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Reginald Pittman, By and Through His v. County of Madison

September 27, 2011

REGINALD PITTMAN, BY AND THROUGH HIS
GUARDIAN AND NEXT FRIEND, ROBIN M. HAMILTON,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
COUNTY OF MADISON, STATE OF ILLINOIS, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge:

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

I. Introduction and Background

Pending before the Court is defendants' motion for summary judgment (Doc. 53). Clearly, plaintiff opposes the motion. After the initial briefing was completed, the Court allowed the parties many opportunities for leave to file supplements regarding the motion for summary judgment (Docs. 63, 78, 83, 94 & 97). Based on the extensive record before the Court, the applicable law and the following, the Court grants the motion for summary judgment.

On December 23, 2009, Reginald Pittman, by and through his Guardian and Appointed Next Friend, Robin M. Hamilton, filed a Third Amended Complaint containing fourteen counts against the County of Madison, State of Illinois, Captain Joseph Gulash, Sheriff Robert Hertz, Sergeant Randy Eaton, Barbara J. Unfried, Matt Werner, Robert Blankenship, M.D., Jeffrey Hartsoe, Lieutenant Renee Stephenson, John Doe 6 through John Doe 10, and John Doe Entity 1 through John Doe Entity 5 (Doc. 53). Counts I, III, V, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII and XIII are directed against the County of Madison, Gulash, Hertz, Eaton, Unfried, Werner, Blankenship, Hartsoe, Stephenson and the John Doe defendants. In these counts, plaintiff alleges violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in that plaintiff claims that these defendants were deliberately indifferent to Pittman's suicide risk by failing to provide him with needed medical attention and protection. Counts II, IV and VI are directed against the County of Madison, Gulash, and Hertz. In these counts, plaintiff alleges state law claims for willful and wanton actions in that plaintiff claims that these defendants failed to remove materials from Pittman's cell that could be used for a suicide attempt. Lastly, Count XIV is directed against the County of Madison, Gulash, and Hertz. In this count, plaintiff alleges violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and seeks injunctive relief and requests that the Court order defendants to provide a written plan for each jail detainee receiving psychiatric services.

II. Facts*fn1

Pittman was detained at the Madison County Jail from August 16, 2007 to December 19, 2007. On December 19, 2007, Pittman attempted to commit suicide by trying to hang himself from the bars of his cell with a blanket. As a result, Pittman suffered ischemic anoxic injury to his brain rendering him severely brain damaged and legally disabled.

At the time of the incident, Captain Joseph Gulash was the captain of the Madison County Jail. Sheriff Robert Hertz was/is the Sheriff of Madison County, Illinois. Sergeant Randy Eaton was an employee of the Madison County Jail. Defendants Unfried, Werner, Blankenship, M.D., Hartsoe and Stephenson were employed as the nursing director, a deputy sheriff, the medical director, and a deputy sheriff and a lieutenant, respectively, at the Madison County Jail. John Does 6 through 10 and John Does ENTITIES 1 through 5 were employees of the Madison County Jail.

Pittman was brought to the Madison County Jail on August 16, 2007 and booked for the felony of aggravated discharge of a firearm -vehicle/person and his bond/bail was set at $80,0000/$8,000. At time of intake, Pittman was not considered to be a risk for suicide. In his questionnaires for initial booking, Pittman answered "No" to the question: "Do you have any major medical problems?" He also answered "No" to the following questions on the medical health screen form: "Express thoughts about killing or injury to self?"; "Has a previous suicide attempt (check wrist and note method of attempt)?"; "Show signs of depression?" and "Has Psychiatric History (Treatment, Medication)? Pittman also signed these questionnaires.

The Madison County Jail has policies and procedures to address the risk of detainee suicide. The Madison County Jail also provides training to its officers pertaining to the risk of suicide by detainees. The Madison County Jail is required pursuant to the Illinois County Jail Standards to have policies and procedures to address the risk of detainee suicide. Illinois County Jail Standards also require each jail officer to receive annual training by mental health professionals on suicide prevention.

The Madison County Jail contracts with Chestnut Health Systems to provide mental health services to detainees. Chestnut Health Systems is also known as CRISIS. When a detainee requests CRISIS, a specific mental health referral form is completed. A sick call slip may also be utilized. The request is written or recorded by a jail officer. A detainee can also write the request. Not every request for CRISIS means that the detainee is suicidal. A jail officer does not have to consult with CRISIS to put an inmate on suicide watch. After the detainee is placed on suicide watch, it is proper for either a physician, nurse or CRISIS individual to take a detainee off suicide watch.

Jail officers must complete 30-minute guard rounds on all the detainees; however, if a detainee is on suicide watch, the jail officers must complete 15-minute guard rounds on such detainees.

On September 17, 2007, Pittman was placed in E-South after a fight in C-North. While in E-South, Pittman threw urine and feces on inmate Surratt. On October 16, 2007, inmate Henderson spit on Pittman while he was in E-South. On October 25, 2007, on the way back from a visit, Pittman and inmate Redden got in a fight after a correctional officer opened the hallway door to E-South. On November 5, 2007, Officer Gulash, sent a memorandum to the shift commanders on how to handle moving Pittman because of the previous incidents with other inmates while detained. On November 18, 2007, Sgt. Hill recommended that Pittman remain in 3-South because of these prior incidents. On November 24, 2007, inmate Blake threw a wet substance, believed to be urine, on Pittman. Thereafter, on December 1, 2007, Pittman, threw feces and urine on inmate Gilliam and was moved from E-South to the male drunk tank for that incident. At this time, Pittman was considered a threat towards other inmates.

On October 1, 2007, Pittman filled out a sick call slip complaining of stomachache and cold. In response to the sick call slip, Pittman refused to be seen by the medical staff.

On October 21, 2007, Pittman was seen by the medical staff and indicated to the nursing staff that he had no suicide ideation, but that he informed the jail staff that he said that he was suicidal in hopes of being moved to a different housing unit. As a result of this, Pittman was referred to CRISIS.

Tracy Karvinen, a Crisis Intervention Specialist with Chestnut Health Systems, was assigned to the Madison County Jail. On October 22, 2007, Karvinen, at the request of the Madison County Jail staff, evaluated Pittman at the Madison County Jail. At the time she evaluated Pittman, he was on suicide watch. Pittman had been placed on suicide watch by the Madison County Jail staff. After evaluating Pittman, Karvinen's report indicated that Pittman denied any current suicidal ideation or homicidal ideation. Further, her results indicated that Pittman denied any previous suicide attempts and that Pittman told her that he told the Madison County Jail staff that he was suicidal in hopes that he would be moved out of the lock down block. At the end of the evaluation, Pittman executed an Anti-Suicide Agreement. This agreement provided that if Pittman began to have any thoughts of harming himself or others he agreed to inform the Madison County Jail staff.

Prior to Karvinen evaluating Pittman on October 22, 2007, she obtained information that Pittman had been previously evaluated by CRISIS during a detention stay at the Madison County Jail on January 12, 2005. At this time, Pittman was evaluated because he made suicidal statements during his arrest. During the January 12, 2005 evaluation, Pittman denied suicidal ideation and that Pittman stated that he had never been suicidal. Karvinen also was given information that on January 20, 2005, Pittman was again evaluated by a CRISIS Intervention Specialist at the Madison County ...


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