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Reierson v. Monroe

February 26, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Wayne R. Andersen


Anthony Reierson ("Plaintiff"), previously incarcerated at the Kendall County Jail and then the East Moline Correctional Center (# M-00198), filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit against Kendall County Jail Nurse Jodi Monroe and Dr. Venkata Vallury ("Defendants"). Plaintiff alleges that, while he was incarcerated at the Kendall County Jail between June and October 2008, the Defendants ignored his complaints of back pain, as well as his requests for medication and an extra mat for his bunk. The Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment, asserting that Plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Plaintiff has filed a response to the Defendants' Local Rule 56.1 Statement (N.D. Ill.), as well as exhibits, but has not responded to their summary judgment motion. The Defendants have replied to Plaintiff's Rule 56.1 responses, and have filed a motion to strike Plaintiff's Rule 56.1 responses and exhibits.

For the following reasons, the court grants in part and denies in part the Defendants' motion to strike Plaintiff's Rule 56.1 responses and denies the motion for summary judgment without prejudice to the Defendants refiling it if they are able to present additional evidence on the exhaustion issue. Plaintiff is directed to submit an updated in forma pauperis form within 30 days of the date of this order.

I. Summary Judgment Standard

A. Rule 56(c) of the Rules of Federal Civil Procedure

Summary judgment is appropriate "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)(2); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). In determining the existence of a genuine issue of material fact, the court construes all facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). When addressing a motion for summary judgment, "[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Id. at 255.

If the moving party meets its burden, the nonmoving party has the burden "to go beyond the pleadings and affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue of material fact." Borello v. Allison, 446 F.3d 742, 748 (7th Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-26; Johnson v. City of Fort Wayne, 91 F.3d 922, 931 (7th Cir. 1996). A genuine issue of material fact is not demonstrated by the mere existence of "some alleged factual dispute between the parties," Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or by "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists only if a reasonable finder of fact could return a decision for the nonmoving party based upon the record. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252; Insolia v. Phillip Morris Inc., 216 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 2000). With respect to whether an inmate exhausted administrative remedies, the court, and not a jury, must resolve factual issues relating to the exhaustion issue. Pavey v. Conley, 528 F.3d 494, 497-98 (7th Cir. 2008).

B. N.D. Ill. Local Rules 56.1 and 56.2

Because Plaintiff is a pro se litigant, the Defendants served him with a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment" as required by Local Rule 56.2 (N.D Ill.). The notice explains the consequences of failing to respond properly to a motion for summary judgment and to a statement of material facts. (R. 16, Defs.' Rule 56.2 Notice.)

The purpose of a Local Rule 56.1 Statement is to identify the relevant evidence supporting the material facts, not to make factual or legal arguments. See Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 2006). The parties' statements assist the court by "organizing the evidence, identifying undisputed facts, and demonstrating precisely how each side propose[s] to prove a disputed fact with admissible evidence." Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000). Specifically, Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Servs., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004). The nonmoving party must then admit or deny every factual statement proffered by the moving party and concisely designate any material facts that establish a genuine dispute for trial. Schrott v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 403 F.3d 940, 944 (7th Cir. 2005).

A litigant's failure to respond properly to a Rule 56.1 Statement results in the court considering the uncontroverted statement as true. Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608 (7th Cir. 2006). Non-responses or "evasive denials" allow for assuming uncontested facts in a Rule 56.1 Statement to be true. Bordelon v. Chicago School Reform Bd. of Trustees, 233 F.3d 524, 528 (7th Cir. 2000). Moreover, a plaintiff's pro se status does not absolve him from complying with these Local Rules. See McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993); Greer v. Board of Ed. of City of Chicago, 267 F.3d 723, 727 (7th Cir. 2001).

II. Defendants' Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Responses and Exhibits

In support of their summary judgment motion, the Defendants filed a Rule 56.1 Statement and two exhibits (an affidavit from Kendall County Jail Commander Sandra Jennings and a copy of the Kendall County Jail Inmate Manual). (R. 14, Defs' Rule 56.1 Statement.) Plaintiff filed a response to the Rule 56.1 Statement, which he titled as his Answer. (R. 27, Pl.'s 56.1 Response.) He also filed exhibits, which mainly consist of grievances he filed from a state prison, Inmate Request Forms he filed at the Kendall County Jail, and a narrative chronology of events. (R. 28, Pl.'s Exhibits.) The Defendants have filed a motion to strike several of Plaintiff's Rule 56.1 responses as non-responsive and to strike his exhibits. (R. 29, Defs.' Motion to Strike.)

Plaintiff's Rule 56.1 responses, for the most part, admit the statements submitted by the Defendants. To the extent Plaintiff's responses are conclusory or argumentative, such as his comments that the jail was uncooperative with service of Dr. Vallury and that Nurse Jodi Monroe refused to relay MRI results to the doctor, the court will not consider them. (R. 27, Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Response, ΒΆΒΆ 3-4.) However, Plaintiff's explanations that he did not file grievance forms because such forms were not available may be considered. Although Plaintiff does not cite to record evidence, such as an affidavit, he could testify about factual matters about which he has personal knowledge. See Fed. R. Evid. 602. Accordingly, the court strikes those ...

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