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Daniels v. Rivers

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

December 9, 2014

CHARLES DANIELS (#XXXX-XXXXXXX), Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER RIVERS, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

AMY J. ST. EVE, District Judge.

Charles Daniels ("Plaintiff"), a pretrial detainee incarcerated at the Cook County Jail, brought this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against Cook County Jail Officer Rivers ("Defendant") concerning an incident at the jail on August 25, 2013. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant used excessive force in response to Plaintiff asking to go to the barber shop. Currently pending before the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment.[1] Defendant contends that Plaintiff's settlement of his prior case, Daniels v. Ting, 13 C 3112 (N.D. Ill.), included an agreement to release all claims against Cook County Jail employees that arose during the two-year period before the execution of the stipulation to dismiss. Plaintiff has responded. For the reasons stated herein, the Court grants Defendant's motion and dismisses this case.

BACKGROUND

I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1

Because Plaintiff is a pro se litigant, Defendant served him with a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment" as required by Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.2. The notice explains the consequences of failing to properly respond to a motion for summary judgment and statement of material facts under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure and Local Rule 56.1.

Local Rule 56.1 "is designed, in part, to aid the district court, which does not have the advantage of the parties' familiarity with the record and often cannot afford to spend the time combing the record to locate the relevant information, ' in determining whether a trial is necessary." Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). "The opposing party is required to file a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." Id. (citing N.D.Ill. R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) requires the nonmoving party to present a separate statement of additional facts that requires the denial of summary judgment. See Ciomber v. Cooperative Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008).

In general, the purpose of Local Rule 56.1 statements and responses is to identify the relevant admissible evidence supporting the material facts, not to make factual or legal arguments. See Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 2006) ("statement of material facts did [ ] not comply with Rule 56.1 as it failed to adequately cite the record and was filled with irrelevant information, legal arguments, and conjecture"). "When a responding party's statement fails to dispute the facts set forth in the moving party's statement in the manner dictated by the rule, those facts are deemed admitted for purposes of the motion." Cracco, 559 F.3d at 632; see also Frey Corp. v. City of Peoria, Ill., 735 F.3d 505, 513 (7th Cir. 2013).

In sum, "[f]or litigants appearing in the Northern District of Illinois, the Rule 56.1 statement is a critical, and required, component of a litigant's response to a motion for summary judgment. The purpose of the local rule is to make the summary judgment process less burdensome on district courts, by requiring the parties to nail down the relevant facts and the way they propose to support them." Sojka v. Bovis Lend Lease, Inc., 686 F.3d 394, 398 (7th Cir. 2012).

In the present case, Defendant filed a Rule 56.1 Statement with factual allegations supported by citations to the record. (R. 14, Def. Statement of Material Facts ("SOF"); see also Local Rule 56.1(a)). Plaintiff filed a response to Defendant's Rule 56.1 Statement and, for the most part, cites to materials in the record. (R. 23; see also Local Rule 56.1(b)). Plaintiff also included additional factual statements in his memorandum in response to Defendant's summary judgment motion. ( See R. 24). Defendant replied both to Plaintiff's response to Defendant's Rule 56.1 Statement, (R. 28), and to Plaintiff's additional facts stated in his memorandum. (R. 27). Most of the facts are not disputed as they pertain to the terms of the settlement agreement executed in Plaintiff's prior case. With the above standards in mind, the Court turns to the relevant facts of this case.

II. Relevant Facts

Plaintiff filed this lawsuit sometime between February 25 (date he signed the complaint) and March 4, 2014 (the date the Court received it). (R. 14, Def. Statement of Material Facts ("SOF") ¶ 1; R. 23, Pl. Resp. ¶ 1).[2] He asserts that Defendant used excessive force against Plaintiff on August 5, 2013. ( Id. ). Prior to this case, Plaintiff had filed five suits in this Court, and his complaint in this case listed all five suits in the section requesting his litigation history. (Def. SOF ¶ 2; Pl. Resp. ¶ 2). In two of his prior cases, Daniels v. Ting, No. 13 C 3112 (N.D. Ill.) and Daniels v. Monsour, No. 11 C 8346 (N.D. Ill.), the Court recruited counsel to represent Plaintiff. (Def. SOF ¶ 3; Pl. Resp. ¶ 3) (case number 11 C 8346 alleged deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's hip condition prior to surgery; case number 13 C 3112 alleged deliberate indifference to his post-surgery condition). In April of 2014, a settlement agreement was reached in Daniels v. Ting, No. 13 C 3112, at a settlement conference before Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown. (Def. SOF ¶ 4; Pl. Resp. ¶ 4) (case 11 C 8346 settled sometime earlier).

The settlement agreement for case number 13 C 3112 included the following relevant language with respect to case number 13 C 3112 and Plaintiff's other cases:

4. Plaintiff agrees to dismiss any and all claims against Defendants arising out of Daniels v. Cook County, No. 13 C 3112, N.D. Ill., as well as any claims against Cook County and Thomas Dart which occurred while Plaintiff was housed at Cook County Jail within the ...

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