by Officers McCarthy and Loewe who deny hitting, slapping or beating Pyka. The defendants also offer a statement by detainee Padin who stated that when Pyka was led to the cell he was pushed but not beaten. Healy's testimony controverts defendants' offers of proof and creates a genuine issue of material fact with respect to the issue of whether Pyka was, in fact, "punished" while he was in the cell with Officers McCarthy and Loewe in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Unlike the take-down incident, there is no means for determining this question as a matter of law since there is no video of what happened inside the cell. Qualified immunity is therefore denied with respect to the "striking" allegations as they relate to the allegations of injury documented by the coroner.
These allegations, however, must also be reviewed by the trier of fact to determine whether they are sufficient to support a Fourth Amendment violation against Officers McCarthy and Loewe in their individual capacity. Summary Judgment will therefore be denied on Count III only as to the "striking" allegations and the evidentiary basis for these allegations.
4. Count IV: Failure To Provide Medical Care
In Count IV, plaintiffs allege that Sgt. Doll, together with Officers McCarthy, Loewe, Duggan, Cavender are liable for failure to provide Pyka with necessary medical care while he was in their custody. In particular, plaintiffs allege that Officers McCarthy and Loewe ignored Pyka's agitation and mood changes which fit the profile of a potential suicide risk. Officers Duggan, Cavender and Sgt. Doll, on the other hand, are charged with the failure to perform lifesaving CPR when they found Pyka hanging. These failures, claim plaintiffs, were also the proximate cause of Pyka's death.
The defendants are entitled to qualified immunity on Count IV for the allegations related to their failure to provide necessary medical care and the contention that this failure was the proximate cause of Pyka's death. The entitlement to immunity stems from the fact that the defendants' alleged failures to provide CPR and to recognize Pyka's suicidal tendencies are not constitutional violations, let alone violations of clearly established constitutional rights, unless there is some evidence that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to Pyka's medical needs. See Hall, 957 F.2d at 404 (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251, 97 S. Ct. 285 (1986)). Although the right to receive needed medical care while in custody was established under both the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments at the time of Pyka's death, id., there is no evidence that the defendants were either aware or should have been aware, under the circumstances presented to them, that Pyka was a suicide risk, or that Pyka was in need of CPR at the time they discovered his body. Pyka never made any threat to kill himself, nor did the defendants ever receive the suicide awareness training that might have alerted them that Pyka was potentially suicidal. Moreover, when the defendants found Pyka, they checked his pulse and determined that he was dead. Given that the defendants did not have a duty to perform CPR upon a body under state or local rules, we conclude that the defendants' belief that CPR was unnecessary was reasonable under the circumstances presented to them. Although Lt. Smith, the paramedic, testified that he believed Pyka was in cardiac arrest at the time he arrived, there is no evidence that the defendants would have known this information. Additionally, there is no evidence that CPR would have been effective, since the record shows that Lt. Smith's attempts at CPR failed to revive Pyka The Court therefore finds that the defendants are entitled to qualified immunity for Count IV. Summary judgment is therefore denied.
5. Count V: Municipal Liability
Plaintiffs' also argue that the Village of Orland Park should be held liable for Pyka's suicide because it failed to train its police officers with respect to suicide detection or prevention. This claim against the Village is based on the theory that this training would have alerted the officers to the six or seven "symptoms" of suicidal tendencies described by plaintiffs' expert, allowing the officers to take measures to prevent the suicide.
The Supreme Court has held that inadequate police training may support a § 1983 claim. City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 388, 103 L. Ed. 2d 412, 109 S. Ct. 1197 (1989). However, the circumstances under which municipal liability will attach to a failure to train case are fairly limited: "the inadequacy of police training may serve as the basis for a § 1983 liability only where the failure to train amounts to deliberate indifference to the rights of persons with whom the police come into contact." Id.
A two prong inquiry must be made to determine if a failure to train claim is sufficient. First, it must be determined whether the failure to train constitutes a city policy which is the result of a "deliberate" or "conscious" choice made by a municipality. Id. at 389. Second, there must be a direct causal link between the failure to train and the constitutional injury. Id. at 391.
In Smith v. City of Joliet, Judge Plunkett made a thorough analysis of a failure to train claim in response to a motion to reconsider. 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4374, No. 90 C 5522, 1993 WL 106814, at *2 (N.D. Ill. April 7, 1993). See also Smith v. City of Joliet, 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 864, 1993 WL 18981 at *6-8 (granting motion for summary judgment). Judge Plunkett held that "the need for specialized training was not so obvious that the city's failure to procure it for its officers constitutes deliberate indifference. Smith, 1993 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4374, 1993 WL 106814, at *2. He was persuaded by the fact that there had been only two previous suicide attempts at the jail over a course of many years and also by the fact that the officers did routinely take some precautions against suicides, such as removing shoelaces and belts at the completion of booking procedures and placing individuals who were feared to be suicidal in front cells. Id. Judge Plunkett also determined that the plaintiff had failed to prove causation, because, even if the officers had determined, as a result of training, that the deceased was a high suicide risk, it was unclear that the officers would have acted any differently. Id. at * 2-3.
