APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE THOMAS J. O'BRIEN, JUDGE PRESIDING.
Released for Publication April 13, 1995.
The Honorable Justice Gordon delivered the opinion of the court: Cousins, Jr., P.j., and McNULTY, J., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gordon
JUSTICE GORDON delivered the opinion of the court:
Chicago Osteopathic Medical Centers instituted this declaratory judgment and statutory liability action against the City of Chicago (the City) and the County of Cook (the County) seeking construction and application of certain Illinois statutes and a declaration imposing liability upon the City and the County for the cost of medical care given to persons arrested or detained by the Chicago Police Department. The trial court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and allocated liability against the City and the County. After denial of the plaintiff's motion for prejudgment interest and entry of a revised agreed order, the County appealed and the City cross-appealed.
The facts of this lawsuit are not in dispute. During the years 1988, 1989, and 1990, the City of Chicago Police Department brought several hundred adults who were arrested and juveniles who were detained for various violations of state law to the plaintiff hospital for medical care and treatment. Plaintiff provided the necessary medical care and treatment and prepared bills reflecting plaintiff's customary charges. Thereafter, plaintiff sought payment from the City and then from the County. Each of the entities refused payment contending liability by the other.
On appeal the County disputes liability for three categories of patients: (1) adult arrestees who received medical treatment on the same day but prior to actual physical custody by the County sheriff; (2) adult arrestees who received medical treatment on the same day as the charging event but who were never in the physical custody of the County sheriff; and (3) juvenile detainees who received medical treatment on the same day but prior to actual physical custody by the Juvenile Detention Center. The City disputes liability for three additional categories: (1) adult arrestees arrested on warrants requested by the City police; (2) adult arrestees for whom criminal court records could not be obtained; and (3) certain juvenile detainees.
In accordance with the Cities and Villages Act, various municipal officials, including policemen, are authorized to arrest all personswho violate criminal laws of the state and detain them until they can be brought before the proper court. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 24, par. 3-9-4 now codified at 65 ILCS 5/3-9-4 (West 1992); see also Chicago Municipal Code § 2-84-230 (1992).) After an arrestee is charged with a violation of a state criminal statute, it is the duty of the sheriff to hold the alleged offender until bail is posted or if bail is not posted to hold him or her in the county jail until the time for trial. St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital v. City of Chicago (1975), 29 Ill. App. 3d 511, 331 N.E.2d 142; see People v. Thomlison (1948), 400 Ill. 555, 81 N.E.2d 434; People v. Frugoli (1929), 334 Ill. 324, 166 N.E. 129; see also Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 75, par. 104 now 730 ILCS 125/4 (West 1992); Ill. Rev. Stat. 1991, ch. 34, par. 3-15003 now 55 ILCS 5/3-15016 (West 1992).
It is undisputed that once the County has custody of any alleged offender, it is charged with the responsibility of maintaining that person and must furnish all necessary medical aid. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 75, pars. 105, 117 now at 730 ILCS 125/5, 125/17 (West 1992).) As provided in section 17 of "An Act in relation to prisoners and jails" (the County Jail Act):
"The Warden of the jail shall furnish necessary *** medical aid for all prisoners under his charge ***. When medical or hospital services are required by any person held in custody, the county, private hospital, physician or any public agency which provides such services shall be entitled to obtain reimbursement from the county for the cost of such services." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 75, par. 117.)
It is further undisputed that until the arrestee is in the custody of the sheriff the arresting authority is liable for medical expenses relating to the arrestee. Section 16 of the County Department of Corrections Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 125, par. 216), subsequently known as the County Department of Corrections Law (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 34, par. 3-15016 now at 55 ILCS 5/3-15016 (West 1992)) provides in relevant part:
"An arresting authority shall be responsible for any incurred medical expenses relating to the arrestee until such time as the arrestee is placed in the custody of the sheriff. However, the arresting authority shall not be so responsible if the arrest was made pursuant to a request by the sheriff."
This provision also is included verbatim in section 17 of the County Jail Act effective January 1, 1990. *fn1
The crux of the instant appeal turns upon the question of when"an arrestee is placed in the custody of the sheriff" so that the County and not the City would be liable to the Plaintiff for medical expenses incurred on behalf of the arrestees. Prior to enactment of the "arresting authority" language in any statute, case law held that the sheriff, as custodian of all prisoners in the county jail (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1969, ch. 75, par. 2), had custody of the hospitalized arrestee on the date the arrestee was charged with a violation of state law and that from that moment the county was liable for the medical care provided to that arrestee. ( St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital v. City of Chicago (1975), 29 Ill. App. 3d 511, 331 N.E.2d 142.) In St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital, the arrestee was taken into custody by the city police and immediately transported to the hospital where he remained for three months. Approximately three hours after he was brought to the hospital, a complaint was prepared and signed by the complaining witness. The court hearing scheduled later that day was continued because the arrestee remained hospitalized and was unable to appear in court. The court held the county liable for the arrestee's hospital bill despite the fact that the sheriff did not have actual custody of the hospitalized arrestee and despite the fact that the city police maintained a guard on the arrestee for approximately two months of the three-month hospitalization. Of significance to the court was the fact that the arrestee had been charged with a violation of the Illinois Criminal Code and that "after [he] had been charged *** it was the duty of the Sheriff of Cook County to hold ...