United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
PHIL GILBERT DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the court on the Report and
Recommendation (“R & R”) (Doc. 65) of
Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly with regard to Defendant
USA's Motion (doc. 56) for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff
filed an objection (Doc. 68) to the R & R and the
defendant filed a response (Doc. 69) to the Plaintiff's
Court may accept, reject or modify, in whole or in part, the
findings or recommendations of the magistrate judge in a
report and recommendation. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). The Court
must review de novo the portions of the report to
which objections are made. The Court has discretion to
conduct a new hearing and may consider the record before the
magistrate judge anew or receive any further evidence deemed
necessary. Id. “If no objection or only
partial objection is made, the district court judge reviews
those unobjected portions for clear error.” Johnson
v. Zema Sys. Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 739 (7th Cir. 1999).
As objections have been filed, the Court will review those
portions of the R & R de novo.
matter arises out of an incident which occurred on April 26,
2014, when Plaintiff was attacked by another inmate. At this
time, the only remaining claim is a Federal Tort Claims Act
(“FTCA”) action against the defendant United
States of America. Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that
the government acted negligently in failing to protect the
plaintiff from an assault by the other inmate. The R & R
recommends that summary judgment be granted.
judgment must be granted “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); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels
Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000).
The reviewing court must construe the evidence in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable
inferences in favor of that party. See Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986);
Chelios v. Heavener, 520 F.3d 678, 685 (7th Cir.
2008); Spath, 211 F.3d at 396.
objection states that, “the magistrate judge applied
the wrong law in analyzing Castro's burden of proof
necessary to withstand summary judgement and failed to
interpret all reasonable inferences from the facts in
Castro's favor; and because Castro has demonstrated that
a genuine dispute of material fact exists regarding the issue
of proximate causation that can only be decided by a
jury.” (Doc. 68, pg). He cites to United States v.
Muniz, 374 U.S. 150 (1963):
One last point remains. Jailers in some States are not liable
to their prisoners. For example, several States have decided
that a warden in charge of a penitentiary, or a sheriff in
charge of a county jail, is immune from suit because he
exercises a quasi-judicial function requiring the use of
discretion. Another has decided that the master of a house of
correction has no duty of care toward his prisoners which
would make him liable for his negligence. And there are
overtones in these decisions suggesting that liability is
also denied because of the fear that prison discipline would
otherwise be undermined. Such cases should not be persuasive.
Just as we refused to import the ‘casuistries of
municipal liability for torts' in Indian Towing, so we
think it improper to limit suits by federal prisoners because
of restrictive state rules of immunity. Whether a
discretionary function is involved is a matter to be decided
under 28 U.S.C. s 2680(a), rather than under state rules
relating to political, judicial, quasi-judicial, and
ministerial functions. And the duty of care owed by the
Bureau of Prisons to federal prisoners is fixed by 18 U.S.C.
s 4042, independent of an inconsistent state rule. Finally,
having decided that discipline in the federal prisons will
not be so seriously impaired that all recovery should be
denied for negligently inflicted injuries, we should not at
the same time make recovery depend upon a State's
decision to the contrary. Id. at 164-65.
quote above sets out that a state cannot limit a FTCA action
with rules of immunity or the presence of a compensation
system. Id. at 160, 154. The Muniz Court
also makes clear that the FTCA requires state law to be
applied as it would with a “private” individual.
Without more definite indication of the risks of harm from
diversity, we conclude that the prison system will not be
disrupted by the application of Connecticut law in one case
and Indiana law in another to decide whether the Government
should be liable to a prisoner for the negligence of its
employees. Finally, though the Government expresses some
concern that the nonuniform right to recover will prejudice
prisoners, it nonetheless seems clear that no recovery would
prejudice them even more. Id. at 162.
on the above, the plaintiff argues that the R & R was
incorrect to rely on Illinois Court of Claims' cases as
those actions only involve state employee and not
“private” individuals. Instead, the plaintiff
argues that Illinois law regarding a “private
individual” should be applied. The Court agrees and
under Illinois law, “[i]n order to prevail in an action
for negligence, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant
owed a duty, that defendant breached that duty, and that
defendant's breach was the proximate cause of injury to
the plaintiff.” Am. Nat. Bank & Trust Co. of
Chicago v. Natl. Advert. Co., 594 N.E.2d 313, 318 (Ill.
a duty is owed, there is no negligence. Whether a duty exists
is a question of law for the court to decide.” Am.
Nat. Bank & Trust Co. of Chicago v. Natl. Advert.
Co., 594 N.E.2d 313, 318 (Ill. 1992)(internal citation
omitted.) “Among the factors which this court has
considered relevant to the existence of a duty are reasonable
foreseeability, the likelihood of injury, and the extent of
the burden placed upon the defendant in guarding against an
injury.” Id. at 318.
“‘Foreseeability means that which it is
objectively reasonable to expect, not merely what
might conceivably occur.'” Id. at 320,
quoting Winnett v. Winnett (1974), 57 Ill.2d 7,
12-13, 310 N.E.2d 1) (emphasis in original.)
& R found that, “the evidence before the Court is
insufficient to demonstrate that Officer Murray was aware or
should have been aware that inmate Venzor would assault
Plaintiff.” Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge
failed to take, “all reasonable inferences in favor of
Castro” as “Castro has presented evidence that
Lieutenant Brooks was not in the N-Unit at the time of the
assault began.” The plaintiff further argues that,
“whether Lieutenant Brooks was present before the
attack occurred is a material fact in this case. ...