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Fluker v. County of Kankakee

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

December 20, 2013

Roy FLUKER, et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
COUNTY OF KANKAKEE, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

Argued Dec. 6, 2013.

Page 788

Gregory Olmstead, Deratany Firm, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Michael D. Bersani, Hervas, Condon & Bersani, Itasca, IL, for Defendants-Appellees.

Before KANNE and ROVNER, Circuit Judges, and DURKIN, District Judge. [*]

DURKIN, District Judge.

Riding as a prisoner in the back of a patrol van, Roy Fluker was injured when the van stopped short and he tumbled off his seat. Roy and his wife, Debra Fluker, later filed suit against the County of Kankakee, Illinois, and the Kankakee County Sheriff's Office (collectively, the " Defendants" ), alleging various injuries resulting from the incident. The Defendants moved for summary judgment after the close of discovery, which the district court granted because Roy failed to exhaust his administrative remedies under the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act (the " PLRA" ), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), and alternatively, because

Page 789

the Flukers' suit could not succeed on the merits. The Flukers contend the district court made several errors in dismissing their suit with prejudice, but for the following reasons, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

The facts of this case arise out of Roy's time at the Jerome Combs Detention Center (the " Center" ) in Kankakee, Illinois, between February 11, 2011, and July 9, 2011.[1] Roy was at the Center after being convicted in May 2010 of federal charges related to a fraudulent scheme that he devised with his son and daughter. See United States v. Fluker, 698 F.3d 988 (7th Cir.2012).

On June 14, 2011, correctional officers were transporting Roy and another inmate in a police van from a doctor's appointment back to the Center when their van was cut off by another vehicle. That van abruptly stopped in front of the van carrying Roy, causing the driver of Roy's van to slam on the breaks. Roy, who was not wearing a seatbelt at the time, flew off his seat and crashed into the metal divider between the front and rear of the van. The transporting officers noticed that Roy may have suffered an injury and returned to the Center shortly thereafter.

The van carrying Roy arrived at the Center approximately 10 minutes after the incident. Officer Marcus Tatum evaluated Roy on arrival, cleaned and bandaged a laceration on Roy's head, and suggested that Roy go to the hospital for stitches. Officers then transported Roy to Provena St. Mary's Hospital, where Roy had an x-ray, a CT scan, and an MRI. Doctors discovered that Roy fractured a vertebra in the crash, and Roy underwent fusion surgery on his back two days later.

As a result of the incident, Roy filed suit against the County of Kankakee and the Kankakee County Sheriff's Office on September 28, 2011. He alleged constitutional violations and a claim for willful and wanton conduct under Illinois state law. On December 5, 2011, Roy amended his complaint and added his wife Debra as a plaintiff; she alleged a loss of consortium under both federal and state law. The magistrate judge set March 9, 2012, as the deadline for adding parties; no other additional parties or claims were added by that date.

The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss Debra's federal loss of consortium claim, which the district court granted on July 25, 2012. On September 6, 2012, the County filed its answer to the amended complaint and an affirmative defense based on the PLRA, claiming that Roy failed to exhaust administrative grievance procedures as required. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The Sheriff's Office filed a motion for leave to file the same affirmative defense; the Flukers objected and also moved to strike the County's ...


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