Slabon v. Sanchez, Case No. 15-cv-08965

CourtUnited States District Courts. 7th Circuit. United States District Court (Northern District of Illinois)
Writing for the CourtHon. Steven C. Seeger
PartiesANDREW SLABON, Plaintiff, v. ANGELO R. SANCHEZ, et al., Defendants.
Decision Date28 September 2020
Docket NumberCase No. 15-cv-08965

ANGELO R. SANCHEZ, et al., Defendants.

Case No. 15-cv-08965


September 28, 2020

Hon. Steven C. Seeger


Plaintiff Andrew Slabon called 911 when he discovered that his mother had passed away in his Chicago home. That call started a chain of events that culminated in his criminal conviction for kicking a nurse in the emergency room of a local hospital. Slabon eventually sued the City of Chicago and the hospital, plus a large collection of police officers, paramedics, and medical personnel, complaining about how he was treated along the way. He alleges that he was handcuffed, hospitalized, drugged, interrogated, and incarcerated for no reason.

Several Defendants moved to dismiss the Sixth Amended Complaint. For the reasons stated below, the motion to dismiss by the City of Chicago and its employees (the "City Defendants") is granted in part and denied in part. The motion to dismiss by the hospital, Defendant Presence Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, is granted in part and denied in part. The Court grants Defendant David DiLoreto's motion to dismiss.


At the motion to dismiss stage, the Court must accept the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true. See Lett v. City of Chicago, 946 F.3d 398, 399 (7th Cir. 2020). But "well-

Page 2

pleaded" is an important limitation. Id. The Court does not need to accept conclusions, boilerplate, buzzwords, or legalese. Mouthing the magic words adds air, but no weight.

Before summarizing the allegations, the reader should know that the storytelling in the complaint is a bit out of the ordinary. The complaint does not merely tell Slabon's side of the story. That is, the complaint does not merely say what happened, from his perspective. Instead, the complaint also summarizes evidence gathered in discovery so far - such as testimony from the Defendant police officers - and then offers Slabon's response. The complaint is part affirmative story-telling, and part response to the Defendants. And the complaint is less linear than one might hope, so it can be a challenge to wade through. Still, the Court reads the complaint in the light most favorable to Slabon, both because of the procedural posture (on a motion to dismiss) and because he is a pro se litigant.

On January 27, 2014, Plaintiff Andrew Slabon made a terrible discovery: he found his mother deceased in his Chicago home. See Sixth Am. Cplt. ¶ 12 (Dckt. No. 247). He called 911. Id. Officers from the Chicago Police Department arrived on the scene, including Defendants Sanchez and Mackin. Id. at ¶¶ 13-14. That's when things went from bad to worse.

Officers Sanchez and Mackin entered the home - the complaint alleges that they entered "without permission" (despite a 911 call about a death). Id. at ¶ 13. "Shortly after" they arrived, the officers detained Slabon and put him in handcuffs "without cause or justification." Id. The officers ordered Slabon to be taken to the hospital by ambulance, even though he was not injured. Id. at ¶¶ 14-15. They did so "without medical justification of any kind and not so much as consulting with [a] medical professional already on scene." Id. at ¶ 15.

The complaint then responds to the officers' side of the story. The officers testified that Slabon "did not want to live anymore and threatened to kill himself." Id. at ¶ 17. But the

Page 3

complaint undercuts the notion that Slabon was suicidal. The report from Officer Sanchez never mentioned that Slabon was suicidal (id. at ¶ 18), and neither did the report from the Chicago Fire Department (id. at ¶ 20). Fire and medical personnel were on scene, and they did not claim that Slabon was suicidal. Id. at ¶ 19. Defendant Barrick, a doctor at the Hospital, did not recall Slabon being suicidal, either. Id. at ¶ 24.

The gist appears to be that there was no reason to involuntarily commit Slabon because he wasn't suicidal. Even so, the Fire Department's records don't exactly exonerate Slabon. "Records show CFD [Chicago Fire Department] made a request for CPD [Chicago Police Department] assistance for an 'unruly person.'" Id. at ¶ 21. At his eventual criminal trial (more on that later), the prosecutor described Slabon as "so aggressive" and "so uncontrollable" that the paramedics were forced to call the police to restrain him.1 See Dckt. No. 235-6, at 12 of 110 (citing the trial transcript).

According to Slabon, the officers gave false reasons for shipping him to the hospital. Id. at ¶¶ 29-34. Defendants Bishop and Strong from the Chicago Fire Department "conspired with CPD" by filing a false report stating that Slabon had a spine issue. Id. at ¶ 29.

Off to the hospital Slabon went. Slabon "was taken from his home and forcibly placed into [an] emergency CFD vehicle ambulance." Id. at ¶ 28. The complaint alleges that the officers ran afoul of the Chicago Police Department's procedures for how to handle a person needing involuntary mental health treatment. Id. at ¶¶ 25-27.

