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Adair v. Dart

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

July 14, 2017

Patrick Adair #2015-0822128, Plaintiff,
v.
Tom Dart, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Honorable Marvin E. Aspen United States District Court Judge.

         Plaintiff, an inmate at the Cook County Jail (“CCJ”), has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Officer Gaber[1] failed to protect him from an assault by another inmate that occurred on October 3, 2015. This matter is before the Court for ruling on Defendant Officer Gaber's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated in this order, Defendant Officer Gaber's motion for summary judgment is granted.

         Standard of Review

         “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Hanover Ins. Co. v. Northern Bldg. Co., 751 F.3d 788, 791 (7th Cir. 2014). In determining whether factual issues exist, the court must view all the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Weber v. Univ. Research Assoc., Inc., 621 F.3d 589, 592 (7th Cir. 2010). The court does not “judge the credibility of the witnesses, evaluate the weight of the evidence, or determine the truth of the matter. The only question is whether there is a genuine issue of fact.” Gonzalez v. City of Elgin, 578 F.3d 526, 529 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986)).

         To survive summary judgment, the nonmoving party must make a sufficient showing of evidence for each essential element of its case on which it bears the burden at trial. Kampmier v. Emeritus Corp., 472 F.3d 930, 936-937 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23). “Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.” Blythe Holdings, Inc. v. DeAngelis, 750 F.3d 653, 656 (7th Cir. 2014) (citations omitted). “A genuine issue of material fact arises only if sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party exists to permit a jury to return a verdict for that party.” Egonmwan v. Cook County Sheriff's Dept., 602 F.3d 845, 849 (7th Cir. 2010) (quoting Faas v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 532 F.3d 633, 640-41 (7th Cir. 2008)).

         Local Rule 56.1 (N.D. Ill.)

         Local Rule 56.1 sets out a procedure for presenting facts that are germane to a party's request for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Specifically, Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to submit “a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue and that entitle the moving party to judgment as a matter of law.” Petty v. City of Chicago, 754 F.3d 416, 420 (7th Cir. 2014). Each paragraph of the movant's statement of facts must include “specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon to support the facts set forth in that paragraph.” LR 56.1(a). The opposing party must 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.” LR 56.1(b)(3)(B). “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.” LR 56.1(b)(3)(C). The nonmoving party may also present a separate statement of additional facts “consisting of short numbered paragraphs, of any additional facts that require the denial of summary judgment, including references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon.” LR 56.1(b)(3)(C). “[I]f additional material facts are submitted by the opposing party . . ., the moving party may submit a concise reply in the form prescribed in that section for a response.” LR 56.1(a).

         Consistent with the Local Rules, Defendant filed a Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement of Material Facts (Dkt. 41) with his summary judgment motion and “Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment” (Dkt. 43). The notice explained how to respond to Defendant's summary judgment motion and Rule 56.1 Statement and cautioned Plaintiff that the Court would deem Defendant's factual contentions admitted if he failed to follow the procedures delineated in Local Rule 56.1.

         In response to Defendant's motion, Plaintiff filed a response (Dkt. 49) that does not include specific responses to Defendant's Statements of Facts. Rather, it consists entirely of one paragraph (labeled “Paragraph #1) that appears to set forth Plaintiff's entire argument against summary judgment. Plaintiff's response does not contain citation to any external supporting evidence.

         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) (holding that “we have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel”); Collins v. Illinois, 554 F.3d 693, 697 (7th Cir. 2009) (“even pro se litigants must follow procedural rules”). Because Plaintiff has failed to properly respond to Defendant's Rule 56.1 Statement of Undisputed Material Facts, the Court accepts Defendant's “uncontroverted version of the facts to the extent that it is supported by evidence in the record.” Keeton v. Morningstar, Inc., 667 F.3d 877, 880 (7th Cir. 2012). Notwithstanding Plaintiff's admissions, the Court has interpreted his filings generously consistent with his pro se status and will construe his submissions, to the extent that he has pointed to evidence in the record or could properly testify himself about the matters asserted, in conjunction with the facts fairly proved by Defendants, in the light most favorable to him. Sistrunk v. Khan, 931 F.Supp.2d 849, 854 (N.D. Ill. 2013); Fed.R.Evid. 602. With these principles in mind, the Court now turns to the relevant facts.

