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Shaffer v. Randall

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

May 4, 2017

Roosevelt Shaffer (Y-18593), Plaintiff,
v.
Officer Randall, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Manish S. Shah United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Randall Shaffer, a prisoner in state custody, asserts that when he was a pretrial detainee at the Cook County Jail, Officer Randall failed to protect him from an assault by a crutch-wielding detainee. Officer Randall moves for summary judgment, arguing that Shaffer failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and that regardless, Shaffer's claims fail on the merits. For the following reasons, Officer Randall's motion is granted.

         I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1

         Because Shaffer is a pro se litigant, Officer Randall served him with a “Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment” as required by Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.2. [53].[1] The notice explains the consequences of failing to properly respond to a motion for summary judgment and statement of material facts under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and Local Rule 56.1.

         Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide “a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue.” Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). “The opposing party is required to file ‘a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon.'” Id. (citing N.D.Ill. R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). Shaffer did not file a response brief, a response to Officer Randall's statement of facts, or his own statement of additional facts.[2]

         Although courts construe pro se pleadings liberally, see Thomas v. Williams, 822 F.3d 378, 385 (7th Cir. 2016), a plaintiff's pro se status does not excuse him from complying with federal and local procedural rules. See McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993); Collins v. Illinois, 554 F.3d 693, 697 (7th Cir. 2009). Accordingly, the Court accepts all assertions in Officer Randall's statement of facts as true to the extent that they are supported by the record. See L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C).

         II. Facts

         The following facts are set forth as favorably to Shaffer as the record and Local Rule 56.1 permit. See Hanners v. Trent, 674 F.3d 683, 691 (7th Cir. 2012). On April 15, 2015, Shaffer was a pretrial detainee at the Jail and Officer Randall (a correctional officer at the Jail) was on duty on Shaffer's tier. Id. at ¶¶ 1-3, 5-6.

         Around noon that day, Shaffer was in his tier's dayroom, where Officer Randall was sitting at a desk. Id. at ¶¶ 7, 12-13. As Shaffer spoke with another detainee, two officers escorted detainee Duane Noyes, who was using crutches, from his cell. Id. at ¶ 10. Noyes approached Shaffer from behind and flung one of his crutches at the detainee who was talking to Shaffer. Id. at ¶¶ 8-9. Noyes missed, so the crutch hit Shaffer on the back of his head, causing a cut that required two staples. Id. at ¶¶ 9, 18.

         Shaffer does not know why Noyes threw his crutch at the other detainee. Id. at ¶ 11. Before he was struck by the crutch, Shaffer had no prior verbal or physical altercations with Noyes and had never told Officer Randall that he was scared of Noyes. Id. at ¶¶ 14, 16-17. Shaffer was surprised when the crutch hit him on the head. Id. at ¶ 15.

         In 2015, Cook County Jail had an established grievance procedure which was available to all detainees, as well as a designated group (Program Services) responsible for administering grievances filed by detainees. Id. at ¶¶ 28, 30. Under the Jail's grievance procedure, a detainee must appeal from the denial of a grievance to exhaust his administrative remedies. Id. at ¶ 29.

         When Shaffer arrived at the Cook County Jail, other detainees told him about the grievance process. Id. at ¶ 19. Shaffer, who can read and write English, had read the Jail's grievance forms prior to the incident. Id. at ¶¶ 20-21. The grievance form contains a description of the grievance procedure. Id. at ¶ 21. Shaffer understood that if he was dissatisfied with a response to a grievance he had filed, he had to appeal. Id. at ¶ 22.

         On April 15, 2015, Shaffer filed a grievance about the incident. Id. at ¶¶ 23- 24. In that grievance, Shaffer alleged that Noyes was in protective custody, and should not have been out of his cell in an area with Shaffer. [51-3]. On May 18, 2015, Shaffer signed a receipt indicating that he had received a response. [51] at ¶ 25. Immediately below the signature line, the grievance response form advises detainees that they must appeal within 14 days after receiving a response. Id. at ¶ 26. Shaffer did not appeal the response to his grievance. Id. at ¶ 27.

         III. ...


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