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Paine v. Johnson

November 7, 2008

KATHLEEN PAINE, AS GUARDIAN OF THE ESTATE OF CHRISTINA ROSE EILMAN, A DISABLED PERSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER JEFFREY JOHNSON, OFFICER RICHARD CASON, OFFICER ROSENDO MORENO, LIEUTENANT CARSON EARNEST, SERGEANT DAVID BERGLIND, DETENTION AIDE SHARON STOKES, OFFICER TERESA WILLIAMS, DETENTION AIDE CYNTHIA HUDSON, DETENTION AIDE CATONIA QUINN, OFFICER DEBORAH MABERY, OFFICER PAMELA SMITH, OFFICER BENITA MILLER, OFFICER PAULINE HEARD, AND CITY OF CHICAGO, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Virginia M. Kendall

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Kathleen Paine, as Guardian of the Estate of Christina Rose Eilman ("Eilman"), filed this suit against various members of the Chicago Police Department and the City of Chicago, alleging civil rights violations and violations of Illinois law in a forty-count Amended Complaint. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), Defendants moved to dismiss. For the reasons stated, with respect to Counts II, VI, X, XV, XVIII, XX, XXII, XXIV, XXVI, XXVIII, XXXIII (claims against Defendants Cason, Moreno, Earnest, Berglind, Stokes, Williams, Hudson, Quinn, Mabery, Smith and Heard for failure to provide medical care), XXXIV (claim against Heard for failure to respond after creating increased risk) and XXXVIII (Monell claim against the City of Chicago), the motions to dismiss are denied. With respect to all other Counts, the motions to dismiss are granted.

PLAINTIFF'S ALLEGATIONS

On May 5, 2006, Eilman, a twenty-one year old woman from Los Angeles, California who suffers from bipolar disorder, traveled to Chicago, Illinois. (Compl. ¶¶ 8-9.)*fn1 On May 6, 2006, Eilman found herself stranded in Chicago, so she went to Midway Airport in an attempt return to California. (Compl. ¶ 9.) At the airport, she became involved in a verbal altercation at the Frontier Airlines ticket counter. (Id.) Upon observing the incident, Defendant Chicago Police Officer Jeffrey Johnson ("Johnson") determined that Eilman posed a threat to other passengers, and he ordered her to leave the airport. (Id.) After she left the airport, Eilman placed a telephone call to her parents to obtain their assistance in returning to California. (Compl. ¶ 10.) Her parents arranged for her to take a Southwest Airlines flight from Midway Airport to Burbank, California on May 7, 2006. (Compl. ¶ 11.)

While at the Southwest Airlines gate at Midway Airport on May 7, 2006, Eilman became involved in another verbal altercation. (Compl. ¶ 12.) When she pet a blind man's guide dog, the man's caretaker asked her not to touch the dog. (Id.) In response, Eilman became hostile and aggressive towards the caretaker, yelling rap lyrics at him and screaming that the blind man had been exposed as a phony. (Compl. ¶¶ 12, 49) Johnson arrived on the scene, and learned that Eilman had been dancing in a circular motion around the gate area while yelling obscenities very loudly. (Compl. ¶ 50.) After observing Eilman become hostile, aggressive and combative, he spoke with her and determined that she was not intoxicated. (Compl. ¶ 52.) He observed her take a pill from a prescription medication bottle. (Id.) Eilman told Johnson that she took medication and that she was trying to return home to California. (Compl. ¶ 53.) Johnson did not ask Eilman why she took the medication or whether she had a psychiatric history. (Compl. ¶ 54.) Johnson determined that Eilman again posed a threat to other passengers, so he ordered her to leave the airport. (Compl. ¶ 13, 48.) He did not inform his superiors at the police department of his confrontation with Eilman the previous day and he did not recommend transporting her to a mental health facility. (Compl. ¶ 54.)

