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Lipsey v. United States

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

December 12, 2016

JOHN LIPSEY, Individually and as father and next friend of J.L., a disabled minor, Plaintiffs,


          James E. Shadid Chief United States District Judge

         The Kankakee County Defendants have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion [234] is GRANTED.


         Wenona White was pregnant and in the last trimester of her pregnancy when she was taken into federal custody. J.L. is the child that White delivered while in custody, and John Lipsey is J.L.'s father. The relevant allegations in Plaintiffs' Amended Complaint arise out of White's time at the Jerome Combs Detention Center (“JCDC”) between September 11, 2009, and September 30, 2009. The JCDC is owned, operated, and managed by Defendant Kankakee County. Defendant Timothy Bukowski (“Bukowski”) is the Sheriff of Kankakee County.

         During the summer of 2009, White and others were wanted on federal bank fraud charges. At that time, White was pregnant with her tenth child. A criminal complaint was filed against White in the Eastern District of Virginia on June 8, 2009, and White was to self-surrender at the federal courthouse in Hammond, Indiana, on July 6, 2009. Needless to say, she did not surrender as expected.

         On September 10, 2009, White was located, taken into custody, and place overnight at the St. Joseph County Jail in Indiana. The next day, she was transported by the United States Marshall Service (“USMS”) to the federal courthouse in Hammond for a court appearance. The Court ordered White remanded to the custody of the USMS and transported to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. At that time, she was approximately 35 weeks pregnant, so the USMS arranged for White to be housed at the JCDC pursuant to a contract fo the safekeeping and care of federal detainees, with the expectation that she would remain there until after she gave birth to her child.

         While in the custody of the USMS on September 11, 2009, White did not have any symptoms of illness or injury, and there was no indication that she was in immediate need of medical treatment. When deposed, White further indicated that she had had three prenatal visits with a midwife in March, April, and June 2009, but had received no prenatal care after June 2009 because she knew that she was wanted by the police.

         A summary of the relevant chronology is as follows:

September 11, 2009 - White was transferred from the courthouse in Hammond to JCDC. The JCDC intake officer obtained information from White, completed an intake form noting that White's due date was October 18 and that her last medical exam was in August, and that she took prenatal vitamins. White claims that she does not recall whether she told the intake officer about any problems she was having with her pregnancy. White Dep. 77. White admits she did not inform the intake officer that with her ninth pregnancy, she had placenta previa. White Dep. 78.
September 12, 2009 - Nurse Sangster saw White in her housing unit. White said her due date was October 18, 2009, and that she was not having any problems with her pregnancy. Sangster Dep. 15, 23-27.
September 16, 2009 - JCDC nurse Heather Gill ("Gill") saw White in the JCDC clinic. Gill's note states, "Inmate Seen in Clinic. Has had regular check ups with OB/GYN in Indiana. States this will be her 10th child. Denies any problems with pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins ordered. Will try to schedule apt with Dr. Mehta or Haile." White Dep. Ex. 15. White admits that she told a female nurse that she didn't have any problems with her tenth pregnancy. White Dep. 80.
September 17, 2009 - JCDC officials had a routine meeting with medical staff. White's pregnancy was discussed. JCDC Chief of Corrections Michael Downey (“Downey”) states that he was concerned about White's pregnancy and their difficulty scheduling White with an obstetrician. The notes from the meeting reflect that Dr. Haile refused to take White as a patient that late in her pregnancy. Downey stated at the meeting that he had contacted the USMS and asked that White be transferred to a different facility where obstetrical care might be more accessible. (Downey does not remember who he talked to, and USMS employees deny having received such a call.) The meeting notes reflect that "the feds" told Downey it was impossible to move White at that time. Follow-up notes indicate that Downey would continue to work on a transfer, an emergency delivery kit would be ordered, and the health care staff would monitor White very closely.
September 18, 2009 - JCDC physician's assistant Timothy Menard ("Menard") attempted to have White come to the health care unit. A log note written by Menard states, "[White] refused to be seen this a.m. per health care. She did sign a refusal form and was informed of the risks to her and her unborn child. She was informed that with [sic] being able to do weekly Gyne. exams that there is no way to determine cervical dilation or position of the fetus." White Dep. Ex. 16. The treatment refusal form is found at White Deposition Exhibit 1. White admits she signed the refusal form. The record is devoid of any documentation indicating that White ever requested medical attention from anyone at the JDRC either before or after she refused to be seen on September 18, 2009.
September 21, 2009 -Nurse Gill wrote a log note stating that Westwood OB called back, and Dr. Lewicky would see White "next Tuesday." S ...

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