United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
KIMBERLY M. FOXX, State's Attorney of Cook County
E. Hanlon, Jr. Assistant State's Attorney
Allyson L. West Assistant State's Attorney
DEFENDANTS' RULE 50 MOTION FOR JUDGMENT AS A
MATTER OF LAW
Matthew F. Kennelly, Judge
Correctional Officer A. Shrestha (Star 17442) and Cook County
by their attorney, Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney of
Cook County, through James E. Hanlon, Jr. and Allyson L.
West, Assistant State's Attorney, moves this Honorable
Court for a judgment as a matter of law against the
Plaintiff, Dawn Godfrey.
support thereof, the Defendant states as follows:
claims Defendant Officer Shrestha failed to protect her from
being assaulted on February 19, 2015, by approximately three
other detainees at Cook County Jail. That this assault
happened while Officer Shrestha was on duty is not enough for
constitutional liability to attach. Instead, Plaintiff must
present undisputed facts showing Officer Shrestha was aware
of the specific threat presented by the other detainees and
was deliberately indifferent to the risk of Plaintiff being
injured by this threat. Plaintiff does not adduce sufficient
evidence to establish either necessary element.
on that testimony, no “reasonable jury would not have a
legally sufficient evidentiary basis to find for the party on
that issue." Fed.R.Civ.P. 50(a); see Reeves v.
Sanderson Plumbing Prod., Inc., 530 U.S. 133 (2000);
Erikson v. Wisconsin Dept. of Corrections, 469 F.3d
600, 601 (7th Cir. 2006)(quoting Mack v. Great Dane
Trailers, 308 F.3d 776, 780 (7th Cir. 2002).
has not presented sufficient evidence that would reasonably
permit this Honorable Court to find in her favor on the
material question of whether Defendant Officer Shrestha
failed to protect her from being punched by another detainee
on February 19, 2015. Simply because this incident happened
on Defendant Officer Shrestha's watch is not sufficient
to impose constitutional liability, and this Court should
grant the Defendant judgment as a matter of law.
officials owe inmates a duty to protect them from violent
assaults inflicted by other inmates. Farmer, 511
U.S. at 833; Guzman v. Sheahan, 495 F.3d 852, 856-57
(7th Cir. 2007). An official violates that duty if she is
deliberately indifferent to conditions that pose a
substantial risk of serious harm to an inmate.
Farmer, 511 U.S. at 847; Klebanowski v.
Sheahan, 540 F.3d 633, 637 (7th Cir. 2008). A Section
1983 claim based on deliberate indifference has both an
objective and a subjective element: (1) the harm that befell
the prisoner must be objectively, sufficiently serious and a
substantial risk to his or her health or safety, and (2) the
individual defendant was deliberately indifferent to the
substantial risk to the prisoner's health and safety.
Board v. Farnham, 394 F.3d 469, 478 (7th Cir. 2005);
Matos v. O'Sullivan, 335 F.3d 553, 556 (7th Cir.
2003)(citing Farmer, 511 U.S. at 832). The
subjective element requires that the prison official act with
a sufficiently culpable state of mind, "something akin
to criminal recklessness, " Norfleet v.
Webster, 439 F.3d 392, 397 (7th Cir. 2006) or
“approaching a total unconcern for the prisoner's
welfare in the face of serious risks.” Rosario v.
Brawn, 670 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2012)(citations
omitted). A condition that poses a substantial risk of harm
is one where the “risks [are] so great that they are
almost certain to materialize if nothing is done.”
Brown v. Budz, 398 F.3d 904, 911 (7th Cir. 2005).
order to prove deliberate indifference, a detainee must show
that prison officials were "aware of a substantial risk
of serious injury to [the detainee] but nevertheless failed
to take appropriate steps to protect him from a known
danger." Guzman, 495 F.3d at 857 (citing
Butera v. Cottey, 285 F.3d 601, 605 (7th Cir.
2002)). Negligence or gross negligence will not substantiate
a claim of deliberate indifference; a plaintiff must show the
defendant had “actual knowledge” of the risk.
Washington v. LaPorte County Sheriff's
Department, 306 F.3d 515, 518 (7th Cir. 2002); see
Matos, 335 F.3d at 557 (if the defendant “should
have known” ...