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Brown v. Doe

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division

February 24, 2017

OSCAR LEE BROWN, JR., Plaintiff,
JOHN DOE, et al. Defendants.



         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and presently incarcerated at Sangamon County Jail, brought the present lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging failure-to-protect from harm and deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. The matter comes before this Court for ruling on the Defendants' Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 55). The motion is granted.


         In its Order entered September 15, 2015, the Court denied Defendants' original motion for summary judgment because the record did not disclose that the Defendants had complied with the Court's Merit Review Opinion (Doc. 4) regarding disclosure of the identities of the Doe defendants. On the record then presented to the Court, at least one potential defendant had not been identified, and records to that end appeared readily available. Defendants have since provided the relevant information.

         Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint. (Doc. 57). Leave to amend should be freely granted “when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). A district court, however, may refuse to grant leave to amend where there has been “undue delay, bad faith or dilatory motive on the part of the movant, repeated failure to cure deficiencies by amendments previously allowed, undue prejudice to the opposing party by virtue of allowance of the amendment, futility of amendment, etc.” Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962).

         In his proposed amended complaint, Plaintiff seeks to impose liability on several additional jail officials for the events surrounding an attack he suffered at the hands of another inmate. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Durr, Strayer, and Williamson failed to override his cell block assignment, that other jail officials failed to adequately respond to the attack, and that jail officials refused to get him a wheelchair when he was taken to the hospital. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds that Plaintiff's amendment would be futile. Therefore, Plaintiff motion is denied.


         Summary judgment should 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). All facts must be construed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in his favor. Ogden v. Atterholt, 606 F.3d 355, 358 (7th Cir. 2010). The party moving for summary judgment must show the lack of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In order to be a “genuine” issue, there must be more than “some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).


         Plaintiff was booked into the Sangamon County Jail (“jail”) on January 30, 2013 after his arrest for murder and other charges. Upon arrival, Plaintiff was housed in the booking area of the jail. Jail officials asked Plaintiff a series of questions on a range of topics including mental health/medical history, gang affiliation, prior criminal history, and known enemies within the facility. (Doc. 32-1 at 1-7). According to booking records, Plaintiff denied that he was receiving care for mental health issues, denied that he had any enemies, and the officer conducting the interview noted that Plaintiff did not exhibit any visible signs of distress. Plaintiff did not have any person listed as a “keep separate from” at that time. Plaintiff was assigned to D-block on January 31, 2013. He arrived there at 6:16 p.m. (Doc. 46-2 at 1).

         At 9:48 p.m., another inmate assaulted Plaintiff in Plaintiff's cell. From the time he entered D-block until the time of the assault, Plaintiff testified that he did not have any problems with any other inmates. Pl.'s Dep. 55:22-56:2. Plaintiff did not know who his assailant was prior to the attack. Id. 35:8-11. A video Defendants provided shows the assailant entering Plaintiff's cell, closing the door, and leaving approximately 90 seconds later. The attack is not shown on video. Plaintiff remained in his cell until 9:54 p.m. A correctional officer arrives a minute later.

         According to Plaintiff, his assailant's motivation was retribution as Plaintiff had been accused of killing the assailant's cousin. His assailant and the individual Plaintiff was alleged to have killed had different last names, and Plaintiff testified that he had no prior knowledge of a familial relationship between these two individuals. Pl.'s Dep. 35:4-7; 36:10-13. Plaintiff also testified that he did not know the name of his alleged victim at the time he was booked into the jail. Id. 28:23-29:2.

         Plaintiff testified that his assailant was taken off the cell block shortly before the attack. Id. 45:1-8. Plaintiff has not identified the officer who did this, and he does not know where his assailant allegedly went. Records from the jail show that two officers were assigned as “rovers” in the area of the jail where Plaintiff was housed. (Doc. 46-2 at 9). Plaintiff names one of the officers (Officer Bluhm) in his amended complaint, but Plaintiff does not allege that Officer Bluhm was the guard who removed his assailant from the cell block. Plaintiff does not make any allegations regarding the other officer.

         After the assault, Plaintiff was taken to the medical unit, and later the hospital. (Doc. 58-1 at 15). Plaintiff was treated for lacerations on his face and ...

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