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Steven Castleberry (B-59415 v. City of Chicago

July 31, 2012

STEVEN CASTLEBERRY (B-59415), PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Ronald A. Guzman

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Steven Castleberry, an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center, brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Chicago Police Officers Louis Jones, Rolando Godinez, Gerardo DeLuna, Jennifer Ghouston, and an unknown officer.*fn1 Plaintiff alleged that, on July 27, 2009, after being transported from the Cook County Jail to a Chicago police station to participate in a line-up, Officers Jones and Godinez beat him while Officer DeLuna and the unknown officer watched but did not intervene. In an amended complaint, Plaintiff added the City of Chicago as a Defendant, alleging that the City failed to train and supervise its officers and that the City knew that its officers used excessive force against and falsely charged black citizens but failed to correct the problem.

Currently before the Court is the City's motion for summary judgment. It contends that Plaintiff cannot establish a municipal liability claim against it. Plaintiff has responded. For the reasons that follows, the Court grants the City's motion and dismisses it from this suit.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

"The court shall grant summary judgment 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); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In determining whether factual issues exist, a court must view all the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Weber v. Universities Research Assoc., Inc., 621 F.3d 589, 592 (7th Cir. 2010). A court does not "judge the credibility of the witnesses, evaluate the weight of the evidence, or determine the truth of the matter. The only question is whether there is a genuine issue of fact." Gonzalez v. City of Elgin, 578 F.3d 526, 529 (7th Cir. 2009), citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986).

Rule 56(a) "mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. If the moving party meets its burden of showing that there are no issues of material fact and that he is entitled to a judgment as a mater of law, the non-moving party must "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. "A genuine issue of material fact arises only if sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party exists to permit a jury to return a verdict for that party." Egonmwan v. Cook County Sheriff's Dept., 602 F.3d 845, 849 (7th Cir. 2010), quoting Faas v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 532 F.3d 633, 640-41 (7th Cir. 2008).

When addressing a summary judgment motion, this Court derives the background facts from the parties' Local Rule 56.1 Statements, which 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). Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the City served him with a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment" as required by N.D. Ill. Local Rule 56.2. (R. 89, Def.'s Reply, Exh. 1.) The notice explains the consequences of failing to properly respond to a motion for summary judgment and to the undisputed material facts in the movant's Local Rule 56.1 Statement. (Id.) A litigant's failure to respond to a statement of fact in a Local Rule 56.1 Statement results in the uncontroverted statement being considered admitted. Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608 (7th Cir. 2006). The Court also disregards responses that do not properly cite to the record or that offer only evasive denials may be disregarded. Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., L/L.C., 401 F.3d 803, 809-10 (7th Cir. 2005); Brasic v. Heinemann's Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 284 (7th Cir. 1997).

In the present case, the City filed a Rule 56.1 Statement, (R. 84), and forwarded a Rule 56.2 Notice to Plaintiff. (R. 89, Def.'s Reply, Exh. 1). Although a copy of the notice to the plaintiff is usually submitted with the summary judgment motion, the City has provided the Court with a copy of the notice it sent Plaintiff in its reply to Plaintiff's response. Plaintiff responded to the motion for summary judgment and submitted a pleading titled Declaration in Opposition to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment with several statements, (R. 87, 88); he did not, however, respond to the City's Rule 56.1 statements. This Court may thus consider the City's Rule 56.1 statements admitted, to the extent they are supported by the record. Raymond, 442 F.3d at 608. The Court will entertain Plaintiff's statements, but only insofar as he could properly testify about the matters asserted. See Fed. R. Evid. 602. The Court will also supplement the City's factual statements with references to the record, as necessary, to provide a full background of the facts and issues of this case. With these standards in mind, the Court considers the evidence of this case.

II. FACTS

On July 27, 2009, Officer Ghouston requested a writ to have Plaintiff brought from Cook County Jail to a police station to participate in a line-up as part of an investigation of an aggravated sexual assault. (R. 84, Def.'s Rule 56.1 Statement ¶ 4.) After Plaintiff arrived at the police station, he told Ghouston that he needed his medication for depression. (Id. at ¶ 5.) The following day, he was taken to Jackson Park Hospital by Officer DeLuna and an unknown officer for a psychiatric evaluation. (Id. at ¶ 6.) According to Plaintiff's amended complaint, which the City attaches as an exhibit, after Officer DeLuna and the unknown officer escorted Plaintiff back to the police station from Jackson Park Hospital, Officers Jones and Godinez beat and kicked Plaintiff's head and body while Officer DeLuna and the unknown officer watched without inervening. (Id. at ¶ 7; see also R. 10, Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 12-16.) Following the beating, Plaintiff was taken to Roseland Hospital and then back to Cook County Jail. (R. 84, Def.'s Rule 56.1 St. at ¶ 8.)

Plaintiff alleges that the City should be held liable for the officers' actions because of its failure to train or supervise officers and because there was a practice of Chicago officers beating, harassing, and falsely charging black citizens. (R. 10, Am. Compl. at ¶¶ 26, 35.) Plaintiff asserts that newspaper articles about other police beatings demonstrate a widespread use of excessive force by Chicago officers and the City's deliberate indifference to such conduct. (Id. at ¶¶ 33-35.)

In response to deposition questions about other incidents of excessive force by the Defendant officers of this case, Plaintiff stated that he had heard of none. (R. 84, Exh. 3, Pl.'s Depostion at 100.) Nor had he heard of other officers behaving like the officers in this case, except for newspaper articles about Officers Burge, Brook, and Humphrey. (Id. at 101-02.) In response to interrogatories asking Plaintiff for similar instances of police beatings and falsely charging citizens, he responded either "N/A" because he know of no other incidents or referred to the allegations in his complaint. (R. 84, Rule 56.1 Statement ¶¶ 14-15; citing Exh. 5, Pl.'s responses to interrogatories.) In response to Defendants' requests for the production of documents of other incidents, Plaintiff provided only copies of his own medical records. (R. 84 at ¶ 16.)

Plaintiff's response to the City's summary judgment motion discusses whether the officers followed proper procedures for their use of force, such as giving warnings, and he attaches several of the investigation reports about the July 27, 2009, incident. (R. 88, Pl.'s Response.) Plaintiff also includes a General Order for police officers which ...


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