In Hinkfuss v. Shawano County, the plaintiff alleged that the county had a policy of deliberate indifference to the right of detainees to medical attention, which was evidenced in the officers' lack of medical training. Hinkfuss v. Shawano County, 772 F. Supp. 1104, 1112 (E.D. Wis. 1991). The court found that the detainee did not seem to be in need of immediate medical attention, so the facts of the case failed to show that the jailers were deliberately indifferent to the detainee's needs or that the county had an established police of deliberate indifference to medical needs.
In this case, there is no evidence that the Village had a large suicide problem (despite Sgt. Doll's testimony that he had seen about 10 suicides prior to Pyka's, since there is no evidence that those 10 suicides occurred at Orland Park) that they were deliberately ignoring. Moreover, there were no statutes or municipal regulations requiring the officers to perform CPR or to take suicide awareness classes. Thus, the officers' failure to perform CPR and recognize that Pyka would commit suicide before it happened are not a basis for liability against the Village for failure to train and do not amount to an unconstitutional policy under Canton. Summary judgment will therefore be granted on Count V in favor of the defendants.
6. Proximate Cause
In Count VI, the plaintiffs allege that the defendants' conduct, as pled in Counts I-V, was the proximate cause of Pyka's suicide. Proximate cause, as defined in the Illinois Jury Pattern Instructions, is: "any cause which, in natural or probable sequence, produced the injury complained of. It need not be the only cause, nor the last or nearest cause. It is sufficient if it concurs with some other cause acting at the same time, which in combination with it, causes the injury." IPJI (Civil) § 15.01.
In Jones v. County of DuPage, 700 F. Supp. 965 (N.D. Ill. 1988), the district court found that "if the defendants' negligent acts violated some other constitutional provision, and if this misconduct proximately caused plaintiff to commit suicide, then the defendants will be liable for his death." Id. at 969 (citing Jones v. City of Chicago, 856 F.2d 985, 993 (7th Cir. 1988), and Moore v. Marketplace Restaurant, Inc., 754 F.2d 1336, 1359 (7th Cir. 1985)). According to Jones, if the plaintiffs can prove that the defendants' unconstitutional conduct proximately caused Pyka to commit suicide, then the defendants will be liable for his death.
The allegedly unconstitutional conduct that could serve as a basis for a proximate cause finding in this case includes the take-down conduct by Officer McCarthy, together with Officer Loewe's failure to intervene. We have already indicated that there is a strong probability that the take-down by Officer McCarthy and the failure to intervene by Officer Loewe violated Pyka's Fourth Amendment right to be free from the excessive use of force. If the trier of fact comes to the same conclusion that this Court has reached, then the trier may also find that this conduct was a proximate cause of Pyka's suicide. This determination, however, as all proximate cause determinations are, is a factual determination reserved for the trier of fact. We will therefore submit this issue for trial. In addition, the disputed evidence of striking and slapping conduct, although tenuous evidence, may also--if it is found to violate the Fourth Amendment--provide a basis for a proximate cause finding. This issue, therefore, will also be submitted to the jury.
The real question is whether there is sufficient evidence to establish that these violations, if proven, were the proximate cause of Pyka's suicide. Detainee Padin's testimony is crucial to the plaintiffs' case in this regard. Detainee Padin's testimony is that Pyka feared for his life, and, in one instance, said to the officer that came into his cell to take off his belt, shoes and "something else": "Why don't you just kill me and get it over with?" After the officer left, Pyka then apparently said to Padin something like "why didn't he just make it easy for the police, and kill himself." Pls.' Ex. B. Although Padin's testimony is subject to a credibility assessment by the jury, this testimony, together with the videotape showing the take-down, failure to intervene, and subsequent actions or non-actions of the police officers certainly raises a reasonable inference that Pyka was afraid due to the physical force used on him that night by Officer McCarthy. A reasonable jury could conclude that this fear, triggered by the excessive use of force during the take-down, could have been the Proximate cause of Pyka's suicide. However, that determination, of course, is a question of fact reserved for the trier of fact since this court merely sits to determine whether there is a sufficient factual basis to support such a finding. We find that such a basis exists and therefore will submit this issue to the jury. Summary judgment is therefore denied on Count VI.
7. Motion for Judgment on The Pleadings
Rule 12(c) provides the standard to be applied on a motion for judgment on the pleadings:
After the pleadings are closed but within such time as not to delay the trial, any party may move for judgment on the pleadings. If, on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in Rule 56, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to such a motion by rule 56.