Chilcutt v. City of Waukegan, 19 CV 6732

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
Writing for the CourtManish S. Shah United States District Judge.
PartiesSARAH CHILCUTT, Plaintiff, v. THE CITY OF WAUKEGAN, et al., Defendants.
Docket Number19 CV 6732
Decision Date26 September 2022


THE CITY OF WAUKEGAN, et al., Defendants.

No. 19 CV 6732

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

September 26, 2022


Manish S. Shah United States District Judge.

Aaron Chilcutt's wife called officers of the Waukegan Police Department to the apartment that she shared with her husband, concerned that he had attempted to commit suicide. Officers sent Chilcutt to a hospital for evaluation. Two weeks later, Chilcutt's wife called police again-this time about physical abuse-and Chilcutt was arrested pursuant to a warrant. While in the WPD jail, Chilcutt killed himself using a blanket. Chilcutt's daughter, Sarah Chilcutt, sues police officers and the City of Waukegan for failing to provide adequate medical treatment or to protect Chilcutt from himself. Defendants move for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, their motion is granted in part and denied in part.

I. Legal Standards

Summary judgment is appropriate if the movants show that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the


nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986) (citation omitted). I construe all facts and draw all inferences in favor of plaintiff, the nonmoving party. Robertson v. Dep't of Health Servs., 949 F.3d 371, 377-78 (7th Cir. 2020) (citation omitted). I need only consider the cited materials, but I may consider “other materials in the record.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3).

II. Facts

A. Initial Call to Police and Hospitalization

On October 7, 2017, Mandy Tumis called the Waukegan Police Department, worried that her husband, Aaron Chilcutt, was suicidal. [54-1] ¶¶ 1-2.[1] Officers Loyda Santiago and Rick Tabisz responded. Id. At Tumis and Chilcutt's apartment, Tumis told the officers that Chilcutt had been drinking, was suicidal, and that he had taken pills-Warfarin, Tylenol, and perhaps aspirin. Id. ¶¶ 3-4.[2] Tumis also told Santiago that Chilcutt had physically assaulted her, said that he was “tired of living and over his ‘effing' life,” and had attempted suicide in the past. [54-1] ¶ 4; [68] ¶ 4.[3]


Chilcutt disputed his wife's account: he told Santiago that Tumis was lying, that he didn't take all of the pills that Tumis said he had taken, and that he wasn't suicidal. [54-1] ¶ 5.

Officer Santiago decided to transport Chilcutt to a hospital because Chilcutt had suicidal ideations and had taken pills in an attempt to commit suicide. [54-1] ¶¶ 6-7. Chilcutt agreed to go to the hospital but told officers that his wife was exaggerating about the pills he had taken. Id. ¶ 9. Chilcutt was transported in an ambulance, and Santiago drove Tumis separately. Id. ¶¶ 7, 10. In a conversation with a WPD trainee, Officer Tabisz said that officers took suicidal detainees seriously, even when they denied suicidal ideation, and that they would have Tumis come to the hospital to fill out an involuntary commitment form for Chilcutt. [68] ¶ 2; [56] at 08:19:15-08:20:25 (marked as Ex. 20).

Santiago encouraged Tumis to speak to Chilcutt's doctor, and to secure an order of protection against her husband. See [68] ¶ 5; [61] at 9:03:00-9:06:20. Santiago said that Chilcutt's aggressive behavior was a sign of psychosis, which Chilcutt's doctors needed to know about. See [68] ¶ 5; [61] at 9:04:00-9:06:20. Tumis said that she wanted to obtain an emergency order, but ultimately didn't complete the required paperwork. See [54-1] ¶ 11; [54-3] at 29-30; [59] at 14:24:00-14:27:00. In a domestic-violence victim statement, Tumis wrote that Chilcutt physically abused


her on a daily basis, and “threatens to kill himself and me weekly.” [54-1] ¶ 12. Tumis completed an involuntary commitment petition, seeking to have Chilcutt admitted to the hospital. Id. ¶ 13. Tumis wrote that Chilcutt had been suicidal on multiple occasions, was aggressive, and physically assaulted her. Id.

Tumis spoke to a doctor about Chilcutt, who was admitted to the hospital “for medical reasons and a psychiatric evaluation.” [54-1] ¶ 10. Officers Santiago and Tabisz were present when Chilcutt was involuntarily committed. [68] ¶ 3. According to a medical record, Chilcutt was drunk when he arrived at the hospital, didn't know why he was in the emergency department, and said that he had only taken two Warfarin and four Tylenol pills the previous night. [54-1] ¶ 14; [46-3] at 201. Chilcutt denied thoughts of suicide, and one of his doctors wrote that Chilcutt didn't show symptoms of depression and suicide. [54-1] ¶ 14; [46-3] at 201. But on another medical record, the same doctor wrote that Chilcutt needed to be involuntarily admitted, found that Chilcutt was in need of immediate hospitalization to prevent physical harm associated with mental illness, and noted that lab reports were inconsistent with Chilcutt's account of the pills he had taken. [54-4] at 2; see [54-1] ¶ 14. A second doctor wrote that Chilcutt's chief complaints were ingestion of Tylenol and Coumadin and potential suicide, that Chilcutt denied thoughts of suicide but had an elevated Tylenol level, and that in light of his suicidal ideation, “Psych” should clear him from the emergency department. [54-1] ¶ 15; [46-3] at 202; [68] ¶ 14; [54-20] at 3-4. Another medical record showed that Chilcutt's principal diagnosis was accidental poisoning by 4-aminophenol derivatives, with secondary diagnoses of (among other


things) accidental poisoning by anticoagulants and a history of self-harm. [54-1] ¶ 17; [46-3] at 203. Another doctor wrote that Chilcutt was at high risk due to overdoses and required further evaluation and treatment. [68] ¶ 15.

