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Hollgarth v. Dawson

September 19, 2007

LINDY HOLLGARTH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JERRY DAWSON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



OPINION

Before the court are the defendants' summary judgment motion [42], the plaintiff's response [49] and the defendants' reply [50].

Standard

Summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with 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); Outlaw v. Newkirk, 259 F.3d 833, 837 (7th Cir. 2001), citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Herman v. National Broadcasting Co., Inc., 744 F.2d 604, 607 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1028 (1985). In determining whether factual issues exist, the court must view all the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Beraha v. Baxter Health Corp., 956 F.2d 1436, 1440 (7th Cir. 1992). Further, this burden can be satisfied by "'showing'--that is, pointing out to the district court--that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. If such a showing is made, the burden shifts to the non-movant to "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Outlaw, 259 F.3d at 837. A nonmoving party cannot rest on its pleadings, but must demonstrate that there is admissible evidence that will support its position. Tolle v. Carroll Touch, Inc., 23 F.3d 174, 178 (7th Cir. 1994). Credibility questions "defeat summary judgment only '[w]here an issue as to a material fact cannot be resolved without observation of the demeanor of witnesses in order to evaluate their credibility.'" Outlaw, 259 F.3d at 838, citing Advisory Committee Notes, 1963 Amendment to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(other citations omitted).

Fed. Rule Civ. Pro. Rule 56(c) "mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party there is no 'genuine' issue for trial." Mechnig v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 864 F.2d 1359 (7th Cir. 1988). A "metaphysical doubt" will not suffice. Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Disputed facts are material only if they might affect the outcome of the suit. First Ind. Bank v. Baker, 957 F.2d 506, 507-08 (7th Cir. 1992). The mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, *247-248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510 (1986).

Background

Lindy Hollgarth has filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. Section1983 directed at Macon County Sheriff Jerry Dawson and twelve correctional officers employed by Sheriff Dawson in the Macon County jail. Hollgarth's claims arise out of his detention in the jail during 2003. All defendants are sued in their individual capacities, except for Sheriff Dawson, who also has been named in his official capacity.

Hollgarth filed suit on March 14, 2005 in the Circuit Court of Macon County. The defendants removed the suit to this court. Hollgarth has filed two amended complaints, in which he has added defendants and added and subtracted claims. The Second Amended Complaint, the current pleading, presents the following claims: (a) that Hollgarth was subjected to excessive force on two occasions in violation of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights; (b) that the use of excessive force also constituted the tort of battery; (c) that he did not receive medical treatment after one such incident; (d) that he was subjected to sexual harassment in violation of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights when he was the subject of strip searches within the jail; (e) that his placement in segregation was in violation of his rights to due process pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment; and (f) that defendants deprived him of meaningful access to legal material and his litigation papers. Hollgarth seeks both compensatory and punitive damages. The court hereafter will refer to the Second Amended Complaint as the "Complaint."

The defendants argue that Hollgarth's various claims are subject to summary judgment for numerous alternative reasons. Defendants argue that Hollgarth's evidence is insufficient to satisfy his burden of proof on these claims for the following principal reasons: (a) The evidence establishes that no defendant was responsible for the employment of excessive force against Hollgarth and that the force used against him clearly was not excessive to the need presented at the time, but was justified and minimal, was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain discipline under threatening circumstances, and did not cause injury to Hollgarth. (b) The decision of jail administrators to subject Hollgarth to visual body cavity searches was a reasonable response to a legitimate security concern raised by Hollgarth's history of repeated attempts to escape from custody and the verified report that Hollgarth and other prisoners were attempting to collect homemade weapons as part of an escape plot; the body cavity searches were conducted in a reasonable manner that has repeatedly been approved by the courts as not being harassing or punitive. (c) Hollgarth is unable to satisfy his burden of proving that his placement in administrative segregation violated his Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process for the following alternative reasons: (1) confinement in administrative segregation was not punitive in nature since the circumstances of such confinement were comparable to confinement in the jail's general population and did not deny Hollgarth any of the minimal necessities of civilized life; and (2) Hollgarth's confinement in administrative segregation did not deprive him of a liberty interest subject to the protections of due process. (d) Claims added by Hollgarth in amended complaints are barred because the claims were not filed within the applicable limitation periods. (e) Hollgarth is unable to support his claim that he was denied medical care because the undisputed evidence demonstrates that he did not present a serious medical need, correctional officers were not deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need, and he did not suffer any resulting injury. (f)Hollgarth cannot establish that defendants denied him his right of access to the courts since there is no evidence (1) that any defendant was responsible for the loss of Hollgarth's litigation materials or (2) that the loss of such materials actually denied Hollgarth access to the courts or caused him to suffer quantifiable detriment. (g) The individual defendants are entitled to qualified immunity from liability on each of Hollgarth's claims directed against them. (h) Hollgarth's official-capacity claim against Sheriff Dawson is not supported by evidence that policies or practices of the sheriff's office caused violations of Hollgarth's constitutional rights.

STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS*fn1

1. Plaintiff Lindy L. Hollgarth is currently incarcerated in the Galesburg Correctional Center by the Illinois Department of Corrections. (Hollgarth Dep., pp. 5,6)

2. Jerry Dawson is the Sheriff of Macon County. (Complaint, par. 6; Answer par. 6)

3. In 2003, Lt. Steve Jones was the Warden of the Macon County jail (hereafter, the "Jail"). On August 1, 2003, Lt. John Anderson became Warden. (L. Jones Affid., par. 2)

4. In 2003, Larry Jones was Assistant Warden of the Jail, with the rank of sergeant. Larry Jones now is Warden, with the rank of lieutenant. (L. Jones Affid., par. 3)

5. Charles Woodard, Dewayne Jones, and Jerdean Meeks are correctional officers at the Jail with the rank of sergeant. (Complaint, par. 8,9, 10; Answer, par. 8,9, 10)

6. Randy West is a corrections officer at the Jail with the rank of corporal. (Complaint, par. 11; Answer, par. 11)

7. Craig Kramer, Chris Patient, Bradley Patient, Scott Shaw, Robert Jordan, Stan Boulware, and Scott Shull were corrections officers at the Jail in 2003. (Complaint, par. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17; Answer, par. 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17; L. Jones Affid., par. 6)

8. On April 16, 2003, Hollgarth was arrested in the City of Decatur in Macon County on multiple charges, including theft, residential burglary, aggravated fleeing, attempting to elude a police officer, and aggravated battery. (Def. Ex. 1; L. Jones Affid., par. 8)

9. On April 16, 2003, Hollgarth was booked into the Jail as a result of his arrest that day. Hollgarth remained in the Jail as a pretrial detainee until March 11, 2004. (Def. Ex. 2, 3; L. Jones Affid., par. 9)

10. When booked into the Jail on April 16, 2003, Hollgarth was identified as an "escape risk" because he had a history of attempted escapes and escapes from custody. (Def. Ex. 2, 4; L. Jones Affid., par. 10).

11. On September 21, 1990, Hollgarth had been convicted in Macon County of felony escape and sentenced to three years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. The charge and conviction resulted from Hollgarth walking away from a work release assignment in Decatur. (Hollgarth Dep., pp. 9-10; Def. Ex. 5; L. Jones Affid., par. 11)

12. On November 17, 1993, Hollgarth had been convicted in Macon County of felony escape and was sentenced to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. The charge and conviction resulted from Hollgarth fleeing a police squad car after being placed under arrest for multiple charges, including burglary. (Def. Ex. 6; Lt. Jones Affid., par. 12)

13. On April 2, 1998, Hollgarth had been convicted in Steele County, Minnesota of felony escape and sentenced to serve 64 months in the Minnesota Department of Corrections. The charge and conviction resulted from Hollgarth fleeing a van transporting him and other detainees. (Hollgarth Dep., pp. 10- 1 1 ; Def. Ex. 7; L. Jones Affid., par. 13)

14. When Hollgarth was booked into the Jail, he was placed in general population. Because he was classified as an escape risk, his cell assignment was changed approximately every one to two weeks. (L. Jones Affid., par. 15)

15. The general population in the Jail consists of both pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners. Convicted prisoners may be housed in the Jail's general population when they are serving sentences of less than one year, are awaiting sentencing or transfer to the Department of Corrections, or have been returned to the Jail to be housed in connection with a court appearance. (L. Jones Affid., par. 16)

16. Correctional officers in the Jail work on three daily shifts. The first shift is from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The second shift is from 2:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. The third shift is from 10:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. Generally, officers in the Jail are assigned only to one shift and do not alternate between shifts. (L. Jones Affid., par. 17)

17. During 2003, West, Boulware, and Woodard worked on the first shift in the Jail. (West Affid., par. 2; Boulware Affid., par. 2; L. Jones Affid., par. 18)

18. During 2003, Kramer, Jordan, Bradley Patient, Chris Patient, Shull, Shaw, and Meeks worked on the second shift in the Jail. (Kramer Affid., par. 2; Jordan Affid., par. 2; B. Patient Affid., par. 2; C. Patient Affid., par. 2; L. Jones Affid., par. 19; Meeks Affid., par. 2)

19. Dewayne Jones was on layoff from December 2002 to December 2003 and did not work in the Jail at all during that period. (D. Jones Affid., par. 3; L. Jones Affid., par. 20)

20. On June 18, 2003, Hollgarth was housed in Cell 1 in Trod 2, Pod C. Trod 2 consists of three "pods" or cellblocks, each having 14 cells. All prisoners housed in Trod 2 are in the Jail's general population. (L. Jones Affid., par. 21)

21. On June 18, 2003, at approximately 5:30 a.m., corrections officer James Davis woke prisoner Raymond Crutchfield, who was to be transported with other prisoners to the Illinois Department of Corrections. Crutchfield was housed in Trod 2, Pod A, Cell 5. Crutchfield told Davis that some of the prisoners in Trod 2 were removing metal objects from the ceiling vents to be used in an attempt to escape from the Jail. Crutchfield identified four prisoners in Pod A and three prisoners in Pod C as being involved in the escape plot. Among the prisoners in Pod C identified by Crutchfield was Hollgarth. (Davis Affid., par. 5,7; Def. Ex. 8)

22. On June 18, 2003, corrections officers conducted an investigation of the information received from Crutchfield regarding a possible escape. As part of that investigation, officers conducted a shakedown of all cells in Pods 2A and 2C. Teams of officers first removed the prisoners from their cells. The seven prisoners identified by Crutchfield were moved to cells in Trod 5, Pods A and C. Other prisoners were removed from their cells and transferred temporarily to the Jail's indoor recreational area. All prisoners housed in Pods A and C were strip searched. Each of the cells in Pods A and C was searched by officers. (Davis Affid., par. 6, 7; L. Jones Affid., par. 23; Collins Affid., par. 6 Def. Ex. 8)

23. On June 18, 2003, teams of corrections officers were assigned to extract from their cells the prisoners housed in Pods 2A and 2C. Each team consisted of three officers. (L. Jones Affid., par. 24)

24. On June 18, 2003, at approximately 8:00 a.m., a team consisting of officers Terry Collins, Jamie Cox, and John Mayer removed Hollgarth from his cell. When the officers entered Hollgarth's cell, he was sleeping. The officers grabbed Hollgarth's arms while he was in bed and handcuffed his wrists behind his back. They ordered Hollgarth to go with them. Hollgarth complied. Hollgarth was escorted to a cell in Trod 5. (Collins Affid., par. 6,7; West Affid., par. 7; Def. Ex. 9)

25. On June 18, 2003, at approximately 8:15 a.m., officer Collins conducted a shakedown of Cell 2C-1, Hollgarth's cell. Collins observed that the base of the stool at the desk in Cell 2C-1 was missing one bolt and that five of the remaining bolts were loose. (Collins Affid., par. 8; Def. Ex. 9)

26. On June 18, 2003, during their search of the cells in Pod 2A, officers found ceiling vents that had been tampered with, sharpened objects, and other contraband, such as a cotter pin and piece of wire. In their search on that date of cells in Pod 2C, officers found a ceiling vent that had been tampered with*fn2 . (L. Jones Affid., par. 25; Davis Affid., par. 7; Def. Ex. 8, 9, 10) No contraband was found in the plaintiff's cell*fn3 .

27. On June 19, 2003, Hollgarth was charged with attempted escape and criminal damage to state property. (L. Jones Affid., par. 26; Def. Ex. 11)

28. Sgt. Dewayne Jones and officer Craig Kramer were not on duty in the Jail during first shift on June 18, 2003 and did not participate in the shakedown of Pods 2A and 2C. Dewayne Jones and Kramer were not present in Pod 2C and were not involved in the removal of Hollgarth from his cell on that date. (D. Jones Affid., par. 5; Kramer Affid., par. 5; L. Jones Affid., par. 27; Collins Affid., par. 9; Hollgarth Dep., pp. 15-16, 19)

29. Sgt. Larry Jones, Cpl. Randy West, and officer Stan Boulware were on duty in the Jail on first shift on June 18, 2003, but did not remove Hollgarth from his cell on that date. (L. Jones Affid., par. 28; West Affid., par. 5, 6, 7; Boulware Affid., par. 5; Collins Affid., par. 9; Hollgarth Dep., pp. 16, 17-18)

30. As a result of the information received on June 18, 2003 regarding an escape plot and the discovery of contraband and cell damage during the shakedown on that date, Jail administrators determined that Hollgarth and the other six prisoners identified as being part of the escape plot presented security risks and would be removed from general population and housed in administrative segregation in Trod 5. Hollgarth's history of attempted escapes from custody also was a factor in the decision to place him in administrative segregation*fn4 . (L. Jones Affid., par. 29)

31. Pods A and C in Trod 5 are utilized for purposes of disciplinary segregation and administrative segregation. Pods A and C are similar in design. Each pod contains nine single person cells which open on to a dayroom. Each cell contains a desk, stool, sink, and commode. The dayroom contains a table, chairs, telephone, and shower. Each cell has 715 square feet. Each ...


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