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Marx v. Northwestern Memorial Hospital

April 30, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: James F. Holderman, Chief Judge


In their First Amended Complaint (Dkt. No. 35) and Supplemental Complaint to First Amended Complaint Adding Defendants and Claims (Dkt. No. 146, "Supplemental Complaint"),*fn1 plaintiffs Stacy Marx, Aaron Marx, and their minor son David (collectively "Plaintiffs") allege numerous causes of action against defendants Levy Security Corporation ("Levy") and Levy employees Randall Thomas ("Thomas"), Quantis Smith ("Smith"), and Bernard T. Lapinard ("Lapinard"), among others.

On December 18, 2006, Thomas filed Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, (Dkt. No. 160), which was later joined by both Smith and Lapinard, (Dkt. No. 167). In their Motion to Dismiss, defendants Thomas, Smith and Lapinard (collectively "Defendants") argue that each of Plaintiffs' claims against them is barred by the applicable statute of limitations. Although originally only directed to counts 17, 21, 22 and 23 of the Supplemental Complaint, the scope of Defendants' motion was later expanded to encompass counts 10-14 of the First Amended Complaint, as these counts were addressed by both Plaintiffs and Defendants in their briefing before the court. For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is granted in part and denied in part.


Plaintiffs' claims arise out of events that allegedly occurred over a period of days from August 29, 2002 to September 2, 2002. During this time period, Plaintiffs allege that Stacy Marx was wrongfully detained at Northwestern Memorial Hospital ("NMH") and admitted to the Stone Institute of Psychiatry ("Stone Institute") against her will, in violation of her statutory, constitutional, and common law rights. At the time of these events, Stacy Marx was pregnant with her son David, who was born prematurely on September 20, 2002.

Plaintiffs' allegations in this case are both numerous and specific.*fn2 Because of the procedural posture of this motion, the court need not set forth the particular details of Plaintiffs' claims at this time. Plaintiffs generally allege that, after arriving at NMH around 12:00 noon on August 29, 2002 for a scheduled doctor's appointment, Stacy Marx was detained in the NMH emergency room and later admitted to the Stone Institute against her will and without the protections afforded her by law. Although Stacy Marx was allowed to call her husband and her attorney late on the evening of August 29, 2002, NMH and the Stone Institute refused to release Stacy Marx to the care of either her husband or her attorney until 12:00 noon on September 2, 2002, at which point she was released on her own recognizance. During the time that she was at NMH and the Stone Institute, Stacy Marx alleges that she was subjected to unwanted medical treatment, denied food and vitamins for herself and her prenatal baby, and was forcibly restrained.

In their original Complaint, filed on August 30, 2004, Plaintiffs named as defendants Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Northwestern Memorial Physicians Group, Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation, Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine, and various doctors, administrators, nurses, social workers, and other NMH staff. Additionally, Plaintiffs brought claims against "John Doe Northwestern Memorial Hosp, Security Company," "John Doe Security Guards," and "Jane Doe Security Guards."

On January 27, 2005, Plaintiffs filed a First Amended Complaint, identifying Levy Security Corporation as defendant "John Doe Northwestern Memorial Hosp, Security Company" and naming "Anthony Harris, Security Director" as an additional defendant in this case. Plaintiffs also retained their claims against "John Doe Guard" and "Jane Doe Guard," as well. On July 6, 2005, this court dismissed all defendants in this case with the exception of Levy Security Corporation. (Dkt. No. 84).

On November 15, 2006, Plaintiffs filed a Supplemental Complaint that named twelve current and former Levy employees as defendants, including Thomas, Smith, and Lapinard. The Supplemental Complaint again included "John Doe Guard" and "Jane Doe Guard" as defendants. Recently, on March 27, 2007, this court extended the deadline for the parties to file amendments to the complaint or to add parties or claims until April 30, 2007.


Dismissal of a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is proper only when it appears beyond a doubt that a plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his or her claim which would entitle him or her to relief. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); McCready v. eBay, Inc., 453 F.3d 882, 888 (7th Cir. 2006). Generally, the complaint is not required to allege all, or any, of the facts entailed by the claim. Kolupa v. Roselle Park Dist., 438 F.3d 713, 714-15 (7th Cir. 2006). "It is enough to name the plaintiff and the defendant, state the nature of the grievance, and give a few tidbits (such as the date) that will let the defendant investigate." Id. at 714. On the other hand, a plaintiff can plead herself out of court if she includes facts that undermine the allegations set forth in the complaint. Kolupa, 438 F.3d at 715. "Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) on the basis of a limitations defense may be appropriate when the plaintiff effectively pleads herself out of court by alleging facts that are sufficient to establish the defense." Hollander v. Brown, 457 F.3d 688, 691 n.1 (7th Cir. 2006) (citing United States v. Lewis, 411 F.3d 838, 842 (7th Cir. 2005)). In deciding whether to grant a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court accepts as true all well-pleaded allegations of the complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. McMillan v. Collection Prof'ls, Inc., 455 F.3d 754, 758 (7th Cir. 2006).


Plaintiffs' allegations against Defendants fall into three main categories: (1) violations of the Illinois Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code, 405 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/1-100, et seq. ("Mental Health Code"), Counts 10-14 and Count 21; (2) civil rights violations brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Counts 8 and 17;*fn3 and (3) common law torts, Counts 22 and 23. Within each category of claims, Defendants argue that the applicable statute of limitations has run.

1. The Mental Health Code

The court begins its analysis with the various counts brought by Plaintiffs pursuant to the Mental Health Code. In relevant part, the Mental Health Code outlines the procedures to be followed when a patient is involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility, and governs patients' rights within that context. In Counts 10-14 and 21, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants violated the Mental Health Code by failing to advise Stacy Marx of her rights pursuant ...

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