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Jovan D. Daniels v. Lt. Hickey

October 5, 2012

JOVAN D. DANIELS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LT. HICKEY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. James F. Holderman

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, an inmate at the Stateville Correctional Center, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that Defendants, Lieutenant John Hickey and Commander Patrick Keaty, subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment at the Kane County Adult Detention Center by requiring him to be housed in a cold cell. Plaintiff also claims that he was confined in the cold cell as a result of retaliation for a previously-filed civil claim against jail officials. This matter is before the court for ruling on Defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted.

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); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Vision Church v. Village of Long Grove, 468 F.3d 975, 988 (7th Cir. 2006). In determining whether factual issues exist, the court must view all the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Weber v. Universities Research Ass'n, Inc., 621 F.3d 589, 592 (7th Cir. 2010). The 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)).

However, Rule 56 "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. "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial." Sarver v. Experian Info. Solutions, 390 F.3d 969, 970 (7th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted). "'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 Dep't, 602 F.3d 845, 849 (7th Cir. 2010) (quoting Faas v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 532 F.3d 633, 640-41 (7th Cir. 2008)).

"'[T]here is no issue for trial unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party. If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.'" Lorillard Tobacco Co., Inc. v. A & E Oil, Inc., 503 F.3d 588, 594-95 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986)). The inquiry is essentially "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to the jury, or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52.

LOCAL RULE 56.1 (N.D. ILL.)

Defendants filed a statement of uncontested material facts pursuant to Local Rule 56.1 (N.D. Ill.). Together with their motion for summary judgment, Defendants included a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment," [56] as required by circuit precedent. That notice clearly explained the requirements of the Local Rules and warned Plaintiff that a party's failure to controvert the facts as set forth in the moving party's statement results in those facts being deemed admitted. See, e.g., Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003).

Local Rule 56.1(b) requires a party opposing a motion for summary judgment to file:

(3) a concise response to the movant's statement that shall contain:

(A) numbered paragraphs, each corresponding to and stating a concise summary of the paragraph to which it is directed; and

(B) a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon, and

(C) a statement, consisting of short numbered paragraphs, of any additional facts that require denial of summary judgment, including references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon.

The district court may rigorously enforce compliance with Local Rule 56.1. See, e.g., Stevo v. Frasor, 662 F.3d 880, 886-87 (7th Cir. 2011) ("Because of the high volume of summary judgment motions and the benefits of clear presentation of relevant evidence and law, we have repeatedly held that district judges are entitled to insist on strict compliance with local rules designed to promote the clarity of summary judgment filings." (citing Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Serv., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004)). Although pro se plaintiffs are entitled to lenient standards, compliance with procedural rules is required. Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1061 (7th Cir. 2006); see also Koszola v. Bd. of Educ. of Chi., 385 F.3d 1104, 1108 (7th Cir. 2004). "We have . . . repeatedly held that a district court is entitled to expect strict compliance with Rule 56.1." Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., 401 F.3d 803, 809 (7th Cir. 2005).

Despite the admonitions stated above, Plaintiff failed to file a proper response to Defendants' statement of uncontested facts. Plaintiff filed a response to the Defendants' motion but did not address the Defendants' statement of uncontested facts. Accordingly, Defendants' proposed uncontested statement of facts is deemed admitted.

Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will grant him some leeway and consider the factual assertions he makes in his summary judgment materials. However, the Court will entertain Plaintiff's factual statements only to the extent that he could properly testify about the matters asserted. Among other things, a witness may not testify to a matter unless evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that the witness has personal knowledge of the matter. Fed. R. Evid. 602.

FACTS

Plaintiff was an inmate of the Kane County Adult Justice Center (hereinafter, "Jail") in Kane County, Illinois, at the time of the events giving rise to this action. (Defs.' 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 1.) During the relevant time periods, Defendant Patrick Keaty was employed by the Jail as the Commander of the Jail. (Id. ¶ 2.) Defendant John Hickey was employed by the Jail as a Correctional Officer, with one of his responsibilities being inmate classification at the Jail. (Id.)

Plaintiff was held in the Jail from April 16, 2010, through May 10, 2010, and again from July 14, 2010, through August 9, 2010. (Defs.' 56.1(a)(3) Statement ¶ 4.) Prior to these detentions at the Jail, Plaintiff had previously been charged and convicted with mob action in relation to an incident that occurred at the old Kane County Jail in 2003. (Id. ¶ 5.) Correctional Officer Yolanda Rodriguez was one of the victims of the 2003 incident. (Id.) In addition, Plaintiff filed a civil lawsuit in 2005 naming several Kane County Correctional Response ...


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