After Eilman left the airport, she went to Midway Airport's Chicago Transit Authority ("CTA") train and bus station. (Compl. ¶ 14.) While at the CTA station, she created another disturbance. This time, Defendant Chicago Police Officers Richard Cason ("Cason") and Rosendo Moreno ("Moreno") responded to the situation. (Compl. ¶¶ 14-15.) Cason and Moreno observed Eilman chastising people for smoking cigarettes, yelling at people about the price of oil, and warning that the United States is too dependent on oil. (Compl. ¶ 64.) They also observed her acting aggressively towards people at the CTA station, getting very close to them while yelling, and attempting to remove a cigarette from someone's mouth. (Compl. ¶¶ 64, 123) The officers then informed Eilman that she could not scream and yell on CTA property. (Compl. ¶ 123.) When she began dancing in the CTA station's lobby, Cason and Moreno told Eilman that she had to leave the station. (Compl. ¶ 66.) They observed an instant change in her behavior; she became aggressive and confrontational towards them. (Id.) Eilman approached the officers, screaming obscenities at them. (Id.) She then threatened to take Cason's gun and shoot him with it. (Id.) In response, Cason and Moreno placed Eilman under arrest for the misdemeanor offense of criminal trespass to property and took her into the police office at the CTA station. (Compl. ¶¶ 17, 67.) On the way to the police office at the CTA station, Eilman began dragging her feet, kicking, howling, and screaming bizarre and vulgar statements at Cason and Moreno. (Compl. ¶ 68.) She also threatened to "get" the officers. (Id.) Cason learned that Eilman had medication in her possession, but he did not ask her what it was or why she took it. (Compl. ¶ 74.)

While inside the office at the CTA station, Cason and Moreno called for a squad car to take Eilman to the police station located at 3515 West 63rd Street in Chicago ("Eighth District Station") for processing on the criminal trespass charge. (Compl. ¶¶ 18, 71.) At the Eighth District Station, Cason asked Defendant Sergeant David Berglind ("Berglind") to look into Eilman's actions because he thought something was wrong with her based on her behavior, even though he did not suspect that she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. (Compl. ¶ 75.) Cason observed Eilman experiencing mood swings at the Eighth District Station, where she would act calm and friendly and then suddenly become abusive towards him. (Compl. ¶ 76.) She asked Eilman six times why he arrested her. (Compl. ¶ 110.) While handcuffed in the holding area, Cason saw Eilman repeatedly stand on top of a bench and spontaneously sit down while her eyes roamed all over and she acted "more fidgety than most arrestees." (Compl. ¶ 80.) She also exhibited spontaneous screaming and yelling fits. (Compl. ¶ 129.)

A few hours after Cason and Moreno arrested Eilman, Officer Yvonne Delia ("Delia")*fn2 telephoned Eilman's parents to inform them of Eilman's condition. (Compl. ¶ 20.) In a voicemail message, Delia informed them that officers had difficulty understanding Eilman and that other officers "did not know what they had on their hands" with respect to her behavior. (Id.) Eilman's father called Delia back and informed her that Eilman suffered from bipolar disorder and may be experiencing a psychiatric episode. (Compl. ¶ 21.) In addition, Eilman's father told Delia that Eilman had been institutionalized for the condition in the past, that she may not be taking her medication, and that she was from California not Chicago. (Id.) In response, Delia told him that the Chicago Police would assist Eilman in her return to California. (Id.) After the phone call, Delia told Cason that Eilman suffered from bipolar disorder, and as a result, experienced mood swings. (Compl. ¶ 79.) Cason and Moreno did not transport Eilman to a mental institution. (Id.)

Defendant Lieutenant Carson Earnest ("Earnest") was the Watch Commander at the Eighth District Station on May 7, 2006. (Compl. ¶ 159.) Cason informed Earnest that Eilman had been "acting goofy" while in custody. (Compl. ¶ 160.) Delia reported to Earnest that she had concerns about Eilman's mental health and erratic behavior. She also informed Earnest that Eilman's parents had informed her that Eilman suffered from bipolar disorder. (Id.) In response to the reports from Cason and Delia, Earnest ordered Berglind to speak with Eilman. (Compl. ¶ 161.) As Watch Commander of the Eighth District Station, Earnest had the authority to order the transfer of Eilman to a mental health facility for an evaluation and treatment. (Compl. ¶ 164.) Earnest made no such order. (Compl. ¶ 167.) Earnest asked Berglind to determine if Eilman knew basic facts including where she was and why she was in custody. (Id.) Berglind did not have specialized training in assessing the mental health of individuals. (Id.) During the interview, he did not ask Eilman if she had been hospitalized for psychiatric or psychological problems, or if she took psychotropic medication. (Compl. ¶ 229.) Berglind did not attempt to contact Eilman's parents before or after the interview. (Compl. ¶ 230.) During the interview, she repeatedly complained about the price of oil, stated that the United States was too dependent on oil, and sang rap and hip-hop lyrics. (Compl. ¶ 231.) Berglind did not arrange for her transfer to a mental health facility for evaluation or treatment. (Compl. ¶ 238.)

