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Minter v. Philips

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

February 12, 2015

MARLON MINTER (#M-24371), Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER PHILIPS, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JORGE L. ALONSO, District Judge.

Plaintiff, currently an Illinois state prisoner, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that defendants, correctional officials at the Cook County Jail, violated his constitutional rights by using unjustified force against him. This matter is before the Court for ruling on the defendants' motion for summary judgment on grounds of non-exhaustion of administrative remedies. For the reasons stated in this order, the motion is granted.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

"The court shall grant summary judgment 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); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Hanover Ins. Co. v. N. Bldg. Co., 751 F.3d 788, 791 (7th Cir. 2014). In determining whether factual issues exist, the Court must view all the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Weber v. Univ. Research Assoc., Inc., 621 F.3d 589, 592 (7th Cir. 2010). The Court does not "judge the credibility of the witnesses, evaluate the weight of the evidence, or determine the truth of the matter. The only question is whether there is a genuine issue of fact." Gonzalez v. City of Elgin, 578 F.3d 526, 529 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986)).

To survive summary judgment, the nonmoving party must make a sufficient showing of evidence for each essential element of its case on which it bears the burden at trial. Kampmier v. Emeritus Corp., 472 F.3d 930, 936-937 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23). "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial." Blythe Holdings, Inc. v. DeAngelis, 750 F.3d 653, 656 (7th Cir. 2014) (citations omitted). "A genuine issue of material fact arises only if sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party exists to permit a jury to return a verdict for that party." Egonmwan v. Cook Cnty. Sheriff's Dep't, 602 F.3d 845, 849 (7th Cir. 2010) (quotation omitted).

LOCAL RULE 56.1 (N.D. ILL.)

Together with their motion for summary judgment, defendants included a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment, " as required by the Court's Local Rules and circuit precedent. That notice explained in detail the requirements of the Local Rules governing summary judgment and warned plaintiff that a party's failure to controvert the facts as set forth in the moving party's statement results in those facts being deemed admitted. See, e.g., Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003).[1]

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 L.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, including references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon to support the statement of additional facts. See Ciomber v. Coop. Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008).

The district court may rigorously enforce Local Rule 56.1. See Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Serv., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004); Bordelon v. Chi. Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir 2000). 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) (quotation omitted).

"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 addition, district courts, in their discretion, may "choose[] to ignore and not consider the additional facts that a litigant has proposed" if the litigant fails to comply with Local Rule 56.1. Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., LLC, 401 F.3d 803, 809-10 (7th Cir. 2005) (citing Midwest Imports, Ltd. v. Coval, 71 F.3d 1311, 1316 (7th Cir. 1995)).

Although pro se plaintiffs are entitled to some leniency, their compliance with procedural rules is still required. Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1061 (7th Cir. 2006); see Koszola v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chi., 385 F.3d 1104, 1108 (7th Cir. 2004). "We have... repeatedly held that a district court is entitled to expect strict compliance with [Local] Rule 56.1." Cichon, 401 F.3d at 809. Despite defendants' admonitions and the controlling law, plaintiff failed to file the required Rule 56.1 statements.

More troubling, plaintiff's summary judgment materials conflict with both his prior submissions and prior deposition testimony. As will be discussed more fully infra, litigants cannot create "sham issues of fact" with evidence that contradicts their sworn depositions. Janky v. Lake Cnty. Convention & Visitors Bureau, 576 F.3d 356, 362 (7th Cir. 2009). Thus, plaintiff cannot now put forward a different, inconsistent account of his efforts to exhaust.

FACTS[2]

At the time of the events giving rise to this lawsuit, plaintiff was a detainee in the custody of the Cook County Department of Corrections. (1st Am. Compl. ¶ 2.) Defendants were all Cook County Sheriff's Deputies, ...


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