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Wynn v. Kaupas

February 6, 2007

CORTEZ RAMONE WYNN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PAUL J. KAUPAS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Paul J. Kaupas' ("Kaupas"), Michael O'Leary's ("O'Leary"), and Ronald Poturalski's ("Poturalski") (collectively referred to as "Defendants") motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, we grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Cortez Ramone Wynn ("Wynn") was incarcerated at the Will County Adult Detention Facility ("Will County Jail") from July 8, 2003, until August 2004. On or about August 14, 2003, Wynn requested to be held in protective custody. After processing, Wynn was reclassified as a protective custody inmate and transferred to Pod D ("D-Pod"). The Will County Jail is constructed in a "podular" style. A housing pod retains inmate cells on two tiers around a common day room, exercise area, and visitation room. The Will County Jail contains six housing pods. Pods A, B, C, and E are general population housing pods for males and Pod F houses female inmates, while D-Pod is a special housing pod for male inmates who are classified as disciplinary, administrative segregation, protective custody, or maximum security inmates. Unlike a general housing pod, which has one common dayroom, D-Pod has four separate dayrooms and a control room monitoring each dayroom. In order to manage the inmates, the Will County Sheriff's Office uses a "direct supervision" method, under which unarmed guards have unobstructed, direct contact with inmates. Guards are instructed to avoid using force with the inmates. If an emergency or physical altercation occurs, the guards are required to immediately notify the Emergency Response Team ("ERT"), which typically responds to emergencies in less than two minutes.

Due to overcrowding at the Will County Jail on January 2, 2004, protective custody inmates and administrative segregation inmates were housed in the same DPod dayroom, but on separate tiers and on separate lockdown schedules. Having a separate lockdown schedule meant that when protective custody inmates were allowed out of their cells and into the dayroom, otherwise known as "timeout," the administrative segregation inmates were locked in their cells, otherwise known as "lockdown," and vice versa. The purpose of the separate lockdown and timeout schedules was to keep protective custody inmates separated from administrative segregation inmates.

On January 2, 2004, Wynn and Quintin Bailey ("Bailey"), an administrative segregation inmate, were allegedly housed in dayroom three of D-Pod. However, due to their different classifications, Wynn and Bailey allegedly had separate timeout schedules. At approximately 11:00 a.m., a pod-worker was allegedly serving lunch to the inmates in dayroom three and Deputies Poturalski and Defendant "Mr. Pena" ("Pena") were allegedly in the control room supervising D-Pod. The protective custody inmates, including Wynn, were allegedly on a timeout in the dayroom while the administrative segregation inmates, including Bailey, were on lockdown, locked in their cells. The pod-worker serving lunch allegedly advised Poturalski that the chuckhole, a small opening that allows food to be passed to the inmate without unlocking the cell door, on Bailey's cell door was closed. Rather than opening the chuckhole to interview Bailey about a previous incident, Poturalski allegedly decided to open Bailey's cell door from the control room and Poturalski asked Pena to unlock Bailey's cell door. As Poturalski allegedly walked into dayroom three, the door leading into dayroom three which was approximately fifteen feet from Bailey's cell and ten feet from where Wynn was sitting closed behind him and automatically locked. When Poturalski was about halfway to Bailey's cell, Poturalski allegedly saw Bailey exit the cell and run toward Wynn, who was sitting at a table eating his lunch. When Bailey reached Wynn, Bailey allegedly punched Wynn in the face, head and body. Subsequently, Poturalski allegedly called on his radio for members of the ERT to assist in stopping the fight. Poturalski allegedly threw ice water on Wynn and Bailey as Wynn and Bailey fought on the floor. Wynn contends that Poturalski stood by without physically intervening. When the ERT arrived, the ERT allegedly sprayed both Wynn and Bailey with pepper spray and separated them and handcuffed them. Wynn alleges that the ERT members used excessive force on him as he was sprayed with pepper spray while on the floor. Wynn also contends that he suffered two black eyes, a bloody nose, bruises and swelling to his face and head, a broken lower tooth, and contusions to his ribs. Wynn claims that the Defendants knew or should have known of the potential risk of danger of violence, injury and harm that Bailey posed to protective custody status detainees such as Wynn. Wynn also contends that after Bailey's attack, all Defendants continued to expose Wynn to risk of violence by failing to make changes regarding housing and transportation to the Will County Courthouse. Wynn also contends that he was injured due to the failure of prison officials to alleviate the overcrowding in the Will County Jail.

