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.

Lnagston v. Peters

November 6, 1996

EUGENE LANGSTON,

PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

HOWARD PETERS, III, KEITH COOPER, DWAYNE A. CLARK, LT. ERNEST CLARK, GILBERTO ROMERO, JR., AND LT. LONNIE AUSTIN,

DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division.

No. 93 C 2607 Arlander Keys, Magistrate Judge.

Before COFFEY, RIPPLE, and MANION, Circuit Judges.

MANION, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED MAY 29, 1996

DECIDED NOVEMBER 6, 1996

Eugene Langston was placed in protective custody after giving prison authorities information about a murder he witnessed while serving his own murder sentence at Stateville prison. Over four years later, while serving time at Joliet, Langston was placed in segregation as punishment for assaulting a correctional officer. Although Langston was in segregation, another inmate who was also serving a murder sentence was assigned to share his cell. The newly-assigned cellmate raped Langston. Langston sued numerous prison employees under sec. 1983 claiming they violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by failing to protect him from being raped by another inmate, and then by providing inadequate medical treatment for the rape. The parties consented to a magistrate judge who granted defendants' motion for summary judgment, concluding that even had the rape happened as Langston claimed (and not been staged as the defendants maintained), Langston had failed to present sufficient evidence of deliberate indifference. The court also concluded that the short delay in providing medical treatment was not a violation. Langston appeals. We affirm.

I. Background

In January 1988, while serving a murder sentence at Stateville, Eugene Langston witnessed another inmate's murder. After Langston informed Stateville's warden of what he had seen, Langston was placed in protective custody. One month later, Langston was transferred from Stateville to Joliet Correctional Center, where he remained either in protective custody or in one-man cells within segregation units.

In September 1992, Langston assaulted a correctional officer at Joliet. As punishment, Langston was placed in the north segregation unit. On November 13, 1992, Eric Rayfield, another inmate also in prison for murder, was assigned to share Langston's cell in the north segregation unit. It is unclear who decided on this assignment; Langston claims that it was Dwayne A. Clark, the assistant warden at Joliet, but Clark testified that he had delegated this function to defendant Gilberto Romero, Jr., the superintendent of Joliet's segregation unit. In either event, Joliet's warden Keith Cooper and Romero undisputedly approved the assignment, after having reviewed the prison's Offender Tracking System database and a double-celling form prepared by defendant Lonnie Austin, a Joliet correctional officer. The Offender Tracking System ("OTS") provides information concerning a prisoner's sentence, his housing status, and known enemies within the prison system. The OTS did not indicate that Rayfield and Langston were known enemies. Nor does Langston suggest that they were. Austin then placed Rayfield in Langston's cell.

Langston claims that ten days later, in the early morning hours of November 23, 1992, Rayfield assaulted and raped him. Langston alleged that at approximately 7:00 a.m. he informed Lt. Ernest Clark, a correctional officer working in the segregation unit, of the alleged rape and requested medical attention, but that Lt. Clark refused to obtain any medical treatment. Approximately an hour later, a medical technician making rounds in the north segregation unit arranged for Langston to be taken to the emergency room of the Joliet Health Care unit. He arrived at the unit at 9:30 a.m. complaining of pain and rectal bleeding, and was seen by a doctor at 10:00 a.m. The treating physician, however, found no active bleeding and no rectal tear; the physician found only microscopic amounts of blood and diagnosed an external hemorrhoid.

Based on these facts, Langston filed suit pursuant to sec. 1983 against defendants Keith Cooper, Dwayne Clark, Gilberto Romero, and Lonnie Austin alleging they violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by failing to protect him from Rayfield. *fn1 Langston also claimed that Ernest Clark violated his Eighth Amendment rights by denying him prompt medical attention for his injuries. The parties consented in writing to the entry of a final judgment by a United States magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. sec. 636(c). The defendants then moved for summary judgment on the basis that Langston had not presented sufficient evidence of deliberate indifference to establish his claim. The magistrate judge granted summary judgment and Langston appeals.

II. Analysis

We review a grant of summary judgment de novo. Smith v. Shawnee Library Sys., 60 F.3d 317, 320 (7th Cir. 1995). Summary judgment is appropriate "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 party moving for summary judgment must establish that no genuine issue of material fact exists and that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). To prevail, the responding party must then come forward with facts "sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to the party's case, and on which the party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Id. at 322.

The Eighth Amendment, incorporated in this suit against state actors by the Fourteenth Amendment, protects against the infliction of "cruel and unusual punishment." As the Supreme Court held in Farmer v. Brennan, ___ U.S. ___, 114 S.Ct. 1970, 1976 (1994), under the Eighth Amendment "prison officials have a duty . . . to protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other prisoners." Id. at __, 114 S.Ct. at 1976 (internal citations omitted). "Having incarcerated 'persons [with] demonstrated proclivitie[s] for antisocial criminal, and often violent, conduct,' . . . having stripped them of virtually every means of self-protection and foreclosed their access to outside aid, the government and its officials are not free to let the state of nature take its course." Id. at __, 114 S.Ct. at 1977 (internal citations omitted). See also ...


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.