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Cobige v. City of Chicago

August 6, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Amy J. St. Eve, District Court Judge


On April 30, 2007, Plaintiff Maurice Cobige, as Son, Next Friend, and Special Representative of the estate of Patricia Cobige, deceased, brought the present eight-count Second Amended Complaint alleging constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as state law claims pursuant to the Court's supplemental jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed certain claims.*fn1 Plaintiff's remaining claims include his deliberate indifference/denial of medical care claim (Count I), conspiracy claim (Count III), Illinois Wrongful Death Act claim (Count VI), Illinois Survival Act claim (Count VII), and a common law intentional infliction of emotional distress claim (Count V).

Before the Court are the Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' summary judgment motions. Specifically, the Court grants Defendant City of Chicago's and Defendants Dwayne Collier's and Nicole Henry's summary judgment motions in their entirety. The Court thus dismisses Defendants Collier and Henry as Defendants from this lawsuit.*fn2 In addition, the Court grants the individual Defendants' summary judgment motion as to Plaintiff's conspiracy claim (Count III). The Court also dismisses Defendants Anne Belluomini, Thomas Clark, Olive Dickey, Jacalyn Doyle, Gerald Ganey, Connie Hartford, Karen Johnson, Priscilla Jones, Candace Milovich, John Murphy, Leah Tobeck, Elaine Vabkos, and Alice Velez as Defendants from this lawsuit because Plaintiff has not established that these Defendants were personally involved in denying Cobige's constitutional rights, see Johnson v. Snyder, 444 F.3d 579, 583 (7th Cir. 2006), or that they were involved in the conduct comprising Plaintiff's state law claims. The Court denies the remainder of the individual Defendants' summary judgment motion. Thus, the remaining claims in this lawsuit include Plaintiff's deliberate indifference claim (Count I), Illinois Wrongful Death Act claim (Count VI), Illinois Survival Act claim (Count VII), and the common law intentional infliction of emotional distress claim (Count V).


Patricia Cobige was a 46-year-old African-American woman and resident of Chicago, Illinois. (R. 126-1, Defs.' Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 3.) After Cobige was arrested for possessing heroin on June 10, 2006, Chicago Police Officers took her to the 25th District Police Station and left her at the women's lockup. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 5.) Once in a jail cell at the 25th District Police Station, Cobige was in pain. (Id. ¶ 9.) She was bent over at times, and, at other times, she was in a fetal position on the bed. (Id.) She slept a couple of hours at a time during the night of June 10. (Id.) Women who were detained with Cobige testified that she was sick. (R. 138-1, Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. Facts ¶ 1.) Cobige told the jail guards that she was sick, but the guards told her that nothing was wrong and that she was only dope sick. (Id.) A fellow arrestee also testified that she could tell Cobige was ill because Cobige "kept holding her stomach." (Id. ¶ 2.) Another arrestee testified that Cobige was "doubled over moaning" and that Cobige was "clumped over" and "act[ed] nauseated." (Id.) According to this arrestee, Cobige said she needed a doctor a dozen times and that Cobige cried out to the guards when they walked by. (Id. ¶ 3.)

On June 11, 2006, police officers gathered the arrestees in Cobige's jail cell, including Cobige, to transport them to bond court. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts. ¶ 13.) On the way to the transport wagon, Cobige was slumped down and walked slowly. (Id.; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 5.) Officers Rene Dimilanta and Piotr Czarniecki then transported the female arrestees to bond court. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 14; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 4.) At bond court, Cobige, who squatting down, told a Cook County Sheriff's Deputy that she was sick and that she needed to go to the hospital. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 6.) Also, while at bond court, Cobige repeatedly told Officer Dimilanta that she needed to go to the hospital. (Id.) Because Cobige was sick, she was denied entry to bond court. (Id. ¶¶ 6, 11; Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 17.)