         Facts

         Plaintiff was a detainee at CCJ and was waiting in a holding room for the CCJ health clinic on October 3, 2015. (Def.'s Statement of Material Fact (Dkt. 41), ¶ 1.) Defendant Officer Gaber #16858 is a correctional officer at CCJ. (Id. at ¶ 2.) Plaintiff was attacked and injured by another detainee on October 3, 2015, and alleges in his amended complaint that Defendant Officer Gaber was deliberately indifferent to his safety. (Id. at ¶ 3; Pl.'s Compl. (Dkt. 14, pg. 4-5).)

         On October 3, 2015, at approximately 10:35 p.m., Plaintiff was at CCJ health clinic, which is also referred to as Cermak. (Id. at ¶ 5.) Plaintiff testified that he was brought to Cermak to get medically cleared after having a physical altercation with another inmate in segregation. (Id. at ¶ 6.) During this time period, Plaintiff testified that had several fights in CCJ, some related to being in CCJ and some relating to “the outside world.” (Id. at ¶ 7.) Plaintiff testified that both he and the inmate he was in the physical altercation with were brought to Cermak, and both were shackled due to their previous fight. (Id. at ¶ 8.) Plaintiff testified that prior to entering the waiting area for Cermak, Plaintiff told two male officers, one being Latino and one being Caucasian or Latino, that he did not want to go into the waiting area shackled. (Id. at ¶ 9.) Plaintiff testified that he was unaware of who was inside the waiting area, but never warned officers of anyone in particular before entering. (Id. at ¶ 10) Plaintiff testified that he has a “vibe, ” or feeling, prior to entering the waiting room and that his instinct was that he was unprotected. (Id. at ¶ 11.) Plaintiff testified that he asked to speak to a supervisor, that three of four other officers came and told him to go into the waiting room, and that he complied. (Id. at ¶ 12.) Plaintiff testified that he and the inmate he had fought with the prior evening eventually entered the waiting area of Cermak where they were kept apart on separate sides of the waiting room. The two never made physical contact with each other in the waiting area (Id. at ¶ 13.) Plaintiff was placed on a bench against a wall with no one close to him after he entered the waiting area at Cermak. (Id. at ¶ 14.) Plaintiff testified that there were four or five inmates in one group within the room, and a couple of other inmates separated throughout the waiting area. (Id. at ¶ 15.) Plaintiff testified that he told officers that he was being verbally assaulted by a group of individuals and asked to be moved or to speak to a supervisor. (Id. at ¶ 16.) Plaintiff testified that he first told this to one officer, and two more officers then walked over. (Id. at ¶ 17.) Plaintiff testified that he said that did not feel safe and felt unprotected if things were to escalate. (Id. at ¶ 18.) Plaintiff testified that he does not specifically remember which officer he asked to be moved, but describes the officers as one black male and two either Latino or white males. (Id. at ¶ 19.) Plaintiff testified that he does not remember exactly what the officer responded with, but Plaintiff was not moved and did not talk to a supervisor. (Id. at ¶ 20.)

         Plaintiff testified that an inmate in a wheelchair later approached the Plaintiff and got out of his wheelchair. (Id. at ¶ 21.) Plaintiff testified that the inmate from the wheelchair then punched and kicked him multiple times, causing a scar. (Id. at ¶ 22.) Plaintiff testified that he did not know the man in the wheelchair who attacked him, and never had any prior verbal or physical altercations with him. (Id. at ¶ 23.) Plaintiff testified that he had no reason to suspect the man in the wheelchair would attack him prior to being attacked. (Id. at ¶ 24.) Plaintiff testified that he said nothing to the officers regarding the man in the wheelchair prior to the attack. (Id. at ...


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