United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ST. EVE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Alfonso Becerra (“Plaintiff”), a pretrial
detainee held at the Kane County Adult Justice Center
(“KCAJC”), brought this 42 U.S.C. § 1983
suit against Kane County Sheriff Donald Kramer and KCAJC
Director James Lewis. Plaintiff alleges that he is
shortchanged on meals, that food handling techniques at the
jail are unsanitary, and that he suffered food poisoning on
December 27, 2015. Now before the Court is Defendants'
motion for summary judgment, in which they contend that
Plaintiff has not brought forth evidence that Defendants were
deliberately indifferent to a serious risk of harm to
Plaintiff's health. For the reasons stated herein, the
Court grants Defendants' motion.
Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1
Court received Plaintiff's response to Defendants'
motion for summary judgment on October 20, 2016. (Dkt. No.
37.) The response, however, did not comport with the
requirements for a proper response under Local Rule 56.1.
Because Defendants had not served Plaintiff with a Local Rule
56.2 Notice to Pro Se Litigants Opposing Summary Judgment,
the Court gave Plaintiff another opportunity to respond
following service of the notice. (Dkt. Nos. 38, 39.)
Plaintiff, however, has not submitted a revised response.
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 citation omitted). 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 and that entitles the
moving party to judgment as a matter of law.”
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 N.D.Ill. R.
56.1(b)(3)(B)). Generally, the purpose of Local Rule 56.1
statements and responses is to identify the relevant
admissible evidence supporting the material facts, not to
make factual or legal arguments. See Cady v.
Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 2006) (holding
that pro se plaintiff's statement of material
facts did not comply with Rule 56.1 as it “failed to
adequately cite the record and was filled with irrelevant
information, legal arguments, and conjecture.”).
“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).
district court may insist on strict compliance with its local
rules regarding summary judgment. Metropolitan Life Ins.
v. Johnson, 297 F.3d 558, 562 (7th Cir. 2002). Although
Plaintiff is pro se, he nonetheless must comply with
Local Rule 56.1. See Cady, 467 F.3d at 1061
(“even pro se litigants must follow rules of
civil procedure”). Therefore, the facts set forth in
Defendants Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement are deemed
admitted to the extent supported by evidence in the record.
See Keeton v. Morningstar, Inc., 667 F.3d 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, but only to the extent he has
pointed to evidence in the record or could properly testify
himself about the matters asserted. See Boykin v.
Dart, No. 12 C 4447, 2014 WL 5611466, at *6 (N.D. Ill.
Nov. 4, 2014) (Chang, J.) (“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.”).
lawsuit arises from Plaintiff's allegations that he
became ill on December 27, 2015, after eating a meal of
savory stroganoff that was served to him while detained at
the KCAJC. (Defs.' Stmt. (Dkt. No. 34) at ¶ 1.)
Plaintiff contends that jail workers failed to: (1) use a
steamer to warm food; (2) properly wash food trays and
utensils; (3) provide fruit on a daily basis, and (4) provide
the correct amount of food with certain meals. (Id.
at ¶ 2.)
has suffered from gastritis since about 2013 or 2014.
(Id. at ¶ 9.) Gastritis is a gastrointestinal
condition that causes nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
(Id. at ¶ 10; see Mayo Clinic,
visited January 5, 2017)). Plaintiff's gastritis became
so severe that he was vomiting blood for two to three months
before getting medication. (Id. at ¶ 11;
see Pl.'s Dep. (Dkt. No. 34-1) at 20:2-20:12.)
Plaintiff took prescription medication that alleviated his
symptoms. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Plaintiff, however,
continues to suffer from symptoms of gastritis on and off,
and as recently as June 2016. (Id. at ¶¶
alleges that on December 27, 2015, a dinner of rice and meat,
identified based on a review of the menu as savory
stroganoff, caused him to suffer vomiting and diarrhea.
(Id. at ¶ 15; see Pl.'s Dep. at
38:18-41:1.) Plaintiff submitted a grievance stating that he
was sickened with stomach “eachs [sic] and
cramps” after eating the meal. (Id. at ¶
16; see Grievance Report, Dkt. No. 34-2.)
Plaintiff's grievance also stated that the jail had not
kept the food in a steamer, that the jail had not changed the
menu 15 months, and that commissary prices were too high.
(Id. at ¶ 17; see Grievance Report.)
response to the grievance, Lt. Corey Hunger investigated and
found that no other inmates had complained of food poisoning
as a result of the meal. (Id. at ¶ 18;
see Grievance Report.). Lt. Hunger further stated
that the jail prepares the meals according to Illinois County
Jail Standards. (Id.) Director Lewis also
investigated Plaintiff's grievance and responded that the
food served meets or exceeds county jail standards.
(Id. at ¶ 19; see Grievance
Response/Update, Dkt. No. 34-3.)
did not seek medical treatment with regard to the alleged
food poisoning, and was not diagnosed with food poisoning by
any medical professional. (Id. at ¶ 20.) He did
not tell any guards that he was sick. (Id.)
Plaintiff discussed the alleged food poisoning with his
cellmate, Moses Ramirez. (Id. at ¶ 21.) In
addition, Plaintiff did not retain any of the food or have it
tested after getting sick. (Id. at ¶ 22.)
Plaintiff testified he presumes that he became ill due to the
food not being hot, but he also described the food on that
day as hot, or at least warm. (Id. at ¶ 23; see
Pl.'s Dep. at 66:7-66:18.)
Hunger stated that the jail served approximately 400
detainees the same savory stroganoff meal on December 27,
2015. (Id. at ¶ 24; see Affidavit of
Lt. Corey Hunger, Dkt. No. 34-4.) According to Lt. Hunger,
Plaintiff is the only detainee who claimed to have gotten
food poisoning as a result of the meal. (Id. at
¶ 25; see Affidavit of Lt. Corey Hunger, Dkt.
No. 34-4.) Plaintiff contends that his cellmate, Ramirez,
also became ill as a result of the meal, and suffered
diarrhea and stomach pains. (Pl.'s Dep. at 51:22-52:14.)
Even by Plaintiff's own account, however, it is not clear
that Ramirez suffered food poisoning, as opposed to a
reaction to soy. Indeed, according to Plaintiff, Ramirez
sought medical attention and received a no-soy tray from the
jail doctor. (Id. at 53:24-55:4.) Plaintiff did not
know of anyone else becoming ...