United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
SHARENNA CARTHANS, as Special Administrator of the Estate of JEREMY ISAIAH HILL, SR., deceased, Plaintiff,
CITY OF HARVEY, a municipal corporation, DENARD EAVES, THOMAS OSTROWSKI #977, JULIO ESPARZA #943, JAMES SINNOTT #960, SHANE GORDON #906, S. KELLEY #973, ROBERT ADAMS #690, CAMERON FORBES, STEVEN PRYOR #4876, JEFF CROCKER #602, LIONEL SMITH, STEVEN PORTER, FREDERICK WASHINGTON #940, LOUAY SALEH #1017, CHARLES COLE #1015, RICHARD JONES, LEMUEL ASKEW, ROY WELLS, LINDA SIMPKINS #703, JOHN DOE and MICHAEL DOE unidentified police officers, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHNSON COLEMAN United States District Judge
Sharenna Carthans, as Special Administrator of the Estate of
Jeremy Isaiah Hill, Sr., deceased, filed a seven-Count Second
Amended Complaint, alleging excessive force under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, wrongful death and survival, against the officer
defendants, the City of Harvey, and Acting Police Chief
Denard Eaves. The Second Amended Complaint also asserts a
claim of municipal liability against the City of Harvey. The
City of Harvey and police officers Eaves, Ostrowski, Esparza,
Sinnott, Gordon, Adams, Forbes, Porter, Pryor, Crocker,
Washington, Wells, Simpkins, and the Does (collectively
“the Harvey defendants”) move for summary
judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 on
all claims . Separately, the defendant officers Kelley,
Smith, Saleh, Cole, Askew, and Jones, also move for summary
judgment on all claims . For the reasons set forth
below, the Court grants in part and denies the Harvey
defendants' motion and grants the other officers'
following facts are undisputed. Sharenna Carthans brings this
law suit as the Special Administrator of the Estate of Jeremy
Isaiah Hill, Sr., who is deceased. Jeremy Hill was a 27 year
old African-American man, who was 5'6” and 232
pounds when he died. Defendants are the City of Harvey,
Acting Chief of the Harvey Police Department Denard Eaves,
and Harvey Police Officers Thomas Ostrowski, Julio Esparza,
James Sinnott, Shane Gordon, Steven Kelley, Robert Adams,
Cameron Forbes, Steven Pryor, Jeff Crocker, Lionel Smith,
Steven Porter, Frederick Washington, Louay Saleh, Charles
Cole, Richard Jones, Lemuel Askew, Roy Wells, and Linda
late afternoon daylight, on June 25, 2013, Detective Esparza
and Detective Ostrowski observed Hill driving his car at the
intersection of 152nd Street and Marshfield Avenue
in Harvey, Illinois. Hill disobeyed the stop sign and Esparza
and Ostrowski activated their vehicle lights. (Dkt. 154,
Plaintiff's Resp. to Def.'s L.R. 56.1(a) Statement of
Undisputed Material Facts, at ¶ 7). Hill pulled over
briefly, Esparza and Ostrowski exited their vehicle, and Hill
sped off. (Id. at ¶ 8). At some point, Hill
stopped his car and fled on foot with Esparza chasing after
him. (Id. at ¶ 9). The foot chase lasted a
couple of minutes and ended in a wooded area where Esparza
found Hill lying down. (Dkt. 153, Plaintiff's Resp. to
Def.'s L.R. 56.1(a) Statement of Undisputed Material
Facts, at ¶ 7). The Police Report indicated that Hill
fell several times during the foot chase. (Id. at
¶ 43). Ostrowski stayed in the vehicle during the foot
chase. (Id. at ¶ 12). It is undisputed that
Esparza did not draw his weapon, but plaintiff asserts that
he may have drawn his asp because there is medical evidence
that Hill may have been struck with a baton or similar
instrument. (Id. at ¶ 8). Both Esparza and Hill
were breathing hard and sweating. (Id. at ¶ 9).
Esparza and Ostrowski arrested Hill in the area of
147th and Spaulding at approximately 1735 hours
(5:35 p.m.) on June 25, 2013. (Dkt. 154 at ¶ 10).
Ostrowski waited for the tow truck to arrive at the scene for
Hill's car. (Dkt. 153 at ¶ 14).
Charles Cole and Officer Steven Kelley were on patrol in
their squad car on June 25, 2013, when they heard a dispatch
to respond to a chase that was in progress. (Id. at
¶¶ 11-12). When Cole and Kelley arrived at the
location of the dispatch call, Esparza was bringing Hill out
of a wooded area in handcuffs. (Id. at ¶ 14).
Hill was breathing heavily. (Id. at ¶ 15).
Neither Cole nor Kelley participated in the foot chase.
(Id. at ¶ 16). Esparza turned the handcuffed
Hill over to Cole, who took Hill by one of his arms.
