APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FIFTH DIVISION
LILLIAN R. CAPODAGLI, Adm'x of the Estate of David P.
536 N.E.2d 135, 180 Ill. App. 3d 456, 129 Ill. Dec. 451 1989.IL.311
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Charles J. Durham, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE PINCHAM delivered the opinion of the court. MURRAY, P.J., and COCCIA, J., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE PINCHAM
The plaintiff, Lillian R. Capodagli, administratrix of the estate of David Capodagli, appeals from the trial court's judgment notwithstanding the verdict in favor of defendant, Robert D. Wilson, chief of police of the City of Markham. We affirm. Our reasons follow.
On July 5, 1980, 19-year-old David Capodagli (David), while under the influence of alcohol and methaqualone, was arrested by City of Markham police for outstanding warrants. He was placed, alone, in a City of Markham jail cell. One hour later, David was found hanging in the cell by his tank top t-shirt. He had committed suicide.
Plaintiff filed the instant complaint under the Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1982)) as the administratrix of the estate of David Capodagli. In the complaint, plaintiff alleged that David was denied his right under the fourteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States not to be deprived of his life without due process of law. (U.S. Const., amend XIV.) Plaintiff's complaint alleged that the policies of the defendant, in his official capacity as the City of Markham police chief, which permitted (1) prisoners known to be intoxicated to be placed in a jail cell without first undergoing a medical examination to ascertain their well being, and (2) intoxicated prisoners to be detained in a jail cell without being visually observed at periodic intervals, were inherently deficient procedures for detaining prisoners.
Following trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of plaintiff and awarded plaintiff $375,000 in damages. However, the trial court entered a judgment notwithstanding the jury's verdict in favor of defendant.
On this appeal, plaintiff maintains that she is entitled to a reversal of the judgment in favor of defendant and that she is entitled to a re-entry of the judgment because the trial court did not apply the correct legal standards governing entry of a judgment notwithstanding the verdict. Conversely, the defendant maintains that the trial court used the correct standards for entry of a judgment notwithstanding the verdict, as set forth in section 2-1202 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 110, par. 2-1202). It is there provided:
"Relief after trial may include the entry of judgment if under the evidence in the case it would have been the duty of the court to direct a verdict without submitting the case to the jury."
The standard governing review of a trial court's decision to enter judgment notwithstanding the verdict is announced in Pedrick v. Peoria & Eastern R.R. Co. (1967), 37 Ill. 2d 494. In Pedrick the court stated that judgment notwithstanding the verdict may be entered "only in those cases in which all of the evidence, when viewed in its aspect most favorable to the opponent, so overwhelmingly favors movant that no contrary verdict based on that evidence could ever stand." (37 Ill. 2d at 510.) Such is the instant case. The issue at trial in the case at bar was whether David was denied his fourteenth amendment constitutional right not to be deprived of his life without due process by policies which the defendant, in his official capacity, enacted and had in force.
Local governing bodies and local officials in their official capacity may be sued under 42 U.S.C. section 1983 for monetary damage, declaratory judgment, and injunctive relief where the action that is alleged to be unconstitutional implements or executes a policy statement, ordinance, regulation, or decision officially adopted or promulgated by those whose edicts or acts may fairly be said to represent ...