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BALTZ v. COUNTY OF WILL

February 21, 1985

LINDA BALTZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE COUNTY OF WILL, A GOVERNMENTAL ENTITY; JOHN H. SHELLEY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SHERIFF OF WILL COUNTY; WILLIAM N. HILGER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS AN AGENT AND EMPLOYEE OF WILL COUNTY; CRAIG BUTKOVICK, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A DEPUTY SHERIFF OF WILL COUNTY; AND PAUL KAUPUS, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A DEPUTY SHERIFF OF WILL COUNTY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Aspen, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Linda Baltz ("Baltz"), a Will County Deputy Sheriff, brought this suit under the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against Will County Sheriff John Shelley ("the Sheriff"), two deputy sheriffs, Craig Butkovick ("Butkovick") and Paul Kaupus ("Kaupus"), Will County ("the County") and a private psychiatrist, Dr. William Hilger ("Dr. Hilger"). Before the Court are motions to dismiss filed by the several defendants. For the reasons stated below, the Court grants the County's motion, denies Dr. Hilger's motion and grants the Sheriff's motion in part.

We cannot grant the motion to dismiss unless it appears beyond doubt that Baltz can prove no set of facts entitling her to relief. See Hishon v. King & Spalding, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 2233, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984); Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 102, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). We must take as true, moreover, all material allegations of fact in the complaint. With these standards in mind, we turn to Baltz's complaint and defendants' challenge to it.

I. The Allegations of Fact

The story told in the complaint can only be described as strange. Baltz worked as a deputy sheriff in the County until February 23, 1983, the first day of the bizarre sequence of events described in the complaint.

The Sheriff and the County allegedly have a policy which empowers the Sheriff to use unfettered discretion in demanding that a deputy submit to a psychological exam. Dr. Hilger apparently contracts with the County to perform these exams. Under the policy, the Sheriff may suspend a deputy until she agrees to submit to an exam. The Sheriff may fire any deputy who refuses to be tested.

Sometime in early 1983, the Sheriff demanded that Baltz submit to a psychological exam with Dr. Hilger. She was suspended until she agreed to meet with Dr. Hilger. Under threat of losing her job, Baltz agreed to meet with Dr. Hilger at her home at 10:00 p.m. on February 23, 1983.*fn1 Allegedly under orders from the Sheriff, Dr. Hilger arrived at Baltz's home with Deputies Butkovick and Kaupus, who were in full uniform. Without probable cause, provocation or search warrant, Dr. Hilger ordered the two deputies to search Baltz's home, which they did, despite Baltz's protests. After finishing the search,*fn2 the three defendants — allegedly acting with the Sheriff's knowledge and approval — demanded that Baltz accompany them to the County jail. Baltz protested and demanded to be shown an arrest warrant, but Dr. Hilger told her that no arrest warrant had been issued but that she had to obey their demand to leave with them. During all of this, Baltz's two children had become hysterical, which must not have been ameliorated when Dr. Hilger allegedly told them that their mother would kill them and then herself if she were not imprisoned.

Dr. Hilger and the two deputies took plaintiff away, against her will, at about 2:30 on the morning of February 24. Without "booking" her, advising her of any charges or taking her before a judge or magistrate, defendants jailed her.

Several hours later, about noon on the 24th, Dr. Hilger gave Baltz the following choices: she could remain in jail, be admitted to Tinley Park Mental Institution or be admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital for at least seven days. During all of this time, Baltz was not allowed to call a lawyer. Confronted with this limited range of choices, Baltz "chose" to be admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital. The complaint alleges that there was no medical or phychological need for such admission.

Baltz asked the Sheriff to be reinstated to her job. The Sheriff refused, demanding that she first submit to intensive psychotherapy with Dr. Hilger. Apparently feeling that Dr. Hilger had not established good rapport with her, Baltz refused to let him test or treat her. Instead, she underwent testing at her own expense. The testing showed that she was fit to work, but the Sheriff refused for several months to reinstate her. Finally, after hiring private counsel and undergoing more psychological tests at her own expense, Baltz was reinstated.

The complaint alleges that the Sheriff knew and approved of the above acts. Moreover, the defendants allegedly conspired to do the above acts in order to deprive Baltz of her civil rights.

The complaint contains four "counts." Counts I and II are brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.*fn3 Count I alleges that the above acts deprived Baltz of "her civil rights and of the the protections guaranteed her under the United States and Illinois Constitutions." No specific constitutional provision is mentioned. Count II alleges that the Sheriff's department's "customs, procedures, policies and methods of operation" deprived Baltz of her rights to due process of law. Count III alleges a pendent state claim of false arrest and imprisonment. Count IV alleges a state claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The Sheriff and the two deputies filed an answer, denying most of the material allegations of the complaint. They admit that they came to Baltz's house, that she left with them and that she ended up at the hospital. They deny, however, that she went unwillingly, and they deny the more egregious allegations in the complaint.

In addition to answering, the Sheriff has moved to dismiss two parts of the complaint. First, he argues that to the extent that the complaint challenges the general policy of requiring deputies to undergo psychiatric tests, it fails to state a claim. Second, he argues that the facts alleged in the complaint are not outrageous enough to make out the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The other defendants have not answered, but have moved to dismiss the claims against them. Dr. Hilger asserts that as a private party he did not act "under color of state law," either individually or in conspiracy with the other defendants. The County asserts that as a matter of Illinois law it is distinct from the Sheriff's department, and thus cannot be held liable under ...


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