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TUCKER v. RANDALL

December 8, 1993

BILLY B. TUCKER, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD A. RANDALL and ALBERT SPEENBURGH, in their individual capacities and in their official capacities as officers of the Sheriff's Department of Kendall County, Illinois, Defendants.


MAROVICH


The opinion of the court was delivered by: GEORGE M. MAROVICH

Plaintiff Billy B. Tucker ("Tucker"), a former detainee at Kendall County jail, brought a four-count complaint pursuant to Section 1983 and Illinois common law against Defendants Richard A. Randall ("Randall") and Albert Speenburgh ("Speenburgh"), officers of the Sheriff's Department of Kendall County, alleging inadequate medical care (Count I), inadequate access to a telephone and illegal taping of phone conversations (Count II), and inadequate prison conditions (Counts III and IV). Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c) on the basis of qualified immunity. For the reasons set forth below, we grant summary judgment on all counts.

 FACTUAL BACKGROUND

 Plaintiff Tucker is a former detainee of the Kendall County Jail in Yorkville, Illinois. He is presently imprisoned in the Illinois River Correctional Center in Canton, Illinois. Defendant Sheriff Richard Randall was sworn into the office of Sheriff of Kendall County on December 1, 1986. Prior to this date, on September 29, 1986, Randall's name had appeared as "sheriff" on inspection reports, and after November 4, 1986, Randall had been the "Sheriff-elect." Defendant Albert Speenburgh was employed as a Lieutenant with the Kendall County Sheriff's Department at all times relevant to this lawsuit. Randall delegated direct day-to-day supervision of the Kendall County jail to Speenburgh.

 Medical Treatment

 On November 9, 1986, Tucker was involved in a bar fight that took place at T's Tap in Plano, Illinois. Tucker was arrested and taken by ambulance to a hospital. On the way to the hospital and again at the hospital, Tucker complained of injuries to his hand and to his ribs. The doctor at the hospital noted that Tucker complained of pain in the right anterior chest, lower back and face. Upon his examination, the doctor found slight tenderness in the right anterior chest wall and a lack of crepitation, which is the sound of cracked ribs.

 As a result of his examination, the doctor diagnosed Tucker as suffering from multiple blunt trauma. Medical instructions for Tucker's treatment included: (1) keep wounds clean and apply ice to face, (2) watch for signs of infection, (3) follow-up with a doctor in 3 to 5 days, and (4) aspirin every four hours for two days.

 Tracey, through a question and answer session with Tucker, filled out a medical form at the time of the booking. The medical form does not show any report of injuries to hand or ribs made by Tucker. Tucker disputes that such a session between Tucker and Tracey occurred in manner described above and disputes that the form was accurate. Tucker did not tell Tracey about his need to follow up with a doctor in 3 to 5 days.

 On November 10, 1986, Tucker was placed in a cell with Darrell Knapp ("Knapp"), another pretrial detainee, and four other prisoners. Knapp testified that Tucker could barely move at this time, that his right hand was swelled up, and that he complained that his ribs hurt.

 Tucker complained to a prison guard, Officer Jon Smiley ("Smiley"), about the pain in his hands and ribs, and Smiley testified that he relayed these complaints to Speenburgh. Speenburgh denies knowledge of any such complaints from Tucker or a jail officer. According to Smiley's testimony, when he conveyed Tucker's complaints to Speenburgh, Speenburgh always granted him medical contact.

 State regulations require that pretrial detainees receive a medical screening after they have been in jail for fourteen days and that was also the policy of the Kendall County jail. Upon gaining the office of Sheriff, Randall admits that he did not ensure that 14-day medical screenings were taking place. Speenburgh also admits that he was not always able to follow the 14-day screening requirement, but claims that he attempted to meet it to the best of his ability. Speenburgh admits that Tucker's medical examination on January 21, 1987 was his 14-day screening requirement even though it should have occurred two months earlier.

 Tucker's physical examination on January 21, 1987 was performed by general practitioner Dr. Jose Bernal ("Dr. Bernal"). Dr. Bernal had treated Tucker for various ailments in the past, dating at least as far back as 1977. The physical exam included visual examination of Tucker, including his extremities. Dr. Bernal did not note in the medical records any complaints by Tucker about his hand or ribs, nor did he note that Tucker should be referred to a specialist.

 Tucker saw Dr. Bernal at later dates in 1987 for a skin rash, an earache, vomiting, dizzy spells and having a tendency to faint. Tucker did not mention his hand or rib injury to Dr. Bernal during any medical examination conducted after January 21, 1987. Tucker explains that he did not complain because Dr. Bernal had already told him that he was not qualified to treat such injuries. Tucker states that he personally discussed his hand injury with Speenburgh on multiple occasions but Speenburgh recalls talking about it on only one occasion.