On the way out of bond court to the transport wagon, Officer Dimilanta asked Cobige what was wrong and Cobige said she wanted to go back and see the bond court judge. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 18.) Officer Dimilanta further testified that he asked Cobige if she wanted to go to the hospital after which Cobige said no. (Id. ¶ 19.) Also, Officer Dimilanta testified that Cobige told him she had menstrual cramps and that the pain would come and go. (Id. ¶ 20; Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 10.) Meanwhile, Officer Dimilanta contacted Sergeant Thomas Motzny to tell him that Cobige was rejected from bond court because of her illness. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 11.)

Upon returning to the 25th District Police Station, Defendant Chicago Police Department Civilian Detention Aide Maria Diaz and Officer Julia Lawler were on duty. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 14.) Officer Dimilanta informed them, as well as Sergeant Motzny, that Cobige was rejected from bond court because of stomach cramps. (Id. ¶¶ 14, 16.) Cobige then told Diaz that she was sick and had bad cramps. (Id. ¶ 15; Defs.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 22.) Diaz testified that Cobige was slouching, bent over, and looked tired and that she told Officer Lawler that Cobige was sick. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 15, 19.) Officer Lawler made a notation in the lockup log that Cobige was rejected at bond court because she had stomach cramps. (Id. ¶ 16.) Before Diaz and Officer Lawler finished their shift at 2 p.m., Diaz heard Cobige call out to her from her cell saying that she did not feel well and that she felt sick to her stomach. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶¶ 23, 24.) After Diaz and Officer Lawler informed Sergeant Motzny that Cobige was sick, Sergeant Motzny never checked on Cobige to see how she was doing. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 20.) At that time, Sergeant Motzny said he was not going to send Cobige to the hospital. (Id. ¶ 22.)

At the end of her shift, Diaz told the officer who relieved her that Cobige was brought back from bond court because she was sick and that Cobige needed medical papers to go to bond court the next day. (Id. ¶ 23.) Also, Diaz told her replacement to ask the sergeant on the afternoon shift to send Cobige to the hospital after which the relief officer said she would let her sergeant know about Cobige's condition. (Id.) Moreover, at the end of her shift, Officer Lawler believed that someone on the next watch would get Cobige to the hospital to get her medical clearance for bond court, although Officer Lawler did not remember communicating this to anyone on the next shift. (Id. ¶ 25.) Officer Lawler, however, also testified that she knew the next shift was aware that Cobige had been returned from bond court because of her stomach cramps. (Id.)

Defendant Police Officers Connie Hartford and Candace Milovich relieved Diaz and Officer Lawler at lockup on June 11, 2006. (Id. ¶ 26; Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 27.) This third shift lasted from 2:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 26.) After Officer Milovich was informed that Cobige had been sent back from bond court with stomach cramps, she observed that Cobige appeared to be sleeping in the cell and did not attempt to wake her. (Id. ¶ 27.) Likewise, Officer Hartford testified that it appeared that Cobige was asleep in the cell and that she did not attempt to wake her. (Id. ¶ 28.) At some point during her watch, however, Officer Hartford also testified that she asked Cobige why she was sleeping on the floor in her cell after which Cobige explained it was warmer there. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 33.)

On the night of June 11, 2006, Defendant Chicago Police Department Civilian Detention Aide Priscilla Jones relieved Officer Hartford in lockup at approximately 9:55 p.m. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 30; Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 34.) Jones testified that when she first saw Cobige, Cobige looked like she was asleep under the bench in the cell. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 30.) Defendant Police Officer Leah Tobeck did the rest of the inspections on the night shift and never said anything about Cobige. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 36.) Later, when Jones entered Cobige's cell after 1:00 a.m. on June 12, 2006, Cobige was in the same position she had been in around 10 p.m. the evening before. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 31.) Shortly thereafter, Jones discovered that Cobige was dead. (Id.; Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 39.) Cobige died as a result of a sudden arrhythmia in the context of hypertensive heart disease and an enlarged heart. (Defs.' Stmt. Facts ¶ 44.) Plaintiff's medical expert testified that Cobige's severe abdominal pain caused the release of adrenaline that led to a life threatening arrhythmia causing Cobige's death. (Pl.'s Stmt. Facts ¶ 36.)


