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Terran Dale O'neal v. Superintendant Reyes

July 2, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles P. Kocoras, District Judge:


This matter comes before the Court on the motion of Defendants Thomas Dart ("Dart"), Mario Reyes ("Reyes"), Daniel Brown ("Brown"), John Mueller ("Mueller"), and Salvador Godinez ("Godinez") (collectively, "Defendants") for summary judgment. For the reasons stated herein, Defendants' motion is granted.


Plaintiff Terran Dale O'Neal ("O'Neal") was a pretrial detainee at the Cook County Department of Corrections ("DOC") from October 4, 2009 until January 11, 2010 and again from April 10, 2010 until June 24, 2010. At all relevant times, Defendants Reyes, Godinez, and Brown held supervisory positions at the DOC. Defendant Dart is the Sheriff of Cook County, and Defendant Mueller is the Programs Coordinator of Program Services at the Cook County Department of ReEntry and Diversion Programs.

On October 4, 2009, O'Neal was admitted to the DOC and assigned to a segregation tier of Division 9. The tier was known as the "knife deck" because, according to O'Neal, "either you're getting stabbed or you're carrying something so you can stab somebody." O'Neal never requested to be transferred from the segregation tier and did not request to be placed in protective custody.

On October 8, 2009, O'Neal was in his cell when another inmate squired urine and feces into O'Neal's cell with a shampoo bottle through an opening in the door. O'Neal was struck in the head, neck, and back with the urine and feces. O'Neal attempted to block the inmate from squirting more urine and feces through the door opening, when the inmate stabbed plaintiff in the palm of his hand. Immediately after the incident, O'Neal was taken to the emergency room and treated with stitches and pain medication. O'Neal returned to his cell, and within a couple of hours the cell was cleaned. After the incident, prison officials placed O'Neal in protective custody, though O'Neal did not request that they do so.

In November or December 2009, O'Neal was attacked by another inmate who used a shampoo bottle to squirt urine and feces through his cell door. O'Neal did not request medical attention, and the attacker later returned to apologize and clean the cell. O'Neal did not require immediate medical attention after this incident. Eventually, O'Neal worried that he may have contracted a disease as a result of the incidents because of a persistent "runny nose," though all subsequent medical tests were negative.

O'Neal contends that an unnamed tier officer orchestrated the second incident and that an unidentified guard purposely left his post so that the attacking inmate had enough time to "come and do what he wanted." Prior to the second incident, O'Neal maintains that he saw a bottle of urine outside of his cell and asked an unidentified officer to remove the bottle, though the officer never did.

O'Neal filed a grievance with prison administration on September 17, 2010, over eleven months after the initial attack and nine months after the second attack. The grievance was denied as untimely. The DOC's Grievance Procedure, available to all inmates, provides that a grievance must be properly filed within fifteen days after the alleged offense.

On June 7, 2011, O'Neal filed a complaint alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In particular, O'Neal maintains that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to a serious risk to his safety, and that they violated his due process rights.*fn2 Defendants now move for summary judgment on each of O'Neal's claims.


Summary judgment is appropriate when the pleadings, discovery, disclosures, and affidavits establish that there is no genuine issue of material fact, such that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); Winsley v. Cook Cnty., 563 F.3d 598, 602-03 (7th Cir. 2009). A genuine issue of material fact exists when, based on the evidence, a reasonable jury could find in favor of the non-moving party. Trinity Homes LLC v. Ohio Cas. Ins. Co., 629 F.3d 653, 656 (7th Cir. 2010). A non-movant's failure to respond to a motion for summary judgment does not automatically result in a judgment for the movant. Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608 (7th Cir. 2006). Rather, the ultimate burden of persuasion remains with the movant to show that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Id. In considering a motion for summary judgment, a court construes all facts and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Smith v. Hope Sch., 560 F.3d 694, 699 (7th Cir. 2010).


I. Exhaustion of ...

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