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Raviraj Mohil, et al., Etc v. Jill Glick

February 1, 2012


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


Raviraj Mohil and Christina Mohil, on behalf of themselves and their minor children Olivia and Hari (collectively termed "the Mohils" and all individually referred to, for simplicity, only by their first names), sued Jill Glick ("Dr. Glick") and the University of Chicago Medical Center (the "Hospital"), charging that Dr. Glick and the Hospital had violated 42 U.S.C. §1983 ("Section 1983") by depriving them of rights secured by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. On April 23, 2007 Dr. Glick and the Hospital moved to dismiss the Complaint, arguing (1) that they were not state actors and hence not constrained by Section 1983 and (2) that if they were held to be state actors, they were entitled to qualified immunity. After Mohils had filed a response, this Court orally rejected both of those efforts to cut Mohils off at the pass via Fed. R. Civ. P. ("Rule") 12(b)(6):

1. With Mohils' allegations accepted as gospel, together with their receiving the benefit of reasonable inferences, both as called for by Rule 12(b)(6) jurisprudence, the allegations sufficed to provide a plausible assertion of state action by both defendants.

2. Mohils had also identified clearly established constitutional rights so that, depending on how the facts of the case developed, they might well be able to prove a violation of those rights, hence negating the early availability of qualified immunity.*fn1 Thereafter the parties engaged in prolonged discovery to flesh out the facts, ultimately resulting in their joint production of a proposed Final Pretrial Order ("FPTO") looking to trial of the case. This Court entered the FPTO on August 24, 2011, and in the course of the conference that always antedates and culminates in such an entry, defense counsel announced their intention to renew those same motions, this time with the benefit of a full airing of the facts developed during discovery. This Court scheduled the briefing of those motions as part of the pretrial motion-in-limine practice, and the two motions are now fully briefed as Dkt. Nos. 89 and 90 and ripe for disposition under Rule 56.

What follows then is a recital of the parties' joint statement of stipulated facts, followed in turn by the analysis of the legal issues in light of those facts. Because that analysis shows that even though Dr. Glick and the Hospital are indeed state actors (a conclusion as to which there may be some difference of opinion), they are entitled not only to qualified immunity in that capacity, but actually to absolute immunity.

That being so, Mohils do not have a viable claim under Section 1983. So this action must be and is dismissed, with all remaining motions in limine by both sides being denied as moot.


Raviraj and Christina have two children, Olivia and Hari (SUF ¶¶3-4).*fn2 Olivia was born on April 25, 2005 (id. ¶18).*fn3 Just a week later (on May 2) Raviraj and Christina brought Olivia to the emergency room at Hinsdale Hospital and told doctors that she had fallen from a kitchen counter (id. ¶19). Neither had witnessed the fall, but they reported that Hari had pulled Olivia down (id.). After the hospital x-rayed Olivia's spine and performed a CT scan on her head, the doctors there saw no damage reflected on the x-ray or CT scan (id.).

On June 17 Christina brought Olivia to her pediatrician, Dr. Limaye, who found the baby to be in normal health (SUF ¶21). On June 30 Christina went to see her obstetrician, who noted that Olivia was "good and easy to care for" but that Christina "can't stop crying" and "feels depressed" (id. ¶22), as a result of which the obstetrician decided that Christina was suffering from post-partum depression and prescribed Prozac for her (id.). That diagnosis was later confirmed by a psychiatrist (id. ¶23).

On July 14 Christina left Hari and Olivia with a 12-year-old girl, whom she and Raviraj had hired to watch the children (SUF ¶25). Christina went to a therapy appointment and then visited a store (id.). When the babysitter called Christina and reported that Olivia was acting strangely and not moving her arms or legs (id.), Christina returned home to find Olivia unresponsive. She called 911 (id.). Paramedics took Olivia to Hinsdale Hospital, but Christina did not accompany her in the ambulance, instead waiting for Raviraj to return home (id. ¶27). When he did, the couple went to the hospital, arriving roughly 15 minutes after Olivia (id. ¶28).

Doctors at the hospital found that Olivia had abrasions to her forehead and abdomen, subdural hematomas (bleeding in the brain), and bilateral retinal hemorrhages (bleeding into the retinas in both of her eyes)(SUF ¶28). Those injuries were reported by an ER nurse at Hinsdale Hospital to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services ("Child Services"), a state agency charged with protecting children from abuse and neglect (id. ¶¶9, 29). That triggered an investigation by Child Services, the Burr Ridge Police Department, the Du Page County Children's Center and the Du Page County State's Attorney's Office (id. ¶29). Meanwhile Hinsdale Hospital concluded that it lacked the medical facilities necessary to treat Olivia, and it transferred her to the Hospital (recall that this opinion uses that capitalized term to refer to the University of Chicago Medical Center)(id. ¶30).

Part of the Hospital is its Children's Hospital, and one department within the Children's Hospital is called the Department of Child Protective Services ("Department") (SUF ¶7).*fn4

Child abuse investigations require the police and various state agencies to speak to a number of different hospital workers (Glick Tr. 11-12), and the Hospital established the Department to coordinate the flow of information from hospital workers to the police and state agencies (id. 14-15).

In addition, the Hospital also participates in a state-run program called the Multi-disciplinary Pediatric Education and Evaluation Committee ("Committee"*fn5 )(SUF ¶8), created in 2001 to provide a network of physicians skilled in the detection of child abuse (id. ¶11). Those physicians evaluate potentially abused children to determine whether the medical evidence supports an inference of child abuse (id.). They provide their opinions to Child ...

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