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Earl Sidney Davis v. Larry J. Phillips

September 4, 2012

EARL SIDNEY DAVIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LARRY J. PHILLIPS, TARRY WILLIAMS, SHON C. ORRILL, RICHARD A. LOGAN, SETH C. WESSEL, GEORGE LAY, ) SANDRA SIMPSON, GUY GROOT, JAMES HAAGE, ) JANE DOES 1-2, AND DONALD G. DANIELS. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sue E. Myerscough, U.S. District Judge:

E-FILED

Tuesday, 04 September, 2012 03:12:35 PM

Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

Plaintiff Earl Sidney Davis, proceeding pro se, is a civil detainee at the Rushville Treatment and Detention Facility ("Rushville"). Now before this Court is a supplemental motion for summary judgment ("Motion") by Defendants George Lay and Seth C. Wessel. Defendants filed this Motion on Friday, March 30, 2012 in response to Plaintiff's claim that Defendants violated his constitutional rights by laughing and watching while they forced Plaintiff to urinate in his restraints. After a careful consideration of the record, the Court concludes that it cannot grant summary judgment to Defendants because there remain material issues of fact. The Court further concludes that Defendants are not entitled to qualified immunity because a reasonable officer would have known that security procedures used to harass and humiliate violate clearly established constitutional rights. Accordingly, Defendants' Motion must be denied.

LEGAL STANDARD

In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court will grant summary judgment when the moving party demonstrates it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). In the record, the Court must include the reasons for granting or denying summary judgment, as well as whether any material issues of fact exist. Id. A genuine dispute as to a material fact exists when a reasonable jury could find in favor of either party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986).

Although "[t]he movant has the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of fact, . . . the [non-movant] is not thereby relieved of his own burden of producing in turn evidence that would support a jury verdict." Id. at 256. To prove the absence of a material fact, the moving party may cite to "particular materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . . , admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1). The movant may also demonstrate the non-movant's failure to produce sufficient admissible evidence to support the factual allegations. Id. To survive summary judgment, the non-movant may not simply rely on the facts alleged in the complaint but must instead produce affirmative evidence. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 257. Indeed, "[i]n a § 1983 case, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof on the constitutional deprivation that underlies the claim, and thus must come forward with sufficient evidence to create genuine issues of material fact to avoid summary judgment." McAllister v. Price, 615 F.3d 877, 881 (7th Cir. 2010).

Importantly, at the summary judgment stage, the Court must consider the evidence "in the light most favorable to the non-moving party." Ricci v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557 (2009). Moreover, material factual disputes are resolved in Plaintiff's favor because "the [competent] evidence of [Plaintiff] is to be believed." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 269.

FACTS

Plaintiff Earl Sidney Davis is a 69-year-old civilly committed detainee. Pl.'s Dep. at 4. He has been adjudicated a sexually violent person pursuant to the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons Act. See Defs.' Mem. of Law in Supp. of Defs. Lay and Wessel's Supplemental Mot. for Summ. J. at 2. Currently, Plaintiff is in the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services ("DHS") and resides at the Rushville Treatment and Detention Facility ("Rushville") in Rushville, Illinois. Id. at 1.

Plaintiff began this lawsuit on December 29, 2009 by filing a complaint against Defendants that alleged due process claims of excessive force, unconstitutional application of the "black box" restraint, unconstitutional disciplinary hearing procedures, and wanton infliction of psychological (and perhaps physical) pain. See Op. at 1-2, 23. On March 16, 2012, this Court granted summary judgment to Defendants Groot and Simpson in full and to Defendants Haage, Lay, Logan, Orrill, Phillips, Wessel, and Williams in part. Id. at 25. Surviving were the excessive force claims against Defendants Daniels, Logan, and Orrill and the claim for wanton infliction of psychological, and possibly physical, pain against Defendants Lay and Wessel. Id.

These Defendants were given an opportunity to file a Supplemental Motion for Summary Judgment, which Defendants Lay and Wessel have done. See Op. at 26; Defs.' Supplemental Mot. for Summ. J. Defendants George Lay and Seth C. Wessel were both DHS Security Therapy Aids at the time of the incident in dispute. Lay Aff. ¶¶ 1--2. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Lay and Wessel violated his constitutional rights on May 22, 2008 when Defendants accompanied Plaintiff on a court writ to the Madison County Courthouse. Pl.'s Dep. 71. In the course of attending this writ, Plaintiff was restrained by use of the "black box" handcuff system.*fn1 Plaintiff claims that during his hearing, he asked the judge if his restraints could be removed so that he could use the bathroom. Id. According to Plaintiff, Defendants assured the judge they would remove the constraints. Id. at 72. Yet, when the hearing ended and Defendants escorted Plaintiff to the restroom, Defendants declined to remove the "black box" restraints as promised.*fn2 Id. Plaintiff states he addressed Defendants, saying, "[A]re you going to take these [restraints] off? . . . you just told the judge you would." Id. Defendants still refused. Id. Plaintiff claims he then advised Defendants that he also had a written court order from Judge James Hackett, stating "shackles shall be removed at courthouse in order to allow [Earl Sidney Davis] to utilize restroom (handcuffs, too)." Id.; see also Pl.'s Resp. to Defs.' Supplemental Mot. for Summ.

