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COPELAND v. NORTHWESTERN MEM. HOSP.

May 30, 1997

CLYDE J. COPELAND, Plaintiff,
v.
NORTHWESTERN MEMORIAL HOSPITAL, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALESIA

 Before the court are numerous motions by the parties in this case. Defendants Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the City of Chicago, Abel Pena, and Lee Harbaugh have brought motions to dismiss plaintiff Clyde Copeland's complaint. Plaintiff Clyde Copeland has brought motions related to various discovery requests, for production of transcripts, for issuance of a subpoena, to substitute parties of interest, and for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, the court grants defendants' motions to dismiss, and strikes some and denies some of Copeland's motions as set forth below.

 I. BACKGROUND1

 Early in the morning on March 3, 1994, plaintiff Clyde Copeland suffered a stressful encounter that resulted in a panic attack, so he took his prescribed anxiety medication, Xanax. Copeland then blacked out. The next thing Copeland remembered occurred seven or eight hours later and miles away; he was running north on LaSalle Street in downtown Chicago.

 At the moment Copeland's cognizance returned, he was having memories of robbing or attempting to rob the Harris Bank at the Board of Trade in downtown Chicago on four occasions in 1981, 1982, and 1983. Copeland's mood was vacillating between disorientation and hopelessness, agitation and fear, anxiousness and melancholy. For relief, Copeland went on a cocaine binge that lasted until the next day.

 When Copeland's binge was over, his distraught mood returned. So, in the late afternoon on March 4, 1994, Copeland presented himself at the emergency room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital ("Northwestern" or "the hospital"), seeking psychiatric intervention and treatment and admission to the hospital. A nurse interviewed Copeland prior to his admission. He told her that he was frightened after coming down from his cocaine binge and wanted to speak with a psychiatrist. He also told her that he recently had been released from the psychiatric unit at Illinois Masonic Hospital in Chicago, and gave her the names of his doctor there and the medications he was taking.

 The nurse then referred Copeland to an admissions clerk to complete the necessary paperwork for hospital admission. After Copeland was finished, the nurse again asked him how he got the money for the cocaine. He said that he did not remember. The nurse asked Copeland if he ever had committed any crimes, and Copeland responded that he was a convicted felon. The nurse asked Copeland about the last crime he had committed; he told her it was a bank robbery at the Board of Trade building at LaSalle and Jackson in Chicago. The nurse told Copeland that that was all she needed and that a doctor should be available soon.

 After a long wait, Copeland began to feel extremely anxious and asked the nurse if she had a cigarette. She did not but told a security guard to find Copeland a cigarette. When Copeland walked outside the emergency room to smoke, the nurse had the security guard accompany him. A little while later, the nurse told Copeland that the doctor was available and that the security guard would escort Copeland to the doctor.

 The security guard took Copeland to his office, where he told Copeland that Copeland had to submit to a strip search. Copeland protested, stating that it seemed like he was being arrested. The guard explained that because Copeland was going to be admitted to a psychiatric ward, he had to submit to the search for everyone's safety, including his own, and that the search was hospital policy. Copeland then consented to the search.

 The guard then escorted Copeland to a locked observation room, which could be opened only from the outside. At one point while Copeland was in the observation room, a doctor entered with six to eight students, and asked Copeland if he would answer some questions. Copeland agreed. Copeland recounted his recent status as a psychiatric patient at Illinois Masonic, his blackout the day before, his cocaine binge, and the extreme emotions that precipitated Copeland's presentment to Northwestern.

 The doctor stated that the nurse told him that Copeland had robbed the bank at the Board of Trade, which Copeland acknowledged. The doctor then asked Copeland if that was how he got his money to buy cocaine. Copeland replied that he did not know; that he could not remember what he did for several hours the previous day; and that he already had the money when his memory returned. The doctor reframed and asked again the questions about Copeland's criminal past, but Copeland answered as before. The doctor and students then left the observation room, the doctor telling Copeland on his way out that Copeland would be put in the psychiatric unit soon, and that when he got there, he and the doctor would talk about his medication.