Chilcutt was discharged from the hospital on October 9. [54-1] ¶ 16. The doctor who completed the discharge paperwork diagnosed Chilcutt with (among other things) (1) Tylenol overdose, suicidal attempt ruled out, (2) history of suicidal attempts, and (3) history of depression and anxiety. Id. ¶ 16; [46-3] at 204. Chilcutt was repeatedly questioned about a possible suicide attempt, but denied any attempt to hurt himself. [54-1] ¶ 16; [46-3] at 204. Chilcutt said that he had taken extra doses of Tylenol to deal with pain from a cut on his finger. [54-1] ¶ 16; [46-3] at 204. Despite his denials, however, before October 7, Chilcutt had attempted to take his own life at least twice. [68] ¶ 16; [54-23] at 24-25. Chilcutt was sent home from the hospital and told to follow up with his primary care provider and to abstain from alcohol and cigarettes. [54-1] ¶ 18; [46-3] at 204.

On the same day that Chilcutt was discharged, Officer Maria Pantoja was assigned to investigate Tumis's domestic battery allegations. [54-1] ¶ 19. Pantoja spoke to Tumis, who said that she and Chilcutt had argued on the night of October 6 into the morning of October 7, and that Chilcutt had taken pills and overdosed. Id. ¶ 20. Tumis described the physical abuse that she suffered from her husband during that incident, but didn't tell Officer Pantoja that Chilcutt had been suicidal. Id. ¶¶ 20, 22. Tumis didn't want to press charges against Chilcutt, and didn't obtain an order of protection because she was concerned that it would affect her divorce process. Id. ¶ 20.


On October 13, Pantoja met with a state's attorney, who approved charges against Chilcutt for aggravated domestic battery and two counts of domestic battery. Id. ¶ 21. Pantoja obtained a warrant for Chilcutt's arrest. Id. At the time Pantoja sought the warrant, she knew that Chilcutt had been hospitalized on October 7. Id. ¶ 23.[4]

B. Chilcutt's Arrest and Suicide

At some point after he was released from the hospital, Chilcutt returned to the apartment that he shared with Tumis. [54-1] ¶ 26. Tumis said that she had no choice but to allow Chilcutt to return, because if she refused he would have killed her. Id.

On October 21, Tumis and her husband had another fight. [54-1] ¶ 27. According to Tumis, Chilcutt had been drinking for a day and a half, and would not let Tumis go to sleep or to the bathroom alone. Id. Chilcutt passed out, and Tumis drove to a nearby gas station and called the police. Id. ¶ 28. She told the dispatcher that there was a warrant for Chilcutt's arrest, and that she needed officers to arrest her husband because Tumis wasn't safe. Id. ¶ 29.


Officers Tabisz, Santiago, and Kelly Gordon met Tumis at the gas station. [541] ¶¶ 29-31. At the time, both Santiago and Tabisz remembered Chilcutt's October 7 hospitalization, but Gordon didn't learn about that incident until after October 21. [54-1] ¶ 46; [68] ¶ 6. Tumis gave the officers the keys to her apartment. [54-1] ¶ 30. Tumis said that she and Chilcutt had been drinking and arguing, but didn't tell officers anything about Chilcutt's mental health. Id. ¶¶ 32, 36. Officer Tabisz didn't ask Tumis if Chilcutt was suicidal or if he had taken any pills, but did remind Tumis that Chilcutt had been involuntarily committed. Id. ¶ 32; [56] at 14:40:35-14:40:55 (marked as Ex. 9). Tumis told Santiago that Chilcutt was drunk, that she was scared, and that the only reason she had called for help was because Chilcutt was threatening to kill her. [54-1] ¶ 33; [46-2] at 129-30.[5] Tumis later said that she didn't call the police because Chilcutt was suicidal, but rather because she wanted to save her own life and couldn't handle the abuse any longer. [46-3] at 181, Dep. at 37-38; [54-1] ¶ 30.

The officers decided to arrest Chilcutt pursuant to the warrant. [54-1] ¶ 34; [68] ¶ 1. They entered Chilcutt and Tumis's apartment, and found Chilcutt on a couch. [54-1] ¶¶ 35, 52. The officers told him that they had a warrant for his arrest, and Chilcutt responded that nothing had happened between him and Tumis. Id. ¶¶ 35, 51. Chilcutt...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT