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Sokoya v. Downey

March 20, 2009

SHAMSIDEEN G. SOKOYA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL DOWNEY, ET AL.,



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harold A. Baker United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the court are the defendants' summary judgment motion [68] and the plaintiff's responses [79], [amended] response to statement of facts [87] and [amended] [89].

Standard

Summary judgment "should be rendered if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). Any discrepancies in the factual record should be evaluated in the non-movant's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986) (citing Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59 (1970)). The party moving for summary judgment must show the lack of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

"Summary judgment is the 'put up or shut up' moment in a lawsuit, when a party must show what evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of events. Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., Inc., 325 F.3d 892, 901 (7th Cir. 2000). A party opposing summary judgment bears the burden to respond, not simply by resting on its own pleading but by "set[ting] out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial." See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). In order to be a "genuine" issue, there must be more than "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Ind. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). "If [the non-movant] does not [meet his burden], summary judgment should, if appropriate, be entered against [the non-movant]." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e).

Affidavits must be based on the personal knowledge of the affiant and "set out facts that would be admissible in evidence." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e) (emphasis added). Personal knowledge may include inferences and opinions drawn from those facts. Visser v. Packer Eng. Assoc., Inc., 924 F.2d 655, 659 (7th Cir. 1991). "But the inferences and opinions must be grounded in observation or other first-hand personal experience. They must not be based on flights of fancy, speculations, hunches, intuitions or rumors remote from that experience." Visser, 924 F.2d at 659.

Background

The plaintiff, Shamsideen Sokoya alleges in this lawsuit that his constitutional rights were violated while he was housed as a pretrial detainee in Kankakee County, Illinois. Specifically, Sokoya alleges that his Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated because he faced inhumane conditions of confinement and was denied adequate medical treatment and access to the courts. Sokoya brings these claims for money damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the defendants, Michael Downey, the Chief of Corrections of Kankakee County, Carl Brown, the Assistant Chief of Corrections of Kankakee County, and Correctional Officers Cynthia Leggett, William Berry, Justin Dole, Nicholas Nagel, Kent Smith, Roosevelt Kennedy, Michael Dumontelle and Christopher Young.

The defendants have moved for summary judgment on all of Sokoya's claims and the plaintiff has filed several responses in opposition thereto. His first response [79] was filed on November 17, 2008, includes a 248-paragraph affidavit, a 61 page, single-spaced memorandum and more than 130 pages in exhibits. On November 19, 2008, the defendants filed a timely motion to strike the plaintiff's response for failure to comply with Local Rules 7.1(D)(5) and 7.1(B)(4), which limits Sokoya's response to 15 double-spaced pages or the prescribed type volume limitation. The plaintiff's memorandum is more than four times the allowed limitation under the rules. The plaintiff has not sought leave from this court to file a memorandum in excess of the limitation, nor shown good cause to be excused from comply with the local rules.

On December 15, 2008, the defendants filed a motion to strike the plaintiff's affidavit [84] attached to his response. The plaintiff filed an unsigned response [88] and therefore it will not be considered. See Fed. R. Civ. Pro Rule 11(a) which provides that every pleading, written motion, and other paper must be signed by at least one attorney of record. . . . or by the party personally if the party is unrepresented. After becoming aware through the defendants' motion to strike [82] and their reply [83] to his response that his response [79] was not in compliance with the local rules, the plaintiff filed an [amended] response [87] to the defendants' statement of facts and an [amended] "response/memorandum" [89]. The plaintiff's second memorandum is 25 pages long. Again the plaintiff did not seek leave of the court to file a memorandum in excess of the limitation.

The plaintiff's response, particularly document 79, obfuscates the true issues at stake and serves to burden the judicial system and frustrate the defendants' defense against his allegations. Sokoya's response to defendants' statement of material facts contains generalized legal argument and conclusions, rather than particularized statements of fact. His affidavit contains contradictory and hearsay statements, as well as legal argument and speculation. Sokoya's 65-page brief in opposition and hundreds of pages of exhibits (not referenced in his response to defendants' statement of facts) are used as a "veritable catapult to hurl a jumbled mass of information" at defendants and this court in the hope of avoiding summary judgment. See Greer v. Bd. of Ed., 267 F.3d 723, 727 (7th Cir. 2001). It is not the function of this court to scour the record in search of facts or evidence to support Sokoya's position. "Courts are entitled to assistance from counsel, and an invitation to search without guidance is no more useful than a litigant's request to a district court at the summary judgment stage to paw through the assembled discovery material. 'Judge are not like pigs, hunting for truffles buried in' the record." Albrechtsen v. Bd. of Regents, 2002 WL 31397690 (7th Cir. 2002), quoting United States v. Dunkel, 927 F.2d 955, 956 (7th Cir. 1991). The court necessarily relies on "the nonmoving party to identify with reasonable particularity the evidence upon which he relies." Bombard v. Ft. Wayne Newspapers, Inc., 92 F.3d 560, 562 (7th Cir. 1996). The plaintiff attaches exhibits to both of his responses, but neither of his memorandum of law points the court to specific exhibits.

In Illinois, pro se litigants are presumed to have full knowledge of applicable court rules and procedure. See Moralis v. Flageole, No. 06 C 2034, 2007 WL 2893652, *3 (C.D. Ill. Sept. 28, 2007); Voogd v. Pavilion Found., No. 03 C 2465, 2004 WL 877996, *3 (N.D. Ill. April 23, 2004) (citing Steinbrecher v. Steinbrecher, 197 Ill. 2d 514, 759 N.E.2d 509, 517 (2001)). Therefore, even though Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, he must follow the Federal Rules and procedural rules of the Central District, and this Court should enforce those rules. See Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 297 F.3d 558, 562 (7th Cir. 2002); Members v. Paige, 140 F.3d 699, 702 (7th Cir. 1998); Jagla v. LaSalle Bank, No. 05 C 6460, 2006 WL 2796481, *8 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 26, 2006). The Seventh Circuit has repeatedly upheld a district court's discretion to require strict compliance with its local rules governing summary judgment, even in the case of pro se plaintiffs. See Moralis, 2007 WL 2893652 at *3; Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000).

Under Local Rule 7.1(D)(2), a response to a summary judgment must include a response to movant's statement of undisputed material facts. Such response is to contain: (1) a list by number of each fact from the movant's statement which is conceded to be undisputed and material; (2) a list by number of each fact which is claimed to be disputed, supported byevidentiary documentation referenced by specific page; (3) a list by number of each facts which is claimed to be immaterial and the reason for such claim; and (4) a list of numbered additional material facts raised in opposition to the motion for summary judgment. See C.D. Ill. L.R. 7.1(D)(2). Where a party fails to respond, the movant's proposed facts are accepted as true. See Ernst v. Mitchell, No. 05-1080, 2006 WL 3513907, *1 (C.D. Ill. Dec. 5, 2006) (citing Local Rule 7.1(D)(2)). Further, the Seventh Circuit has consistently held that a failure to respond by the non-movant as mandated by the local rules results in an admission for purposes of summary judgment. See Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003). Here, Sokoya's response to Defendants' statement of material facts (d/e 81) does not comply with Local Rule 7.1(D)(2); he does not respond particularly to each numbered paragraph nor does he identify each fact from Defendants' statement and clarify whether it is conceded to be undisputed and material, disputed and material or immaterial. Sokoya's statement is wholly disjointed, contains evasive and contradictory statements, legal conclusions and argument. Further, Sokoya's evasive denials are not supported by citations to any portion of the record nor any additional exhibits.

Neither the defendants or this court is required to make up for the plaintiff's failure to respond to the defendant's statement of facts and "wade through improper denials" and argument in search of a genuinely disputed material fact. Smith, 321 F.3d at 683 (citing Bordelon, 233 F.3d at 529); see U.S. v. Dunkel, 927 F.2d 955, 956 (7th Cir. 1991)("Judges are not like pigs, hunting for truffles buried in" the record). Accordingly, Sokoya's response [79] to the defendants' statement of material facts is stricken in its entirety and this court accepts the material facts in Defendants' statement of facts as true, as it is entitled to under Local Rule 7.1(D)(2) and Seventh Circuit precedent. Further, Sokoya's affidavit, even if it was appropriate (and it is not) under the federal and local rules (see Defs.' Mot. Strike Pl.'s Aff.) cannot be considered here in light of his failure to comply with the requirements of Local Rule 7.1(D) in responding to Defendants' undisputed material facts. Therefore, this court limits its analysis of the facts on summary judgment to evidence that is properly identified and supported in the parties' statements. See Bordelon, 233 F.3d at 529. Because Sokoya's statement is entirely non-compliant, "it does not matter that evidence may have existed in the record to create a disputed issue of fact." Id.

Statement of Undisputed Facts*fn1

1. Michael Downey is the Chief of Corrections in Kankakee County, Illinois (Downey Aff., ¶ 1, attached as Exhibit A).

2. Carl Brown is the Assistant Chief of Corrections in Kankakee County, Illinois (Brown Aff., ¶ 1, attached hereto as Exhibit B).

3. Cynthia Leggett, at all times relevant to the Complaint, was employed by Kankakee County as a Correctional Officer, with the rank of Lieutenant (Id. ¶ 3).

4. William Berry, at all times relevant to the Complaint, was employed by Kankakee County as a Correctional Officer (Id. ¶ 4).

5. Justin Dole, at all times relevant to the Complaint, was employed by Kankakee County as a Correctional Officer (Id. ¶ 5).

6. Nicholas Nagel, at all times relevant to the Complaint, was employed by Kankakee County as a Correctional Officer (Id. ¶ 6).

7. Kent Smith, at all times relevant to the Complaint, was employed by Kankakee County as a Correctional Officer, with the rank of Lieutenant (Id. ¶ 7).

8. Roosevelt Kennedy, at all times relevant to the Complaint, was employed by Kankakee County as a Correctional Officer (Id. ¶ 8).

9. Michael Dumontelle, at all times relevant to the Complaint, was employed by Kankakee County as a Correctional Officer (Id. ¶ 9).

10. Christopher Young, at all times relevant to the Complaint, was employed by Kankakee County as a Correctional Officer (Id. ¶ 10).

11. Jean Flageole is the Director of Nursing for the Kankakee County Jail (Flageole Aff., ¶ 1, attached hereto as Exhibit C).

12. Laurie Eheart is employed as a nurse at the Kankakee County Jail (Eheart Aff., ¶ 1, attached hereto as Exhibit D).

13. Pursuant to an agreement between the United States Marshals Service and the Kankakee County Sheriff's Department, Shamsideen Sokoya was a federal pretrial detainee housed at the Kankakee County Jail from December 1, 2005, through January 16, 2007 (Ex. A, Downey Aff., ¶ 3; Sokoya Dep., p. 14, attached hereto as Exhibit E).

14. Sokoya was arrested on January 18, 2005, by the DEA on drug charges (Ex. E, Sokoya Dep., pp. 8, 20).

15. Sokoya was detained on those charges at the Metropolitan Correctional Center and Ozaukee County before being transferred to Kankakee County (Id. pp. 8-10).

16. Sokoya was represented by counsel during the entirety of his prosecution in the underlying criminal matter (Id. pp. 10, 14).

17. Sokoya was housed at the Kankakee County Detention Center ("KCDC") from December 1, 2005, to April 4, 2006 (Ex. A, Downey Aff., ¶ 4).

18. Sokoya was housed in 2 SW from December 1 to December 10, 2005, and from February 17 to ...


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