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White v. Madison County

February 26, 2008

VERNON C. WHITE PLAINTIFF,
v.
MADISON COUNTY, ILLINOIS, CHIEF ROBERT HERTZ, CHIEF DEPUTY LAKIN, CAPT. JOSEPH GULASH, LT. HALLENBECK, DR. ROBERT BLANKENSHIP, NURSES & JAILERS A-Z, IN THEIR OFFICIAL AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, VILLAGE OF PONTOON BEACH, ILLINOIS, CHIEF CHARLIE LUEHMANN, LT. DANIEL ABEL, DET. RICHARD SCHARDAN, AND OFC. JOHN SIMMONS, IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITY AND INDIVIDUAL CAPACITIES, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. Background

This case arises under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and under the Constitution and laws of the State of Illinois. In a ten-count complaint, Plaintiff, Vernon C. White, challenges Defendants' unreasonable search and seizure, deprivation of liberty and property without due process, and willful and wanton failure to provide medical care, as well as illegal conspiracy against him and coercing a confession from him. He claims that, on October 15, 2006, Defendant Simmons pulled him over for "dirt on his tag." Simmons then arrested White for a "felony traffic stop" in spite of the fact that Simmons's "LEAD monitor" showed a warrant for White that read "DO NOT ARREST." Defendant Daniel Abel then arrived, checked the VIN number on the truck that White was driving and reported to Simmons that the truck was reported as stolen. White explained that he had purchased the truck and that his pink slip and other proofs of ownership were in the truck. White told Simmons and Abel that he had been exposed to tuberculosis years before but assured them that he did not have the disease. White also told Simmons and Abel that he suffered from epileptic seizures. He asked them to get his medicine from the truck, but they refused. Also in the truck were White's laptop computer, tools, notes and equipment.

White was transferred to Madison County Jail where he was seen by a nurse and jailors. He provided them with his medical history, including that he was an epileptic, his list of medications and the name of his personal physician. None of the Defendants provided White with medication for his epilepsy during his detention. He was taken to a cellar below the Madison County Women's Jail that had neither lights, beds and toilets nor sufficient room to stand. There, within the next two days, he suffered a grand mal seizure, injured his left occipital lobe and lost vision in his right eye. When White complained of the conditions of his confinement and the lack of medical care, Defendant Gulash, Madison County's Jail Superintendent, told him that he was in segregation "for precautionary measures," even though Madison County's own X-rays and sputum tests had proven that White did not have tuberculosis.

The jail's doctor, Defendant Blankenship, did not prescribe any medication for White's seizures. White was detained in a segregation unit from approximately October 17 to November 6, 2006. On November 8, 2006, when White appeared before a Madison County Judge, he was not informed of his rights and was coerced into accepting a plea agreement. He pled guilty to theft over $300.00 for possession of the truck without the consent of its owner.

On February 17, 2007, White learned that Madison County did not know the location of the truck or his personal effects, which were exculpatory and were valued at more than $11,000.00. As a direct and proximate result of Defendants' willful, wanton and oppressive conduct, White suffered personal injury, loss of freedom, loss of property, indignity, mental suffering, emotional strain and humiliation.

Defendants, Village of Pontoon Beach, Illinois, Chief Charlie Luehmann, Lt. Daniel Abel, Det. Richard Schardan and Officer John Simmons move to dismiss the claims against them, pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for a more definite statement (Counts VII and X and all Counts naming Defendant Schardan), as follows:

1) Counts III (due process - shocks the conscience), VI (failure to intervene), VII (42 U.S.C. § 1983 conspiracy) and X (illegal conspiracy) for failure to adequately apprise Defendants of the claims against them, sufficient to state a response, and failure to meet the requirements of FED.R.CIV.P. 10(b);

2) Counts I (unreasonable search and seizure), III (due process - shocks the conscience), V (due process - destruction of exculpatory evidence) and VI (failure to intervene) as barred by the doctrine set out in Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994);

3) Counts VII (42 U.S.C. § 1983 conspiracy) and X (illegal conspiracy) for failure to plead the requisite elements of conspiracy;

4) Count VIII (Illinois Constitution §§ 1, 2 and 6) because, under Illinois case law, no cause of action exists under the Illinois Constitution where a federal statute or state common law provides a remedy;

5) Defendant Luehmann because a) no allegations have been made against him in his individual capacity; b) suits against police chiefs in their official capacity are in actuality suits against the municipality and the Village of Pontoon Beach has been named; and c) no allegations have been made that would impose supervisory liability; and

6) Defendant Schardan because there are no specific ...


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