Attorney Louis J. Meyer filed another Federal case Monday, December, 23, 2013, against the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department, McHenry County, a deputy and Kieth Nygren personally. Wonder Lake and one of its policemen are also defendants. Here’s what the suit says happened:
“On or about December 25, 2012, at approximately 4:25 p.m., Plaintiff was at his home in the 4100 block of Seneca Road, Wonder Lake, Illinois.
“Plaintiff had fallen asleep watching television in his recliner. ”
Plaintiff’s sister was visiting Plaintiff at Plaintiff’s home for Christmas.
“Upon information and belief, Plaintiff’s sister called 911 to report chest pains.
“The Wonder Lake Fire Department responded to the call, along with Defendants HARDING and NULLE.
“Plaintiff’s sister was outside speaking with the paramedics when Defendants HARDING and NULLE arrived.
“Plaintiff’s sister told the paramedics that she was having chest pains. She did not complain of any other pain or injury.
“While the paramedics were speaking with Plaintiff’s sister, Defendants HARDING and NULLE entered Plaintiff’s home and approached Plaintiff as he slept on his recliner.
“Defendants HARDING and NULLE attempted to wake Plaintiff but did not announce that they were police officers.
“Plaintiff did not immediately wake up.
“Defendants HARDING and NULLE violently grabbed Plaintiff from his recliner and slammed him to the floor.
“Defendants HARDING and NULLE proceeded to kick and strike Plaintiff.
“As a result of the beating, Plaintiff suffered injuries, including injuries to his ribs, knees, feet, and chest.
“The Defendant-Officers eventually handcuffed Plaintiff.
“Defendant-Officers intentionally handcuffed Plaintiff in an excessively tight manner, which caused Plaintiff extreme pain.
“Plaintiff was not a threat to the Defendant-Officers and did not resist them.
“Upon information and belief, after the attack and arrest of Plaintiff, Defendant HARDING falsely claimed that Plaintiff’s sister alleged that Plaintiff had battered her.
“Plaintiff’s sister has made prior false accusations against Plaintiff. Defendant HARDING had prior knowledge of at least one prior false accusation.
“Plaintiff’s sister made no complaints to the paramedics that arrived regarding any alleged battery by Plaintiff.
“Plaintiff was charged with domestic battery. The case was docketed in the McHenry County Circuit Court as: People v. David Ohlrich, Case No. 12 CM 2703. On March 18, 2013, the charges against Plaintiff were nolle prosse’d [dismissed].
“Plaintiff was never charged with resisting arrest or battery to the Defendant-Officers.
“After being released from the McHenry County Jail, Plaintiff received medical attention at Centegra Hospital for the injuries he sustained from the Defendant-Officers.
“Each individual Defendant-Officer acted willfully and wantonly, maliciously, and with a conscious disregard and deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s rights.
“As a direct and proximate result of the acts of the Defendants described above, Plaintiff suffered damages including physical pain and suffering, emotional distress and pecuniary damages including medical expenses.”
The most extraordinary count is a “Mondell Claim” against Nygren. In that Count 3, Meyer alleges on behalf of his client David Ohlrich that “the incident alleged in this Complaint was part of a pattern and practice of Defendant Nygren in failing to properly supervise his officers.
“At all times material to this Complaint, there existed in the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department the following practices, policies and customs:
- false arrests and use of excessive force,
- a code of silence in which officers fail to report officer misconduct,
- failure to adequately supervise and discipline officers in the categories and fields of police work addressed above,
- failure to adequately investigate complaints against officers,
“The actions of the Defendant NULLE as alleged in this Complaint were committed pursuant to, and as a result of, one or more of the above de facto practices, policies and customs of Defendant NYGREN, the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department, and its Defendant NYGREN, as the official policy maker within the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department, acted with deliberate indifference to the rights of Plaintiff in maintaining, overlooking and preserving the unconstitutional practices, policies and customs delineated above.
“By Defendant NYGREN’s inaction and failure to correct the above-described practices, policies and customs, municipal policy-makers tacitly approve and thus indirectly authorize the type of misconduct Plaintiff complains of herein.
“Defendants not mentioned above include Sheriff’s Deputy Steven Nulle and Wonder Lake Police Officer T. Harding.
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Monell claims, according to McBride Law PC out of Los Angeles, are rarely successful. Below is part of what the firm has at the link above:
“Supervisor liability is triggered only when the supervisor fails to provide more stringent training ‘in the wake of a history of past transgressions by the agency’ or provides training ‘so clearly deficient that some deprivation of rights will inevitably result absent additional instruction.’
“This is also a high bar to clear for plaintiffs in civil cases arising from use of force.
“So while most plaintiffs routinely add Monell claims against an officer’s supervisor, department and city, the reality is that most claims for Monell liability are dismissed either prior to, during or after trial.”
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Articles concerning an excessive force case concerning Carla and Jerome Pavlin attorney Meyer won against the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department follow: