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Kathleen Paine, As Guardian of the Estate of Christina Rose Eilman, A Disabled Person v. Officer Jeffrey Johnson

October 11, 2012

KATHLEEN PAINE, AS GUARDIAN OF THE ESTATE OF CHRISTINA ROSE EILMAN, A DISABLED PERSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFFICER JEFFREY JOHNSON, OFFICER RICHARD CASON, OFFICER ROSENDO MORENO, LIEUTENANT CARSON EARNEST, SERGEANT DAVID BERGLIND, DETENTION AIDE SHARON STOKES, OFFICER TERESA WILLIAMS, DETENTION AIDE CYNTHIA HUDSON, DETENTION AIDE CATONIA QUINN, OFFICER DEBORAH MABERY, OFFICER PAMELA SMITH, OFFICER BENITA MILLER, OFFICER PAULINE HEARD, AND CITY OF CHICAGO, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Virginia M. Kendall

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Kathleen Paine ("Paine"), as Guardian of the Estate of Christina Rose Eilman ("Eilman"), filed this suit against various members of the Chicago Police Department and the City of Chicago, alleging civil rights violations in connection with Eilman's arrest and subsequent release from the Second District women's lockup without providing her access to mental health treatment. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and Local Rule 56.1, Defendants Carson Earnest and Pauline Heard (the "Defendants") have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on Counts X, XXXIII and XXXIV of Paine's Third Amended Complaint.*fn1 For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.

BACKGROUND

This case, now six-years old, raises the issue of whether the Chicago Police Department, and certain of its officers, violated a young, mentally ill woman's constitutional rights when they failed to provide her with mental health treatment while she was in their custody; released her in a dangerous part of the city without her wallet or cellular telephone; after which she was raped and fell, or was pushed, from a seventh-story window in a housing project nearby. Ms. Eilman suffers from permanent brain damage as a result of the fall. The specific facts of this case were previously described in copious detail in the Court's February 22, 2010 opinion and are incorporated herein by reference.

In that opinion, this Court denied all of the defendants' motions for summary judgment on the grounds of qualified immunity. See Paine v. Johson, 689 F. Supp. 2d 1027, 1087-88 (N.D. Ill. 2010). The Court found that there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the defendants violated the Ms. Eilman's clearly established constitutional rights: (1) to receive care for her medical condition while in the custody of the police; and (2) to not have a state actor, without justification, increase her risk of harm. Id. Therefore, the case was set for trial to allow a jury to determine the reasonableness of the officers' actions.

After this Court issued that opinion, ten of the thirteen individual defendants filed an interlocutory appeal in the Seventh Circuit on the question of whether they are protected from this suit by the doctrine of qualified immunity. Paine v. Cason, 678 F.3d 500, 506 (7th Cir. 2012). On April 26, 2012, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the Court's decision in part, reversed it in part, and remanded the case for further fact-finding*fn2 to determine whether two defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. See id. at 513.

With respect to Defendant Carson Earnest, the Seventh Circuit stated that: It is not clear whether [Carson Earnest] observed any of Eilman's strange conduct. Earnest treated the call from Eilman's father as a prank: the record does not show why. Although Johnson v. Jones puts such factual issues off-limits on an interlocutory appeal, each defendant is entitled to have the district court decide whether he or she violated clearly established rights. On remand, the district court should conduct whatever proceedings are appropriate to determine whether, taking the facts in the light most favorable to Paine, Earnest violated Eilman's clearly established right to medical care while she was at the Eighth District. Earnest can be liable only for what he did; there is no doctrine of supervisory liability for the errors of subordinates...

Id. at 512.

With respect to Defendant Pauline Heard, the Seventh Circuit stated that: Pauline Heard was a lockup officer...at the Second District. She does not appear to have been responsible for either evaluating Eilman's need for medical care or making the decision to release her. Paine emphasizes, as the basis for Heard's liability, the fact that she pointed Eilman toward 51st Street after her release. Providing walking directions to someone who has already been released on bond does not violate clearly established rights under either the failure-to-treat theory or the augmented danger theory. Unless the record has other facts that the parties have not discussed, Heard is entitled to qualified immunity.

Id.

After reviewing these instructions, the Court decided that it should not re-open discovery on these issues. (Doc. 801-2, Transcript of Proceedings on April 30, 2012, at 9.) The parties had already engaged in extensive and voluminous discovery and the Court had already viewed thousands of pages of discovery that had been collected over a multi-year discovery process. There was nothing to be gained by doing more. Rather, the Court directed the parties to examine their Rule 56.1 statements, identify any additional facts contained within those statements that were not previously argued to the Court, and submit additional briefing as to whether those facts, combined with the previously identified and argued facts, create a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the two defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. (Id. at 10-11.)

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is proper when "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). In determining whether a genuine issue of fact exists, the Court must view the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the party opposing the motion. See Bennington v. Caterpillar Inc., 275 F.3d 654, 658 (7th Cir. 2001); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, the Court will "limit its analysis of the facts on summary judgment to evidence that is properly identified and supported in the parties' [Local Rule 56.1] statement." Bordelon, 233 F.3d at 529. Where a proposed statement of fact is supported by the record and not adequately rebutted, the court will accept that statement as true for purposes of summary judgment. An adequate rebuttal requires a citation to specific support in the record; an unsubstantiated denial is not adequate. See Albiero v. City of Kankakee, 246 F.3d 927, 933 (7th Cir. 2001); Drake v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 134 F.3d 878, 887 (7th Cir. 1998) ("'Rule 56 demands something more specific than the bald assertion of the general truth of a particular matter[;] rather it requires affidavits that cite specific concrete facts establishing the existence of the truth of the matter asserted.'").

Since this case is on remand, the Court must also properly apply the Seventh Circuit's mandate in reaching its decision. See Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc., 680 F.2d 527, 532 (7th Cir. 1982). This requires the Court to execute the decision of the Seventh Circuit. See id.; see also Vendo v. Lektro-Vend Corp., 434 U.S. 425, 427-28 (1978). However, observations, commentary or mere dicta touching upon issues that were not formally before the Seventh Circuit do not constitute binding ...


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