United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
I. Shadur Senior United States District Judge
Jefferson ("Jefferson"), a pretrial detainee at the
Cook County Department of Corrections ("County
Jail"), brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
("Section 1983") against Officers Pablo Guerrero
("Guerrero") and Geno Muskat ("Muskat")
for failing to protect him from two other detainees. Now
before this Court is defendants' Fed.R.Civ.P.
("Rule") 56 motion for summary judgment.
Rule 56 movant bears the burden of establishing the absence
of any genuine issue of material fact (Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)). For that purpose
courts consider the evidentiary record in the light most
favorable to the nonmovant (here Jefferson) and draw all
reasonable inferences in his favor (Lesch v. Crown Cork
& Seal Co., 282 F.3d 467, 471 (7th Cir.2002)).
Courts "may not make credibility determinations, weigh
the evidence, or decide which inferences to draw from the
facts" in resolving motions for summary judgment
(Payne v. Pauley, 337 F.3d 767, 770 (7th Cir.2003)).
But a nonmovant must produce more than "a mere scintilla
of evidence" to support the position that a genuine
issue of material fact exists, and "must come forward
with specific facts demonstrating that there is a genuine
issue for trial" (Wheeler v. Lawson, 539 F.3d
629, 634 (7th Cir.2008)). Ultimately summary judgment is
warranted only if a reasonable jury could not return a
verdict for the nonmovant (Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)).
may oppose summary judgment by "citing to particular
parts of materials in the record" (Rule 56(c)(1)(A)).
But as Brown v. Advocate S. Suburban Hosp., 700 F.3d
1101, 1105 (7th Cir. 2012) has reconfirmed:
Mere allegations in a complaint, however, are not
"evidence" and do not establish a triable issue of
when a plaintiff has verified his or her complaint may its
allegations be considered on summary judgment -- and even
then, only when the requirements of Rule 56(c)(4) as to
personal knowledge, admissibility and competence are
otherwise met (Ford v. Wilson, 90 F.3d 245, 246-47
(7th Cir. 1996)).
is a pretrial detainee at the County Jail (J. St. ¶ 1;
G. St. ¶¶ 1-2). During the relevant period he was
housed in segregation in Division 9 tier 1 (G. St. ¶ 3).
Jefferson's cellmate was Dontrell Watkins
("Watkins") (J. St. ¶ 2; G. St. ¶ 6). In
the cell next to theirs were two other detainees, Martese
Smith ("Smith") and Thaddeus Thompson
("Thompson") (G. St. ¶ 7). Detainees in
segregation are allowed out of their cell for an hour each
day (G. St. ¶ 4).
Watkins and Smith were passing out dinner trays on February
16, 2015 they got into a fist fight for reasons Jefferson
does not recall (G. St. ¶¶ 8-9). That fight stopped
without the intervention of any correctional officers (G. St.
¶ 10). Once they had returned to their cells, Watkins,
Smith and Thompson continued arguing while Guerrero was
locking the doors (G. St. ¶¶ 11-12). Watkins was
also arguing with Guerrero, who stated he had something on
Watkins before telling Smith and Thompson "I got
something for you all" and hurling racial slurs at
Watkins (J. St. ¶ 10; G. St. ¶ 12, Ex. 1 at
27:19-28:8). Muskat was not present for those events (J. St.
Guerrero and Muskat were working on Division 9 tier 1H the
following day, February 17, on the 3 to 11 p.m. shift (G. St.
¶ 13). That night Jefferson and Watkins were let out of
their shared cell and were escorted to the shower area by
Guerrero and Muskat (G. St. ¶¶ 14, 15). As
Jefferson was preparing to go into the shower, he saw
Guerrero exchange Thompson's handcuffs for another pair
(G. St. ¶ 16). When Jefferson got out of the shower his
own handcuffs were put back on (G. St. ¶ 17).
Jefferson was walking around talking to people through their
doors, he heard an argument underneath the stairs between
Watkins and Thompson -- both Smith and Thompson were also out
of their cells in the dayroom (G. St. ¶¶ 17, 19).
Guerrero was present for that argument as well (J. St. ¶
9). But Guerrero had been given permission to leave at 10
p.m. that evening (he delayed taking his lunch break until
his final hour of work) and was absent during the ensuing
events (G. St. ¶ 27; J. St. Ex. D at 23:4-7).
point Smith and Thompson got out of their handcuffs (G. St.
¶ 21). Then the four of them -- Jefferson, Watkins,
Smith and Thompson -- began fighting (G. St. ¶ 20).
seeing the fight break out, Muskat called a "10-10"
for an inmate fight over the radio (G. St. ¶ 23). Under
the applicable regulations officers are not permitted to go
into a dayroom when a fight is occurring until supervisors
and back-up officers arrive (G. St. ¶ 24; see also J.
St. ¶¶ 15-17). Once back-up officers and a sergeant
did arrive, they went in and broke up the fight about five
minutes after it began (G. St. ¶ 23, 25).
evidence shows that Muskat and other correctional officers
outnumbered the combatants by 9:52:25 p.m. and that they had
more than double their number by 9:52:42 p.m. (J. St.
¶¶ 18-19). That same video evidence shows
correctional officers entering the dayroom about a minute
later (J. St. Ex. H at ...