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Ralston v. Williamson

March 26, 2010

CARL A. RALSTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NEIL WILLIAMSON, ET.AL., DEFENDANTS



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

SUMMARY JUDGMENT ORDER

This cause is before the court for consideration of the defendants' motion for summary judgment and amended motion for summary judgment. [d/e 43, 56].

I. BACKGROUND

The pro se plaintiff filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 against five defendants at the Sangamon County Jail including Sheriff Neil Williamson, Assistant Warden William Strayer, Sargent Greg Glemmons and Placement Officers Vince Fox and John Kirby. See March 30, 2007 Text Order. The plaintiff says the defendants violated his constitutional rights when they failed to protect him from an attack by other inmates on January 17, 2007, and failed to provide him medical care for his serious medical condition.

The defendants have now clarified that the plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the time of the allegations in his complaint.

II. FACTS

The plaintiff was booked into the Sangamon County Jail on November 25, 2006.

Defendant Neil Williamson says he is the Sheriff of Sangamon County. (Def. Memo, Will. Aff. p. 1) Williamson says at the time of the allegations in the complaint, there were between 300 and 400 inmates in the jail, and it was "impossible for me to personally supervise the administration of the detailed operations of the Sangamon County Jail." (Def. Memo, Will. Aff. p. 1) Therefore, Williamson says the Jail Superintendent and Assistant Jail Superintendent are assigned those duties. Williamson also says he has no medical training, nor does he have specialized training in the classification of inmates for housing. (Def. Memo, Will. Aff. p. 1) Consequently, Williamson says he had no personal involvement with any of the plaintiff's allegations.(Def. Memo, Will. Aff. p. 2).

Defendant Clemmons says he had no role in classifying the plaintiff or deciding his housing status. (Def. Memo, Clemmons Aff, p. 1). Defendant Fox says he was a Classification Officer at the Sangamon County Jail. Nonetheless, Fox says he did not classify or assign the plaintiff to a housing unit. This was done by Correctional Officer Kirby. (Def. Memo, Fox Aff, p. 1)

John Kirby says he was a Correctional Officer at the Sangamon County Jail and did classify prisoner for the purpose of selecting housing. Kirby says he used a point classification system that was in the Sheriff's Policy Manual and had been doing classifications for about ten years. (Def. Memo, Kirby Aff, p. 1). The parties disagree as to whether the plaintiff told Defendant Kirby that he was a confidential informant. Defendant Kirby says there is no such notation on the plaintiff's classification form. (Def. Memo, Kirby Aff, p. 1-2)

The plaintiff was labeled as high security. Kirby says based on this result, he believed G block was the best housing alternative for the plaintiff due to its security measures. (Def. Memo, Kirby Aff, p. 2) Kirby says if an inmate informs an officer that he is in danger, the inmate is moved immediately to B segregation block for his own protection. (Def. Memo, Kirby Aff, p. 2)

Kirby says the plaintiff lived in G Block for approximately two months without incident. Kirby says he received no oral or written complaints from the plaintiff concerning his housing, nor did anyone else communicate the plaintiff's concerns. (Def. Memo, Kirby Aff, p. 2-3). Defendant Fox also says he has no recollection of the plaintiff ever asking to be removed from Cell Block G or stating that he was in danger. (Def. Memo, Fox Aff, p. 1) Fox says he received no written requests either.

The incident report from the January 17, 2007, fight indicates the plaintiff said it was his turn to have the television remote, so he changed channels. Inmate Travis told him he was not going to let him have control of the remote. Travis then struck the plaintiff. Another inmate, Johnson, also came up and hit the plaintiff. The plaintiff gave them the remote and they went away. The officers observed a small laceration under the plaintiff's left eye and a small cut on his elbow. The officers confirmed the story with other inmates in the areas. (Def Memo, Ex. B).

In his deposition, the plaintiff says he had known the inmate who struck him, Inmate Travis, for about ten years. (Def. Memo, Plain. Depo, p. 32). In fact, the plaintiff admits he had no reason to anticipate the fight because, he and Inmate Travis went "back a long way" ...


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