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MacLin v. Sheriff of Cook County

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

March 24, 2014




On January 13, 2009, Plaintiff Darren Maclin was assaulted by fellow inmates at Cook County Jail and then injured further when an unnamed correctional officer dragged him down several flights of stairs. On May 4, 2011, he filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant Sheriff Thomas Dart, in his official capacity, and Defendant Cook County (collectively "Defendants"). Cook County and its Sheriff are liable only if Plaintiff's injuries are a product of official policy. Because Plaintiff has not presented evidence that creates a dispute of fact on that issue, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment.


I. The Record

Consistent with the court's local rules, Defendants filed a Statement of Material Facts along with their summary judgment motion, citing evidentiary material in support of each statement. (Defs.' Rule 56.1 Statement [53], hereinafter "Defs.' 56.1.") Although Maclin responded to Defendants' summary judgment motion and their Rule 56.1 statement, he failed to submit any statement of additional facts; such a statement is the only method, under this court's local rules, for presenting additional facts that require denial of summary judgment. N.D. Ill., R. 56.1(b)(3)(C); see Midwest Imps., Ltd. v. Coval, 71 F.3d 1311, 1317 (7th Cir. 1995). Further, Maclin responded to Defendants' 56.1 by agreeing that each of its 33 paragraphs is true. (Pl.'s Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(A) Statement [56], hereinafter "Pl.'s 56.1.") For these reasons, the facts in Defendants' 56.1 statement, where supported by record evidence, are deemed admitted and constitute the record upon which summary judgment will be resolved. See N.D. Ill., R. 56.1(b)(3)(C) ("All material facts set forth in the statement required by the moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing party.")

II. The Incident

Plaintiff Darren Maclin entered the Cook County Department of Corrections ("CCDOC" or "the Jail") in April 2008 as a pre-trial detainee. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 1.) Throughout his detention there, Plaintiff was assigned to Cell 9 in Division I, Tier D-4 of the Jail. ( Id. ¶ 2; Maclin Dep., Ex. 1 to Defs.' 56.1, at 13:5-14:18.) Tier D-4 consists of a low side with cells numbered one through nine, and a high side with cells numbered ten and up. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 6.) Together, these cells make up a corridor that surrounds the Tier's "dayroom, " a space where detainees congregate when not confined to their cells. ( Id. ¶ 6; Maclin Dep. at 37:11-38:7.)

On January 13, 2009, Officer Mahari Davis was assigned to monitor Tier D-4 from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 20.) Shortly after Officer Davis came on duty, he escorted all of the residents of Tier D-4, including Plaintiff, to the gym located in the basement of Division 1. ( Id. ¶ 7.) Approximately 45 minutes later, Officer Davis walked the detainees back to Tier D-4. Neither Plaintiff nor Officer Davis observed anything out of the ordinary during the recreation period or the walk back to the Tier, and there were no fights or arguments between the detainees during this time. ( Id. ¶¶ 9, 10, 21, 22.) Upon their return at approximately 5:00 p.m., Officer Davis instructed half of the detainees to return to their cells and allowed the others to remain in the dayroom. ( Id. ¶ 23.) After delivering this instruction, Officer Davis relocated to the "bubble"-a space specially designed to allow guards to observe the dayroom and the detainees' cells simultaneously. ( Id. ¶¶ 5, 6.)

Plaintiff was one of the detainees directed to remain in the dayroom. Once he got back to Tier D-4, Plaintiff went to the bathroom to wash his face and then sat down at a table to observe two of his fellow detainees playing chess. (Maclin Dep. at 36:17-37:16.) When that game was over, Plaintiff took the seat of the (unidentified) inmate who lost the match, preparing to take on the winner (also unidentified). ( Id. at 37:16-18.) Shortly after this chess match began, another unidentified detainee stabbed Plaintiff in the back, causing him to fall to the floor. ( Id. ¶ 14.) Plaintiff tried to protect himself with his arms while additional detainees attempted to either stab or beat him. ( Id. ¶¶ 15, 16.) Plaintiff cannot identify any of his assailants ( Id. ¶ 16; Maclin Dep. at 47, 48), but he believes the knives used in the incident were "homemade." (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 16.)

Meanwhile, from the bubble, Officer Davis observed "numerous detainees fighting with each other, " several of them "holding what appeared to be home-made weapons, including broom handles." (Davis Aff., Ex. 2 to Defs.' 56.1, ¶ 7.) Davis responded initially by calling a "10-10" (code for a fight between detainees) on his radio to summon backup ( id. ¶ 8); then, on further observation, Davis got back on his radio and called for all available correctional staff to descend on Tier D-4 immediately to put down a "riot." ( Id. ¶ 9.) Officer Davis never left his assigned post in the bubble during the incident. ( Id. ¶ 31.) Within two minutes of Officer Davis's call for backup, several officers and supervisors arrived on the scene and put an end to the hostilities. ( Id . ¶ 10.) At this point, Plaintiff was able to separate himself from his attackers and make his way into a nearby cell where unidentified officers and supervisors soon discovered him bleeding from multiple stab wounds. ( Id. ¶ 17.) Plaintiff testified that, despite his visible injuries and his complaints of dizziness and inability to breathe, an unidentified officer roughly "dragged" him, in handcuffs, downstairs, and "threw [him] on the floor in the basement." ( Id. ¶ 12; Maclin Dep. at 53:10-54:8.) Once in the basement, medical staff removed Maclin to nearby Stroger Hospital where he remained for the next two days to receive treatment for his injuries. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 18.)

Upon his release from the hospital, Plaintiff returned to the CCDOC where he received additional medical attention in the Division 10 infirmary. ( Id. ¶ 19.) Finally, Maclin was transferred to an unidentified facility operated by the Illinois Department of Corrections. ( Id. ¶¶ 18, 19.) Maclin never returned to Division 1 at the CCDOC after the incident. (Maclin Dep. at 59:12-14.)

III. This Lawsuit

Plaintiff pleaded guilty to the charges he faced in 2009 (burglary and armed habitual criminal) (Maclin Dep. at 11:1-6), and is currently confined in the Western Illinois Correctional Center. (Maclin Dep. at 4:22-24.) He filed this § 1983 suit against Cook County and its Sherriff on May 4, ...

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