United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
Richard Mills Richard Mills United States District Judge.
a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
alleges the Defendants used excessive force in arresting her.
before the Court is the Defendants' Motion for Summary
Yvonkia Stewart filed a Pro Se Complaint asserting that
Defendants Chance Warnisher and Amy Maddox, acting in their
official capacities as Springfield Police Officers, used
excessive force when arresting the Plaintiff for trespassing
at the Memorial Medical Center's emergency room on
February 24, 2014. She also alleges claims for false arrest
and a resulting seizure while in the sheriff's custody.
The Plaintiff contends the Defendants' actions violated
her constitutional rights and caused her physical injury and
Defendants, Officers Warnisher and Maddox, are Springfield
Police Officers who at all relevant times were acting within
the scope of their authority as officers and acting under
color of state law. The Plaintiff claims to experience
“recurrent simple partial seizures.” The
“seizure disorder” is apparently self-diagnosed
by the Plaintiff, as no medical doctor or other medical
authority has diagnosed the Plaintiff as subject to seizures.
The Plaintiff testified that no local medical provider will
accept her as a patient. She maintains the local medical
community has conspired to cover up her seizure disorder.
Plaintiff claims her seizures are due to outside stimuli and
occur every time she experiences any such stimulus. She
alleges the stimuli which trigger seizures include the
following: (1) walking on concrete surfaces; (2) pulling,
gripping or turning things; (3) contact by any object with
the back of her legs or knees; (4) persons or things that
“tap” her; (5) hugging her tightly; (6) flash
photography; (7) blood pressure cuffs on either arm; (8)
pushing her elbows down; (9) motion, provocative movement,
jerks, bumps; (10) the metal of seat belts; and (11) the
metal of scales in a doctor's office. The Plaintiff
stated that the metal of a car or bicycle do not trigger
seizures because the rubber tires insulate the metal from the
ground. During these seizures, the Plaintiff claims to have
no control over her limbs and may strike nearby persons or
February 24, 2014, the Plaintiff was transported to the
Memorial Medical Center emergency room after exhibiting
seizure symptoms at a local doctor's office. While there,
the Plaintiff was seen by a doctor and several nurses. After
being seen by a second doctor, the Plaintiff was determined
to be worthy of discharge from the hospital by both
physicians who had seen her. Thereafter, hospital personnel
attempted to issue discharge papers but the Plaintiff refused
to accept the papers because she wanted to see another
physician. The Plaintiff refused to leave the examining room
at the hospital.
Plaintiff believed that, because all the medical
professionals she had seen refused to diagnose her seizure
disorder, her visit to the emergency room on this day was an
opportunity to be seen by a neurologist or epileptologist in
order to diagnose her condition. When told that no
neurologist or epileptologist was going to see her that day,
the Plaintiff called 911.
the Plaintiff refused to leave the examining room at the
hospital, the emergency room staff called the hospital's
security department as well as the Springfield Police
Department. The Defendant Officers responded to the call.
Joseph Bracco was one of the Memorial security officers who
responded. When Bracco told the Plaintiff she was required to
leave the hospital, the Plaintiff continued to refuse. The
Defendants arrived and spoke with hospital personnel,
including the doctors and nurses who had examined the
Plaintiff, and the hospital security officers. Nurse Saxsma
advised the Defendants that, although the Plaintiff claimed
to have a seizure disorder, every neurologist in town who had
seen her stated there were no neurological issues with the
Plaintiff and they expressed doubts as to whether her
seizures were genuine. Saxsma also told the Defendants that
Plaintiff had been asked to leave but that she refused to do
the Defendant Officers spoke to hospital personnel, Maddox
spoke with the Plaintiff and advised her that she needed to
leave the hospital. Officer Maddox spoke to the Plaintiff in
a calm and appropriate manner. The Plaintiff maintained her
uncooperative behavior and continued to refuse to leave the
hospital. Officer Warnisher then spoke with the Plaintiff but
she remained uncooperative. Warnisher spoke to the Plaintiff
in a calm and appropriate manner. When the Defendant Officers
directed her to leave, the Plaintiff repeated her demand to
see a neurologist or epileptologist.
Plaintiff continued to refuse to leave until the Defendants
were required to physically remove her from the premises.
Joseph Bracco retrieved a wheelchair for the Plaintiff but
the Plaintiff refused to sit in it. While the Plaintiff was
being removed from the emergency department, as they passed
through the waiting room she became angry and began kicking
her legs and refusing to walk on her own, which resulted in
the Defendant Officers being required to carry her out. While
carrying the Plaintiff, the Defendants continued to try to
calm the Plaintiff but were unsuccessful in calming her. The
Plaintiff was violently resisting while the officers carried
her, as each officer held one of the Plaintiff's
shoulders. Bracco attempted to help carry the Plaintiff out
by holding onto and carrying her legs but the Plaintiff
continued to struggle so vigorously that she pulled out of
they arrived at the Defendants' squad car, the Plaintiff
refused to get into it. The Defendants had to forcibly guide
the Plaintiff's head into the car. Attending Nurse Saxsma
did not observe the Officers use a level of force in excess
of that which was necessary to help he Plaintiff leave the
hospital. Bracco did not observe any force that was
unreasonable given the Plaintiff's continued resistance.
Both Defendants state they did not use greater force than ...