The opinion of the court was delivered by: McCUSKEY, District Judge.
On March 16, 1998, Plaintiff, Patricia Ruppel, filed a 24-count
Complaint (# 1) against Defendants: Bruce Ramseyer, a police
officer employed by the City of Champaign; Van Clayton Tedrick, a
registered nurse employed by Covenant Medical Center; John
Peterson, M.D., an emergency room physician at Covenant Medical
Center; and Covenant Medical Center of Champaign/Urbana. On July
1, 1998, Defendant Ramseyer filed a Motion to Dismiss (# 5). On
July 2, 1998, Defendants Tedrick, Peterson and Covenant Medical
Center filed their Motion to Dismiss (# 8). A Report and
Recommendation was filed by the Magistrate Judge in the above
cause on October 14, 1998. The Magistrate Judge recommended that
Defendants' Motions to Dismiss be denied in part and the
proceedings stayed with respect to the determination of probable
cause. On October 27, 1998, Defendants Tedrick, Peterson and
Covenant Medical Center filed an Objection to the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation.
A district court must review de novo the recommendations of a
Magistrate Judge to which either party timely objects.
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C); Lexington Ins. Co. v. Rugg & Knopp, Inc.,
1 F. Supp.2d 937, 938 (E.D.Wis. 1998), aff'd. 165 F.3d 1087, 1999 WL
13425 (7th Cir. 1999). In addition, the district court may review
any other aspect of a recommendation as it sees fit (Lexington
Ins. Co., 1 F. Supp.2d at 938), and may make a de novo
determination even when no objection was made (Delgado v.
Bowen, 782 F.2d 79, 82 (7th Cir. 1986)). This is because, under
the statute, the district court always retains the power to make
the final decision. Delgado, 782 F.2d at 82. Accordingly, even
though Defendant Ramseyer did not file an objection to the Report
and Recommendation, this court has reviewed all aspects of the
Report and Recommendation. This court now adopts the Magistrate
Judge's Recommendation in part and rejects it in part.
The following facts are drawn from Plaintiff's complaint. On
March 15, 1997, Plaintiff was involved in a traffic accident in
Champaign, Illinois. Plaintiff's vehicle hit "a vehicle that had
stalled, restarted and began movement, and then stalled again" at
an intersection at a time when the stoplight was green for
Plaintiff's vehicle. After the accident, Plaintiff insisted that
she sustained no injuries. However, she was persuaded to go by
ambulance to Covenant Medical Center. She arrived at the
emergency room at approximately 9:00 p.m. She declined treatment,
but agents and employees of the Medical Center refused to let
Plaintiff leave and placed a security guard outside of the
treatment room. Defendant Ramseyer arrived at the emergency room
between 9:10 and 9:20 p.m. He was informed that Plaintiff had
declined treatment and was seeking to leave the Medical Center.
Ramseyer then placed Plaintiff under arrest for driving under the
influence of alcohol (DUI). According to Plaintiff's complaint,
Ramseyer did not have probable cause to arrest Plaintiff.
Ramseyer advised Plaintiff that he was demanding that she
undergo a blood test to determine her blood alcohol level.
According to Plaintiff's complaint, Ramseyer also informed her
that she had a right to refuse such testing subject to the
automatic suspension of her driver's license. Plaintiff refused
the testing. Ramseyer then ordered Dr. Peterson to draw
Plaintiff's blood for testing. Dr. Peterson ordered Tedrick to
draw Plaintiff's blood. The blood was drawn at approximately
10:20 p.m. Plaintiff alleged that Dr. Peterson and Tedrick
"repeatedly grabbed the Plaintiff's arm" and drew blood from her
against her will. Plaintiff was released from the Medical Center
at about 10:35 p.m.
Following a jury trial, Plaintiff was found not guilty of the
offense of DUI. However, she was found guilty of the offense of
driving with a blood alcohol concentration greater than .10.
Based upon these facts, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant
Ramseyer was liable for: unlawful seizure for arresting her
without probable cause under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count I); unlawful
search for the involuntary withdrawal of her blood under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count II); unlawful search for the involuntary
withdrawal of her blood in violation of the Illinois Constitution
(Count III); unlawful seizure for arresting her without probable
cause in violation of the Illinois Constitution (Count IV);
ordering that her blood be drawn in violation of her substantive
due process rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count V); a violation
of her right to privacy under the Illinois Constitution (Count
VI); intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count VII);
and false imprisonment/arrest (Count VIII).
Plaintiff also alleged eight counts against Dr. Peterson, to
wit: breach of fiduciary duty (Count IX); unlawful search under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count X); unlawful seizure under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count XI); unlawful search in violation of the Illinois
Constitution (Count XII); unlawful seizure in violation of the
Illinois Constitution (Count XIII); false imprisonment/arrest
(Count XIV); battery (Count XV); and intentional infliction of
emotional distress (Count XVI).
