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McKinney v. Franklin County

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 30, 2019

MARY MCKINNEY, AS ADMINSITRATOR FOR THE ESTATE OF R.E., DECEASED, Plaintiff,
v.
FRANKLIN COUNTY, ILLINOIS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          YANDLE, DISTRICT JUDGE:

         Tragically, on September 23, 2014, 12 year old R.E. attempted suicide while he was being detained at the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center. He died the same day. Plaintiff Mary McKinney, Administrator of R.E.'s Estate filed this action against Franklin County, Illinois and various individuals, asserting violations of 42 U.S.C § 1983 and state law claims for wrongful death, respondeat superior, and indemnification.

         This matter is now before the Court for consideration of the motions for summary judgment filed by Defendants Michael Abell, Anthony Bechelli, Shawn Freeman, Daniel Lynch, Alicia Mendoza, Diane Sanders, Alan Stewart, Samantha Thomas, and Stephanie Upchurch (the "Center Defendants") (Doc. 145) and Defendants Franklin County and Randall Crocker (Doc. 151). Plaintiff filed Responses (Docs. 182 and 185).

         Plaintiff states the following causes of action in the Second Amended Complaint:

Count I: Fourteenth Amendment deliberate indifference claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Franklin County, Crocker, Abell (official and individual capacities), Freeman (official and individual capacities), Sanders (official and individual capacities), Thomas (official and individual capacities), Lynch, Mendoza, Bechelli, Upchurch and Stewart;
Count II: Fourteenth Amendment deliberate indifference claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant CHC and/or Correct Care;
Count III: Fourteenth Amendment deliberate indifference claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant Little;
Count IV: Fourteenth Amendment deliberate indifference claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant Vipin Shah, M.D[1].; and
Count V: claim under the Illinois Wrongful Death Act, 740 ILCS 180/1.

         Defendants seek summary judgment on Counts I and V. For the following reasons, Defendants' motions are GRANTED.

         Factual Background

         Construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, the evidence and reasonable inferences establish the following facts relevant to the pending summary judgment motions:

         Management of the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center

         In 2006, Franklin County, Illinois and the Chief Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit executed a “Memorandum of Understanding Between the Chief Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit and the Franklin County Board and Other Franklin County Agencies” (the “Memorandum”) for the management of the Franklin County Juvenile Detention Center (the "Center"). (Doc. 146-1). The Franklin County Board approved the Memorandum on May 26, 2006 (Doc. 182-2, at pp. 33-35; Doc. 182-7, at pp. 3-4), and the Memorandum was executed by the Franklin County Board Chairman, the State's Attorney for Franklin County, and the Office of the Chief Judge of the Second Judicial Circuit (Doc. 146-1, p. 7).

         The Memorandum sets forth the respective responsibilities of Franklin County and the Second Judicial Circuit with respect to the ownership, maintenance and operation of the Center (Doc. 182-2, at pp. 41-42). The Second Judicial Circuit's responsibilities include:

• Taking all responsible steps, based upon legal authority, to operate the Juvenile Detention Center in accordance with state law, rules and regulations. If at any time the Center was not in compliance, the County shall be immediately notified of the non-compliance;
• Providing for the overall direction of programs and services at the Juvenile Detention Center and under the authority of the Circuit's Chief Judge;
• Designating the Director of Court Services to provide general supervision of the Center and the Superintendent. Shall meet and confer with appropriate representatives of the County Board about the number and classification of staff necessary to operate the Center;
• Developing written policies and procedures supportive of meeting the goals and objective established by the Franklin County Board and the Chief Judge of the Circuit;
• Directing, administering, managing and supervising the day to day activities of the Juvenile Detention Center in order to assure that it meets the established standards of operations and programs for a juvenile detention center;
• Providing for complete, adequate and necessary training of all persons employed to perform services at the Center.

         Franklin County's responsibilities include:

• Establishing an annual budget for the operation of the Center after first conferring with the Chief Judge and/or Director of Court Services. The County reserved the right to declare final figures for the annual budget;
• With respect to support service staff only, after conferring with the Director of Court Services, hiring individuals and/or contract independently for necessary support services/staff for the efficient operation of the Center;
• Arranging for liability insurance for the Center and on persons employed to provide juvenile detention services;
• Providing appropriate salaries and fringe benefits to Detention Center staff. The number of persons employed, their salaries and fringe benefits, shall be set only after appropriate meetings between the Chief Judge of the Circuit, Director of Court Services, and appropriate County Board members.
• Placing on the County's roles, the individuals selected by the Director of Court Services and the Superintendent as persons hired to perform the necessary services and duties in the Juvenile Detention Center.

(Doc. 146-1).

         More specifically, Franklin County is reimbursed for the salaries paid to Center employees (Doc. 146-3, at p. 35). The Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts ("AOIC") processes the reimbursements, which are then paid for by the Probation Services Division with funds from the Illinois Supreme Court. Id. at pp. 37-38. Franklin County maintains liability insurance covering its employees and agents (Doc. 182-4, at pp. 240-241).

         At all relevant times, Michael Abell was the Director of Court Services for the Second Judicial Circuit (Doc. 146-3, at p. 8). The Chief Judge delegated to Abell the overall responsibility for the management of the Center and control of the work of subordinate personnel there. Id. at pp. 20, 169-170; Doc. 146-1. Abell was directly accountable to the Chief Judge (Doc. 146-3, at pp. 8, 20, 169-170). Abell's duties and responsibilities included: general supervision of the Center and its Superintendent; meeting and conferring with appropriate representatives of the County Board about the number and classification of staff necessary to operate the Center; evaluating the performance of the Superintendent; conferring with Franklin County on numerous issues; and developing written policies and procedures to support the goals and objectives established by Franklin County and the Chief Judge of the Circuit (Doc. 146-1).

         Freeman was hired as the Superintendent of the Center and accepted employment with Franklin County (Doc. 146-5, at p. 12; Doc. 182-2, at pp. 93-94; Doc. 182-12). As Superintendent, Freeman represented the Second Judicial Circuit and Franklin County in matters related to the Center (Doc. 182-2, at pp. 93-94; Doc. 182-12). His duties and responsibilities included maintaining and implementing the Center's Policy and Procedure Manual (Doc. 146-3, at p. 53) and the policies and procedures contained in the Security Manual (Doc. 146-5, at pp. 145-146).

         Diane Sanders was hired as Assistant Superintendent of the Center and accepted employment with Franklin County (Doc. 182-25; Doc. 182-25, at p. 39; Doc. 182-26). Sanders' job duties included serving as an assistant to the Superintendent and acting as Superintendent during Freeman's extended absences (Doc. 182-26).

         Jail Policies, Procedures, and Practices

         The Center's Policy Manual provides that “all policies and procedures shall, when appropriate, be compatible with the policies of the Second Judicial Circuit and the Franklin County Board” (Doc. 182-3, at pp. 5344-5345). Franklin County's ...


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