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Carreon v. Ramos

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

January 7, 2014

EDWARD CARREON, Jr. (#M-35979), Plaintiff,
v.
TODD RAMOS and TOM DART, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

REBECCA R. PALLMEYER, District Judge.

Plaintiff Edward Carreon, an Illinois prisoner currently confined at Stateville Correctional Center, brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Cook County Deputy Sheriff Todd Ramos. Carreon alleges that as a result of Defendant Ramos's deliberate indifference and failure to protect him, Carreon was attacked by other prisoners on December 1, 2011. Defendant Ramos has moved for summary judgment [30]. Plaintiff Carreon submitted materials in opposition to the summary judgment motion [35, 36, 37], but also asserted that he lacked information necessary to respond to it. The court invited Plaintiff to proceed with additional discovery, however, and he has declined to do so.

Defendant seeks summary judgment on two bases: that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, and that Plaintiff cannot establish that Officer Ramos was deliberately indifferent to a known risk of harm. For the reasons stated herein, the court concludes that summary judgment is appropriate.

DISCUSSION

The standards that govern this motion are familiar. Summary judgment is appropriate "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); Jajeh v. County of Cook, 678 F.3d 560, 566 (7th Cir. 2012). In considering a motion for summary judgment, this court construes the facts and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-movant, Jajeh, 678 F.3d at 566, but where the moving party demonstrates the absence of a disputed issue of material fact, "the burden shifts to the non-moving party to provide evidence of specific facts creating a genuine dispute." Carroll v. Lynch, 698 F.3d 561, 564 (7th Cir. 2012). A genuine issue of material fact exists only if there is evidence "to permit a jury to return a verdict for" the nonmoving party. Egonmwan v. Cook County Sheriff's Dept., 602 F.3d 845, 849 (7th Cir. 2010).

Consistent with this court's local rules, in support of his motion, Defendant filed a Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement of Material Facts [32], citing evidentiary material in support of each statement. Defendant also filed and serve the appropriate notice to pro se litigants [32], explaining the requirements of Local Rule 56.1. Plaintiff did respond in writing to the summary judgment motion [37] and to Defendant's Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement [36]; he did not submit a Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) statement of additional facts and did not, in all instances, cite portions of the record in support of his denials of Defendant's statements. See N.D. ILL. L.R. 56. 1 (b)(3)(C) ("All material facts set forth in the statement required of the moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing party."); Keeton v. Morningstar, Inc., 667 F.3d 877, 880, 884 (7th Cir. 2012). The court construes his submissions, and the record evidence, in the light most favorable to Plaintiff.

Viewed under these standards, the record supports the following findings:

Edward Carreon was, at the time of the incident at issue here, a pretrial detainee at the Cook County Department of Corrections ("CCDOC"). (Def. Statement of Facts [32] ¶ 1.) Defendant Todd Ramos is and was employed by the Cook County Sheriff in Court Services. ( Id. ¶ 2.) On December 1, 2011, the day that Plaintiff entered Cook County Jail as a pretrial detainee, Todd Ramos was working as a Court Services Deputy Sheriff for Courtroom 101 at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse located at 26th and California. ( Id. ¶ 5, 6.) On that day, Plaintiff was brought to bond court and placed in a holding cell prior to his bond appearance. ( Id. ¶ 6.) The holding cell does not have windows, and the ten to fifteen detainees confined inside the cell could be seen only by way of cameras. ( Id. ¶ 7.) Plaintiff did not know any of the detainees in his holding cell. He did not speak to or have any interaction with the other detainees prior to his bond hearing, nor did any other inmates speak to or threaten him prior to his bond hearing. ( Id. ¶ 8.)

Officer Ramos escorted Plaintiff from the holding cell to his bond hearing in Courtroom 101. ( Id. ¶ 9.) Plaintiff, who admits he had "no reason whatsoever" to be afraid of the other inmates, did not say anything to Officer Ramos prior to his bond hearing. ( Id. ¶ 10, citing Carreon Dep., Exh. A to Def. Statement of Facts [32-1], at 46.)