 Some time later, the nurse entered the observation room with two Chicago police officers. The officers handcuffed Copeland without speaking to him. One of the officers asked the nurse if Copeland was on any medication or had any medical or psychiatric conditions that would require special handling. She replied, "We haven't done anything with him but hold him for you."

 The officers took Copeland from the hospital and brought him to the police station. During the ride, one officer said that they had a long night ahead of them, interrogating Copeland and typing up the reports of the investigation. The other officer replied that this was the easiest duty they could have received, because that night they were just "errand boys for the Feebees," meaning the Federal Bureau of Investigation ("FBI"). The first officer asked for the arrest warrant from the "feds" to go along with his report. The second officer replied that they did not need a warrant, since this was not their "collar," and that all they had to do was hold Copeland overnight.

 At FBI headquarters, Harbaugh took Copeland to a large room with rows of desks and handcuffed him to a desk chair. Harbaugh placed a rights waiver in front of Copeland and demanded that he sign it. Copeland ignored Harbaugh's demands. Harbaugh then appeared to lose his temper and placed a sharp object against Copeland's throat, saying, "I'll cut your throat if you don't cooperate." When Copeland refused to respond, Harbaugh scraped Copeland's throat, causing abrasions to it. Copeland still did not respond.

 After Harbaugh verbally and physically assaulted Copeland for about an hour and a half, FBI agent Abel Pena arrived. Pena examined the abrasions on Copeland's throat and asked Harbaugh how they got there. Harbaugh told Pena that "Sambo" probably got them while in the city lock-up, and that they were probably his "love bites." After several hours, Pena asked Copeland if he was hungry and went for food. While Pena was gone, Harbaugh resumed harassing Copeland, saying, "You're a nigger, a non-entity, nobody. You're a convicted bank robber ... of the same bank that was robbed two days ago and you look like the perp. Case closed."

 Copeland was brought before a magistrate judge, charged by information with bank robbery, and ordered detained pending a psychiatric competency evaluation. Harbaugh and Pena brought Copeland to the Metropolitan Correctional Center ("MCC"). While waiting for Copeland to be admitted to the MCC, Harbaugh examined the contents of Copeland's wallet, and then put the wallet and its contents into his pocket. Copeland told him to make sure that those items were left with the MCC. Harbaugh then jumped out of the car, opened the rear passenger door, pulled Copeland out of the vehicle, and slammed him face down on the concrete. Harbaugh kept him in this position by placing his foot on Copeland's neck, holding him in that position for 15 to 20 minutes while awaiting permission to enter the MCC.

 Once inside the MCC, Harbaugh continued to manhandle Copeland, even throwing him against a wall, in the presence of two correctional officers. After learning of Harbaugh's treatment of Copeland and seeing Copeland's throat abrasions and cuts, a lieutenant at the MCC photographed Copeland's injuries and refused to accept him at the MCC without a statement from a hospital that Copeland's medical condition was stable. Harbaugh and Pena drove Copeland to Cook County Hospital and had him examined and medically cleared. During the drive to and from Cook County Hospital, Harbaugh continued to say things like, "They're only doing this because those niggers are looking out for their own;" and "One of these days the shoe's going to be on the other foot."

 Copeland remained in custody from March 4, 1994, until recently. He was convicted of bank robbery, to which he pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to 48 months' imprisonment. It appears that Copeland is no longer in prison as of the time the court writes this opinion.

 On March 4, 1996, Copeland filed a six-count complaint in this court, based on the incidents of March 4 and 5, 1994. Copeland alleges violations of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985(3) (Count One), 1985(2) (Count Two), 1981 (Count Three), and 1983 (Count Four) against Northwestern, the City of Chicago ("the City"), Pena, Harbaugh, and unknown police officers, nurse, and physicians; a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1986 (Count Five) against the City, Harbaugh, Pena, and unknown police officers; and medical malpractice under state law (Count Six) against Northwestern and the unknown nurse and physicians.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. Copeland's motions

 1. Discovery requests

 Copeland has filed six motions asking for leave to participate in discovery. Because Copeland does not need leave from the court to ask defendants to provide initial disclosures, produce documents, or admit facts, see FED. R. CIV. P. 26, 34, and 36, the court strikes Copeland's motions for leave to file requests for initial disclosures, production of documents, and admissions.

