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Lorinda K. Smith v. Robert M. Huston

March 18, 2011

LORINDA K. SMITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROBERT M. HUSTON, ERIC RASMUSSEN, AND KELLY VANSAGHIS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joe Billy Mcdade United States Senior District Judge

E-FILED Friday, 18 March, 2011 10:04:45 AM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION and ORDER

Before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Robert M. Huston, Eric Rasmussen, and Kelly Vansaghis (Doc. 31). The Motion is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that while she was being transported by correctional officers to the Tazewell County Jail, from the Cook County Jail in Chicago on September 28, 2007, she was injured in a car accident. At the time of the accident, the vehicle in which she was riding (in the rear) was being driven by Defendant Eric Rasmussen with Defendant Kelly Vansaghis riding in the front passenger seat. Plaintiff alleges that the officers ignored her complaints of injury and pain and that they did not provide her with any medical assistance. Upon reaching the Tazewell County jail, Plaintiff allegedly repeatedly requested medical attention which she did not receive. When she did see a doctor at the jail on October 24, 2007, she alleges that she did not receive adequate medical attention. It should be noted that Plaintiff is not suing for any treatment received at the jail but is only suing the officers who transported her. However, in addition to suing the individual correctional officers, Plaintiff also is suing Sheriff Robert Huston in his individual and official capacity. Plaintiff alleges that the individual correctional officers were deliberately indifferent to her serious medical need and that the Sheriff condoned a policy of ignoring the medical needs of pretrial detainees.

The following facts are undisputed. When Plaintiff was being transported to the Tazewell County Jail, on an arrest warrant, she was placed in a transport belt, which included leg shackles and handcuffs at her side, and placed in the rear of the vehicle. (Def. Statement of Undisputed Material Facts "DSUMF" 17). She was not secured with a seatbelt. (DSUMF 18). The car was being driven by Officer Rasmussen and Officer Vansaghis was sitting in the front passenger seat. The officers stopped for fuel at a gas station, and they were involved in an accident with another car. (DSUMF 19).*fn1 At the time of the accident, the cars were in a parking lot and were travelling at a speed of less than 10 miles per hour, and probably less than 5 miles per hour. (DSUMF 20). As a result of the accident, Plaintiff struck her head and knee on the plexi-glass or metal between the front and back seats of the car. (DSUMF 21). According to Plaintiff, the following exchange occurred immediately after the accident:

Q. So your knees and your head hit the partition between the front and back seats?

A. Correct.

Q. What did you do after that?

A. I said, "Excuse me." I said, "God damn. You were going too fast." No. I said -- I'm trying to recall exactly how I said it. I think I said -- I'm just trying to recall because I know it was a cuss word. I said, "Shit. You hit that car hard." I don't remember how I said it but something to that. Then I got back up there. Then he told me to shut the F up and sit back.

Q. Who told you that?

A. The other guy, not Rasmussen . . . told me to sit back and shut the F up, so I didn't say another word the rest of the trip. (Lorinda Smith Dep. p. 26).

Plaintiff did not make any complaints of injuries nor did she request medical care throughout the rest of the trip. (DSUMF 24). Neither Rasmussen nor Vansaghis asked ...


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