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Estate of Amon Paul Carlock v. Neil Williamson

November 1, 2012

ESTATE OF AMON PAUL CARLOCK, JR., DECEASED, BY MARY L. ANDREATTA-CARLOCK, EXECUTOR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NEIL WILLIAMSON, AS SHERIFF OF SANGAMON COUNTY; ANTHONY SACCO, CHIEF DEPUTY; TERRY DURR, JAIL SUPERINTENDENT; WILLIAM STRAYER, ASSISTANT JAIL SUPERINTENDENT; LT. RON BECKNER, ADMINISTRATOR OF SANGAMON COUNTY JAIL; LT. CANDACE CAIN; LT. TAMMY POWELL; SGT. TODD GUY; CO KEVIN FURLONG; NURSE LEE ANNE BRAUER, R.N.; NURSE NIECEY WEST, L.P.N.; NURSE LUCY RAMSEY, L.P.N.; JOSEPH MAURER, M.D.; CHAUNCEY C. MAHER, III, M.D. AND SANGAMON COUNTY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, U.S. District Judge.

E-FILED

Friday, 02 November, 2012 09:00:58 AM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

This cause is before the Court on the Joint Motion to Exclude Certain Testimony and Reports of Dr. James Hubler (d/e 418) filed by Defendants Neil Williamson, Anthony Sacco, Terry Durr, William Strayer, Ron Beckner, Candace Cain, Tammy Powell, Kevin Furlong, Lee Anne Brauer, Niecey West, Lucy Ramsey, and Todd Guy. For the reasons that follow, the Motion is DENIED.

I. BACKGROUND

In this lawsuit, Plaintiff, the Estate of Amon Paul Carlock, Jr., deceased, by Mary L. Andreatta-Carlock, Executor, alleges that Carlock was a pretrial detainee housed at the Sangamon County Illinois jail from October 9, 2007, until his death on November 16, 2007. See Fourth Amended Complaint (d/e 138). The Fourth Amended Complaint contains § 1983 claims for excessive force and deliberate indifference to Carlock's medical needs, as well as several state law claims. The allegations in the Fourth Amended Complaint include the following: that on November 16, 2007, Carlock was placed face down, with his hands handcuffed behind his back and his legs shackled; Defendant Furlong held Carlock at the back of Carlock's neck and placed a portion of his 285 pounds on Carlock's back both before and after Carlock was tasered; Carlock became unresponsive; and no jail personnel provided medical care or lifesaving measures. See ¶¶ 33, 61, 80.

The defendants in this case include the County Defendants--Neil Williamson, Anthony Sacco, Terry Durr, William Strayer, Ron Beckner, Candace Cain, Tammy Powell, Kevin Furlong, Lee Anne Brauer, Niecey West, Lucy Ramsey, and Todd Guy--as well as the medical Defendants--Joseph Maurer, M.D. and Chauncey C. Maher, III, M.D. The Motion to Exclude Certain Testimony and Report of Dr. James Hubler was filed by the County Defendants.

A. Summary of Dr. Hubler's Curriculum Vitae According to Dr. Hubler's Curriculum Vitae (d/e 419-1), he is currently the Attending Physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at OSF Saint Francis Hospital, a Level I Trauma Center. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery for the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. Dr. Hubler is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a certified Advanced Cardiac Life Support Instructor and a certified Basic Traumatic Life Support Instructor.

B. Summary of Dr. Hubler's Two Reports In May 2009, Dr. Hubler prepared a Report (d/e 419-1 ) (May Report). The May 2009 Report indicates Dr. Hubler reviewed the medical records, autopsy reports, and depositions of Nurse West, Nurse Ramsey, Nurse Brauer, Dr. Maurer, Dr. Maher, and Amy Jeffers of Paramedic American Ambulance. In the May 2009 Report, Dr. Hubler gives his opinion that there was a "reasonable and meritorious cause for filing" the lawsuit against Dr. Maurer and Dr. Maher and gives the basis for that opinion.

In June 2009, Dr. Hubler prepared a second Report (d/e 419-1) (June Report) also containing his opinion that there was a "reasonable and meritorious cause for filing" the lawsuit against Dr. Maurer and Dr. Maher. The June Report indicates that Dr. Hubler reviewed, in addition to the documents identified in the first report, a cover letter from attorney Kelley with a summary of events and Plaintiff's Third Amended Complaint. As is relevant to the issues herein, the June 2009 Report also contained the following:

[Dr. Maher's] failure to follow up on the laboratory testing and to order laboratory testing sooner was a breach in the standard of care and ultimately caused Mr. Carlock's death. Mr. Carlock's altered mental status was a direct result of his abnormal lab values. The altered mental state lead [sic] to a scuffle with jail officers, which resulted in his positional asphyxia. It is my opinion to a reasonable degree of medical certainty that Dr. Maurer failed to meet the standard of care and caused injury and death to Mr. Carlock, which could have been prevented.

June Report (d/e 419-1). Dr. Hubler expressed a similar opinion with regard to Dr. Maher. Id.

C. Summary of Dr. Hubler's Deposition Testimony

Dr. Hubler's deposition took place on March 7, 2011. See Deposition Transcript (d/e 419-2). At the deposition, Dr. Hubler testified that at the time in question, Carlock was suffering from severe dehydration, renal failure, lithium toxicity, depressive bipolar disorder, and diabetes. Dep., p. 12. According to Dr. Hubler, but for the pressure on the chest, the dehydration, renal failure, lithium toxicity, abnormalities, and electrolytes could have been corrected and Carlock could have survived. Dep., p. 14. Dr. Hubler also testified:

Both the dehydration and the hyperkalemia potassium were treatable conditions. Unfortunately, being so critically ill, it left him in a very brittle state more likely to suffer arrhythmias and positional asphyxia.

People who are generally healthy, you or I positioned in a hobble position would not have positional asphyxia. Those people are generally--have multiple medical conditions or psychiatric conditions. Those patients are more likely, very much more likely, to have positional asphyxia or excited delirium.*fn1

Dep., p. 13-14.

When asked what, in his opinion, caused Carlock's death, Dr. Hubler testified:

Mr. Carlock was in a brittle medical condition. He was dehydrated, hyperglycemic[,] and showed signs of hyperkalemia and acidosis. When someone is in such a brittle medical condition, they're placed in a hobble position or a position which may be called positional asphyxia. With a large man on their back, they are more likely to have a respiratory or cardiac arrest.

He died as a result of the combination of physical forces applied to his body while being face down in a hobble position and his underlying medical condition, which was those things I just stated.

Dep. p. 26. Dr. Hubler, later in the deposition, defined "brittle" as meaning Carlock was "more likely to have arrhythmias and difficulties due to his electrolyte abnormalities and renal failure." Dep., p. 111.

Dr. Hubler testified he was not there to render any opinion as to the appropriateness of the use of a taser. Dep., p. 86, 94. However, when defense counsel asked Dr. Hubler whether he was rendering any opinion regarding the appropriateness of the use or level of force used in restraining Carlock, Dr. Hubler stated he was offering such an opinion. Dep., p. 86. When asked about his training to render such an opinion, Dr. Hubler testified:

The American College of Emergency Physicians is frequently challenged with restraint of dangerous hostile, demented, delusional patients, and so our college has policies on the safe ways to restrain and it's part of my education and training.

Also, I was the EMS medical director for the largest pre-hospital system in the State of Illinois with 72 agencies and two thousand paramedics and developed ...


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