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Florek v. Village of Mundelein

March 31, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez


Plaintiff Linda Florek brings this complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated in connection with a search and arrest made by certain members of the Village of Mundelein, Illinois Police Department. The complaint also alleges state law claims of unlawful detention, abuse of process, and failure to provide medical care. This matter is now before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. No. 45]. For the reasons that follow, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.


The individual defendants Donovan Hansen, Juan Guzmán, Peter Ahern, Brian Wainscott, Seamus Kaplan, Thomas Perdue, Steven Schaefer, Aaron Wernick, and Raymond Rose were at all relevant times employed by the Village of Mundelein Police Department. (LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶ 3.) Plaintiff Linda Florek was at all relevant times a resident of Mundelein, Illinois. (Id. ¶¶ 1, 2.)

On November 30 and December 4, 2004, as part of an investigation into drug activity, two "controlled buys" of cannabis were made by a confidential informant from an individual named Rafael Aguilar. (Id. ¶ 4.) The controlled purchases were made at or in front of an apartment located at 543 N. Lake St. in Mundelein, which is Plaintiff's residence. (Id. ¶ 5, LR 56.1(b)(3)(B)¶ 5.) Based upon these controlled purchases, a search warrant for the premises was prepared on December 6, 2004. (LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶ 6.)

On December 7, 2004, the evening the warrant was executed, Plaintiff left work at around 10:00 p.m. and arrived home approximately five minutes later. (LR(b)(3)(C) ¶ 4.) Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff took off her clothes, put on a T-shirt, and went into the living room. (Id. ¶ 4.)

The search warrant was executed at 10:22 p.m. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 6.) Defendant Hansen supervised the execution of the warrant, and each officer involved received an assigned task or role. (LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶¶ 8, 10.) Defendant Wainscott was assigned to wield the "ram," which is an object used to force open doors; and defendant Kaplan was assigned to knock and announce the officers' presence with the verbal warning, "Police Department, search warrant." (Id. ¶¶ 11-13.) According to Defendants, the officers waited approximately fifteen seconds after knocking and announcing before Wainscott used the ram to strike the door, forcing it open. (Id. ¶ 14.) Plaintiff disputes that a verbal warning was given and claims that she only heard at least four impacts on her door before the officers entered her home. (Id. ¶ 15; LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) ¶ 13.)

After the door was opened, the officers on the entry team entered Plaintiff's residence and secured the premises, followed by Hansen. (LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶ 17.) Defendant Schaefer, who was on the entry team, saw Plaintiff standing in the middle of the living room, ordered her to the ground, and applied handcuffs to secure her wrists behind her back. (Id. ¶ 18.) The officers smelled the odor of burnt cannabis in the room, and Plaintiff admits that she was smoking a marijuana cigarette when the police broke down her door. (Id. ¶ 19; LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) ¶ 19; LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) ¶ 4.) Plaintiff's son Jason, who had been asleep in his bedroom, was also handcuffed and brought into the living room while the bedrooms were searched. (LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶ 20.) During the search, Plaintiff admitted to the officers that she threw a pouch containing cannabis behind the couch as the officers arrived. (Id. ¶ 2.) She told them that she had been advised by her physician to smoke marijuana in order to reduce her blood pressure. (Id. ¶ 21.) Plaintiff remained seated on the couch and later a chair outside of the bathroom while the apartment was searched. (Id. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff was dressed only in a T-shirt and was not allowed to put on jeans for over an hour, although while she was seated on the couch, an officer put a pillow on her lap at her request. (LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) ¶¶ 7-8.)

After Plaintiff moved from the couch to the chair,*fn3 she asked Hansen if she could take some baby aspirin. (LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶ 24.) Plaintiff had her first heart attack on February 24, 2003 and claims that before she was taken to the hospital on that occasion, paramedics gave her four baby aspirins, nitroglycerin, and started an IV. (LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) ¶ 2.)

Hansen denied her request to take any medication, based upon the provisions of the Police Department's general order 03-05, which governs Medical and Health Care services for prisoners.*fn4 (LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶ 25.) According to Hansen, he then advised Plaintiff that if she desired medical assistance, the paramedics would be notified, and Plaintiff responded, "This is bullshit." (Id. ¶¶ 25-26.) Plaintiff denies that she responded in that manner, claiming that the next thing she said after being denied baby aspirin was to ask for an ambulance. (LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) ¶ 26.) Plaintiff also disputes that Hansen offered to call paramedics at that time; instead, he told her that if she still felt she needed an ambulance once they got to the police station, he would call them. (Id. ¶ 25.) Although the timeline of her statements is not entirely clear, Plaintiff testified that she told the officers during the search that she had a heart condition, was having chest pains, was having a heart attack, and she asked for an ambulance. (LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) ¶ 9.)