Page 4

The ambulance took Slabon to the emergency room of Defendant Presence Our Lady of the Resurrection Hospital ("the Hospital"), where he was "involuntarily admitted." Id. at ¶ 31. Our Lady of the Resurrection is "not a designated mental health intake facility." Id.

Once admitted, Slabon met with Dr. Barrick. Id. at ¶ 32. As Slabon tells it, Dr. Barrick is a medical doctor, but he is not a psychologist. Id. Slabon did not receive a psychological exam. Id. at ¶ 33.

Slabon refused medical treatment, telling Dr. Barrick that there was "no medical emergency" and that "he was not injured in any way." Id. at ¶ 35. According to the complaint, the paramedics testified that Slabon was responsive and answered their questions. Id. at ¶ 34. Slabon asked to be released and repeatedly told the doctor, "I don't want to be here." Id. He was ignored. Id.

Instead of releasing him, the Hospital transferred Slabon to a different room of the ER, apparently still in handcuffs. Id. at ¶ 36. The handcuffs were removed in the second room, but he wasn't free for long. Id. Slabon was "handcuffed to a gurney." Id. Defendant Benjamin, a nurse, then entered the room and announced that Slabon needed to be "fully restrained." Id.

It became rough and tumble. Two officers, the nurse, and a security guard physically restrained him. Defendants Cummens (Chicago Police Department), Adamski (same), and Nurse Benjamin - plus an unknown security guard - grabbed Slabon by the ankles. Id. at ¶ 37. Defendant Cummens "placed his left forearm on Plaintiff[']s throat preventing Plaintiff from breathing." Id.

After Slabon was "fully restrained" physically, he was restrained chemically, too. Id. at ¶ 38. Defendant Benjamin injected him with drugs - twice - within five minutes. Id. They worked. Slabon fell unconscious. Id.

Page 5

The complaint doesn't offer a lot of details about what precipitated the scuffle or the restraints. But the exhibits to the complaint fill in the gaps.2 Apparently, Slabon was "aggressive" when he arrived at the hospital, and "kicked a nurse [Benjamin] into the wall." See Our Lady of the Resurrection Hospital Records, at 2 of 14 (Dckt. No. 235-17). The police report explains that when Nurse Benjamin attempted to put an oxygen mask on Slabon, he "pivoted his lower body" toward her and "kicked [her] in the chest pushing her back into a wall and causing an oxygen tank to fall off the wall onto the floor." See Chicago Police Dep't Incident Rep., at 1-2 (Dckt. No. 235-14).

When Slabon came to, he realized that someone had removed his clothes and inserted a catheter. See Sixth Am. Cplt. ¶ 39 (Dckt. No. 247). He saw that Officer Cummens "was holding in his hand a tube that lead [sic] into Plaintiff[']s bladder." Id. at ¶ 40. Cummens began "tugging and pulling this tube deliberately causing excruciating pain and suffering." Id. As he tugged and pulled, Cummens asked Slabon, "[H]ow does this feel tough guy[?]" Id. Defendant Adamski was in the room, too, but did nothing. Id. at ¶ 41.

Slabon "began screaming in pain," alerting ER staff. Id. at ¶ 42. Nurse Benjamin returned to the room, and someone (apparently Slabon, but the complaint is ambiguous) requested security. Id. But Benjamin refused the request for security and "denied the attack ever occurred." Id. at ¶ 43.

Page 6

Meanwhile, Slabon continually requested his clothes, but he was ignored. Id. at ¶ 44. He was discharged from Our Lady of the Resurrection into the "record freezing temperature" in just a "paper thin hospital gown." Id. at ¶ 45. Nurse Benjamin watched the discharge, but did nothing. Id. at ¶ 46.

Slabon was not simply released into society on a cold January night, wearing nothing but a hospital gown. He remained in custody. Slabon was arrested and charged ("falsely") with attacking Nurse Benjamin. Id. at ¶ 47; see also id. at ¶¶ 48-52 (alleging that Benjamin wasn't injured, and giving a number of reasons why Slabon didn't assault her).

Instead of going home, Slabon was shipped to a police station a few miles away. Id. at ¶ 56. It was January in Chicago, so it was "subzero weather." Id. He lacked clothes while en route, except for the gown, despite repeated requests. Id. at ¶ 57. At the station, the police placed Slabon in an uncomfortable holding cell, hungry and cold. Id. at ¶ 58. Slabon was "not given any food or means . . . to protect himself from cold temperatures." Id.

He didn't stay there long. Slabon was transferred to another police facility (about 6 miles away) "in the middle of the night," once again clad only in the hospital gown in "minus zero temperatures via a transport vehicle 39." Id. at ¶ 59. An unknown transport officer noticed Slabon shaking from the cold, laughed, and told him "[D]on't worry, we'll crank the heat up for you." Id. Slabon "begged" not to be taken outside into the cold. Id. at ¶ 60. One of the officers laughed in response, telling him: "[Y]ou're a...

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