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Hayes v. Groot

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

February 27, 2015

GUY GROOT, et al., Defendants.


SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, District Judge.

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and detained in the Rushville Treatment and Detention Center, pursues claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to a serious risk created by requiring Plaintiff to room with an allegedly violent, racist resident, and by punishing Plaintiff for not complying with an order to return to the room. Plaintiff no longer lives with the roommate.

Defendants move for summary judgment, which will be granted. The evidence shows that Plaintiff was never at a serious risk of harm from his roommate, nor were Defendants deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's problems with his roommate.


"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). At the summary judgment stage, evidence is viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmovant, with material factual disputes resolved in the nonmovant's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A genuine dispute of material fact exists when a reasonable juror could find for the nonmovant. Id.


Plaintiff is detained in the Rushville Treatment and Detention Center pursuant to the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons Act. He has been at the Rushville facility since about 2007.

On some unspecified date, Plaintiff asked to be roomed with Resident Hernandez because Plaintiff wanted to live on Hernandez's unit. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 15-16.) Plaintiff was aware that Mr. Hernandez had a habit of using racial epithets and getting into fights, but Plaintiff had not had a problem with Mr. Hernandez and believed that they had a good friendship. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 42-43, 44.)

Plaintiff's request to room with Mr. Hernandez was granted. Plaintiff does not recall the date that Plaintiff moved into the room with Mr. Hernandez, but it may have been in the Spring of 2012. The parties agree that, on January 23, 2013, Plaintiff and Mr. Hernandez asked to be moved to a different room on the unit, and the request was granted. (Undisputed Fact 11, d/e 40.)

At some point after the two became roommates, Plaintiff cannot recall exactly when, Mr. Hernandez began trying to pick a fight with Plaintiff over trivial matters, making racial comments to Plaintiff, and being loud, argumentative, and generally difficult to live with. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 18, 27.) Mr. Hernandez never did actually try to fight Plaintiff, and Plaintiff admits the fight would not have been fair to Mr. Hernandez because Mr. Hernandez is significantly smaller than Plaintiff. (Pl.'s Dep. pp. 19, 28.) Plaintiff was not afraid of Mr. Hernandez physically hurting Plaintiff, but he was afraid of the unpredictability of Mr. Hernandez's behavior. (P.'s Dep. p. 28.) Plaintiff complained verbally to unspecified guards from time to time, but Plaintiff persevered in trying to struggle through these difficulties, as required by his treatment team. (Pl.'s Aff. 9. De 44-2.) A therapy progress note from May 28, 2013, states that Plaintiff had, at that time, "indicated that he and his roommate are getting along well." (5/28/13 progress note, d/e 37-4, p. 7.)

Difficulties came to a head in mid-June of 2013. On or about June 14, 2013, Plaintiff learned that his mother had passed away. Addressing Plaintiff, Mr. Hernandez referred to Plaintiff's mother as a "worthless nigger" and said he was glad that "the nigger bitch is dead." (Pl.'s Aff. para. 11.) The night of June 17, 2013, Plaintiff asked Mr. Hernandez if the fan could be turned down. Mr. Hernandez "jumped out the bed and said, "I'm tired of this crap. I'm going to beat your ass, and positioned himself like he wanted to fight. I told him I don't want to fight him. I told him to climb back in his bed, and I didn't want to deal with him." (Pl.'s Dep. p. 50.)

The next morning, June 18, 2013, Plaintiff told guards that he needed to talk to someone because he could no longer tolerate Mr. Hernandez. Defendant Hougas arranged for Plaintiff to move to the infirmary. That day, Plaintiff's therapist sent an email to other members of Plaintiff's therapy team, asking if Mr. Hernandez could be moved to a different room. (6/18/13 email, d/e 44-2, p. 3.) Follow up emails show that Plaintiff's treatment team were trying to arrange for different rooming for Plaintiff. (d/e 44-2, pp. 2-3.)

On June 21, 2013, Defendant Hougas directed staff to tell Plaintiff that it was time for Plaintiff to move back to his room. (6/21/13 email, d/e 44-2, p. 5.) Hougas avers that she had put Plaintiff in the infirmary on a temporary basis, so that Plaintiff could grieve his mother's passing. (Hougas Aff. para. 3, d/e 40-1, p. 1.) Plaintiff refused to move back to the room with Mr. Hernandez. Drawing inferences in Plaintiff's favor, Defendant Hougas caused another staff member to write Plaintiff an incident report for refusing housing. However, Hougas did not force Plaintiff to move back with Mr. Hernandez. Instead, Plaintiff was moved to a smaller room in the infirmary while the issue was sorted out. (6/21/13 email, d/e 44-2, p. 5.)

On June 25, 2013, Plaintiff received a notice to appear before the behavior committee on charges of interfering with facility operations/disobeying a direct order/violating rules based on Plaintiff's refusal of housing. The next day, Plaintiff appeared before the Behavior Committee. Defendant Hougas was on the committee, even though she had caused ...

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