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Gregory J. Turley v. David Rednour

October 25, 2012


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


I. Introduction

Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 131). Specifically, Defendants David Rednour, Jeannette Cowan, Betsy Spiller, Marc Quillman, and Michael Schnicker seek summary judgment on Plaintiff's retaliation claim, while Defendant Donald Lindenberg argues that he is entitled to qualified immunity on Plaintiff's excessive force claim. Plaintiff has filed a Response in opposition to the motion (Doc. 144). Based on the following, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Doc. 131).

II. Background

The claims that remain in this case, which Defendants claim that they are entitled to summary judgment on, are Plaintiff's retaliation claim against Defendants Cowan, Rednour, and Spiller for Defendants moving Plaintiff to protective custody, a retaliation claim against Defendants Quillman and Schnicker for writing a false disciplinary ticket against him, and an excessive force claim against Defendant Lindenberg for slamming the cell door too loudly causing Plaintiff injury to his hearing.*fn1

The following facts are derived from the parties' briefs and exhibits.

On August 4, 2009, Plaintiff wrote a letter to Defendant Cowan with two grievances regarding the retaliation Plaintiff was experiencing from personnel.*fn2 The letter informed Defendant Cowan that Plaintiff was "under attack by personnel at this facility" and that it was his intention "to go to Protective Custody here in the very near future as [his] life is in danger" due to attacks by staff (Doc. 89 Ex. V). The attached grievances alleged that Plaintiff had been transferred to the South Lower Cellhouse in retaliation, and due in part to a conspiracy to retaliate against him, by numerous employees and that employees were improperly promoted and were not qualified for their current positions (Doc. 144 Ex. A). The grievances listed Defendant Spiller as one employee that was conspiring against him (Doc. 144 Exs. B & C). Defendant Cowan contacted Defendant Rednour, the acting Shift Commander, about Plaintiff's concerns and protective custody request which she had construed from the letter (Doc. 144 Ex. I at ¶¶ 3 & 21). Plaintiff was moved to protective custody on August 6, 2009. Neither Defendant Cowan nor Defendant Rednour informed the Warden of Plaintiff's transfer (Doc. 144 Ex. F at ¶ 14; Ex. I at ¶¶ 21 & 22).

On August 9, 2009, while in protective custody, Defendant Quillman wrote a disciplinary ticket charging Plaintiff with Damage or Misuse of Property, Intimidation or Threats and Insolence (Doc. 1 Ex. F). The incident report indicates that Defendant Quillman was passing out toilet paper to inmates, including Plaintiff, and after handing Plaintiff a roll of toilet paper and while Defendant Quillman was walking away, Plaintiff threw the roll on the gallery and began cussing at Defendant Quillman (Id.). Defendant Quillman wrote the disciplinary ticket and listed Defendant Schnicker as a witness (Id.). Defendant Quillman was assigned to North 1 back of 4 Gallery of August 9, 2009, and it was his job duty to pass out weekly supplies of toilet paper (Id.; Doc. 144 Ex. J at ¶¶ 3, 8, & 15).

On September 1, 2009, Plaintiff was taken to an interview with Internal Affairs Investigator Thomas regarding Plaintiff's "Enemy List", a list of several staff members that Plaintiff considered his enemies (Doc. 144 Ex. Q). Defendant Lindenberg was one of the individuals named on Plaintiff's list (Id.). Lindenberg was in charge of the Infirmary Area Bull Pen on the date that Plaintiff was held in the Bull Pen while awaiting his interview with Thomas. Lindenberg placed Plaintff, who was handcuffed, in the Bull Pen (Doc. 71 at ¶ 26). Plaintiff alleges that while waiting in the Bull Pen to go back to his cell, Lindenberg yelled and cursed at Plaintiff and after removing another inmate from the Bull Pen, Lindenberg slammed the steel door causing harm to Plaintiff's ears.

III. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary Judgment is proper only "if the admissible evidence considered as a whole shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Dy n e g y Mktg . & Trad e v. Mu lti Co rp ., 648 F.3d 506, 517 (7th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted)(citing FED.R.CIV.P. 56(a)); s e 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 party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of demonstrating - based on the pleadings, affidavits, and/or information obtained via discovery - the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Ce lo te x Co rp . v . Catre tt, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

After a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." An d e rs o n v . Lib e rty Lo b b y , In c ., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986)(quoting FED.R.CIV.P. 56(e)(2)).*fn3 A fact is material if it is outcome determinative under applicable law. An d e rs o n , 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). A genuine issue of material fact exists if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." An d e rs o n , 477 U.S. at 248. "A mere scintilla of evidence in support of the nonmovent's petition is insufficient; a party will be successful in opposing summary judgment only when it presents definite, competent evidence to rebut the motion." Alb ie ro v . City o f Kan kake e , 246 F.3d 927, 931-32 (7th Cir. 2001) (citations and quotations omitted).

On summary judgment, the Court considers the facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Srail v . Vill. o f Lis le , 588 F.3d 940, 948 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court adopts reasonable inferences and resolves doubts in the non-movant's favor. Id .; Nat'l Ath le tic Sp o rts w e ar, In c . v . We s tfie ld In s . Co ., 528 F.3d at 512. 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 ...

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