Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

WILSON v. COOPER

April 17, 1996

EARNEST WILSON, Plaintiff,
v.
KEITH COOPER, WILLIE D. HAYES, SHELIA BUFORD, RAYMOND MILLER, J. JENKINS, HOWARD A. PETERS, III, RICK CARTER, and DON (last name unknown), Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ALESIA

 Before the court is defendants Howard Peters, III's ("Peters"), Willie Hayes' ("Hayes"), James Jenkins' ("Jenkins"), and Raymond Miller's ("Miller") (collectively, "defendants") motion for summary judgment on Counts III, IV, and V of plaintiff Earnest Wilson's ("Wilson") amended complaint. For the reasons that follow, the court grants defendants' motion for summary judgment.

 I. BACKGROUND1

 Wilson currently is serving a life sentence for a murder that he committed while incarcerated by the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") for an earlier murder conviction. Although originally in the custody of the IDOC, in 1992 Wilson was transferred to the Arizona Department of Corrections pursuant to a swap agreement between Illinois and Arizona. Most of Wilson's allegations in his complaint against defendants arise out of this transfer to Arizona, and subsequent trips back to Illinois for court appearances.

 On November 13, 1992, the IDOC transferred Wilson from Dixon Correctional Center in Illinois to the Arizona Department of Corrections. In October 1993, Wilson was brought back to Illinois for a court appearance and placed in the custody of the Joliet Correctional Center. On December 2, 1993, Wilson was returned to the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections.

 In February 1994, Wilson again was transported from Arizona to Illinois for a court appearance. On February 11, 1994, Carter and Don, who, according to Wilson, were acting as agents, employees, or servants of both the IDOC and Prisoner Extradition, Inc., took custody of Wilson to return him to Illinois. Carter and Don placed leg shackles, hand cuffs, a waist chain, and a black security box securing Wilson's hands on Wilson. During the 33-hour trip from Arizona to Illinois, Wilson was in excruciating pain because of how Carter and Don had secured him. His hands and wrists were cut and bruised and bleeding, and had become swollen and numb, and his ankles and feet had become swollen and numb. Carter and Don refused to alleviate Wilson's pain, explaining that "this is how Howard Peters wants it done."

 In New Mexico, in what Wilson calls a desperate attempt to obtain help, Wilson kicked out the side window of the van in which he was being transported and began yelling out the window. Wilson was temporarily jailed, then returned to the custody of Carter and Don, who restrained him in the same manner but even more tightly. During the remainder of the trip to Illinois, Wilson was forced to eat by putting his face into his meals because he could not use his hands. He also was not allowed to use a bathroom when he needed to.

 Wilson arrived in Illinois on February 13, 1994. Within a day of Wilson's arriving at Joliet Correctional Center ("Joliet"), a doctor examined Wilson and issued a medical order that Wilson was to be restrained only by leather restraints until the injuries to his wrists, hands, ankles, and feet healed. However, while transporting Wilson to and from the Circuit Court of Will County on at least one occasion, Hayes used the same type of mental restraints that had injured Wilson during his Arizona-to-Illinois trip.

 While at Joliet, Wilson periodically was kept in cell #2 of the North Segregation Unit. According to Wilson, the conditions in his cell were deplorable. The hot and cold water merely trickled from the faucet; the toilet constantly leaked; and from a previous fire, the walls were charred, the ceiling was covered with ash, which constantly fell into the cell, and the cell had a strong and constant odor of burned wood. Miller and Jenkins knew about the cell conditions and yet continued to place Wilson in the cell, and took no actions to remedy the conditions.

 Based on the above occurrences, Wilson filed this five-count cause of action in federal court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In Count I, Wilson alleges that Sheila Burford *fn2" and Keith Cooper violated his constitutional rights by depriving him of his privileges at Joliet. In Count II, Wilson alleges that Carter and Don violated his rights by restraining him so that he suffered greatly during the February 1994 trip from Arizona to Illinois. In Count III, Wilson alleges that Sheila Burford and Keith Cooper again deprived him of his privileges at Joliet, and that Hayes violated his constitutional rights by restraining him with metal restraints against doctor's orders. In Count IV, Wilson alleges that Jenkins and Miller violated his constitutional rights by subjecting him to deplorable prison conditions. In Count V, Wilson alleges that Peters violated his constitutional rights by transferring him to the custody of the Arizona Department of Corrections, and by ordering Carter and Don to abuse and mistreat him during the February 1994 trip from Arizona to Illinois.

