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Patzig v. O'Neil

filed: April 17, 1978.

MARIE PATZIG AND PAUL PATZIG, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS TRUSTEES AD LITEM OF THE ESTATE OF ANNETTE MARIE PATZIG, DECEASED, THEIR DAUGHTER
v.
JOSEPH O'NEIL, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS COMMISSIONER OF POLICE OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, JAMES HERON, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CHIEF INSPECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF STAFF SERVICES IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, RAYMOND CAPPER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS INSPECTOR IN CHARGE OF RECORDS DIVISION IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, CHARLES MARSDEN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CAPTAIN OF THE POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, WILLIAM PHILYAW, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SUPERVISOR OF THE POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, FRANK LEMMO, KENNETH MORONI AND OFFICER VENEZIANO, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS POLICE OFFICERS IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, JEAN POHL, LILLIAN RUDOLPH AND CHRISTINE GRANDY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS MATRONS OF THE POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, JOHN DOE #1, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SUPERVISOR OF POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, JOHN DOE #2 AND JOHN DOE #3, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS OPERATION SUPERVISORS OF THE POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PA, JOHN DOE #4 AND JOHN DOE #5, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS POLICE OFFICERS IN THE PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, JOHN DOE #6, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS TURNKEY AT POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, JOHN DOE #7, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SUPERINTENDENT OF THE CENTRAL CELL, IN THE POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, JANE DOE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS MATRON OF THE POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, AND CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION (D.C. CIVIL ACTION NO. 76-514); PATZIG, PAUL, ADMINISTRATOR C.T.A. OF ESTATE OF PATZIG, ANNETTE M., DECEASED V. JOSEPH O'NEIL, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS COMMISSIONER OF POLICE OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, JAMES HERON, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CHIEF INSPECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF STAFF SERVICES IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, RAYMOND CAPPER, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS INSPECTOR IN CHARGE OF RECORDS DIVISION IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, CHARLES MARSDEN, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS CAPTAIN OF THE POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, WILLIAM PHILYAW, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SUPERVISOR OF THE POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, FRANK LEMMO, KENNETH MORONI, HARRY FREELAND (TURNKEY), AND OFFICER VENEZIANO, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS POLICE OFFICERS IN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, JEAN POHL, LILLIAN RUDOLPH AND CHRISTINE GRANDY, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS MATRONS OF THE POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, JOHN DOE #1, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SUPERVISOR OF POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, JOHN DOE #2 AND JOHN DOE #3, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS OPERATION SUPERVISORS OF THE POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PA, JOHN DOE #4 AND JOHN DOE #5, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS POLICE OFFICERS IN THE PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT OF THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, JOHN DOE #6, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS TURNKEY AT POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, JOHN DOE #7, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SUPERINTENDENT OF THE CENTRAL CELL, IN THE POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, JANE DOE, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS A MATRON OF THE POLICE DETENTION UNIT AT 8TH AND RACE STREETS, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, AND CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION (D.C. CIVIL ACTION NO. 76-1287) MARIE PATZIG AND PAUL PATZIG, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS TRUSTEES AD LITEM OF THE ESTATE OF ANNETTE M. PATZIG, DECEASED, THEIR DAUGHTER, AND PAUL PATZIG, ADMINISTRATOR OF THE ESTATE OF ANNETTE M. PATZIG, DECEASED, APPELLANTS



APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA.

Seitz, Chief Judge, Garth, Circuit Judge, and Brotman, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Garth

Opinion OF THE COURT

GARTH, Circuit Judge.

This appeal involves various civil rights claims and pendent state law claims arising out of the arrest, custody and subsequent suicide of Annette Patzig. The district court granted the defendants' motion for a directed verdict at the end of the plaintiffs' case. We affirm as to all defendants except the City of Philadelphia. As to the City, we reverse, limiting our reversal solely to the Patzig's false arrest claims.

I.

On February 21, 1975, the decedent Annette Patzig, accompanied by two friends (Christine Conan and Cynthia Slough), visited a private night club in Philadelphia, arriving at 11:30 p.m. Patzig, according to Conan's testimony, had two drinks. Conan drank heavily and became intoxicated.

Patzig's other friend, Slough, was injured during the course of the evening and was rushed to a hospital. Patzig and Conan, upon learning this fact, left the club in Patzig's automobile in search of Slough. Patzig was driving the car. At trial, Conan testified that the decedent was sober at the time she left the club, and was able to drive.

Since the two girls did not know to which hospital Slough had been taken, they drove to several center city hospitals. At each one Patzig went into the emergency room to inquire about Slough. Again, according to Conan, Patzig was able to walk and talk normally. It should be noted, however, that during this time, Conan remained in the back seat of the car, lapsing in and out of consciousness.

At 4:30 a.m. Patzig, while driving the wrong way on a one-way street, was arrested by Officer McMullen of the Philadelphia Police Department on a charge of drunken driving. Conan testified that Patzig did not appear intoxicated at the time of her arrest. Patzig and Conan were taken to the local police station, and later, at 5:55 a.m., were transported to the Police Administration Building. At 6:07 a.m. Patzig was given a breathalyzer test, the results of which were not conclusive. The test showed a blood alcohol level of 0.06%.*fn1 A police surgeon administered a medical examination shortly thereafter (at 6:15 a.m.), and found that Patzig was sober and able to operate a motor vehicle as of the time of the examination. There was other testimony that Patzig did not appear to be intoxicated while in police custody.

Patzig was nevertheless detained in a cell with two other women*fn2 pending arraignment before a magistrate. The cell had only one metal rack which could be used as a bed or bench. Since her two cellmates were using the rack, Patzig was required to sleep on the tile floor.

During the early part of her confinement, decedent manifested disturbance at her arrest, but exhibited no unusual behavior. During several cell checks*fn3 by police matrons she was seen either standing or sleeping on the floor. Sometime between 9:00 a.m. and 9:40 a.m. (there is conflicting evidence as to this), Patzig was allowed to make a telephone call. After her call, she refused to return to her original cell. Patzig was then taken by a matron and a police officer to a cell near the end of the cell corridor. The cell to which she was taken was situated between vacant cells. Patzig was the sole occupant in this cell. There was testimony that she was isolated in this manner because she was creating a disturbance.

Patzig then began to act hysterically, shouting, flushing the toilet, and banging the bars of the cell. A police matron attempted to quiet her, failed, and left her alone. Patzig continued to act in this manner for approximately thirty minutes. She then became quiet. At 10:00 a.m. a matron found Patzig hanging by her belt.*fn4 She was later pronounced dead.

The autopsy revealed a blood alcohol level of 0.0% at the time of death. Extrapolating from this datum and the result of the breathalyzer, a medical expert concluded that Patzig's blood alcohol level at the time of arrest was 0.085% to 0.09%. The autopsy also indicated the presence of barbiturates in her blood. There was testimony that the decedent was in the habit of taking large doses of barbiturates, which can cause the same clinical symptoms as alcohol intoxication.

II.

Patzig's parents instituted the present lawsuit, alleging violations of the Civil Rights Act, as well as pendent state law claims. The defendants included the Philadelphia Police Commissioner, as well as various police supervisors, police officers and police matrons (some of whom were identified by name and others of whom were listed as "John Doe's"). Additionally, the plaintiffs joined the City of Philadelphia, alleging ...


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