Because the Eighth District Station did not have a female holding facility, Earnest ordered Eilman transferred to the station located at 5101 South Wentworth Avenue in Chicago ("Second District Station"), approximately five miles away. (Compl. ¶¶ 22-23.) Her luggage remained at the Eighth District Station. (Compl. ¶ 24.)

Defendant Detention Aide Sharon Stokes ("Stokes") worked the female lock-up in the Second District Station on May 7, 2008. (Compl. ¶ 241.) Detention aides have the responsibility to report unusual occurrences or irrational behavior to the desk sergeant or lock-up keeper. (Compl. ¶ 243.) When Eilman arrived at the Second District Station, Stokes searched Eilman and inventoried her personal property which included $7.00 in United States currency. (Compl. ¶ 244.)

On May 7, 2006, Defendant Officer Teresa Williams ("Williams") served as the lock-up keeper for the Second District Station's female lock-up area. (Compl. ¶ 258.) As lock-up keeper, Williams had responsibility for processing and monitoring detainees in the female lock-up area. (Compl. ¶¶ 259-260.) Stokes observed Williams process Eilman when she arrived at the Second District Station. (Compl. ¶ 246.) Williams conducted an assessment of Eilman, including a visual check and an interview. (Compl. ¶ 261.) Stokes observed Eilman refuse to cooperate with Defendant Officer Teresa Williams when Williams attempted to question Eilman. (Compl. ¶ 246.) Stokes also observed Eilman decline a sanitary napkin, although her clothing had menstrual blood stains on it. (Compl. ¶ 246.) Officers escorted Eilman to Cell 8 within the Second District Station, a cell reserved for uncooperative prisoners. (Compl. ¶ 247.) In the "Arrest Processing Report," Williams noted that Eilman appeared to be "irrational" and under the influence of drugs and alcohol. (Compl. ¶¶ 263-264.) A detainee who traveled from the Eighth District Station to the Second District Station with Eilman informed Williams that Eilman could not understand Williams because Eilman was "not right" and suffered from bipolar disorder. (Compl. ¶ 265.)

While in her cell, Eilman continued to behave erratically and demonstrate abnormal behavior. (Compl. ¶ 25.) Stokes observed Eilman standing on the bench in her cell and later holding hands with another detainee located in the adjacent cell while singing a song. (Compl. ¶ 248.) She also continued to exhibit mood swings. (Compl. ¶ 266.) Williams heard Eilman yell that she needed to go to the hospital. (Compl. ¶ 267.) When another lock-up employee informed Williams that Eilman was acting crazy and asking to go to the hospital, Williams responded "ain't nothing wrong with her and she ain't going to the hospital and if she keeps screaming, we are going to send her to the crazy hospital." (Compl. ¶ 273.) Despite Eilman's erratic behavior and her requests to go to the hospital, Stokes and Williams did not transport Eilman to a mental health facility or to any hospital for an evaluation. (Compl. ¶ 250.)

