HAMMOND | A Crown Point man is seeking at least $11 million in damages from Schererville, two of its police officers and the owners of Franciscan St. Margaret Mercy Health in a federal lawsuit in which he said he was subjected to a forced catheterization following a traffic stop.
William B. Clark, a former Schererville resident, is suing the town, police Officers Matthew Djukic and Damian Murks and Franciscan Alliance Inc., doing business as St. Margaret Mercy.
Bob Anderson, an attorney for Kreig DeVault LLP, which represents the Franciscan Alliance, said he had no comment since the hospital had not yet been served.
Schererville Police Chief David Dowling said he couldn't comment on the lawsuit. Schererville Town Attorney David Austgen could not immediately be reached for comment.
In the lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court, Clark, 23, claims he was driving on U.S. 30 near the intersection of U.S. 41 in Schererville last May when he was stopped by Djukic. According to the lawsuit, Djukic allegedly observed the vehicle, which contained one other occupant, driving erratically and claimed he detected a moderate odor of alcohol in Clark's vehicle. Murks allegedly responded in a separate car.
The suit states that Djukic falsely claimed Clark's breath test results were 0.11, exceeding the legal limit of 0.08. The lawsuit also alleges the town failed to provide proof of the test result when a motion for discovery was filed in the criminal case against Clark, which is still pending.
According to his lawsuit, Clark submitted to a blood test at the Dyer hospital that showed his blood alcohol was below the legal limit. It states Djukic, however, became impatient with Clark's inability to urinate to provide a urine sample and made an effort to forcibly get the sample. The suit claims Djukic physically restrained Clark while hospital personnel inserted a catheter to extract the fluid.
The suit claims Murks either used inappropriate force against Clark or failed to take reasonable steps to protect him from being subjected to the use of such force.
The lawsuit states Clark allegedly "loudly moaned in pain" as the process began. It adds that the actions taken to obtain the sample were "painful, degrading and humiliating."
The suit filed by Portage attorney Patrick McEuen also claims Djukic's effort to place a police canine in the car to conduct an interior search of the vehicle Clark was driving was illegal. The complaint includes a state law claim for assault, negligence and invasion of privacy against Franciscan Alliance Inc.
The lawsuit seeks damages of $11 million, plus punitive damages of at least three times all other damages awarded. According to court records, Clark had been found guilty in a separate operating while intoxicated case, although McEuen said that charge involved a later incident and he believed the verdict was being appealed.