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BRADICH v. CITY OF CHICAGO

February 17, 2004.

DELORES BRADICH, on her own behalf, as survivor of MELVIN BRADICH, deceased, and as Administrator of the Estate of MELVIN BRADICH, Plaintiff,
v.
THE CITY OF CHICAGO, a municipal corporation, CAPTAIN DONALD HILBRING, DETECTIVE JOHN HROMA, DETECTIVE JAMES BAKER, POLICE OFFICER RONALD SIMMONS, and DETENTION AIDE CRAIG WALKER, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES NORGLE, District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court are Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment*fn1 and Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, all brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the following reasons, Defendants' motions are granted in part and denied in part; Plaintiff's motion is denied as moot. Page 2

I. INTRODUCTION

  On October 23, 1999, Melvin Bradich was arrested by members of the Chicago Police Department ("Police Department"). Shortly after his arrest, Bradich committed suicide in the Police Department's 4th District lockup.

  On October 19, 2000, Melvin's mother, Delores Bradich, filed a Complaint as Administrator of Melvin's Estate (the ".Estate") in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, against the City of Chicago ("City") and several individual members of the Police Department. The Estate's Complaint alleged, among other things, violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On December 21, 2000, Defendant City removed the Estate's Complaint to this court. On October ll, 2002, after two years of discovery, the Estate filed its Second Amended Complaint once again alleging, among other things, violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Essentially, the Estate alleges that both the City and the individual Defendants violated Melvin Bradich's Fourteenth Amendment due process rights by acting with deliberate indifference to his health and well-being while he was in the Police Department's custody.

  II. UNDISPUTED FACTS*fn2

  Prior to October 23, 1999, Bradich, who had a history of alcohol and drug abuse, had been arrested twenty-three times by members of the Chicago Police Department. There is no record of Bradich ever attempting suicide during any of these arrests, or that family members or anyone else advised appropriate law enforcement officials that there was a risk of suicide.

  On October 23, 1999, at approximately 3:00 p.m., Police Officers John Hroma and James Baker observed Bradich on the street at 11144 S. Greenbay Ave., in Chicago, Illinois. After Page 3 conducting an investigation, Hroma and Baker arrested Bradich, who was the subject of an outstanding arrest warrant for driving under the influence ("DUI Warrant"). Upon searching Bradich, Officers Hroma and Baker discovered that he was in possession of a controlled substance, Specifically, Bradich possessed a barbituate called Alprozolam (commercially sold as Xanax).

  Although it is unclear as to what time Bradich arrived at the 4th District police station, it is undisputed that Officer Hroma delivered Bradich to the district's lockup facility at approximately 5:00 p.m. At this time, Police Officer Ronald Simmons and Detention Aide Craig Walker were the only two members of the Police Department assigned to the lockup facility. Officer Hroma did not communicate to Simmons or Walker that Bardich was a heroin addict or that he needed any special attention. Upon accepting custody of Bradich, Aide Walker proceeded to search him. Determining that Bradich was intoxicated and unable to hold still long enough to be fingerprinted, Walker escorted Bradich to a cell located within one of the lockup facility's cell blocks.*fn3 The officers placed Bradich in a cell which could be viewed from a video monitor.

  After Bradich was placed in his cell, arrestee Calvin Stinson entered the lockup for processing. Stinson, who estimates that he was in the lockup for approximately ten minutes, observed several officers in the lockup playing cards and watching television, Stinson did not report any other relevant observations or any unusual behavior regarding his visit to the lockup. It is also undisputed that Thomas Osborne, who was in the cell adjacent to Bradich's cell, did not report any unusual behavior by Bradich prior to the hanging.

  Some time after Stinson left the lockup, Officer Simmons and Aide Walker observed Bradich on the video monitor hanging from the bars of his cell. Simmons and Walker immediately ran to Page 4 Bradich's cell and attempted to free him from his ligature. When Bradich was freed from his ligature, he appeared to be alive. At some time thereafter, Aide Walker ran to the front desk of the station to summon an ambulance. Additionally, Captain Donald Hilbring, the 4th District's Watch Commander on duty at the time, arrived in the lockup to assist Simmons and Walker. Chicago Fire Department paramedics Donna Parrott and Russell Lane were assigned to respond to Bradich's suicide attempt at approximately 6:25 p.m. Prior to their arrival, unidentified firefighters from Chicago Fire Department Engine Company 81 arrived on the scene. When Parrot and Lane arrived, Melvin Bradich was dead.

  III. DISCUSSION

  A. Summary Judgment

  Summary judgment is permissible when "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law," Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The non-moving party cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must identify specific facts, see Cornfield v. Consolidated High Sch. Dist. No. 230, 991 F.2d 1316, 1320 (7th Cir. 1993), that raise more than a mere scintilla of evidence to show a genuine triable issue of material fact. See Murphy v. ITT Technical Services. Inc., 176 F.3d 934, 936 (7th Cir. 1999).

  In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court can only consider evidence that would be admissible at trial under the Federal Rules of Evidence. See Bombard v. Fort Wayne Newspapers, Inc., 92 F.3d 560, 562 (7th Cir. 1996). The court views the record and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also Perdomo v. Browner, 67 F.3d 140, 144 (7th Cir. 1995). "In the light most favorable" simply means that summary judgment is not appropriate if the court must make "a choice of Page 5 inferences." See United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962); see also First Nat'l Bank of Arizona v. Cities Service Co., 391 U.S. 253, 280 (1968); Wolf v. ...


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