On May 7, 2006 and May 8, 2006, Detention Aides Cynthia Hudson ("Hudson") and Catonia Quinn ("Quinn") worked the female lock-up in the Second District Station. (Compl. ¶¶ 284, 313.) They each had the responsibility to report any unusual occurrences to the desk sergeant or lock-up keeper. (Compl. ¶¶ 286, 315.) When Hudson reported to the Second District Station for her shift at 10:00 pm on May 7, 2006, she noticed that other officers placed Eilman inside the cell reserved for uncooperative detainees. (Compl. ¶ 287.) During the course of her shift, Hudson and Quinn observed Eilman behaving erratically and irrationally. (Compl. ¶¶ 288, 322.) Hudson saw Eilman alternate her behavior from being calm to yelling and screaming inside her cell. (Compl. ¶¶ 289-290.) Additionally, Hudson and Quinn observed Eilman kicking and banging the bars of her cell and yelling that dead rap musicians were going to come and rescue her. (Compl. ¶¶ 291-292, 322-324.) Eilman's cell mate reported to Hudson and Quinn that Eilman had been acting "crazy" and "finger painting" her menstrual blood on the walls, bench and cell bars in the cell. The detention aides also each observed the blood smeared on the walls. (Compl. ¶¶ 293-294, 318-319.) Upon viewing the blood smeared inside of the cell, Hudson called Eilman a "crazy bitch" and instructed her to clean the blood off the walls. (Compl. ¶ 295.) Eilman's cell mate requested a transfer to a different cell because of Eilman's behavior. (Compl. ¶ 320.) In response, Quinn removed Eilman's cell mate and placed her in a different cell. (Compl. ¶ 321.) Eilman then asked Quinn to take her to a hospital because of heart murmurs. (Compl. ¶ 325.) Hudson reported to Williams that Eilman had been "acting crazy." (Compl. ¶ 296.) Hudson and Quinn did not order Eilman transported for medical treatment or evaluation. (Compl. ¶¶ 299-304, 326-332.)

On May 8, 2006, Defendant Officer Deborah Mabery ("Mabery") worked the second watch in the Second District Station's female lock-up. (Compl. ¶ 341.) In that role, she had responsibility for the well-being and safety of female detainees in the lock-up and she had an obligation to report any unusual occurrences to the desk sergeant or lock-up keeper. (Compl. ¶¶ 342-342.) During her shift on May 8, 2006, Mabery saw Eilman behaving erratically, screaming and yelling, and kicking the bars of her cell. (Compl. ¶¶ 344-346.) Mabery also heard Eilman yell for a period of thirty minutes that she needed an ambulance because she had heart murmurs and difficulty breathing. (Compl. ¶¶ 347-351.) In response, Mabery told Eilman to "shut the fuck up" because there was nothing wrong with her and told her that she was not going to the hospital. (Compl. ¶ 352.) Despite seeing Eilman's behavior and hearing Eilman's requests for medical treatment, Mabery did not arrange for Eilman to receive either medical treatment. (Compl. ¶¶ 353-356.)

On May 8, 2006, Defendant Officer Pauline Heard ("Heard") worked as a lock-up employee at the Second District Station. (Compl. ¶ 405.) During her shift, she heard Eilman repeatedly yelling to no one in particular, "Bitch, feed me." (Compl. ¶ 406.) Heard also listened to Eilman yell for thirty minutes that she wanted to make a phone call, that her heart hurt, and that she could not breathe. (Compl. ¶ 407.) As she yelled, Eilman pounded on the metal bars of her cell. (Id.) Heard and other lock-up personnel ignored Eilman's cries. (Id.)

On May 8, 2006, Defendant Officer Pamela Smith ("Smith") was the officer assigned to work the front desk at the Second District Station. (Compl. ¶ 362.) On that afternoon, Smith received a phone call from Plaintiff Kathy Paine ("Paine"), Eilman's mother. Paine informed Smith that she felt worried about Eilman's release from police custody because she did not want the police to release Eilman if she was suffering a psychiatric episode. (Compl. ¶ 363.) After receiving that information, Smith did not interview Eilman or investigate her behavior in the lock-up. (Compl. ¶ 364.) Smith then prepared Eilman's personal recognizance bond, which lead to Eilman's release from police custody. (Compl. ¶ 365.) Smith did not transfer Eilman to a medical facility or a mental health facility nor did she contact Paine regarding Eilman's release. (Id.)