J. Ex. C; Pl.'s Mot. to Supplement the Record with a Clear Certified Copy of Ex.(S), The Madison County Ct. Order issued Feb. 13, 2001 Ex. S. Defendants purportedly retorted, "A court order is not worth the paper it's written on." Pl.'s Dep. 72. Defendants deny making this statement and deny any awareness that a court order to remove Plaintiff's restraints was in place. Lay Aff. ¶ 5. An actual court order had in fact been issued by Judge Hackett on February 13, 2001. See Pl.'s Mot. to Supplement the Record with a Clear Certified Copy of Ex. (S), The Madison County Ct. Order issued Feb. 13, 2001 Ex. S. Nevertheless, no evidence indicates that Defendants were actually aware of this 2001 order prior to the May 22, 2008 bathroom incident.

Specifically, Plaintiff complains that wearing the "black box" restraints caused "excruciating pain" and hindered his ability to wipe and zip and pull his pants up and down. See Pl.'s Resp. to Defs.' Supplemental Mot. for Summ. J. at 18; see also Pl.'s Dep. 72. According to Plaintiff's testimony, the courthouse bathroom is located in a hallway used by female deputy sheriffs. Id. The bathroom itself is a small, windowless room with concrete walls and only a toilet and sink inside. Id. Plaintiff contends that Defendants forced Plaintiff to urinate with the "black box" handcuffs still attached to his wrists. Pl.'s Dep. 73. Defendants allegedly held open the bathroom door and watched, laughing, as Plaintiff attempted to unzip his pants and urinate. Id. at 72--73. Plaintiff claims that in attempting to zip and unzip his pants, the cuffs scraped his arms and caused bleeding. Id. at 72.

Plaintiff alleges Defendants' actions were a physical and psychological attack on him. See Decl. of Earl Sidney Davis Attached to Pl.'s Resp. to Defs.' Supplemental Mot. for Summ. J. at 3. However, Defendants deny that they ever laughed at Plaintiff while he used the restroom. Lay Aff. ¶ 7. Instead, Defendants contend that their refusal to remove Plaintiff's restraints was within their professional discretion and consistent with standard DHS security procedures. See Defs.' Mem. of Law in Supp. of Defs. Lay and Wessel's Supplemental Mot. for Summ. J. at 4. Defendants assert that the policy of the Rushville administration requires "all residents taken outside of the facility [to] wear restraints," not as an intention to humiliate the residents, but instead as a method to "protect members of the public who may come into contact with the resident[s]." Id. Defendants further state that restraints are not to be removed at the "unsecured location," unless the removal is pursuant to a court order and only done after receiving authorization from Defendants' superiors at Rushville. Id. at 3.

Plaintiff, however, says there have been many occasions where he has not worn restraints on court writs and when his escort team has removed his handcuffs pursuant to a judge's order without first obtaining permission from supervisors at Rushville. See Pl.'s Resp. to Defs.' Supplemental Mot. for Summ. J. at 16--18; see also id. at 19--22. Furthermore, although Defendants assert "it is possible to use the restroom while wearing constraints," Lay Aff. ΒΆ 4, Plaintiff disagrees. See Pl.'s Resp. to Defs.' Supplemental Mot. for Summ. J. at 17--18. Particularly, Plaintiff notes that wearing the "black box" restraints restricts his ability to wipe and pull his pants up and down. See id. at 18. In further support, Plaintiff has presented a copy of a 2001 court order from Judge James Hackett of the Third Judicial Circuit Court of Madison County saying "shackles shall be removed at courthouse in order to allow [Earl Sidney Davis] to utilize restroom (handcuffs, too)." See Pl.'s Mot. to Supplement the Record with a Clear Certified Copy of Ex. (S), The Madison County Ct. Order issued Feb. 13, 2001 Ex. S. Plaintiff has also submitted the testimony of former DHS Facility ...


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