Summary judgment is appropriate when "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Estate of Suskovich v. Anthem Health Plans of Va., Inc., 553 F.3d 559, 563 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P 56(c)). A genuine issue of material fact exists if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed. 2d 202 (1986). In determining summary judgment motions, "facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party only if there is a 'genuine' dispute as to those facts." Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 1776, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007). The party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). After "a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party 'must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255 (quotation omitted); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2) (requiring adverse party to "set out specific facts"). At summary judgment, the "court's role is not to evaluate the weight of the evidence, to judge the credibility of witnesses, or to determine the truth of the matter, but instead to determine whether there is a genuine issue of triable fact." National Athletic Sportswear, Inc. v. Westfield Ins. Co., 528 F.3d 508, 512 (7th Cir. 2008).


I. Denial of Medical Care -- Count I

A. Applicable Standards

In Count I of the Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges a due process claim that certain Chicago Police Officers and Chicago Police Department Civilian Detention Aides were deliberately indifferent to Cobige's medical needs resulting in her fatal cardiac arrhythmia. The Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause applies to pretrial detainees' conditions of confinement claims and entitles pretrial detainees to at least the same protections against deliberate indifference as available to convicted prisoners under the Eighth Amendment. See Klebanowski v. Sheahan, 540 F.3d 633, 637 (7th Cir. 2008). Under both Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment protections, "[p]rison officials violate the Constitution if they are deliberately indifferent to prisoners' serious medical needs." Williams v. Liefer, 491 F.3d 710, 714 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976)). The test for the deliberate indifference to serious medical needs has both an objective and subjective element. See Edwards v. Snyder, 478 F.3d 827, 830 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834, 114 S.Ct. 1970, 128 L.Ed.2d 811 (1994)). Specifically, a plaintiff must demonstrate: (1) an objectively serious medical condition; and (2) an official's deliberate indifference to that medical condition. See Hayes v. Snyder, 546 F.3d 516, 522 (7th Cir. 2008); Duckworth v. Ahmad, 532 F.3d 675, 679 (7th Cir. 2008). "A serious medical condition is one that has been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one that is so obvious that even a lay person would perceive the need for a doctor's attention." Hayes, 546 F.3d at 522; see also Lee v. Young, 533 F.3d 505, 509 (7th Cir. 2008). To satisfy the subjective element, "it is enough to show that the defendants knew of a substantial risk of harm to the inmate and disregarded the risk." Hayes, 546 F.3d at 522 (citation omitted).

Although Cobige was a pretrial detainee, there had been no judicial determination of probable cause before her death. Under such circumstances, the objectively reasonable standard of the Fourth Amendment applies to Plaintiff's conditions of confinement claim based on the denial of medical care. See Lopez v. City of Chicago, 464 F.3d 711, 718-19 (7th Cir. 2006). As the Seventh Circuit explains:

[W]e have held that the Fourth Amendment governs the period of confinement between arrest without a warrant and the preliminary hearing at which a determination of probable cause is made, while due process regulates the period of confinement after the initial determination of probable cause. Our cases thus establish that the protections of the Fourth Amendment apply at arrest and through the Gerstein probable cause hearing, due process principles govern a pretrial detainee's conditions of confinement after the judicial determination of probable cause, and the Eighth Amendment applies following conviction.

Id. at 719 (citations and quotations marks omitted) (referring to Gerstein v. Pugh, 420 U.S. 103, 95 S.Ct. 854, 43 L.Ed.2d 54 (1975)); see also Luck v. Rovenstine, 168 F.3d 323, 326 (7th Cir. 1999) ("There is, to be sure, a difference between the constitutional provisions that apply to the period of confinement before and after a probable cause hearing: the Fourth Amendment governs the former and the Due Process Clause the latter.")

Because the deliberate indifference standard under the Fourteenth Amendment is a more burdensome standard than the objectively reasonable standard under the Fourth Amendment, the Court addresses Plaintiff's denial of medical care claim under the Fourteenth Amendment for the sake of completeness. See Lopez, 464 F.3d at 720; see also Williams v. Rodriguez, 509 F.3d 392, 403 (7th Cir. 2007) ("the deliberate indifference standard under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments requires a higher showing ...

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