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Joseph Cooper v. Ofc. Charles Redpath

August 30, 2011

JOSEPH COOPER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OFC. CHARLES REDPATH, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

E-FILED

Tuesday, 30 August, 2011 05:04:07 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

Memorandum Opinion and Order

Before the court are the Defendants Officer Charles Redpath, Officer Scott Ligon and Officer B. Harhausen's summary judgment motion [29] and the Plaintiff, Joseph Cooper's response [32].

Standard

Summary judgment should be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). 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). 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). "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). "If a party . . . fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may . . . grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials -- including the facts considered undisputed -- show that the movant is entitled to it." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). 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(c). 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). Further, "[t]he plaintiff cannot merely allege the existence of a factual dispute to defeat summary judgment .. Instead, he must supply evidence sufficient to allow a jury to render a verdict in his favor." Basith v. Cook County, 241 F.3d 919, 926 (7th Cir. 2001). Specifically, the non-moving party "must present sufficient evidence to show the existence of each element of its case on which it will bear the burden at trial." Filipovic v. K&R Express Systems, Inc., 176 F.3d 390, 390 (7th Cir. 1999). Failure by the non-movant to meet all of the above requirements subjects him to summary judgment on his claims.

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(c)(4) (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. It is also well settled that "conclusory allegations and self-serving affidavits, if not supported by the record, will not preclude summary judgment. Keri v. Barod of Trustees of Purdue University, 458 F.3d 620, 628 (7th Cir.2006)(citing Haywood v. N. Am. Van Lines, Inc., 121 F.3d 1066, 1071 (7th Cir.1997).

Background

Plaintiff, Joseph Cooper alleges he sustained injuries as a result of his arrest pursuant to probable cause on March 10, 2009. Cooper alleges that Officers Redpath and Harhausen used excessive force thereby violating his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable seizures. Specifically, Cooper alleges that Officers Redpath and Harhausen picked him up from the floor by his handcuffed wrists thereby dislocating his shoulders. Cooper alleges that Officers Redpath and Harhausen used Cooper's "head and body as a battering ram to knock down furniture creating the illusion of a big crime scene." Cooper alleges that he was carried into the hallway where Officer Harhausen held him while Officer Redpath forced Cooper's face onto the stucco rock hallway wall and dragged his face several feet down the wall tearing his forehead open. Cooper alleges he was dragged twenty or thirty yards by his arms and thrown down a flight of stairs which resulted in two broken toes. Cooper alleges he was thrown into the back of a squad car on his knees. (Amended Complaint, page 6 [21]). Cooper alleges Officer Redpath showed deliberate indifference to Cooper's medical needs also in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Cooper alleges Officer Harhausen failed to intervene on Cooper's behalf to prevent Officer Redpath from violating his Fourth Amendment rights to receive adequate medical treatment. Cooper alleges that Officer Ligon conspired to cover up Officer Redpath and Officer Harhausen's alleged excessive use of force by making false statements in a police report.

Undisputed Material Facts*fn1

1. Cooper was arrested on March 10, 2009, at or near Room 212 of the Quest Inn located at 3125 Widetrack Drive, Springfield, Illinois by Ligon. The police were called to that location because of a disturbance. (Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, Document, p. 5 [21]).

2. Patel, manager of the Quest Inn, was working near Room 212, when he heard screaming coming from within and called 9-1-1. (Affidavit of Patel).

2 Cooper alleges that Officer Redpath told the Memorial Medical Center ER staff to only treat the injuries pertaining to Cooper's charges. (Amended Complaint, p. 6 [21].

3. Upon arrival at 3125 Widetrack Drive, Ligon came into contact with Walker who told Ligon that he had heard someone call for help. (Affidavit of Walker).

4. Prior to knocking on the door of Room 212, Ligon heard a loud argument occurring inside. When Ligon knocked, a female voice started screaming "help" several times. (Affidavit of Ligon).

5. Ligon immediately kicked the door and on the second kick it opened. When he walked into the room, Ligon saw a female on the bed who was bleeding profusely from her mouth and had an obvious injury to her lip. (Affidavit of Ligon).

6. Ligon later learned this female was Nina Brantley and that, in the course of a physical altercation with Cooper, Brantley had suffered a broken jaw, several knocked out and broken teeth, knife wounds to her hand and bite wounds on her face and neck. (Affidavit of Ligon).

7. The bed sheets were soaked in blood and blood was present on the surfaces of numerous items in the room. (Affidavit of Ligon; Affidavit of Redpath; Affidavit of Harhausen)

8. Cooper, with his back to Ligon, was also sitting on the bed next to a bloody knife. Ligon pulled out his weapon and ordered Cooper to show his hands ...


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