 Defendants now move for summary judgment on the portion of Count III against Hayes and all of Counts IV and V.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. Standard for summary judgment

 A motion for summary judgment must be granted if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). The burden is on the moving party to show that no genuine issues of material fact exist. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2514, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265 (1986).

 Once the moving party presents a prima facie showing that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the party opposing the motion may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials in its pleadings but must set forth specific facts showing that a genuine issue for trial exists. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-57, 106 S. Ct. at 2514; Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324, 106 S. Ct. at 2553; Schroeder v. Lufthansa German Airlines, 875 F.2d 613, 620 (7th Cir. 1989). All reasonable factual inferences must be viewed in favor of the non-moving party. Holland v. Jefferson Nat'l Life Ins. Co., 883 F.2d 1307, 1312 (7th Cir. 1989).

 B. Count III

 Hayes contends that his conduct in placing metal restraints on Wilson was not sufficiently serious to implicate the constitution. The court agrees.

 The Eighth Amendment forbids the "'unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain'" upon prisoners by prison officials. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103, 97 S. Ct. 285, 291, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251 (1976) (quoting Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S. 153, 173, 96 S. Ct. 2909, 2925, 49 L. Ed. 2d 859 (1976)). "What is necessary to establish an 'unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain' . . . varies according to the nature of the alleged constitutional violation." Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 112 S. Ct. 995, 998, 117 L. Ed. 2d 156 (1992) (quoting Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 320, 106 S. Ct. 1078, 1085, 89 L. Ed. 2d 251 (1986)).

 For example, the standard for judging an inmate's claim that prison officials failed to attend to serious medical needs or comply with prescribed medical treatment is whether the officials exhibited deliberate indifference to the inmate's welfare. Hudson, 112 S. Ct. at 998; Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104, 97 S. Ct. at 291. Inadvertent failure to provide medical care or simple negligence does not amount to a constitutional violation. Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106, 97 S. Ct. at 292. "The infliction of suffering on prisoners can be found to violate the Eighth Amendment only if that infliction is either deliberate, or reckless in the criminal sense." Duckworth v. Franzen, 780 F.2d 645, 652-53 (7th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 816, 107 S. Ct. 71, 93 L. Ed. 2d 28 (1986). Negligence, gross negligence, or recklessness in the tort sense is insufficient. Id. at 653. The defendant must have had "'actual knowledge of impending harm easily preventable, so that a conscious, culpable refusal to prevent the harm can be inferred from the defendant's failure to prevent it,'" or deliberately avoided acquiring knowledge of the impending harm. McGill v. Duckworth, 944 F.2d 344, 348, 351 (7th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 503 U.S. 907, 112 S. Ct. 1265, 117 L. Ed. 2d 493 (1992) (quoting Franzen, 780 F.2d at 653).

 Though Wilson does not specify, his claim in the present case is more akin to a failure to comply with prescribed medical treatment claim than to an excessive force claim. However, under either scenario, the result is the same. The court finds that Hayes did not act with such deliberate indifference or maliciousness that he inflicted unconstitutional punishment on Wilson.

 Wilson's own deposition testimony undermines his claim that Hayes subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment. Wilson stated that Hayes put steel restraints on Wilson the morning after Wilson got the doctor's order for leather restraints. (Def.'s Local Rule 12(j) Filing App. 1 at 40.) Wilson told Hayes about the doctor's order, but Hayes told Wilson that they were going to be late for court and that Hayes would check on the doctor's order when they came back from court. (Id. at 40-41.) Wilson stated that when they got back from court, Hayes checked on the doctor's order. (Id. at 41.) Wilson stated that that was the only time Hayes did not put the leather restraints on Wilson, and that after that time, Hayes started ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.