 Kendall County jail had a sick call procedure in place in 1986 and 1987 which called for the jail officer on duty in the morning to conduct an oral examination of each inmate to determine if the inmate required medical care. The inmates, and the response given, were noted in written reports given prior to 8:30 or 9:00 a.m. on a daily basis to Speenburgh. If an inmate required medical care, Speenburgh would talk with them, and arrange for needed physician's appointments.

 Kendall County jail had a medications log procedure in place in 1986 and 1987 which called for jail officers to note when medication was given to an inmate. The log maintained for Tucker reveals that over the period of his incarceration at Kendall County jail, he received Tylenol on numerous occasions, otic solution for his earache, Micro K and Tagamet.

 In addition to the sicknesses noted above for which Tucker saw Dr. Bernal, Tucker was admitted, on Dr. Bernal's recommendation, to the Sandwich Hospital in Plano, Illinois on August 7, 1987. He was placed there for treatment on complaints of weight loss, dizziness, weakness and vomiting. Tucker tolerated a full regular diet during his two-day hospital stay. Dr. Bernal diagnosed Tucker as suffering from acute gastritis probably secondary to depression, hypopotassemia and depression from being in prison.

 In late August 1987, Tucker was transferred to the Illinois Department of Corrections. During his incarceration in the state penal system, Tucker had numerous examinations by physicians between 1987 and 1990. In four of his annual examinations, no mention in the medical notes was made of Tucker's hand or rib injuries. In a Medical Orientation Appraisal on November 3, 1989, Tucker reported his rib and hand injuries as "major injuries." On August 28, 1992, Dr. Richard Easton, Jr. ("Dr. Easton") noted that Tucker had a right side protrusion of the rib cage. Based solely on Tucker's statements, and not as a result of his examination, Dr. Easton noted that this was possibly from an inadequately treated rib fracture. Dr. Easton's exam also found a deformity of the right hand and stenosis of the third and fourth flexor tendons. No treatment of either condition was recommended in August 1992. Dr. Easton noted, "There is no evidence on the X-ray of a current or old fracture. That does not mean that he did not sustain a fracture back then. He may well have." In addition, the doctor noticed "very small, obvious bone-like fragments near the head of the third metacarpal bone, which is on the hand."

 According to Dr. Easton, the deformity of Tucker's hand is caused by a condition known as Dupuytren's Contracture. Dr. Easton testified that the medical texts tjat he consulted state that the cause of Dupuytren's Contracture is not known. He also testified that the disease is not believed to be related to trauma. In addition, Dr. Potaczek, an orthopedic surgeon, stated that there is no evidence of a fracture in Tucker's hand. According to Dr. Potaczek, the change in the third metacarpal could be related to trauma or arthritis.

 Radiological interpretation of x-rays of Tucker's rib cage, taken on July 1, 1993, identify no abnormality of the ribs. But according to Dr. Easton, the radiologist's reading is consistent with a broken rib. Dr. Easton stated that, while unusual, it is possible that the protrusion of Tucker's ribs is a congenital defect but he stated that it is much more likely the result of an injury from trauma. But Dr. Potaczek testified that based on Tucker's comments, he believes the rib deformity to be post-traumatic and that whether or not he had been treated, Tucker's ribs would have healed as they did. Dr. Easton recommends no treatment of the hand or ribs at this time.

 Telephone Access/Tapping

 According to Tucker, during the booking process, he requested an opportunity to call his wife or his brother and that request was denied. Defendants claim that Tucker refused the opportunity to place a phone call. According to Tucker, he was not allowed to make an outgoing telephone call for 63 hours. Defendants admit that at the request of the investigating officer who brought a detainee in, calls may be delayed for purposes of the investigation, but inmates were allowed the opportunity to make a notification of detention call.

 Tucker claims that he requested a telephone call from Speenburgh on November 10, 1986, but was refused. Speenburgh denies this statement and asserts that he provided Tucker the opportunity to place a phone call following Tucker's return from bond call that day. Tucker's telephone log shows calls made or received by Tucker on November 11, 12, and 13, 1986. Each log entry has Tucker's signature attached. Tucker disputes the log records. Tucker testified and the log indicates that he spoke with a Reverend Frezza by telephone on November 11, 1986. Tucker testified that he received many telephone calls after the first four days and didn't ...


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