 2. Enlargement of time

 Copeland moves for an enlargement of time to respond to Northwestern's motion to strike and dismiss. Because Copeland already has responded to Northwestern's motion, his motion for enlargement of time is moot and therefore is stricken.

 3. Issuance of subpoena

 Copeland moves for issuance of a subpoena for medical records of two psychiatrists who treated him. Because the court will not accept these records in lieu of an affidavit that must accompany Copeland's medical malpractice claim, as the court explains fully in section II.B.7. below, the court need not issue a subpoena for the medical records. Accordingly, this motion is denied.

 4. Summary judgment

 Copeland moves for summary judgment as to defendant Abel Pena. Because the court finds that Copeland has failed to state claims against Pena, as explained below, it denies his motion for summary judgment.

 5. Production of transcripts

 Copeland moves for production of transcripts from his change of plea hearing in Case Number 94 CR 143, before Judge Plunkett on December 13, 1995. Copeland contends that these transcripts may have evidentiary value to this court in passing upon defendants' motions to dismiss. That may be so. However, in deciding the motions to dismiss, the court does not look at evidence but merely considers the allegations in the complaint. See FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6); Cromley v. Board of Educ. of Lockport, 699 F. Supp. 1283, 1285 (N.D. Ill. 1988); Gomez v. Illinois State Board of Educ., 811 F.2d 1030, 1039 (7th Cir. 1987). Consequently, the court has no need for the transcripts, and denies Copeland's motion asking for them.

 6. Substitution of parties

 Finally, Copeland moves to substitute parties of interest. In this motion, Copeland asks the court to allow him to substitute Officer Delponti and Officer Tracy for the "two unknown named Chicago police officers" named in his complaint. The court construes this motion as one to amend his complaint to name the proper defendants. Ordinarily, the court would grant such a motion. However, it would be futile to do so here, because Copeland cannot add new parties to his lawsuit.

 Copeland filed his lawsuit on March 4, 1996, two years to the day after the alleged wrongful actions by defendants occurred. The statutes of limitations applicable to all of Copeland's claims except his section 1986 claim provided a two-year period for Copeland to file his claims. See Cathedral of Joy Baptist Church v. Village of Hazel Crest, 22 F.3d 713, 716-17 (7th Cir. 1994) (section 1983); Vakharia v. Swedish Covenant Hosp., 824 F. Supp. 769, 774 (N.D. Ill. 1993) (sections 1981 and 1985); 735 ILCS 5/13-212(a) (medical malpractice). Section 1986 contains its own statute of limitations of one year. 42 U.S.C. § 1986.

 Thus, Copeland filed his complaint on the last day that he could have done so. He did not attempt to name the proper police officer defendants until December 2, 1996, when he filed his motion to substitute parties. Copeland now seeks to add two new defendants to his case long after the applicable limitation period has passed. The only way Copeland can add the new defendants after the limitation period has expired is pursuant to the relation back doctrine codified in Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(c).

 Rule 15(c) provides that an amendment changing or adding parties relates back to the date of the original pleading if (1) the claim or defense asserted in the amended pleading arose out of the conduct, transaction, or occurrence set forth in the original pleading; and, (2) within the period provided by Rule 4(m) for service of the summons and complaint, the party to be brought in by the amendment (A) has received notice of the action such that he will not be prejudiced in maintaining a defense on the merits, and (B) knew or should have known that, but for a mistake concerning the identity of the proper party, the action would have been brought against the party. FED. R. CIV. P. 15(c) (emphasis added).

 As the emphasis above shows, Rule 15(c) has a mistake requirement, which the Seventh Circuit construed in Wood v. Worachek, ...


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