Hansen testified that Plaintiff did not appear to be suffering from any more stress than a normal person would experience when their residence was the subject of a search warrant. (LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶ 31.) Hansen did not believe that Plaintiff was pale or sweating, based upon his one-time conservation of her, but he did acknowledge that Plaintiff complained of shortness of breath. (Id. ¶¶ 33-34.) He believed that the situation resolved itself when she was advised to slow down her breathing. (Id. ¶ 33.) Defendants admit that Plaintiff may have advised Hansen of her prior heart attack. (LR 56.1(a) ¶ 9.)

At 11:36 p.m., after the search was completed, (LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) ¶ 6), Plaintiff and her son were driven to the police station in the Department's prisoner transport vehicle, a Chevy cargo van which is custom-partitioned with an interior prisoner transport unit designed to segregated transport of prisoners of opposite sexes and/or juveniles. (LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶¶ 35-36.) Plaintiff and her son testified that after she was placed in the van, she pleaded, "Please don't put me in that cage. I am having a heart attack. I am claustrophobic." (LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) ¶ 12.) Schaefer acknowledged that Plaintiff protested being placed in the van, but he told her that "this was the vehicle that she was going to be going in." (Id. ¶ 13.)

According to Defendants, shortly after Plaintiff went into the van, she began experiencing distress and advised the officers in the rear of the van that she was experiencing chest pains.*fn5 (LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶ 37.) Defendant Perdue, who is also a licensed paramedic, spoke with Plaintiff while she was in the van and advised the driver, Hansen, of Plaintiff's distress. (Id. ¶ 38.) Hansen then radioed for an ambulance to meet them at the police station. (Id. ¶ 39.) The call for the ambulance occurred less than thirty seconds after Hansen began driving to the police station. (LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) ¶ 18.)

The van arrived at the station less than two minutes later, and Mundelein Fire Department paramedics arrived less than three minutes after that. (Id. ¶ 18; LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶ 40.) The paramedics' report indicated that Plaintiff was complaining of chest pain, was very anxious, breathing very rapidly, and complaining of dizziness and numbness in her left arm; they administered baby aspirin and one nitro tab before transporting Plaintiff to the hospital approximately fifteen minutes later. (LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶ 41; LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) ¶ 41; LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) ¶ 18.) The paramedics' report on Plaintiff's objective symptomology stated that she was alert, her pupils were equal and reactive to light; her lungs sounds were clear; her skin color, skin moisture, and skin temperature were all normal; her respiratory effort was "labored"; her blood pressure was 130/60, which fell to 100/70 twelve minutes after the paramedics arrived; her pulse was 68; and the cardiac monitor reflected a normal sinus rhythm. (LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶ 42-44.)

Plaintiff arrived at the hospital at 12:02 a.m. on December 8. (LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) ¶ 18.) At 12:23 a.m., Schaefer advised Hansen that Plaintiff had a heart attack.*fn6 (Id. ¶ 18.) Hansen then ordered Schaefer and Perdue to complete Plaintiff's processing (fingerprinting and a recognizance bond), telling them to check first with her doctor to ensure that there was no medical reason not to, and Perdue left for the hospital at 12:35 a.m. (Id. ¶ 18; LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶ 45.) According to Plaintiff, the officers asked for her doctor's permission to fingerprint her, and the doctor believes he said it would be okay. He did not believe they specifically told them what they were going to do, and he did not observe the process. (LR 56.1(b)(3)(B) ¶ 45.) Plaintiff was fingerprinted in the emergency room and given a ticket to appear in court at a later date. (LR 56.1(b)(3)(C) ¶ 18.) Plaintiff was charged with possession of less than 2.5 g of marijuana and ultimately received supervision and paid a fine. (Id. ¶ 11.)

The Village of Mundelein's Police Department has received accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies ("CALEA"). (LR 56.1(a)(3) ¶ 27.) As part of the CALEA accreditation process, the Police Department's general orders were reviewed by a team of assessors, and the Department's re-accreditation in 2004 included a requirement that the Department documents that medical professional to review the content of the general order concerning Medical and Health Care services for individuals in police custody. (Id. ¶¶ 28-29.) Hansen was the ...

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