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Akindele v. Arce

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

February 22, 2017

OLUWOLE AKINDELE (#2013-1005137), Plaintiff,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT ARCE and DIRECTOR REYES, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Gary Feinerman Judge.

         Oluwole Akindele, a pretrial detainee at Cook County Jail, alleges in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 suit that jail officials failed to protect him from an attack by another detainee. Doc. 13. Four defendants were dismissed on initial review. Doc. 12. The remaining defendants, Frank Arce and Mario Reyes, have moved for summary judgment. Doc. 61. The motion is denied.

         Background

         Consistent with the local rules, Defendants filed a Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement of undisputed facts along with their summary judgment motion. Doc. 63. With certain exceptions, [*] the relevant factual assertions in the Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement cite evidentiary material in the record and are supported by the cited material. See N.D. Ill. L.R. 56.1(a) (“The statement referred to in (3) shall consist of short numbered paragraphs, including within each paragraph specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon to support the facts set forth in that paragraph.”). Also consistent with the local rules, Defendants filed and served on Akindele a Local Rule 56.2 Notice, which explains what Local Rule 56.1 requires of a litigant opposing summary judgment. Doc. 64. Akindele did not file a response brief, a Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B) response to the Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement, or a Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) statement of additional facts. Docs. 76, 80.

         “[A] district court is entitled to decide [a summary judgment] motion based on the factual record outlined in the [Local Rule 56.1] statements.” Koszola v. Bd. of Educ. of Chi., 385 F.3d 1104, 1109 (7th Cir. 2004) (third alteration in original) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Olivet Baptist Church v. Church Mut. Ins. Co., __ F.App'x __, 2017 WL 129943 (7th Cir. Jan. 13, 2017) (“The district court treated most of the [defendant's] factual submissions as unopposed, because the [plaintiff] failed to contest them in the form required by Local Rule 56.1(b). We have held that the district court is entitled to enforce that rule in precisely the way it enforced the rule in this litigation.”); Stevo v. Frasor, 662 F.3d 880, 886-87 (7th Cir. 2011) (“Because of the high volume of summary judgment motions and the benefits of clear presentation of relevant evidence and law, we have repeatedly held that district judges are entitled to insist on strict compliance with local rules designed to promote the clarity of summary judgment filings.”); Patterson v. Ind. Newspapers, Inc., 589 F.3d 357, 360 (7th Cir. 2009) (“We have repeatedly held that the district court is within its discretion to strictly enforce compliance with its local rules regarding summary-judgment motions.”); Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Servs., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004) (“We have … repeatedly held that a district court is entitled to expect strict compliance with Rule 56.1.”). Akindele's status as a pro se litigant does not excuse him from complying with Local Rule 56.1. See McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993) (“[W]e have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel.”); Coleman v. Goodwill Indus. of Se. Wis., Inc., 423 F.App'x 642, 643 (7th Cir. 2011) (“Though courts are solicitous of pro se litigants, they may nonetheless require strict compliance with local rules.”); Wilson v. Kautex, Inc., 371 F.App'x 663, 664 (7th Cir. 2010) (“[S]trictly enforcing Local Rule 56.1 was well within the district court's discretion, even though Wilson is a pro se litigant.”) (citation omitted); Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1061 (7th Cir. 2006) (“[E]ven pro se litigants must follow rules of civil procedure.”).

         Accordingly, the court will accept as true the facts set forth in Defendants' Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement, except insofar as the statement does not accurately reflect the cited material, viewing the facts and inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to Akindele. See N.D. Ill. L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C) (“All material facts set forth in the statement required of the moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing party.”); Parra v. Neal, 614 F.3d 635, 636 (7th Cir. 2010); Rao v. BP Prods. N. Am., Inc., 589 F.3d 389, 393 (7th Cir. 2009) (“In accordance with [Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C)], the district court justifiably deemed the factual assertions in BP's Rule 56.1(a) Statement in support of its motion for summary judgment admitted because Rao did not respond to the statement.”); Cady, 467 F.3d at 1061; Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608 (7th Cir. 2006); Schrott v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 403 F.3d 940, 943 (7th Cir. 2005); Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 682-83 (7th Cir. 2003). That said, the court is mindful that “a nonmovant's … failure to comply with Local Rule 56.1 … does not … automatically result in judgment for the movant. The ultimate burden of persuasion remains with [the movant] to show that [the movant] is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Raymond, 442 F.3d at 608 (citations omitted). The court therefore will recite the facts in Defendants' Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) statement, as modified where necessary where the statement inaccurately characterizes the cited material, and then determine whether, on those facts, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment.

         This case concerns events in Division 10 at Cook County Jail in January 2015. At that time, one of the two remaining defendants, Mario Reyes, was Division 10's director. Doc. 63 at ¶ 44. The other defendant, Frank Arce, was the superintendent of Division 9 and had no supervisory authority in Division 10. Id. at ¶¶ 39-40.

