Quimbee logo
DMCA.com Protection Status
From our private database of 18,800+ case briefs...

Honaker v. Smith

United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
256 F.3d 477 (2001)


Fred Honaker (plaintiff) was renovating a house he owned in the Village of Lovington, Illinois (the Village). The house was in poor condition and the subject of frequent complaints to the city council. Honaker had a rancorous history with the Village, especially its mayor and fire chief, Gary Smith (defendant). In 1995, the Village settled a civil rights suit brought by Honaker. In 1996, Smith allegedly told Honaker that if Honaker did not leave town, Smith “would burn [him] out.” In 1997, Honaker’s house was intentionally set ablaze. Four fire trucks and 20 firefighters arrived within minutes. Because the house appeared to lack structural integrity, Smith did not allow firefighters to enter the building. The blaze took three hours to extinguish. When Honaker saw the property, he became distraught, screaming and crying, but he never sought medical treatment for his distress. Honaker’s house was not the first in the Village to burn under suspicious circumstances following discussion in city council meetings. Honaker sued Smith in federal court, alleging liability under: (1) 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for starting the fire and purposefully failing to extinguish it and (2) Illinois law for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED). After the parties presented their evidence at trial, Smith moved for judgment as a matter of law. The court granted judgment to Smith on the IIED claim. After the jury rendered a verdict for Honaker on his § 1983 claim, the court granted judgment to Smith on that claim as well. Honaker appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Ripple, J.)

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 498,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 498,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 18,800 briefs, keyed to 985 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.

Questions & Answers

Have a question about this case?

Sign up for a free 7-day trial and ask it

Sign up for a FREE 7-day trial