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Stanley Boclair, #A-60451 v. Tina Beardan-Monroe and Darrell Westerman

September 4, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Williams, Magistrate Judge:


I. Introduction

Before the Court is a motion for summary judgment (Docs. 73 & 74) filed by Defendants Tina Beardan-Monroe and Darrell Westerman.Specifically, both Defendants argue that they are entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff's retaliation claims as Plaintiff has not shown that either Defendant had any involvement in placing him in a cell with an inmate who later attacked Plaintiff. Plaintiff has filed a Response in opposition to the motion (Doc. 77). Plaintiff has also filed a motion to strike a paragraph from an affidavit of Brett Meyerhoff which Defendants used in their summary judgment motion (Doc. 75) as well as a motion to defer ruling on the summary judgment motion (Doc. 76). Defendants have filed Responses to both motions (Docs. 78 & 79, respectively), as well as a Reply to their summary judgment motion (Doc. 80). Based on the following, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Docs. 73 & 74). Specifically, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion as to Defendant Westerman but DENIES the summary judgment motion as to Defendant Beardan-Monroe.

II. Factual Background

The events which form the basis of Plaintiff's retaliation claims took place while Plaintiff was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center. Plaintiff's Complaint alleges that Defendants Westerman and Beardan-Monroe retaliated against him for filing grievances. On February 10, 2008, Plaintiff wrote a grievance alleging that Defendant Westerman forced another inmate to eat food off of the floor (Doc. 74 Ex. A; Ex. B at pp. 18-19). On February 11, 2008, Westerman pulled Plaintiff out of the lunch line and stated: "Why did you lie on me? You think you got your ass whipped in the West House? You're going to get fucked up now" (Doc. 74 Ex. B at pp. 9-12). Westerman did not touch Plaintiff and the encounter lasted a total of thirty seconds (Id. at p. 12, 17). That same day, Plaintiff filed a grievance alleging that Westerman threatened him (Doc. 45 Ex. B).

On July 16, 2008, Plaintiff was placed in cell MEN-N-02-10 with an Inmate Denton who allegedly could not get along with his previous cellmate (Doc. 74 Ex. B at pp. 20, 26-27). Defendant Beardan-Monroe escorted Plaintiff to his new cell (Id. at pp. 21-22). On July 18, 2008, while housed with Inmate Denton, Plaintiff was attacked by Denton (Id. at pp. 30-32). The parties dispute whether Plaintiff was moved as part of a routine cell transfer. Plaintiff argues that Beardan-Monroe moved him to a cell with Denton in order to initiate an attack on Plaintiff by Denton (Doc. 74 Ex. B at p. 23). Plaintiff alleges that this was in response to the grievance written on February 10, 2008, as well as one written on February 24, 2008 in which Plaintiff alleged that Beardan-Monroe was concealing an assault of another inmate (Id. at pp. 29-30). Plaintiff does not allege that Westerman participated in any way in Plaintiff's cell transfer.

III. Summary Judgment Standard

Under FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 56(c), summary judgment is proper only if the moving party can demonstrate "that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Ce lo te x Co rp . v . Catre tt, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Se e als o Ru ffin -Th o m p kin s v . Exp e rian In fo rm atio n So lu tio n s , In c ., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The burden is upon the moving party to establish that no material facts are in genuine dispute; any doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue must be resolved against the moving party. Ad ic ke s v . S.H. Kre s s & Co ., 398 U.S. 144, 160 (1970). Se e als o Law re n c e v . Ke n o s h a Co u n ty , 391 F.3d 837, 841 (7th Cir. 2004). A fact is material if it is outcome determinative under applicable law. An d e rs o n v . Lib e rty Lo b b y , In c ., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); B allan c e v . City o f Sp rin g fie ld , Illin o is Po lic e De p artm e n t, 424 F.3d 614, 616 (7th Cir. 2005); Ho tte n ro th v . Villag e o f Slin g e r, 388 F.3d 1015, 1027 (7th Cir. 2004). Even if the facts are not in dispute, summary judgment is inappropriate when the information before the court reveals that "alternate inferences can be drawn from the available evidence." Sp ie g la v . Hu ll, 371 F.3d 928, 935 (7th Cir. 2004). Se e als o An d e re r v. Jo n e s , 385 F.3d 1043, 1064 (7th Cir. 2004).

The inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining whether there is the need for a trial, whether, in other words, there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.

[T]his standard mirrors the standard for a directed verdict under FEDERAL RULE OF CIVIL PROCEDURE 50(a), which is that the trial judge must direct a verdict if, under the governing law, there can be but one reasonable conclusion as to the verdict. An d e rs o n v . Lib e rty Lo b b y , In c ., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). Se e als o Ce lo te x Co rp o ratio n v . Catre tt, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Pac km an v . Ch ic ag o Trib u n e Co ., 267 F.3d 628, 637 (7th Cir. 2001); Sy b ro n Tran s itio n Co rp o ratio n v . Se c u rity In s u ran c e Co m p an y o f Hartfo rd , 107 F.3d 1250, 1255 (7th Cir. 1997).

A showing of a mere factual disagreement between the parties is insufficient, the factual issue must be "material," meaning that the issue must be one affecting the outcome of the suit. Se e O u tlaw v . Ne w kirk, 259 F.3d 833, 837 (7th Cir. 2001). A moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law where the non-moving party "has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof." Ce lo te x, 477 U.S. at 323. "[A] complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Id .

IV. Analysis

A. Motion to Defer Ruling

The Court first takes up Plaintiff's Rule 56(d) Motion to Defer Ruling on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 76). Specifically, Plaintiff notes that he conducted limited discovery before he was appointed counsel and that counsel was appointed after the discovery deadline, thus Plaintiff argues that he lacks the information necessary to respond to Defendants' summary judgment motions and needs additional time and opportunity ...

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