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Roos v. Patterson

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

July 26, 2013

Linda Roos, Individually and as Administrator of the Estate of Jack D. Roos, Plaintiff
v.
Jason Patterson and Rock Island County, by its Agency Rock Island County Sheriff's Department, Defendants

ORDER and OPINION

JOHN A. GORMAN, Magistrate Judge.

The parties have consented to have this case heard to judgment by a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ยง 636(c), and the District Judge has referred the case to me. Now before the court are the defendants' motion for summary judgment (#30) and the plaintiff's motion to strike affidavits (#35). These motions are fully briefed, and I have carefully considered the matters contained therein. As stated herein, the motion to strike is DENIED, and the motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

I. JURISDICTION AND VENUE

Linda Roos, individually and as Administrator of Jack Roos' estate, filed a seven-count complaint in the Circuit Court of Rock Island County, Illinois, on August 3, 2010. She asserted a claim under 42 USC 1983, alleging that Patterson had violated Jack's 4th Amendment right to be free from excessive force. In addition, she asserted state law claims against Patterson and the County under the Illinois Survival Act, (Counts II and III); a wrongful death claim against Patterson and the County (Counts IV and V); and a battery claim (Count VI) and an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim (Count VII) against Patterson.

On October 14, 2010, the defendants removed the case to this Court. The Notice of Removal asserted this Court's federal question jurisdiction, based on the claim brought under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 USC 1983.

This Court has original jurisdiction over Count I, 28 USC 1331, and supplemental jurisdiction, 28 USC 1367, over the remaining claims.

Venue is proper in the Central District of Illinois, Rock Island Division, as the events leading up to this litigation occurred within this District, namely in Rock Island County, Illinois.

II. MOTION TO STRIKE AFFIDAVITS

In support of its reply to the motion for summary judgment, Defendants submitted affidavits of Steven Bragg and Rusty Brown. Plaintiff has moved to strike these affidavits.

Rule 56 allows the submission of affidavits in support of parties' factual positions. FRCP 56(c)(1). Such affidavits must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant is competent to testify to the matters contained therein. FRCP 56(c)(4).

In Plaintiff's response to the motion for summary judgment, she relies in part on testimony from Paul Elliot. That testimony was not referenced in any way in the motion for summary judgment. The affidavits of Steven Bragg (#34-2) and Rusty Brown (#34-3) contain information that is designed to challenge certain facts testified to by Elliot.

In her motion, Plaintiff asserts that Elliot's testimony was known by all parties at the time the summary judgment motion was filed and that Defendant therefore should have addressed it in its motion rather than waiting until its reply.

Plaintiff's position is incorrect. Motions for summary judgment need not address all evidence, just the evidence that supports the position of the filer. If the opponent of the motion believes that there is additional evidence that is pertinent to the questions raised, it is incumbent on the opponent to direct the Court to that evidence; this is exactly what Plaintiff did in her response: she directed the court to additional evidence.

The purpose of a reply is to allow the original movant to address any such additional evidence that was raised in the response. This is precisely what Defendants have done. If, as asserted by Plaintiff, all the affidavits do is challenge the credibility of a witness, then that is a question properly addressed in ruling on the motion for summary judgment. It does not provide a basis for striking the affidavits. The motion to strike is therefore DENIED.

III. SUMMARY JUDGMENT GENERALLY

The purpose of summary judgment is to "pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial." Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, Ltd v Zenith Radio Corp, 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Under Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment should be entered if and only if there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. FRCP 54(c); see also Jay v Intermet Wagner Inc, 233 F.3d 1014, 1016 (7th Cir.2000); Cox v Acme Health Services, 55 F.3d 1304, 1308 (7th Cir 1995).

In ruling on a summary judgment motion, the court may not weigh the evidence or resolve issues of fact; disputed facts must be left for resolution at trial. Anderson v Liberty Lobby, Inc, 477 U.S. 242 (1986). The court's role in deciding the motion is not to sift through the evidence, pondering the nuances and inconsistencies, and decide whom to believe. Waldridge v American Hoechst Corp, 24 F.3d 918, 922 (7th Cir 1994). The court has one task and one task only: to decide based on the evidence of record, whether there is any material dispute of fact that requires a trial.

The court is to examine all admissible facts, viewing the entirety of the record and accepting all facts and drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant, Erdman v City of Ft. Atkinson, 84 F.3d 960, 961 (7th Cir 1996); Vukadinovich v Board of School Trustees, 978 F.2d 403, 408 (7th Cir 1992), cert denied 510 U.S. 844 (1993); Lohorn v Michal, 913 F.2d 327, 331 (7th Cir 1990); DeValk Lincoln-Mercury, Inc. v Ford Motor Co, 811 F.2d 326, 329 (7th Cir 1987); Bartman v Allis Chalmers Corp, 799 F.2d 311, 312 (7th Cir 1986), cert denied, 479 U.S. 1092 (1987), and construing any doubts against the moving party. Adickes v S. H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144 (1970); Trotter v Anderson, 417 F.2d 1191 (7th Cir 1969); Haefling v United Parcel Service, Inc, 169 F.3d 494, 497 (7th Cir 1999).

The existence of "some alleged factual dispute between the parties, " or "some metaphysical doubt, " however, does not create a genuine issue of fact. Piscione v Ernst & Young, L.L.P., 171 F.3d 527, 532 (7th Cir 1999). "Inferences that are supported by only speculation or conjecture will not defeat a summary judgment motion." McDonald v Village of Winnetka, 371 F.3d 992, 1001 (7th Cir 2004). The proper inquiry is whether a rational trier of fact could reasonably find for the party opposing the motion with respect to the particular issue. See, e.g., Jordan v Summers, 205 F.3d 337, 342 (7th Cir 2000).

A party opposing summary judgment cannot create a dispute of fact with an affidavit that contradicts what the affiant said in prior deposition testimony, at least without some plausible explanation for the conflict. See Bank of Illinois v Allied Signal Safety Restraint Systems, 75 F.3d 1162, 1168 (7th Cir 1996); Hayes v Raytheon Co., 23 F.3d 410 (7th Cir 1994); Darnell v Target Stores, 16 F.3d 174, 176-77 (7th Cir 1994); Richardson v Bonds, 860 F.2d 1427, 1433 (7th Cir 1988); Babrocky v Jewel Food Co. & Retail Meatcutters Union, Local 320, 773 F.2d 857, 861 (7th Cir 1985).

If the undisputed facts indicate that no reasonable jury could find for the party opposing the motion, then summary judgment must be granted. Hedberg v Indiana Bell Tel. Co., 47 F.3d 928, 931 (7th Cir 1995), citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.

If the non-moving party fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial, then summary judgment is proper. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322; Waldridge, 24 F.3d at 920.

IV. STATEMENT OF FACTS

Jason Patterson is a Sheriff's Deputy in the Rock Island County Sheriff's Department. On August 3, 2009, Patterson was dispatched to the home of Jack and Linda Roos in Table Grove, Illinois, regarding a domestic disturbance. When he arrived, he approached the front of the house. Linda Roos told him to go to the back of the house. In back, Patterson was able to observe that Jack Roos was holding a meat cleaver and was covered in blood. He could also see Linda Roos in the same room with Jack. Patterson yelled at Jack to put the knife down. He did not; instead he came out of the ...


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