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McNeal v. Palmer

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

October 3, 2016

Anthony D. McNeal (K69007), Plaintiff,
Sgt. L. Palmer, et al., Defendants.


          AMY J. ST. EVE United States District Court Judge

         Plaintiff Anthony D. McNeal, currently an Illinois prisoner confined at Pontiac Correctional Center, brought this pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit. Plaintiff alleges that, while incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center, Defendants Sergeant Lanel Palmer and Lieutenant Calvin Bell failed to protect him from an assault by three other inmates that occurred on March 27, 2013.

         Currently before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment [59]. For the reasons stated herein, Defendants' motion for summary judgment [59] is granted.

         I. Local Rule 56.1

         A district court may insist on strict compliance with its local rules regarding summary judgment. Koszola v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chi. , 385 F.3d 1104, 1109 (7th Cir. 2004). A court may decide a motion based on the factual record outlined in the parties' Local Rule 56.1 Statements of Material Facts. Id. (internal citation omitted). Although Plaintiff is pro se, he nonetheless must comply with Local Rule 56.1. Coleman v. Goodwill Indus. of Se. Wis., Inc., 423 Fed. App'x 642, 643 (7th Cir. 2011); see Cady v. Sheahan , 467 F.3d 1057, 1061 (7th Cir. 2006)(“even pro se litigants must follow rules of civil procedure”).

         Defendants filed a Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement of Material Facts along with appropriate supporting documentation. Consistent with the Local Rules, Defendants served Plaintiff with a Local Rule 56.2 Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment. [61] That notice explained, among other things, Plaintiff's need to respond to Defendants' Statement of Material Facts with documentation supporting any disagreement with the facts as presented by Defendants. Notwithstanding this, Plaintiff has not submitted a response to Defendants' Local Rule 56.1 Statement of Material Facts, nor has he submitted his own statement of additional material facts. Accordingly, the facts set forth in Defendants' Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement are deemed admitted to the extent they are supported by evidence in the record. See Keeton v. Morningstar, Inc., 667 F.3d 877, 880, 884 (7th Cir. 2012). Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, however, the Court has considered the factual assertions he makes in his response to Defendants' summary judgment motion [68], but only to the extent he has pointed to evidence in the record or could properly testify himself about the matters asserted. Antonelli v. Sherrow , 02 C 8714, 2005 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 20912, at *5-*6 (N.D. Ill. Sept. 21, 2005); see Boykin v. Dart , No. 12 C 4447, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156010 (N.D. Ill. November 4, 2014) (“Although the Court is entitled to demand strict compliance with Local Rule 56.1, it ordinarily affords pro se plaintiffs significant leeway in responding to summary judgment filings.”).

         II. Facts

         Plaintiff is an inmate currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center. Plaintiff filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants Lanel Palmer and Calvin Bell violated his Eighth Amendment rights by failing to protect him from other inmates with respect to an ncident that occurred on March 27, 2013. [62 at ¶ 1]

         Plaintiff's current out-date from prison is 2093. Plaintiff was convicted of aggravated robbery, attempted robbery, burglary, residential burglary, robbery, residential burglary, aggravated criminal sexual abuse with a weapon, armed robbery, home invasion with armed force and two additional convictions for aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon. [Id. at ¶ 2]

         Plaintiff alleges that he used to be a Gangster Disciple, but renounced his affiliation while incarcerated at Cook County Jail in 2004. Plaintiff did not inform anyone at the Illinois Department of Corrections that he renounced his affiliation and does not know whether any Cook County Officials informed anyone at IDOC. [Id. at ¶ 3]

         Plaintiff wrote a letter to Internal Affairs and Officer Clements called him to Internal Affairs a few days later, on March 25, 2013. Plaintiff notified Internal Affairs of a “few hits” by the Gangster Disciples on their own members. [Id. at ¶ 4] When Plaintiff returned from Internal Affairs, another inmate, Pee-Wee, asked him where he just came from and Plaintiff told Pee-Wee that he had come from the health care unit. Although Plaintiff alleges that Sergeant Palmer told this other inmate that Plaintiff was returning from Internal Affairs, Plaintiff testified that he did not hear Sergeant Palmer say that Pee-Wee or anyone else. Plaintiff also alleges that Pee-Wee told him that he had checked the movement sheet and saw that Plaintiff was returning from Internal Affairs. [Id. at ¶ 5]

         Approximately one hour later, Pee-Wee told Plaintiff that he had to check into protective custody pursuant to gang protocol. Plaintiff did not try to check into protective custody at that time. Plaintiff testified that, the following day, Correctional Officer Griffin told him that protective custody did not have any room for him. Plaintiff stayed in his cell the entire day on March 26, 2013, and officers on the other two night shifts also told him that there was no room in protective custody. [Id. at ¶ 6] Plaintiff testified that on March 27, 2013, he told Correctional Officer Hopson that he needed to check into protective custody and was told that protective custody was full and that he had to fill out a form. At lunch time that day, Plaintiff took all of his belongings out of his cell and requested that he be either sent to protective custody or segregation. [Id. at ¶ 7] Plaintiff did not tell any of the security staff any specific names as to who had threatened him. Instead, Plaintiff told them that the “GDs organization” was threatening him. [Id. at ¶ 8]

         On March 27, 2013, while Plaintiff was in the chow hall, three individuals got up and walked toward him. According to Plaintiff, he did not do anything because he did not know what they were doing. Plaintiff thought they were walking to the garbage can. [Id. at ¶ 9] According to Plaintiff, one of these individuals hit him in the head with a tray and the other two began punching and kicking him. Plaintiff identified one of the individuals after the assault because he continued hitting Plaintiff until security arrived, but did not learn the identity of the other two individuals. [Id. at ¶ 10]

         III. Summary ...

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