Wynn brought the instant action and includes in his complaint claims brought against Defendants Kaupas, individually and officially, O'Leary, individually and officially, Poturalski, and Pena alleging failure to protect claims and Fourth Amendment claims in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"). Defendants now move for summary judgment.

LEGAL STANDARD

Summary judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, reveals that 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). In seeking a grant of summary judgment, the moving party must identify "those portions of 'the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)(quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)). This initial burden may be satisfied by presenting specific evidence on a particular issue or pointing out "an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id. at 325. Once the movant has met this burden, the nonmoving party cannot simply rest on the allegations in the pleadings, but through "affidavits or as otherwise provided for in [Rule 56], must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). A "genuine issue" in the context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Insolia v. Phillip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2000). The court must consider the record as a whole, in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Bay v. Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

I. Local Rule 56.1

Defendants argue that Wynn's response to Defendants' motion for summary judgment should be stricken due to Wynn's failure to comply with Local Rule 56.1 and that Defendants' motion for summary judgment motion should be granted. Pursuant to Local Rule 56.1, when a party files a motion for summary judgment, each party must prepare a statement of material facts and each party is required to respond to the opposing party's statement of material facts. Local Rule 56.1. Additionally, each party must either admit or deny each fact. Id. A denial is improper if the denial is not accompanied by specific references to admissible evidence or at least evidence that represents admissible evidence. Dent v. Bestfoods, 2003 WL 22025008, at *1 n.1 (N.D. Ill. 2003); Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 585 (N.D. Ill. 2000)(stating in addition that "[t]he purpose of the 56.1 statement is to identify for the court the evidence supporting a party's factual assertions in an organized manner: it is not intended as a forum for factual or legal argument"). Pursuant to Rule 56.1, any facts included in a party's statement of facts that are not properly denied by the opposing party are deemed to be admitted. Local Rule 56.1; Dent, 2003 WL 22025008, at *1 n.1; see also Jankovich v. Exelon Corp., 2003 WL 260714, at *5 (N.D. Ill. 2003)(indicating that evasive denials that do not directly oppose an assertion are improper and thus the contested fact is deemed to be admitted pursuant to Local Rule 56.1). A court is not "obliged in our adversary system to scour the record looking for factual disputes and may adopt local rules reasonably designed to streamline the resolution of summary judgment motions." Waldridge v. American Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920, 922 (7th Cir. 1994)(stating in addition that a local rule pertaining to summary judgment "is more than a technicality"). Further, the Seventh Circuit has held that "a district court is entitled to expect strict compliance with Rule 56.1." Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Servs., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004)(stating that "[s]ubstantial compliance is not strict compliance"); see Flores v. Chicago Transit Authority, 2006 WL 2868901, at *1 (N.D. Ill. 2006)(stating that pro se litigants must comply with procedural rules, including local rules)(quoting McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993)).

The Defendants filed the instant motion for summary judgment and included the appropriate statement of material facts as required by Local Rule 56.1. Wynn, however, has failed to properly submit a Local Rule 56.1 statement controverting each disputed statement in the Defendants' statement of material facts. Instead, Wynn provided the court with a number of statements that do not properly cite to any specific portions of the evidence and responded to the Defendants' statement of material facts by neither admitting nor denying such facts. Further, Wynn failed to controvert the Defendants' positions with sworn statements, or any other admissible documentary evidence. Accordingly, pursuant to Local Rule 56.1, all material facts set forth in the Defendants' Local Rule 56.1 statement of material facts are deemed admitted.

In addition to the procedural deficiencies contained in Wynn's response, Wynn offered no arguments in opposition to the Defendants' motion for summary judgment as he failed to file a memorandum of law with his deficient statement of facts. As a result, Wynn has failed to sustain his burden under Rule 56(b) to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of any material fact. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324 (stating that the summary judgment non-movant must go beyond the pleadings and support contentions with proper documentary evidence such as affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories, or admissions on file). Although Wynn has failed to sustain his burden under Rule 56, we will discuss each of ...


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