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7th Circuit remands Section 1983, wrongful death suits

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has ordered the trial court to take another look at two cases combined on appeal, which stem from the death of an inmate at the Elkhart County jail.

The appellate court released an 84-page opinion in Estate of Nicholas D. Rice, deceased, by Rick D. Rice and Diane J. Waldrop, co-personal representatives v. Correctional Medical Services, et al., Nos. 09-2804, 10-2389, in which Nicholas Rice’s parents filed a lawsuit in federal court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section 1983, alleging among other things, that jail officials and medical personnel had deprived Rice of due process by exhibiting deliberate indifference to his declining mental and physical condition. Rice was in jail for nearly 15 months awaiting trial when he died from excessive drinking of water, a disorder known to manifest in some people with schizophrenia. Jail officials knew of his mental illness.

The District Court entered summary judgment against the estate on its Section 1983 claims, suit No. 09-2804, finding in part that correctional and medical personnel hadn’t consciously disregarded Rice’s medical needs and that the ultimate cause of his death wasn’t reasonably foreseeable to them. The estate then filed its second federal suit, No. 10-2389, invoking the court’s diversity jurisdiction, in which it reasserted the state wrongful death claims that the judge in the first suit had dismissed without prejudice after disposing of the federal claims. The judge in the second suit dismissed that case on the basis of collateral estoppel, reasoning that his colleague’s finding as to the foreseeability of the cause of Rice’s death precluded recovery on any of the state claims.

“On review of the record, we conclude that a material dispute of fact precludes summary judgment on one of the Estate’s section 1983 claims: that his conditions of confinement were inhumane. We also conclude that the district court erred in dismissing his state claims. We therefore affirm in part and reverse in part,” wrote Judge Ilana Rovner.

They sent both cases back for further consideration.



 

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  1. It is amazing how selectively courts can read cases and how two very similar factpatterns can result in quite different renderings. I cited this very same argument in Brown v. Bowman, lost. I guess it is panel, panel, panel when one is on appeal. Sad thing is, I had Sykes. Same argument, she went the opposite. Her Rooker-Feldman jurisprudence is now decidedly unintelligible.

  2. November, 2014, I was charged with OWI/Endangering a person. I was not given a Breathalyzer test and the arresting officer did not believe that alcohol was in any way involved. I was self-overmedicated with prescription medications. I was taken to local hospital for blood draw to be sent to State Tox Lab. My attorney gave me a cookie-cutter plea which amounts to an ALCOHOL-related charge. Totally unacceptable!! HOW can I get my TOX report from the state lab???

  3. My mother got temporary guardianship of my children in 2012. my husband and I got divorced 2015 the judge ordered me to have full custody of all my children. Does this mean the temporary guardianship is over? I'm confused because my divorce papers say I have custody and he gets visits and i get to claim the kids every year on my taxes. So just wondered since I have in black and white that I have custody if I can go get my kids from my moms and not go to jail?

  4. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  5. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

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