdosed.
The cop, Brian Williams, also faces pending criminal charges. Williams, an 18-year veteran of the force, is accused of stealing the cash from Dustin and Lindsey Holzhauer’s home Nov. 25 after responding to Dustin’s medical emergency there. Dustin Holzhauer later died from what officials said was an apparent drug overdose.
Holzhauer in January filed her federal lawsuit against the town, Williams, Police Chief Rick Bleichner, and officers Tim Edmiaston and Jim Ferguson. She alleges they tried to tell her that the money could not have been taken by a Normal Police officer and that they conspired to try to persuade her from contacting the Illinois State Police to investigate the incident.
The town, Bleichner, Edmiaston, and Ferguson filed their motion to dismiss this week. They argue Holzhauer’s lawsuit fails to meet the high legal standard for the “intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED).”
“It is well-settled that indignities, threats, annoyances, petty oppressions, and other trivialities fail to qualify as outrageous conduct actionable in an IIED claim,” their lawyers wrote.
They also argue that they’re all part of the same entity—the Town of Normal—and that “a conspiracy cannot exist solely between members of the same entity.”
“There is nothing in the complaint that shows the defendants came to an understanding to violate plaintiff’s rights,” the defendants wrote. “The mere characterization of a combination of acts as a conspiracy is insufficient to withstand a motion to dismiss.”
Williams was also named in the lawsuit. But a judge has delayed his role in the lawsuit pending the outcome of his criminal case. He’s pleaded not guilty and has been off the job since being arrested. In court filings he has denied taking the money and denied he tried to contact Holzhauer about the theft.
Williams is due back in criminal court May 18.
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