United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
BYRON E. ADAMS, Plaintiff,
RICHARD HARRINGTON and BRADLEY STIRNAMAN, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is currently before the Court on the Report and
Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Donald G.
Wilkerson (Doc. 154), which recommends granting the motion to
enforce settlement filed by Defendants Richard Harrington and
Bradley Stirnaman (Docs. 144). For the reasons explained
below, the Court adopts Magistrate Judge Wilkerson's
Report and Recommendation and grants the motion to enforce
Byron Adams is an inmate in the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”) who was formerly
incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center. He alleges that
he suffered second degree burns on the bottoms of his feet
from the floor of his cell at Menard, which was dangerously
hot because of deteriorating steam pipes that ran underneath
the floor. Two of Plaintiff's claims survived summary
judgment rulings-his claim against Warden Richard Harrington
for deliberate indifference to the conditions of his cell and
his claim against Bradley Stirnaman for excessive force for
assaulting him while he was housed in the healthcare unit
recovering from his burns (Docs. 130, 135).
to trial, the matter was set for a settlement conference on
February 8, 2017 before Magistrate Judge Wilkerson (Doc.
137). The day before the settlement conference,
Plaintiff's counsel informed the Court that the parties
settled the matter themselves (Doc. 140). An Order was
entered informing the parties that they had sixty days to
finalize the settlement before judgment would enter (Doc.
141). On February 15th, however, Plaintiff filed a pro
se motion claiming that he did not agree to the
settlement terms negotiated by his attorneys, Caroline Plater
and Abraham Souza, and asking for a hearing with Magistrate
Judge Wilkerson (Doc. 144). Plaintiff stated that he was
willing to settle his deliberate indifference claim against
Warden Harrington for the amount negotiated, but he was not
willing to settle his excessive force claim against Defendant
Stirnaman (Doc. 144). Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff's
attorney filed a motion to withdraw, and Defendants filed a
motion to enforce the settlement (Docs. 143, 144). The 60-Day
Order was vacated, and the entry of judgment was postponed
until the motions were resolved (Doc. 147).
request for a hearing was granted, and the hearing was held
before Magistrate Judge Wilkerson on April 18th (Doc. 151).
At the hearing, Plaintiff and Ms. Plater testified as to the
particulars of the settlement negotiations (see Doc.
156). Following the hearing, Plaintiff's attorneys, Ms.
Plater and Mr. Souza, were permitted to withdraw, and the
motion to enforce the settlement was taken under advisement
(Doc. 152). On May 18th, Magistrate Judge Wilkerson issued
the Report and Recommendation that is currently before the
Court (Doc. 154).
Report and Recommendation, Magistrate Judge Wilkerson found
that defense counsel Gary Caplan made an offer to Ms. Plater
of $10, 000 to settle both of Plaintiff's claims (Doc.
154). Ms. Plater then spoke to Plaintiff, and he agreed to
accept $10, 000 (Id.). But then Ms. Plater went back
and attempted to get a little bit more money for Plaintiff
(Id.). After a bit of back and forth, Ms. Plater and
Mr. Caplan orally agreed to a settlement of $11, 500
(Id.). Plaintiff agreed to accept this amount
(Id.). Ms. Plater and Plaintiff both testified that
during the course of the negotiations she told him, and he
acknowledged, on more than one occasion that the settlement
amount was for both of claims, not just the claim against
Harrington (Id.). Plaintiff now believes the
settlement is not a good deal, however, because he is still
receiving ongoing medical treatment as a result of
Stirnaman's assault, and he maintains that he did not
want to settle against Stirnaman (Id.).
on the testimony at the hearing, Magistrate Judge Wilkerson
concluded that a binding settlement was achieved (Doc. 154).
Plaintiff authorized his attorney to negotiate on his behalf,
he understood that the settlement amount of $11, 500 would
resolve his claims against each Defendant, and he agreed to
those terms (Id.). Consequently, Magistrate Judge
Wilkerson recommended granting the motion to enforce the
settlement and dismissing this matter with prejudice once
payment had been made to Plaintiff (Id.)
filed a “response” to the Report and
Recommendation on May 24th (Doc. 155). In that submission, he
states his belief that the Report and Recommendation granted
Defendants' motion to enforce the settlement and that he
will be receiving a payment of $11, 500 (Doc. 155). He wanted
to know who was going to issue the payment, when it would be
issued, and if it would be sent to him at Pontiac
Correctional Center (Doc. 155). On July 5th, Plaintiff filed
a motion again trying to figure out when he will get his
money (Doc. 157).
Court does not consider Plaintiff's
“response” to the Report and Recommendation to be
a specific objection to anything contained within the Report
and Recommendation. Because there are no specific objections
to the Report and Recommendation, the Court need not conduct
a de novo review. See Thomas v. Arn, 474
U.S. 140 (1985). Instead, the Court need only review the
Report and Recommendation for clear error. Johnson v.
Zema Systems Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 739 (7th Cir. 1999).
The Court may then “accept, reject, or modify, in whole
or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
undersigned has carefully reviewed the motions and exhibits
submitted by the parties, as well as the transcript from the
motion hearing, and Magistrate Judge Wilkerson's Report
and Recommendation. Following this review, the undersigned
fully agrees with the findings, analysis, and conclusions of
Magistrate Judge Wilkerson.
the Court ADOPTS Magistrate Judge Wilkerson's Report and
Recommendation (Doc. 154) and GRANTS the motion to enforce
settlement filed by Defendants Richard Harrington and Bradley
Stirnaman (Doc. 144). Plaintiff's motion filed on July 5,
2017, is GRANTED. Unfortunately, the Court does not know the
specifics regarding who will issue the payment, the form in
which the payment will be issued, where the payment will be
sent, etc. Defense counsel is ORDERED to provide Plaintiff
with that information in a written letter postmarked on or
before July 24, 2017.
counsel is further ORDERED to prepare a written settlement
agreement, ensure its execution, and issue payment to
Plaintiff within sixty days after this Order is docketed. The
Clerk of Court is DIRECTED, after the sixty-day period
expires, to enter a judgment dismissing this case with
prejudice. If the parties fail to finalize the settlement