         From January 18 to January 20, Akindele was housed in Cell 24 in Division 10-1A, which is a segregation unit for general population inmates. Id. at ¶ 2. The cell doors in Division 10-1A have slots. Doc. 63-1 at 58-59 (cited in part by Doc. 63 at ¶ 3). When the slots are open, they serve as windows to the interior of the housing unit. Ibid. When Akindele was housed in Cell 24, the door slot for his cell and the cells in his immediate vicinity were open, so other inmates could see him by looking through the slots. Ibid. After seeing that Akindele was wearing a yellow protective custody jumpsuit, ibid., other inmates called him names and told him they would “get” him, Doc. 63 at ¶ 3. Akindele did not know the names of those inmates. Id. at ¶ 4.

         Akindele sent Arce a letter on January 19 voicing concerns about his placement in a segregation unit. Id. at ¶ 5; Doc. 63-1 at 59-60. On January 20, Akindele saw Arce walking through Division 10-1A. Doc. 63 at ¶ 6; Doc. 63-1 at 62. Akindele told Arce that he was not supposed to be in Division 10-1A because he was a protective custody inmate wearing a corresponding (yellow) jumpsuit, instead of the brown jumpsuit worn by segregation inmates. Doc. 63 at ¶ 6; Doc. 63-1 at 62-63 (cited in part by Doc. 63 at ¶ 6); Doc. 63-2 at ¶ 2. Akindele also told Arce that other inmates were yelling at him and threatening to “get” or “kill” him because he was “PC, yellow jumpsuit.” Doc. 63-1 at 65 (cited by Doc. 63 at ¶¶ 8-9). Akindele did not provide any names to Arce, as he could not identify the inmates because he did not know them and could not see them through his door slot. Ibid. Arce responded, “well, just don't come out of your cell until I figure out what we going to do, ” and indicated that he would try to have Akindele moved. Ibid.

         Following this conversation, other inmates called Akindele a “snitch” because he had spoken with Arce. Doc. 63 at ¶ 10. Later that day, Akindele told unspecified officers that he could see Cells 5 and 6 through his door slot, and that the cells' occupants were calling him names and stating that they would “catch [him]” and “beat [him].” Ibid.

         Later on January 20, Akindele saw Reyes and gave him a letter saying that he was being threatened. Id. at ¶¶ 11-12. He also told Reyes “everything that was going on, ” but did not provide names, cell numbers, or other identifying information. Id. at ¶ 12; Doc. 63-1 at 69-70 (cited by Doc. 63 at ¶ 11). In response, Reyes said, “okay, we take care of it. I heard about you. Commander Clemons already told me about you. Oh, you talked to an officer before. Don't worry about it. We take care of it, okay?” Doc. 63-1 at 70 (cited in part by Doc. 63 at ¶ 11).

         That evening, Akindele went to Cermak Hospital. Doc. 63 at ¶ 2. He was released on January 23 and returned that evening to a different cell (1102-1, also known as Cell 2) in Division 10-1A. Id. at ¶ 13; Doc. 63-1 at 78; Doc. 63-2 at ¶ 3. Akindele remained in Cell 2, which had a door with a slot and a window that allowed other inmates to look in, until approximately 9:00 p.m. on January 29. Doc. 63 at ¶¶ 13, 20; Doc. 63-1 at 82 (cited by Doc. 63 at ¶ 14). During his time in Cell 2, unknown inmates taunted Akindele by saying “[y]ou PC, ” calling him a “[b]itch, ” a “snitch, ” and a “gay ass nigger, ” and threatening to “kill [him]” and “beat the crap out of [him].” Doc. 63-1 at 82-84 (cited by Doc. 63 at ¶ 14). The inmates hit the window in the door of his cell, causing him to fear that the glass would break. Id. at 83 (cited by Doc. 63 at ¶ 14).

         Akindele previously had not spoken to or seen those inmates, and he did not know their names. Doc. 63 at ¶¶ 15-18. A detainee in the next cell told Akindele that one of the inmates resided in Cell 6. Id. at ¶ 19. Akindele then told two officers that an inmate from Cell 6 was threatening him and that he wanted to “get … out of [t]here” because “[s]omething [was] going to happen” and he “fear[ed] for [his] safety.” Doc. 63-1 at 83 (cited by Doc. 63 at ¶ 19).

         At around 8:30 p.m. on January 29, after correctional officers allowed the inmates in Cells 5 and 6 to leave their cells, Akindele felt dizzy and attempted to summon an officer by calling through his door slot. Doc. 63 at ¶ 20. At that point, two inmates were outside his door. Doc. 63-1 at 93-94 (clarifying testimony cited by Doc. 63 at ¶ 21). One of the inmates reached through the slot and punched him in the head. Doc. 63 at ¶ 21. As Akindele backed away, the inmate threw a milk carton containing what he believed to be feces and urine through the slot towards him. Id. at ¶ 22. Some of the carton's contents got onto his jumpsuit and face. Id. at ¶ 23. Following this incident, Akindele had a small bruise on his left temple and experienced slight swelling in this area. Id. at ΒΆ 24. After Akindele reported ...


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