United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Kim, United States Magistrate Judge.
Turi Joseph brings this action against Defendant Officer
Ortiz pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Joseph alleges in
his complaint that while he was a pretrial detainee in the
Cook County Jail (“CCJ”), Ortiz was responsible
for his placement in disciplinary segregation without
adequate due process. Before this court is Ortiz’s
motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons,
Ortiz’s motion is granted, and Joseph is hereby
notified of the court’s intention to enter summary
judgment in favor of Ortiz to the extent Joseph may also be
asserting a malicious prosecution claim:
proceeding pro se, filed his complaint in January
2015 naming the Cook County Sheriff’s Office as a
defendant in addition to Ortiz. (R. 1.) However, the court
dismissed the Cook County Sheriff’s Office as a
non-suable entity in June 2015, leaving Ortiz as the sole
remaining defendant. (R. 19.) After the parties consented to
this court’s jurisdiction, (R. 18); see 28
U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties proceeded with discovery,
(see R. 26; R. 30; R. 40-2). Ortiz filed the current motion
for summary judgment on April 4, 2016. (R. 42.) Joseph filed
what the court deemed to be his opposition to Ortiz’s
motion on April 22, 2016, (R. 45), and Ortiz filed his reply
thereto on June 3, 2016, (R. 52).
court notes that in many instances, the parties’ Local
Rule (“L.R.”) 56.1 statements and responses do
not conform to L.R. 56.1’s requirements. Local Rule
56.1(a)(3) requires that the party moving for summary
judgment provide “a statement of material facts as to
which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue and
that entitle the moving party to a judgment as a matter of
law.” L.R. 56.1(a)(3). The statement should be
comprised of short, numbered paragraphs that are supported by
citations to admissible evidence. See Smith v. Lamz,
321 F.3d 680, 682 (7th Cir. 2003). However, Ortiz’s
statement of facts contains several erroneous citations,
including cites to incorrect page and line numbers in
Joseph’s deposition transcript. (See, e.g., R. 40,
Def.’s Facts ¶¶ 3, 6, 11, 13, 19, 30.)
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) (internal quotations omitted). Ortiz
should have ensured that his citations to the record were
accurate, especially given the length at which his reply
brief criticizes Joseph’s failure to comply with local
rules. (See R. 52, Def.’s Reply at 1-4.) While the
court is entitled to disregard any statements and responses
that do not comply with L.R. 56.1, see Ciomber v.
Cooperative Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir.
2008); Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., LLC, 401
F.3d 803, 809-10 (7th Cir. 2005), it will accept most of
Ortiz’s facts because they are ultimately supported by
Joseph’s L.R. 56.1 submissions, Ortiz provided a
“Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for
Summary Judgment” to explain L.R. 56.1’s
requirements to Joseph. (R. 41.) The notice informed Joseph
that if he wanted to dispute any of Ortiz’s facts or
submit a statement of his own, he should refer to documents
and declarations that support his factual allegations.
(Id.) It also cautioned Joseph that this court would
deem Ortiz’s factual contentions admitted if he failed
to follow the procedures delineated in L.R. 56.1.
(Id.) Under L.R. 56.1(b), Joseph, as the non-moving
party, was 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 any
other supporting materials relied upon” and “a
statement . . . of any additional facts that require the
denial of summary judgment, including references to the
affidavit, parts of the record, and any other supporting
materials relied upon.” L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(B), (C).
Pro se plaintiffs are expected to comply with these
procedural rules. See Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d
1057, 1061 (7th Cir. 2006); Koszola v. Bd. of Educ. of
the City of Chi., 385 F.3d 1104, 1108 (7th Cir. 2004).
these requirements, Joseph did not file a proper response to
Ortiz’s statement of facts. For example, he erroneously
included factual or legal arguments in several of his
purported responses. (See, e.g., R. 46, Pl.’s Resp.
¶¶ 6-13, 16, 20, 26-31); see Cady, 467
F.3d at 1060 (finding error in a pro se
plaintiff’s L.R. 56.1 statement of facts because it
“was filled with irrelevant information, legal
arguments, and conjecture”). Although Joseph did
attempt to admit or dispute some of Ortiz’s facts, he
also added information that should have been included in a
separate statement of additional facts pursuant to L.R.
56.1(b)(3)(c). (See, e.g., R. 46, Pl.’s Resp.
¶¶ 4-18, 20-32); see McGuire v. United Parcel
Serv., 152 F.3d 673, 675 (7th Cir. 1998). In several
instances it is unclear whether Joseph is admitting or
disputing Ortiz’s asserted facts. (See, e.g., R. 46,
Pl.’s Resp. ¶¶ 12, 21-22, 28, 30-31); see
McGuire, 152 F.3d at 675. Additionally, some of
Joseph’s paragraphs contain incorrect citations or fail
to cite to the record. (See, e.g., R. 46, Pl.’s Resp.