In addition, Plaintiff alleged seven counts against Van Clayton
Tedrick, the nurse. She alleged: battery (Count XVII); breach of
fiduciary duty (Count XVIII); intentional infliction of emotional
distress (Count XIX); unlawful seizure under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(Count XX); unlawful search under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count XXI);
unlawful seizure in violation of the Illinois Constitution (Count
XXII); and unlawful search in violation of the Illinois
Constitution (Count XXIII). Finally, Plaintiff alleged that
Covenant Medical Center was liable for false arrest and
imprisonment (Count XXIV).
Defendants filed Motions to Dismiss all 24 counts of
In considering a Motion to Dismiss, all well-pleaded factual
allegations in the complaint are taken as true, with the facts
viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Dismissal is
proper only when "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle
him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct.
99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80 (1957). In this case, the factual basis for all
of Plaintiff's claims is that she was unlawfully detained at the
Medical Center and forced to undergo a blood test against her
In Schmerber v. State of California, 384 U.S. 757, 86 S.Ct.
1826, 16 L.Ed.2d 908 (1966), the United States Supreme Court
addressed a claim that the State had breached the Fourth
Amendment's protection of the "right of the people to be secure
in their persons . . . against unreasonable searches and
seizures" when it compelled an individual suspected of drunken
driving to undergo a blood test. In Schmerber, as in this case,
the individual was arrested at a hospital after being involved in
an automobile accident. Schmerber, 384 U.S. at 758, 86 S.Ct.
1826. Also, in Schmerber, as in this case, a police officer at
the hospital directed a physician to take a blood sample over the
individual's objection. Schmerber, 384 U.S. at 758-59, 86 S.Ct.
1826. The Court in Schmerber found that a blood test is a
"search" under the Fourth Amendment. Schmerber, 384 U.S. at
767, 86 S.Ct. 1826. However, it held that the search was not
unreasonable and did not violate the Fourth Amendment because the
police officers had probable cause to believe the individual was
driving under the influence of alcohol and because there was no
time to seek out a magistrate and secure a warrant as the
percentage of alcohol in the blood begins to diminish shortly
after drinking stops. Schmerber, 384 U.S. at 768-72, 86 S.Ct.
1826. In finding the blood test reasonable, the Court noted that
blood tests are "minor intrusions into an individual's body."
Schmerber, 384 U.S. at 772, 86 S.Ct. 1826. The Court stated
that such "tests are a commonplace in these days of periodic
physical examinations and experience with them teaches that the
quantity of blood extracted is minimal, and that for most people
the procedure involves virtually no risk, trauma,
or pain." Schmerber, 384 U.S. at 771, 86 S.Ct. 1826. The Court
also noted that the "test was performed in a reasonable manner"
as it was taken "in a hospital environment according to accepted
medical practices." Schmerber, 384 U.S. at 771, 86 S.Ct. 1826.
Schmerber "recognized society's judgment that blood tests do
not constitute an unduly extensive imposition on an individual's
personal privacy and bodily integrity" (Winston v. Lee,
470 U.S. 753, 762, 105 S.Ct. 1611, 84 L.Ed.2d 662 (1985)) and
"clearly allows a State to force a person suspected of driving
while intoxicated to submit to a blood alcohol test" (South
Dakota v. Neville, 459 U.S. 553, 559, 103 S.Ct. 916, 74 L.Ed.2d
748 (1983)). A simple blood-alcohol test is so safe, painless and
commonplace that a state can legitimately compel the suspect,
against his will, to accede to the test. Neville, 459 U.S. at
563, 103 S.Ct. 916. Therefore, if a police officer has probable
cause to arrest for DUI, he can proceed without use of excessive
force in procuring a blood sample even in the face of a suspect's
refusal. Field v. Hall, 1995 WL 360744, at *6 (D.Del. 1995).
This court notes that "grabbing" an arm is consistent with
"forcing" or "compelling" a person to submit to a blood test and
does not constitute excessive force.
Since Schmerber, "it is clear that a compulsory test does not
violate any constitutional rights of an individual merely
because he objected to such tests." People v. Todd, 59 Ill.2d 534,
322 N.E.2d 447, 453 (1975) (emphasis added); see also
People v. Yant, 210 Ill. App.3d 961, 155 Ill.Dec. 783,
570 N.E.2d 3, 4 (1991) (a blood test taken without consent does not
violate any constitutional right of the donor).
Based upon this well established case law, it is clear that
Plaintiff has no cause of action based upon the fact that she was
forced to submit to a blood test against her will unless she can
prove there was no probable cause to believe she was driving
under the influence of alcohol. Accordingly, it is clear to this
court that, so long as probable cause existed, the taking of
Plaintiff's blood did not violate any of her ...