The opinion of the court was delivered by: NORGLE
CHARLES R. NORGLE, SR., District Judge:
Before the court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.
Plaintiff Jay M. Trout ("Trout") filed a one-count Amended Complaint against Defendants Joseph Frega ("Frega"), Joseph Heinrich ("Heinrich"), Robert Steinman ("Steinman"), and Jeffrey Wolf ("Wolf") (collectively, "Defendants"). Trout asserts a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 which arose out of his arrest on February 26, 1993.
On that day, Trout was exercising at the Powerhouse Gym in Geneva, Illinois. Trout is 6'3" and weighs approximately 260 pounds. Defendants, all police officers from the City of Geneva, Illinois, went to the gym to arrest Trout pursuant to a warrant. The warrant issued based on Trout's alleged phone harassment of his former girlfriend. Before the arrest, the other officers had indicated to Wolf that Trout had threatened his girlfriend. When Defendants arrived at the gym, Trout was lifting weights on a curling machine in the gym.
Trout stopped lifting weights, left the machine, and complied with Defendants' instructions. Defendants told Trout that he would be handcuffed and Trout replied that he did not intend to resist arrest, but he verbally objected to the handcuffing. Trout states that, at this point, he also informed Wolf that he had a previously-fractured wrist. Wolf denies receiving such information. Although Trout did have an unhealed 1991 "scaphoid" fracture, he exhibited no physical manifestation of this fracture, such as a cast, brace, or bruising, before or after he left the curling machine. Wolf, who is 5'9" and weighs approximately 157 pounds, handcuffed Trout. Wolf did not observe that Trout was in any pain prior to or during the arrest. Trout did not complain that the cuffs were too tight or that he was in pain. No other touching of Trout occurred during the course of his arrest. The handcuffing by Wolf was the only force used against Trout by any of the Defendants at any time. Wolf stated that, in making the decision to handcuff Trout, Wolf considered Trout's size vis-a-vis Wolf's size, prevention of Trout's escape, ensuring the officer's safety, and Trout's history of involvement in domestic disputes with, and threatening telephone harassment of, Trout's own girlfriend.
Trout produces no evidence connecting Wolf's act of handcuffing with the subsequent fracture. Trout went immediately to Delnor Community Hospital after he was released on February 26, 1996. The Delnor records and radiology report reference a "scaphoid fracture." Subsequent to his same-day release from Delnor, Trout was treated by Dr. Wittenstrom, who found a radial styloid fracture, in addition to the preexisting scaphoid fracture. Dr. Wittenstrom testified that a radial styloid fracture usually results from a fall on the hand or the wrist, and that he was unsure about whether handcuffing (proper or excessively forceful) could cause such a fracture.
Trout sues Defendants in their individual capacities.
Trout's Complaint alleges that Defendants violated 28 U.S.C. § 1983 by causing him further wrist injury when handcuffing him during his arrest. Defendants move for summary judgment, arguing that qualified immunity and an absence of constitutional deprivation effectively shield them from liability.
Summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith 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 parties are entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). To defeat a motion for summary judgment, the non-movant must marshal evidentiary facts sufficient to raise a genuine issue of material fact. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Celotex Cop. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986).
Individual liability under § 1983 must arise from direct personal involvement, and cannot be vicarious or based on a theory of respondeat superior. See Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S. 312, 325, 70 L. Ed. 2d 509, 102 S. Ct. 445 (1981). There must be a showing that the defendant committed, or at least encouraged, the alleged misconduct. Wolf-Lillie v. Sonquist, 699 F.2d 864, 869 (7th Cir. 1993). In other words, an individual cannot be held liable in a § 1983 action unless he caused or participated in the alleged constitutional deprivation. Id. Frega, Heinrich and Steinman argue that, as to them, Trout cannot satisfy the personal involvement requirement: there is no evidence that anyone other than Wolf applied any force to Trout during the arrest; Trout himself testified that Wolf was the only Defendant to use force during the arrest.
Trout argues that the mere presence of Frega, Heinrich and Steinman at the scene gave rise to their liability, because they acted with deliberate indifference for Trout's welfare. However, beyond this unsupported argument, Trout has demonstrated no causal link between those three officers and the complained of force.
As such, even if that force was excessive, there is no genuine issue of material fact as to those officers. Presence is not enough. The mere presence of the three officers, without more, does not constitute their requisite § 1983 personal involvement in any constitutional violation which may have occurred. See Apostal v. City of Crystal Lake, 1995 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 17407, No. 94 C 50068, 1995 WL 692680, at *6 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 22, 1995).
Assuming arguendo that all officers were linked to the alleged violation, all are nevertheless entitled to qualified immunity. Whether Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity is a question of law. Jones by Jones v. Webb, 45 F.3d 178 (7th Cir. 1995). The doctrine of qualified immunity shields government officials from civil liability when they perform discretionary functions to the extent that their conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known. Lanigan v. Village of E. Hazel Crest, 913 F. Supp. 1202 (N.D. Ill. 1996) (citation omitted). In determining whether the rights were clearly established at the time of the alleged ...