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THRELKELD v. WHITE CASTLE SYSTEMS

April 24, 2002

DEBORAH A. THRELKELD, PLAINTIFF,
V.
WHITE CASTLE SYSTEMS, INC., AN ILLINOIS CORPORATION, ANDRE TILLMAN, SILK WILLIAMS, RAMONA WILSON, ALPHONSO BELLO, M.D., AND JACKSON PARK HOSPITAL, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Elaine E. Bucklo, United States District Judge

      David John DeJong, Guy Delson Geleerd, Jr., David J. DeJong & Associates, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff.

Shirley R. Calloway, Illinois Attorney General's Office, Chicago, IL, Martin Peter Greene, Kevin Thomas Lee, Robert C. Farrar, Greene & Letts, Chicago, IL, for White Castle Systems.

Stephen H. Pugh, Camille B. Conway, John M. Broderick, Pugh, Jones & Johnson, PC, Chicago, IL, for Andre Tillman.

Yvonne Spradley La Grone, City of Chicago, Law Department, Corporation Counsel, Chicago, IL, Thomas Joseph Platt, Josh Michael Engquist, City of Chicago, Department of Law, Individual Defense Litigation, Chicago, IL, for Silk Williams, Ramona Wilson.

Mark A. Deptula, Lord, Bissell & Brook, Rockford, IL, Brian C. Rocca, Jason William Fura, Fedota, Childers & Rocca, PC, Chicago, IL, for Alphonso Bello, M.D.

Raymond J. Kelly, Jr., Kenneth R. Landis, Jr., Rebecca Zavett, Seyfarth Shaw, Chicago, IL, for Jackson Park Hospital.

Miriam H. Soloveichik, Chicago, IL, for Ariel Kerman.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Deborah Threlkeld was arrested and taken to the hospital, where she was restrained and injected with a sedative against her will on June 13, 1998. She sues Chicago Police Officers Silk Williams and Ramona Wilson ("the Officers") for excessive force and unlawful detention under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,*fn1 and brings various state law claims against White Castle Systems, Inc., Andre Tillman, Dr. Alphonso Bello, and Jackson Park Hospital ("the Hospital"). Defendants Williams, Wilson, Bello and Jackson Park Hospital move for summary judgment.

I. Background

Ms. Threlkeld and her children went to the White Castle restaurant at 1550 East 79th Street in Chicago, Illinois, in the evening on June 13, 1998. While parking her car, she became entangled in a fight with Andre Tillman, a security guard for White Castle. Officer Williams and Wilson responded to a police dispatch and arrived at the White Castle after Mr. Tillman had already handcuffed Ms. Threlkeld. When the Officers arrived, Ms. Threlkeld was crying and saying "Hallelujah" repeatedly in a high pitched voice. The Officers walked over to Mr. Tillman and Ms. Threlkeld, and the Officers were told that Ms. Threlkeld had assaulted an officer. Mr. Tillman signed a misdemeanor criminal complaint for simple battery, and the Officers offered to take custody of Ms. Threlkeld. The Officers told her to kneel down so that they could take off the handcuffs put on by Mr. Tillman and replace them with their handcuffs. The Officers say that she did not physically resist, but Myonie Payton, Ms. Threlkeld's daughter, said that it looked like Ms. Threlkeld did not go down to her knees "by her own actions" and that it looked like someone had pulled or yanked her down. Ms. Threlkeld does not claim any injuries as a result of being forced to her knees.

Ms. Threlkeld testified that the handcuffs were so tight that they cut into her skin, leaving a mark that was still on her wrist at the time of her deposition, nearly two years later. She said she could not remember whether it was the first or second set of handcuffs that cut into her skin, but that the handcuffs were tight all the way until the nurse at the Hospital asked the Officers to take them off. She said that she asked the Officers to loosen the handcuffs and they did not respond. One doctor told Ms. Threlkeld that she might have nerve damage as a result of the tight handcuffs.

The Officers took Ms. Threlkeld to the Fourth District Chicago Police station. On the way to the station, Ms. Threlkeld continued to scream and shout. She was taken to an interview room, and she admits that she was crying and praying hysterically. Lieutenant Kenneth Januszyk, the watch commander on duty at the Fourth District, heard screaming coming from an adjacent interview room, and after ten minutes he went to the interview room and asked Officer Williams what was going on and how long Ms. Threlkeld had been screaming. Lt. Januszyk decided that Ms. Threlkeld was acting peculiarly and was too unstable to be charged, so he ordered the Officers to take her to Jackson Park Hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.

The Officers testified that Ms. Threlkeld continued to scream and rock on the way to the Hospital, but Ms. Threlkeld said that she was quiet and was trying to be cooperative. Ms. Threlkeld says that the Officers told Hospital personnel that she was in need of psychiatric evaluation, but that they did not explain the ordeal that Ms. Threlkeld had gone though. She says that the Officers' statements were false, but she offers no evidence in support of that claim except her own belief that she was not a threat to herself or others. Pl's Resp. to Defs.'s Stmt. of Facts ¶ 30. A nurse came in to take her vital signs, and Ms. Threlkeld told the nurse that she had insurance and would rather see her own physician at Rush Presbyterian Hospital, and the nurse told the Officers that she was refusing care. At some point, the Officers signed an Involuntary Admission form for Ms. Threlkeld. A man in a uniform told Ms. Threlkeld to follow him, and he led her to an observation room on the psychiatric side of the emergency room with two beds — one with restraints and one without. Ms. Threlkeld moved toward the bed without restraints, but someone asked her to go to the bed with restraints. When Ms. Threlkeld began to question this, ...


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