United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
May 3, 2004.
RUBY REED, Special Administrator of the Estate of J. C. REED, Deceased, Plaintiff,
CITY OF CHICAGO, a municipal corporation, et al., Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES MORAN, Senior District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. C. Reed committed suicide in a City of Chicago police lockup on
November 12, 2000, by hanging himself with an isolation gown. Since the
filing of this action considerable effort has gone into determining who
manufactured and who distributed the gown. Plaintiff contends that
Cypress Medical Products, Ltd., or Cypress Medical Products, Inc.
(Cypress), may have manufactured the gowns and Edwards Medical Supply,
Inc. (Edwards) was the Cypress distributor. She has named them as
Those defendants have now moved for summary judgment. The time frame
indicates that they could have been involved. Cypress gowns were
distributed to the City beginning May 13, 2000. Prior to that date,
however, the City relied upon other suppliers. The moving defendants
claim the implicated gown must have come from one of the earlier
supplies; it has a tag indicating it was manufactured in Thailand and
their gowns were manufactured only in China or Taiwan and had no tags.
Plaintiff does not dispute that the implicated gown has the Thailand
tag. She relies, rather, upon an interrogatory answer of the City, which
states that the implicated gown was, manufactured by Cypress and distributed by Edwards. The answers,
however, are not under oath, although they should have been. They are
signed by an assistant corporation counsel, who we can assume has no
personal knowledge about the source of the gown. Apparently the
information was provided by Daniel McKernan another answer so
indicates. And if that is not so, counsel can and should so advise
plaintiff's counsel. We think the best way to clear this up is to take a
short deposition of the person who provided the information in the
interrogatory answer as to the basis for it. While plaintiff may well be
pursuing a vain hope, we think she is entitled to clarification. The
motion for summary judgment is, for now, denied.
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