¶¶ 14, 27, 29); see Cihon v. Exelon Generation
Co., LLC, 401 F.3d 803, 808 (7th Cir. 2005)
(plaintiff’s response included facts without citations
and cited to portions of the record that failed to support
his denials in violation of L.R. 56.1).
this court treats and construes the submissions of pro
se litigants generously and liberally. See Greer v.
Bd. of Educ. of City of Chi., 267 F.3d 723, 727 (7th
Cir. 2001); see also Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519,
596 (1972) (stating that the allegations of a pro se
complaint are held to less strict standards than pleadings
drafted by lawyers). This liberal construction is designed to
“give a pro se plaintiff a break when,
although he stumbles on a technicality, his pleading is
otherwise understandable.” Hudson v. McHugh,
148 F.3d 859, 864 (7th Cir. 1998). The majority of
deficiencies in Joseph’s response to Ortiz’s
statement of facts are technicalities and do not prevent this
court from understanding and evaluating his response, so this
court will consider those facts that are adequately supported
by the record. Furthermore, the court views the facts in the
light most favorable to Joseph. See Adams v. Wal-Mart
Stores, Inc., 324 F.3d 935, 937 (7th Cir. 2003).
was a pre-trial detainee in the custody of the CCJ from April
2014 to March 2015. (R. 40, Def.’s Facts ¶ 1; R.
46, Pl.’s Resp. ¶ 1.) During that time, Ortiz
worked as a correctional officer at the CCJ. (See R. 40-1,
Compl. at 2.) On October 22, 2014, Ortiz instructed Joseph to
remove a cloth from his head, which Joseph acknowledges was
the property of the CCJ. (See R. 40, Def.’s Facts
¶¶ 3-4; R. 46, Pl.’s Resp. ¶ 4.) Both
parties agree that Joseph initially removed the cloth after
Ortiz directed him to do so. (R. 40, Def.’s Facts
¶ 5; R. 46, Pl.’s Resp. ¶ 5.) However,
according to Ortiz, Joseph only briefly removed the cloth
before putting it back on his head so he could work out. (R.
40, Def.’s Facts ¶ 5.) Joseph contends that he
never put the cloth back on his head and instead wrapped a
shirt around his hair so he could exercise. (R. 46,
Pl.’s Resp. ¶ 5.) He testified at his deposition
that the CCJ handbook only prohibits detainees from wearing
head attire in the facility’s dayroom, and he asserts
that he was never in the dayroom while wearing either the
cloth or the shirt. (R. 40-2, Pl.’s Dep. at 13:5-24,
32:13-22.) While the tier’s layout is unclear, Joseph
testified that he was in a bunk bed area that was separated
from the dayroom by a low wall. (R. 40-2, Pl.’s Dep. at
11:13-15, 13:15-20, 14:6-14.) After Joseph covered his head,
Ortiz ordered all detainees out of the dayroom. (R. 40,
Def.’s Facts ¶ 6.)
Thompkins, one of the detainees in the dayroom, approached
Ortiz and asked why they were being directed to leave. (R.
40-2, Pl.’s Dep. at 12; R. 40, Def.’s Facts
¶ 7.) Thompkins stated that detainees are allowed to
wear head attire when they are not in the dayroom, and
eventually slammed playing cards down on a table and accused
Ortiz of unfairly closing the dayroom. (R. 40, Def.’s
Facts ¶¶ 7-8.) Ortiz and another officer then moved
Thompkins to another part of the dayroom to handcuff him.
(See Id. ¶¶ 9-10; R. 40-2, Pl.’s
Dep. at 13:14-17.) According to Ortiz, Joseph approached the
area where Thompkins was being handcuffed. (R. 40,
Def.’s Facts ¶ 10.) Joseph testified that although
he stepped into view to speak to Ortiz, he never left the
bunk area or entered the dayroom. (R. 46, Pl.’s Resp.
¶ 10; R. 40-2, Pl.’s Dep. at 13:17-20.) Joseph
then told Ortiz that Thompkins was right about the rules
regarding head attire. (R. 40, Def.’s Facts ¶ 10;
R. 46, Pl.’s Resp. ¶ 10.)
ordered Joseph to step back while Thompkins was being
handcuffed. (R. 40, Def.’s Facts ¶ 11.) According
to Ortiz, Joseph continued to approach them and eventually
placed himself in front of Thompkins. (Id. ¶
12.) But Joseph asserts that although he did come closer to
them, he still never entered the dayroom and never placed
himself between Thompkins and the correctional officers. (R.
46, Pl.’s Resp. ¶ 12.) At this point a third
officer directed Joseph “to back off” so that
they could investigate the situation. (R. 40, Def.’s
Facts ¶ 13.) This third officer ordered Joseph to sit
down, but Joseph did not do so because he was instructed to
sit on someone else’s bed and felt uncomfortable
complying. (Id. ¶ 14.) Joseph remained in the
area until Thompkins was taken off the tier. (Id.
¶ 15.) ...