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Bitautas v. Zaruba

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

December 14, 2016

ANNA BITAUTAS, Plaintiff,
v.
DuPAGE COUNTY SHERIFF JOHN ZARUBA, DuPAGE COUNTY, OFFICER JASPER, OFFICER COGDELL, JANE DOE OFFICERS and NURSE JANE DOE, Defendants.

          Harry D. Leinenweber Judge

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Harry D. Leinenweber, Judge

         Before the Court is Defendant John E. Zaruba's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) [ECF No. 14]. For the reasons stated herein, the Motion is denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The following facts are contained in the Complaint and are presumed true for purposes of deciding the Motion to Dismiss. See, Forrest v. Universal Sav. Bank, F.A., 507 F.3d 540, 542 (7th Cir. 2007).

         Plaintiff Anna Bitautas (“Bitautas” or “Plaintiff”) was arrested by a DuPage County Deputy Sheriff and taken to the DuPage County Jail on (or about) the evening of September 3, 2016. Plaintiff alleges that as reprisal for her complaining about being handled roughly during processing at the jail, she was designated to be a suicide risk by an Officer Cogdell and a Nurse Jane Doe. Officer Cogdell, Nurse Jane Doe, an Officer Jasper and four Jane Doe Officers - all Defendants in this lawsuit - then approached Plaintiff with scissors and threatened to cut off her clothes. “To preserve her clothes, ” Plaintiff removed them. She was then placed naked in a freezing cell with a “visibly filthy” blanket.

         Plaintiff further alleges that as a consequence of a recent miscarriage, she began to bleed profusely while in the cell. Despite “loudly complain[ing]” that she needed a tampon, Plaintiff was not provided with any such means to stop the bleeding. Instead, she was taunted by Officer Cogdell, Officer Jasper, and Nurse Jane Doe for her miscarriage.

         Neither was the blood cleaned up at Plaintiff's repeated request. As result, Plaintiff's blood pooled on the floor, and she slipped on it, injuring her head and shoulder. Sometime later, a male officer observed Plaintiff through the window of her cell and said that she needed medical attention. Nurse Jane Doe then examined Plaintiff but did not provide treatment for her head and shoulder injury. She also did not provide adequate feminine hygiene products to stop Plaintiff's bleeding. Plaintiff was left naked in the cell in full view of passing male personnel until she was released on bond around 7:45 a.m. the next morning.

         This lawsuit arises from the above alleged incidents. In her Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges five causes of action. Against Officer Cogdell, Officer Jasper, the Jane Doe Officers, and Nurse Jane Doe (collectively, the “Individual Defendants”), Plaintiff asserts two § 1983 claims. She also asserts an indemnification claim against DuPage County. Finally, she brings two state-law claims against DuPage County Sheriff John Zaruba (“the Sheriff”), which are the subject of this Motion to Dismiss.

         Both claims against the Sheriff are brought under the principle of respondeat superior. Count III is a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, which states that the Individual Defendants, who are the Sheriff's employees, acted with “malice, willfulness, and deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's rights” in their treatment of her during the night at the jail. Count IV is a negligence claim arising from the Individual Defendants' failure to clean the blood on the floor, thereby causing Plaintiff to slip and injure herself. Both counts are made against the Sheriff in his official capacity.

         II. ANALYSIS

         The Sheriff seeks to dismiss both causes of action in reliance on various provisions of the Illinois Tort Immunity Act. For the reasons discussed below, the Court finds that the Sheriff is not entitled to immunity under any of the provisions cited.

         A. Count III: Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

         To defeat the first cause of action against him, the Sheriff cites 745 ILCS 10/2-204. This provision states that, “Except as otherwise provided by statute, a public employee, as such and acting within the scope of his employment, is not liable for an injury caused by the act or omission of another person.” Plaintiff counters that Section 10/2-204 only shields public employees from ...


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