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Scott v. City of Chicago

April 8, 2010

LARRY SCOTT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Larry Scott ("Scott") has brought this action against the City of Chicago ("City") and several individual members of the Chicago police force, asserting (along with state law claims) claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983 ("Section 1983") of a coerced confession (Count I) and conscience-shocking behavior (Count II). Now the remaining individual defendants*fn1 --Officers John Fassl ("Fassl"), Al Almazan ("Almazan") and Steve Brownfield ("Brownfield")(collectively "Officers")--have moved for partial summary judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. ("Rule") 56, claiming qualified immunity.*fn2 Additionally, each side has moved to strike the other's additional facts in response to or in support of Officers' motion. For the reasons stated here, the Rule 56 motion is denied, as are both motions to strike.

Standard of Review

Every Rule 56 movant bears the burden of establishing the absence of any genuine material (that is, outcome-determinative) factual dispute (Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)). For that purpose courts consider evidentiary records in the light most favorable to nonmovants and draw all reasonable inferences in their favor (Lesch v. Crown Cork & Seal Co., 282 F.3d 467, 471 (7th Cir. 2002)).*fn3 But to avoid summary judgment a non-movant "must produce more than a scintilla of evidence to support his position" that a genuine issue of disputed fact exists (Pugh v. City of Attica, 259 F.3d 619, 625 (7th Cir. 2001)) and "must set forth specific facts that demonstrate a genuine issue of triable fact" (id.). Ultimately summary judgment is warranted only if a reasonable jury could not return a verdict for the non-movant (Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)).

Background

Scott, a heroin addict (S. St. ¶1, O. St. ¶21)), was arrested for retail theft on October 2, 2000 by police in Chicago Ridge, Illinois (S. St. ¶2, O. St. ¶11).*fn4 Upon running Scott's name through the computer system, Chicago Ridge police discovered that the City of Chicago police had issued a "stop order" for Scott because of his suspected involvement in the murder of Jesus Villalobos ("Villalobos") (O. St. ¶¶7-10, 12). Brownfield had issued the stop order after confidential informant Jeff Blankenship had told Nicol and Thomas that Scott had murdered Villalobos (id.). That stop order said the Chicago police wanted to interview Scott regarding his possible involvement in the homicide and noted that the police did not have probable cause to arrest Scott (id., S. St. ¶3).

Chicago Ridge police released Scott on a recognizance bond (O. St. ¶13). When Scott emerged from the Chicago Ridge police station, Fassl and Almazan were waiting for him (id. ¶16). They told him they wanted to talk to him, handcuffed him and drove him to the Chicago police department's Area 2 (id.).

Once at Area 2, Scott was placed in interview room 7, where he remained through October 4, with the exception of a period of time on October 3 when he was taken by Brownfield for a polygraph test (id. ¶¶16-34, S. St. ¶¶5-29).*fn5 At all times Scott was either accompanied in interview room 7 by a Chicago police officer or he was locked in (see S. St. ¶5). In the end, Scott spent two nights in interview room 7 (id.).

Scott had last used heroin on the morning of October 2 before he was arrested by the Chicago Ridge police (id. ¶1). By the time he was taken to Area 2, Scott had begun going through heroin withdrawal (id. ¶8), and he continued to suffer the symptoms of withdrawal throughout the time he was at Area 2 (id.). Scott states that his withdrawal symptoms included nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle spasms, shivering and pain (see id. ¶13). Scott also states that he repeatedly told Officers that he was going through heroin withdrawal and needed medical treatment (id. ¶¶8, 12, 14-24).*fn6

Scott also had an infection on his foot, at an injection site (see S. St. ¶6). Because Scott also suffered from endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, the infection on his foot could have been fatal (id.). Officers deny having any knowledge that Scott suffered from any severe medical condition while he was confined at Area 2 (see O. St. ¶26; O. Resp. St. ¶6).

Interview room 7 did not have a bed or bedding, nor was it equipped with a toilet (S. St. ¶5). It contained only a table and a bench, and the overhead lights remained on during the entire time Scott was held there (id.).

During the first night Scott was detained at Area 2, he knocked on the door to get someone's attention so he might be escorted to a bathroom, but no one opened the door for him (id. ¶11). He was forced to urinate in the corner of the room (id.). Scott was also suffering from diarrhea and was unable to avoid defecating on himself during the night (id.). He also vomited in the corner of the room during the night (id.). Officers claim they had no knowledge that Scott was prevented from using the toilet facilities or that he was sick overnight (O. Resp. St. ¶11).

Scott was unable to eat because he was suffering from severe nausea as a result of going through heroin withdrawal (S. St. ¶20). He was, however, able to drink some heavily sugared coffee that Brownfield bought him when they returned from Scott's polygraph test (id.). Scott requested the extra sugar because he knew that sugar can alleviate the symptoms of heroin withdrawal (id.). Brownfield also bought him a hamburger at that time, but Scott could not eat it (id.). That was the last food or drink Scott was provided until he left Area 2 on October 4 (id.).

Almazan and Fassl questioned Scott at least four times at Area 2 about his involvement in Villalobos' murder (S. St. passim). During the two days of questioning, Scott denied having any involvement in Villalobos' murder (see S. St. ¶8). Scott did admit that he knew Villalobos because he used to sell Villalobos stolen goods (id. ¶7). Scott also sold Villalobos a gun once (see O. St. ...


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