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Warren v. Dart

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

October 30, 2013

GABRIELLE WARREN by her Next Friend DARLENE WARREN and DARLENE WARREN, as Next Friend and Special Administrator of JEANNETTA McDOWELL, deceased, Plaintiffs,
v.
SHERIFF OF COOK COUNTY THOMAS DART, in his official and individual capacity, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER

YOUNG B. KIM, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiffs allege in this action that Defendants' deliberate indifference to the medical needs of Jeannetta McDowell resulted in her death while she was a pretrial detainee at the Cook County Jail. Before the court is Plaintiffs' Amended Motion to Compel Production of a 30(b)(6) witness to testify about, among other topics, any "countermeasures, reviews, responses, and/or investigations" undertaken by Cermak Health Services ("Cermak") as a result of McDowell's death. Defendant Cook County ("County") argues that testimony about Cermak's investigation is privileged and not subject to disclosure pursuant to the Illinois Medical Studies Act ("IMSA"), 735 ILCS § 8/8-2101. For the following reasons, the motion is denied as to this topic:

Background

McDowell was arrested for retail theft on June 6, 2008. (R. 83, Ans. to Second Amend. Compl. at ¶ 14.) She was detained by the Cook County Sheriff's Office and housed in Division Three of the Cook County Jail. (Id. at ¶¶ 15, 18.) Early on June 9, 2008, she was found dead in her cell. (Id. at ¶ 19.) Plaintiffs allege that McDowell died of bronchial asthma, a condition that would have been treatable had Defendants given her access to medical treatment. (R. 60, Second Amend. Compl. at ¶ 24.)

Gabrielle Warren (McDowell's daughter), by her next friend Darlene Warren, and Darlene Warren, as Next Friend and Special Administrator of McDowell, filed this lawsuit against Cook County, Sheriff Thomas Dart, several correctional officers and supervisory correctional officers who were employed at the Cook County Jail during the relevant time period, and several Cermak nurses. Plaintiffs bring this suit pursuant to the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on the basis that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to McDowell's medical needs, that their indifference was the result of customs, policies, and practices of disregarding the serious medical needs of detainees, and that McDowell died as a result. Plaintiffs further allege violations of Illinois law for wrongful death, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, respondeat superior, indemnification, and a claim for survival.

Plaintiffs served a notice on Cermak to produce a Rule 30(b)(6) deponent to testify about a number of topics, including, as relevant here, Topic 13:

Descriptions of all countermeasures, reviews, responses, and/or investigations Cermak undertook as a result of the death of Ms. McDowell. As to each such undertaking, provide the following information:
a. Identity of each agent or representative of Cermak who participated in the investigation;
b. Date, location, and description of the investigation;
c. Identity of all participants in the undertaking and describe their respective roles in the undertaking;
d. All information Cermak learned in the investigation;
e. Description of any documents involved in the undertaking or reviewed as part of the investigation; and
f. All remedies, responses, discipline, or actions taken as a result of the undertaking.

Cermak conducted an investigation of McDowell's death for the purpose of creating a Mortality Review Report for Patient Safety and Quality Improvement ("Report"). The County argues that this investigation and Report, while responsive to Topic 13, are protected from disclosure by the peer review privilege codified under IMSA. Plaintiffs seek to compel ...


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