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Thadieus Goods v. Officer Navarro

March 26, 2012

THADIEUS GOODS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER NAVARRO, OFFICER GLINSEY, TOM DART AND DAVID FAGUS, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Pro se Plaintiff Thadieus Goods, a pretrial detainee, brought a civil rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Cook County Sheriff's Deputies Navarro and Glinsey. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to serious medical needs that resulted from a traffic accident in which Defendants were transporting Mr. Goods back to jail following a court appearance. Defendants have moved for summary judgment, and for the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

The following factual information is drawn from the parties' Local Rule 56.1 materials and other applicable portions of the record, and is presented in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, with all reasonable inferences drawn in his favor. E.E.O.C. v. AutoZone, Inc., 630 F.3d 635, 639 (7th Cir. 2010).

Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee in protective custody at the Cook County Jail. (Defs.' Local Rule 56.1(a) Statement of Material Facts and Supporting Exhibits (hereinafter "Defs.' 56.1"), ¶¶ 1, 4.) Due to his protective custody status, when he is transported to court, he is taken by car in the custody of two deputy sheriffs with his legs shackled, his hands cuffed in a "blue box," and his waist chained. (Id.¶¶ 5, 6.)

On January 15, 2009, Plaintiff, who is 6'5" tall and weighs approximately 350 pounds, was transported to court in the custody of Officers Navarro and Glinsey. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 8.) Confined, as described above, by leg shackles, handcuffs, and a waist chain, Plaintiff was seated in the back of a marked Cook County Sheriff's squad car. Plaintiff refers to the back seat of the squad car as a "cage," separated from the front of the car by a barrier composed, on the bottom, of metal, and on the top of plexiglass and metal wire. (Id. ¶ 9.) Plaintiff could hear the car radio, but not the officers' conversation, and could speak to the officers himself through the metal-wire enclosure. (Goods Dep. 38:19-39:8, Tab 2 to Defs.' 56.1; Defs.' 56.1 at ¶ 19.) Officers Navarro and Glinsey transported Plaintiff to the Markham courthouse without incident. (Id. ¶ 10.)

After his court appearance, Officer Navarro returned Plaintiff to the back seat of the squad car for the return trip. Due to his size, Plaintiff was seated at an angle; he was not wearing a seatbelt. (Goods Dep. 29:18-24, 49:1-2, Ex. 2 to Defs.' 56.1.) With Officer Navarro at the wheel and Officer Glinsey in the front passenger seat, the squad car traveled north on Kedzie Avenue in Chicago. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 11-12.) Immediately after the squad car crossed the intersection at 47th Street, traffic came to a quick stop. (Id. ¶ 12.) Navarro stopped quickly and managed to avoid striking the car immediately in front of him, but the squad car was rear-ended by the car behind them. (Id. ¶ 13.) The impact did not cause the squad car to hit the car immediately in front of it. (Id.) The collision did, however, send Plaintiff forward to the space between the back seat and the back of the partition separating the back seat from the front compartment. (Id. ¶ 14.) Plaintiff hit his head on the metal-wire portion of the divider and, although he did not lose consciousness or bleed from impact, the cuffs on his wrists and ankles dug into his skin, leaving cuts and marks. (Id. ¶¶ 14-15.) Plaintiff experienced pain in his lower back, legs, and head. (Id. ¶ 16.) When asked to rate the severity of his pain, Plaintiff quantified it as a ten on a scale of one to ten, where ten is the most painful. (Id. ¶ 26.)

Following the accident, Navarro immediately exited the squad car and spoke to the driver of the other vehicle for less than two minutes. (Id. ¶ 17.) Meanwhile, Plaintiff was able to "scoot" himself back onto the back seat of the squad car. (Id. ¶ 21.) He told Defendant Glinsey that his back and head hurt and that he needed medical attention. After Navarro returned to the squad car, Plaintiff told Navarro the same thing. (Id. ¶¶ 19, 20.) Glinsey told Plaintiff to "hold on," and Navarro assured him he would get medical attention. (Id.) Navarro then drove the squad car from 47th Street and Kedzie Avenue, the accident site, to the Cook County Jail. (Id. ¶ 23.) The trip from the accident site to jail took approximately twenty minutes. (Id.)

Upon their return to the jail, Officer Glinsey removed Plaintiff from the squad car. (Id. ¶ 24.) Although limping and continuing to suffer great pain in his legs and back, Plaintiff was able to walk without assistance. (Id. ¶¶ 25-27.) As he was being taken from the squad car, Plaintiff told the Defendants, "You are all bogus; you are all bogus; you all could have gotten me some medical attention." (Id. ¶ 28.) As he was brought into the jail through the receiving unit in Division 5, Plaintiff did not ask Defendant Officers to transport him to the medical center, nor did he tell the officers in the receiving unit that he needed medical attention; he did, however, demand to see a "white shirt" (presumably, a supervisor). (Id. ¶¶ 29-31.)

Defendants returned Plaintiff to his cell in Division 9, removed the shackles, the blue box, and the chain, and then left. (Id. ¶ 33.) From the time of arrival at the jail until Plaintiff was returned to his cell, approximately thirty to forty minutes elapsed. (Id. ¶ 32.) Plaintiff did not again request medical attention or report pain during the walk to Division 9, and he was able to walk without assistance. (Id.)

Upon his return to his cell, Plaintiff spoke to the tier officer, Officer Jay Moore. Plaintiff told Moore that he had just been in a traffic accident and needed medical attention. (Id. ¶ 34.) Moore immediately notified his supervisor, Sergeant Thomas, and Sergeant Thomas came to the tier, where Plaintiff described what had happened and told her that the transport officers had brought him back to jail rather than seeking medical attention for him. (Id. ¶¶ 34, 35.) Sergeant Thomas sent Plaintiff to the Division 9 medical dispensary, and Plaintiff reported to the medical technician that he had been in an accident and was experiencing pain and dizziness. (Id. ¶¶ 35, 36.) Plaintiff showed the technician the marks caused by the handcuffs. (Id. ¶ 37.) Plaintiff was not bleeding. The technician instructed Plaintiff to clean the cuts, provided him with ointment and Tylenol, and placed him on the list to see the doctor. (Id. ¶ 38.) Plaintiff has no complaints regarding the treatment he received from the medical technician. (Id.)

A few days later, a physician's assistant, Kevin Simms, examined Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 39.) Plaintiff's pain had subsided somewhat, but he told Mr. Simms that he was still experiencing pain in his back, head, and legs. (Id.) The physician's assistant examined Plaintiff, prescribed more pain medication, and recommended an X-ray. (Id. ¶ 40.) Dr. Kahn later performed an X-ray and told Plaintiff the X-ray did not show anything. (Id. ¶ 41.) At Dr. Kahn's direction, Plaintiff received physical therapy once a week. (Id. ¶ 42.) He acknowledged that the physical therapy exercises improved his condition. (Id.) He acknowledged, further, that he had received treatment at Cermak Health Services for low back pain even before the January 15, 2009 incident. (Id. ¶ 43.)

DISCUSSION

Defendants have challenged Plaintiff's compliance with Local Rule 56.1, but the court finds Plaintiff's submissions adequate to identify evidentiary support for his claims. In any event, the central facts in this case are undisputed. The parties agree that Plaintiff was injured in a car accident on January 15, 2009, that he advised Defendants that he needed immediate medical attention, and that Defendants chose instead to return him to Cook County Jail. The central dispute is whether that decision ...


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