At the hearing, the State's Attorney presented the allegations against Plaintiff, describing the factual details of the crimes alleged. (Def. Statement of Facts ¶ 11.) Plaintiff does not know what, if anything, could be heard by detainees in the holding cell concerning the bond hearing, ( Id. ¶ 12.) After the hearing, Officer Ramos escorted Plaintiff from Courtroom 101 back to the holding cell. ( Id. ¶ 14.) While being transported back to the holding cell, Plaintiff did not disclose any safety concerns or threats to Officer Ramos. ( Id. ¶ 15.) In fact, Plaintiff recalls that he "was more scared of the judge than [he] was of anything [else]." ( Id. ¶ 13; Carreon Dep. at 32.) Plaintiff contends that Defendant Ramos told him while escorting him back to the holding cell that detainees who, like Plaintiff, are charged with some kind of aggravated sexual assault, are often attacked by other inmates. (See Plaintiff's Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement [36] (hereinafter, "Plaintiff's Response") ¶ 5.)

After Ramos returned Plaintiff to the holding cell, Plaintiff sat down on a bench, and Ramos returned to a desk where there is a screen showing a closed-circuit video feed of the holding cell. (Def. Statement of Facts ¶¶ 16, 17; Ramos Aff., Exhibit D to Def. Statement of Facts [32-4], ¶ 6.) Within a minute and a half of Plaintiff's entering the cell, as he was seated and looking down at the bench, another inmate approached him and punched him. (Carreon Dep. at 49, 50.) Plaintiff testified that the other inmate punched him "on the side of my face, " (Carreon Dep. at 50), but he now states that he was struck in his lower right rib cage. (Plaintiff's Response ¶ 18.)

Upon seeing detainee Mark Russell punch Plaintiff on the video feed, Defendant Ramos immediately radioed a "10-10" alert, asking for additional officers to respond to a fight among detainees. (Def. Statement of Facts ¶ 19.) Defendant Ramos then went directly to the holding cell and opened the door but, consistent with jail safety procedures, did not fully enter the cell by himself, as the door would have closed and locked behind him. ( Id. ) After the initial punch, three or four other inmates jumped on Plaintiff and began kicking and punching him. (Carreon Dep. at 51-52.) Plaintiff was knocked to the ground and held there; he made unsuccessful efforts to protect himself by grabbing one detainee's Department of Corrections uniform and attempting, in his weakened condition, to wrap his arms around his assailant's neck. ( Id. at 76, 77.)

As he stood in the doorway, Defendant Ramos observed Plaintiff and detainee Mark Russell on the ground, wrestling. (Def. Statement of Facts ¶ 21.) Ramos kept the door open and, when the detainees came within arm's reach of the doorway and other officers had responded, Ramos pulled Plaintiff by his shirt away from the fight. ( Id. ¶¶ 21, 22.) Though Plaintiff is uncertain about how long the inmates were beating him, he estimates that the assault lasted five to six minutes. (Def. Statement of Facts ¶ 22; Plaintiff's Response ¶ 22; Carreon Dep. at 55-56.) Defendant Ramos contends that he pulled Plaintiff out of the fight within two minutes of first observing the incident on the closed circuit feed. (Def. Statement of Facts ¶ 22; Ramos Aff. ¶ 10.)

After the incident ended, Officer Ramos asked Plaintiff if he wanted to press charges against Inmate Russell. (Def. Statement of Facts ¶ 23.) Officer Ramos was not aggressive towards Plaintiff in any way. Id. Both Plaintiff and Inmate Russell signed forms declining to press charges against one another, and both checked lines on the form that identified, as reasons for refusing to press charges, the facts that the parties were "mutual combatants" and that the "fight [was] broken up immediately." (Def. Statement of Facts ¶ 24.; Ramos Aff. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff denies this, but ...


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