(Id. at ¶¶ 17, 19). Kelley performed a pat
down search of Hill and did not recover any weapons or
contraband. (Id. at ¶ 24). Hill did not resist
while in Kelley and Cole's custody. (Id. at
¶ 27). Kelley and Cole had custody of Hill for
approximately three to five minutes before turning him over
to Officer Robert Adams and Officer Louay Saleh, and
returning to the Harvey Police Station. (Id. at
¶¶ 26, 28). Kelley and Cole returned to the Harvey
Police Station and went to the booking area, but did not
assist with taking Hill to booking. (Id. at ¶
Robert Adams and Officer Louay Saleh arrived at the scene
after Kelley and Cole. (Id. at ¶ 16). They were
responding to a call for an assist to transport an individual
in custody to the Harvey Police Department. (Id. at
¶ 61). Adams and Saleh took custody of Hill and placed
him in the back of their squad car for transport to the
Harvey Police Station. (Id. at ¶¶ 30-31).
Saleh searched Hill before placing him in the back of the
squad car. (Id. at ¶ 62). While en route to the
police station, Adams asked Hill for his information for an
inquiry in LEADs via the in-car computer. (Id. at
¶ 64). Hill was not aggressive or verbally abusive
during the ride to the station. (Id. at ¶ 66).
Adams and Saleh parked in the salley port of the Harvey
Police Station. (Id. at ¶ 33). Saleh struggled
with escorting Hill into the station. Hill was cooperative,
but fell to the ground. (Id. at ¶ 67).
booking area at the Harvey Police Station, Hill was seated
and handcuffed to a bench. (Id. at ¶ 36). Hill
had trouble breathing. (Id. at ¶ 37). At no
point while in booking did Hill become combative.
(Id. at ¶ 38). Kelley performed a custodial
search on Hill in booking, but did not find any drugs or
weapons. (Id. at ¶ 39). Kelley gave Hill water
two or three times while in booking. (Id. at ¶
40). Cole also searched Hill in booking. (Id. at
¶ 41). Saleh observed Kelley and Cole search Hill and
then went to the booking division desk to complete Hill's
arrest cards. (Id. at ¶ 69).
Officer Frederick Washington testified that Hill was sweating
and breathing heavily when the officers brought Hill into the
booking room, and that Officer Jones notified the
sergeant.(Dkt. 153 at ¶ 21). Washington also
testified that he checked on Hill every two or three minutes
to monitor his breathing because Hill said he could not
breathe. (Id. at ¶¶ 21-22). Jones also
testified that Hill was checked every two or three minutes
and he continued to breathe heavily. (Id. at ¶
23). Jones did not recall Hill requesting medical attention.
(Id. at ¶ 24). When Jones noticed Hill slumping
over, she notified the Sergeant so that an ambulance could be
called. (Id. at ¶ 25). Bud's Ambulance
arrived and attempted to resuscitate Hill, who was not
breathing. (Id.). Jones was present when the
ambulance arrived and watched the paramedics place paddles on
Hill's chest. (Id. at ¶ 26). She did not
see any evidence that he had been hit or struck on the chest.
(Id.). The EMT with Bud's Ambulance, Jennifer
McCann, also testified that she did not recall whether she
saw any evidence of physical trauma on Hill. (Id. at
¶ 65). McCann further testified that she could not opine
as to the reason why Hill's heart was
asystole. (Id. at ¶ 66). Kelley left
the booking room before the paramedics arrived, but Cole
remained in the booking area until paramedics arrived. (Dkt.
154 at ¶¶ 41, 42). Kelley and Cole went back on
patrol after the paramedics arrived. (Id. at ¶
Joshi examined Hill upon his arrival at hospital. He
testified that he received information from police and the
EMT that Hill's heart was asystole prior to Hill's
arrival at hospital. (Dkt. 153 at ¶ 67). Dr. Joshi also
testified that he did not notice any scratches, bruising,
bleeding or anything on Hill's chest near his heart and
that none of the abrasions he observed was life threatening.
(Id. at ¶ 68). Dr. Ponni Arunkumar performed
the initial autopsy and was unable to determine a cause of
death. (Id. at ¶ 69). She testified that she
could not rule out blunt force trauma as the cause of death.
(Id.). Dr. Arunkumar also testified that heart
arrhythmia can be caused by physical exertion, including a
recent police chase. (Id. at ¶ 71).
Denard Eaves has been the Acting Chief of the Harvey Police
Department since 2007. (Dkt. 153 at ¶ 57). He testified
that he was not on duty the night that Hill died.
(Id. at ¶ 58). He also testified that his
officers are not medically trained paramedics and that when a
death occurs in custody it is automatically investigated by
an independent agency. (Id. at ¶¶ 62, 63).
judgment is proper when “the admissible evidence shows
that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” McGreal v. Vill. of Orland Park, 850
F.3d 308, 312 (7th Cir. 2017), reh'g denied
(Mar. 27, 2017) (quoting Hanover Ins. Co. v. N. Bldg.
Co., 751 F.3d 788, 791 (7th Cir. 2014)); Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). In deciding whether summary judgment is appropriate,
this Court accepts the nonmoving party's evidence as true
and draw all ...