On May 8, 2006, Defendant Officer Benita Miller ("Miller") worked the third watch at the Second District Station as the acting desk sergeant. (Compl. ¶ 378.) As the acting desk sergeant, Miller had responsibility for overseeing bonding procedures, personally inspecting the prisoners and ensuring that all cells remained in clean and sanitary condition. (Compl. ¶ 379.) Miller signed Eilman's personal recognizance bond which enabled Eilman to leave police custody on May 8, 2006. (Compl. ¶ 380.) Miller and Heard then escorted Eilman out of the Second District Station at approximately 6:30 p.m. (Compl. ¶¶ 381, 408.) Heard then observed Eilman standing in the Second District Station's parking lot with a puzzled look on her face, so Heard pointed her towards 51st Street. (Compl. ¶ 408.) After the officers escorted Eilman out of the Second District Station, Eilman gestured towards a detective as if to bless him by making the Sign of the Cross. (Compl. ¶¶ 382, 409.) Eilman then proceeded through the parking lot of the Second District Station. (Id.) Prior to her release, and despite their requests, no police personnel attempted to contact Eilman's parents regarding her release. (Compl. ¶ 37.) Despite Eilman's behavior that day, Miller and Heard did not provide Eilman with access to a medical or mental health facility. (Compl ¶¶ 383, 411.) Although they had witnessed Eilman's erratic behavior that day, Miller and Heard released Eilman into an area of Chicago approximately two blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes housing project located at 5135 South Federal Street in Chicago. (Compl. ¶¶ 38-40.) Soon after her discharge from police custody, someone abducted her, sexually assaulted her within the Robert Taylor Homes, and propelled her out of a seventh floor apartment window, causing her to sustain serious bodily injuries, including cervical and lumbar spine fractures, pelvic and right tibia and fibula fractures, blunt head trauma, severe brain hemorrhaging and brain injury, cognitive damage, collapsed lungs, and partial paralysis to the lower torso. (Compl. ¶ 41, 60.)

Although Defendant City of Chicago has a protocol that requires its police officers to transport persons demonstrating symptoms of mental illness to designated mental health care facilities for evaluation and care, no one from the Chicago Police Department provided Eilman with such care on May 7-8, 2006. (Compl. ¶¶ 26, 30-34.) Paine alleges that at the time of Eilman's detention, the Chicago Police Department had explicit and de facto policies, practices, procedures and customs that caused the officers and detention aides to respond to Eilman's condition in the way that they did. (Compl. ¶ 469.) Among these policies, practices and customs, Paine alleges that the City of Chicago failed to properly train police officers to identify and respond to detainees who exhibit signs of mental illness. (Compl. ¶ 470.)

STANDARD

When considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must accept as true all facts alleged in the complaint and construe all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. See Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995). To state a claim upon which relief can be granted, a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). A plaintiff need not allege all facts involved in the claim. See Sanjuan v. Am. Bd. of Psychiatry & Neurology, Inc., 40 F.3d 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1994). However, in order to survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the claim must be supported by facts that, if taken as true, at least plausibly suggest that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974 (2007). Such a set of facts must "raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence" of illegality. Id. at 1965.

DISCUSSION

I. Claims Against Police Officers for Violations of Eilman's Constitutional Rights

A plaintiff may bring an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for redress of constitutional violations committed under color of state law. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. "[T]o state a claim for relief under § 1983, plaintiffs must allege: 1) they were deprived of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, and 2) the deprivation was visited upon them by a person or persons acting under color of state law." McKinney v. Duplain, 463 F.3d 679, 683 (7th Cir. 2006). Even if a plaintiff states a claim under § 1983, an individual acting under color of state law may assert qualified immunity. "The doctrine of qualified immunity shields government officials against suits arising out of their exercise of discretionary functions as long as their actions could reasonably have been thought consistent with the rights they are alleged to have violated." Id. at 683-84. Therefore, a two-part test for § 1983 claims and qualified immunity exists:

First, a court must decide whether the facts, when viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, indicate that the officer's conduct violated some constitutional right of the plaintiff. If so, the court must determine whether the constitutional right violated was "clearly established" at the time of the alleged violation. Unless the answer to both questions is "yes," a government official is entitled to qualified immunity.

Id. at 684 (citations omitted). The parties do not dispute that the individual Defendants acted under color of state law. Therefore, this Court begins its analysis by determining if Paine has properly alleged that ...


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