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BROWN v. CLARK

April 10, 2003

JERAMEY BROWN, PLAINTIFF, VS. DWAYNE CLARK, GILBERTO ROMERO, GLENN JOHNSON, JOHN BANDA, ALEX NUNN III, SAM CURRIE, WILLIAM BROWN, KIM MORGAN, MICHAEL MCDOWELL, RALPH BURKYBILE, DANIEL JUNKER, DEFENDANTS.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joan H. Lefkow, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Jeramey Brown ("Brown"), brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that defendants,*fn1 who are various employees of the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC"), violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment when they used excessive force against him (Count I) and denied him immediate adequate medical attention for ensuing injuries (Count II).*fn2 Before the court is a motion by defendants Michael McDowell ("McDowell"), Sam Currie ("Currie") and Dwayne Clark ("Clark") under Rule 56, Fed.R.Civ.P., for summary judgment. The court has jurisdiction over the claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1343(a). For the reasons set forth below, the court grants the motion in part and denies it in part.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARDS

Summary judgment obviates the need for a trial where there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). To determine whether any genuine fact exists, the court must pierce the pleadings and assess the proof as presented in depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, and affidavits that are part of the record. Fed R.Civ.P. 56(c) Advisory Committee's notes. The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of proving there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In response, the nonmoving party cannot rest on bare pleadings alone but must use the evidentiary tools listed above to designate specific material facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324; Insolia v. Philip Morris Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 598 (7th Cir. 2000). A material fact must be outcome determinative under the governing law. Insolia, 216 F.3d at 598-99. Although a bare contention that an issue of fact exists is insufficient to create a factual dispute, Bellaver v. Quanex Corp., 200 F.3d 485, 492 (7th Cir. 2000), the court must construe all facts in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party as well as view all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).

FACTS STATED IN A LIGHT MOST FAVORABLE TO PLAINTIFF

Prior to and on August 7, 1998, Brown was incarcerated by IDOC at the Joliet Correctional Center ("Joliet"). (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 1.) McDowell was a correctional officer assigned to the North Segregation unit where Brown was housed. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 3.) Currie was a correctional sergeant also assigned to the North Segregation unit. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 10.) Clark was the Acting Warden of Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville"). (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 16.)

On August 7, 1998, McDowell, based on instruction from Currie, told Brown to pack his belongings because he was going to be transferred from cell 218 to cell 219, which was occupied by Inmate Charles Byrd. (Pl. Resp. to Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 4.) After being informed by McDowell that he would be moved, Brown responded that he did not want to move, although he did not state with particularity the reasons why. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶¶ 5-6.) McDowell advised Currie that Brown did not wish to be moved. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 7.) McDowell never consulted a Double Celling Form, DCA 12.254 ("Double Celling Form") to determine whether he was acting pursuant to a proper, lawful order. (Pl. Resp. to Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 6.)

Currie gave Brown a direct order to move his things. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 12.) Currie never consulted the Double Celling Form. Afterward, a higher-ranking staff member came and gave Brown another direct order to move his things. (Id.) Thereafter, members of a tactical team forcibly "extracted" Brown from his cell. At some point before the unit extracted Brown from his cell, McDowell went downstairs to the first floor. Although not present, McDowell heard the "commotion" caused by the extraction as it was happening. (Pl. Resp. to Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 9.) McDowell did nothing to stop the tactical team in its extraction of Brown. (Id.) Currie did not take part in the cell extraction but was apparently present. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 13; Pl. Resp. to Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 13.) The tactical unit used excessive force in removing Brown from his cell, causing him injuries that required medical attention. Immediately after the incident and before being given medical attention for injuries suffered at the hands of the tactical unit, Brown was transferred to Stateville.

Clark, as Acting Warden at Stateville, had no authority to decide who was transferred to Stateville. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 17.) Instead, transfer packages were generated by a counselor at the sending institution, and were subjected to review by the Assistant Wardens and Warden, before being forwarded to the Transfer Coordinator's office. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 18.) The Transfer Coordinator's office makes the final determination as to where an inmate is transferred. (Id.) Clark has no recollection of Brown or of the incidents giving rise to the allegations of this action. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 19.)

DISCUSSION

Brown accuses McDowell and Currie of excessive force and Clark of denying him immediate, adequate medical care. Brown also attempts to advance Due Process violations against Currie and Clark on the basis that, with a motive to cover up the incident, they pressed disciplinary charges against him despite knowing that Brown had not committed any infractions. McDowell, Currie and Clark move for summary judgment on the claims against them on grounds that they were not personally involved in any of the alleged constitutional violations.

A. Excessive Force Claims Against McDowell and Currie

In order to prevail on a § 1983 claim,*fn3 a plaintiff must establish that the defendant deprived him of a constitutional or federal right and that the defendant acted under color of law. Brokaw v. Mercer County, 235 F.3d 1000, 1009 (7th Cir. 2000). For claims against an individual under § 1983, a plaintiff must show evidence that the defendant was personally involved in the alleged constitutional deprivation. Vance v. Peters, 97 F.3d 987, 992-93 (7th Cir. 1996); Sheik-Abdi v. McCleellan, 37 F.3d 1240, 1248 (7th Cir. 1994) ("Section 1983 creates a cause of action based upon personal liability and predicated upon fault; thus, liability does not attach unless the individual defendant caused or participated in a constitutional deprivation."). The test for establishing personal liability was set forth in Vance,

[A]n official satisfies the personal responsibility requirement of section 1983 . . . if the conduct causing the constitutional deprivation occurs at [his] direction or with [his] knowledge and consent. That is, he must know about the conduct and facilitate it, approve it, condone it, or turn a blind eye. . . . In short, some causal connection or affirmative link between the action complained about and the official ...

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