United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
BILLY McDADE, United States Senior District Judge
matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. 15) filed by the Defendants, Officer Andrew Hess and
Peoria County. The motion has been fully briefed and is ready
for disposition. For the reasons stated below,
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.
Tony Spears, was a pre-trial detainee in the Peoria County
Jail (the “Jail”) on or around July of 2015.
Plaintiff obtained knowledge of another inmate's
involvement in a crime and it became known to that inmate,
Deon Wells, that Plaintiff was going to testify against him
at his trial. Plaintiff was placed on a keep away order
related to Wells. Officer Hess was a transport officer. He
was transporting Wells and Plaintiff to court one morning.
Officer Hess failed to keep Inmate Wells away from Plaintiff.
Inmate Wells attacked and injured Plaintiff.
Jail has a documented grievance procedure. The Jail provides
detainees with an Inmate Rules, Regulations, and Information
Handbook (the “Handbook”) and also makes the
Handbook available at an electronic kiosk located in
Plaintiff's housing unit dayroom. The Handbook outlines
the procedures for submitting a grievance. An inmate can
submit grievances electronically through the kiosk or on
paper. Plaintiff acknowledged that he was familiar with the
grievance process, both under the paper system and the
electronic kiosk system. Plaintiff admits that he never filed
a grievance related to the 07/10/15 incident or Officer Hess.
Nor has he ever forwarded any complaint about the failure to
protect him from Inmate Wells to the Illinois Office of Jail
and Detention Standards.
immediately following his attack, Plaintiff gave a detailed
account of the incident to Officer Hess and other jail
officers. Jail staff ensured the keep-away order was
reflected in the electronic records. Furthermore, several
days after the attack, Plaintiff filed a formal grievance in
relation to Inmate Well's cousin, who was in the same
unit as Plaintiff and had threatened him with violence.
Plaintiff filed the Complaint in this action in November 2015
alleging two counts. Count I alleges that Officer Hess
violated Plaintiff's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment
rights in failing to protect Plaintiff from
Inmate Wells. Count II is an indemnification claim under
Illinois state law against Peoria County, Officer Hess's
judgment shall be granted where “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). In ruling on a motion for summary
judgment, the Court must view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. SMS Demag
Aktiengesellschaft v. Material Scis. Corp., 565 F.3d
365, 368 (7th Cir. 2009). All inferences drawn from the facts
must be construed in favor of the non-movant. Moore v.
Vital Prods., Inc., 641 F.3d 253, 256 (7th Cir. 2011).
survive summary judgment, the “nonmovant must show
through specific evidence that a triable issue of fact
remains on issues on which [it] bears the burden of proof at
trial.” Warsco v. Preferred Technical Grp.,
258 F.3d 557, 563 (7th Cir. 2001) (citing Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)). If the evidence
on record could not lead a reasonable jury to find for the
non-movant, then no genuine issue of material fact exists and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
See McClendon v. Ind. Sugars, Inc., 108 F.3d 789,
796 (7th Cir. 1997). At the summary judgment stage, the court
may not resolve issues of fact; disputed material facts must
be left for resolution at trial. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986).
Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e
(“PLRA”), was enacted in 1996 with the intent to
decrease the incidence of frivolous prisoner litigation
burdening the federal courts. Accordingly, the PLRA includes
a strict, mandatory exhaustion requirement that disallows any
lawsuit brought by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison,
or other correctional facility that deals with prison
conditions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or any other federal
law, if the prisoner failed to exhaust any administrative
remedies as were available to him. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).
Ross v. Blake, 136 S.Ct. 1850 (U.S. 2016). The
Seventh Circuit has also taken a strict compliance approach
to exhaustion requiring a prisoner to pursue all available
administrative remedies and comply with a facility's
procedural rules and deadlines. Pozo v. McCaughtry,
286 F.3d 1022, 1025 (7th Cir. 2002); see also Riccardo v.
Rausch, 375 F.3d 521, 523-24 (7th Cir. 2004). If an
inmate fails to follow the grievance procedure rules, his
claims will not be exhausted, but instead forfeited, and he
will be barred from filing suit in federal court even if
administrative remedies are for practical purposes no longer
available to him due to his procedural default.
Pozo, 286 F.3d at 1025.
was a “prisoner” as that term is defined by the
statute at all times relevant to this case-at the time of the
alleged incident, at the time this suit was brought, and
currently. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(h) (definition
of “prisoner”). Thus, the PLRA applies and
Plaintiff was required to exhaust his available
Jail utilizes specific grievance procedures of which the
Plaintiff was aware and had used in other incidents.
Plaintiff admitted in his deposition that he did not file a
grievance with respect to being assaulted by Inmate Wells or
against Officer Hess for allegedly failing to protect him. He
thus admitted that he failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies by filing an appropriate grievance. He argued at his