United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.
Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Joseph
Splittorff is pending before this Court. For the reasons set
forth below, the Motion for Summary Judgment is denied.
and Procedural Background
Thomas filed this pro se civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging multiple
violations of his constitutional rights. Thomas originally
filed his complaint on September 4, 2015. (Doc. 1). The Court
dismissed that complaint on October 5, 2015, for failure to
state a claim and directed Thomas to file an amended
complaint no later than November 2, 2015. (Doc. 6). Thomas
filed his Amended Complaint on October 21, 2015. (Doc. 10).
The Court subsequently reviewed the Amended Complaint and
severed the claims into separate actions. (Doc. 14, p. 8).
Remaining here are Thomas's claims that Joseph
Splittorff, a police officer employed by the City of Alton,
Illinois: (1) arrested Thomas without a warrant or probable
cause, in violation of the Fourth Amendment; (2) improperly
interrogated Thomas in violation of the Fifth Amendment; and
(3) searched and confiscated Thomas's property without a
warrant or probable cause, in violation of the Fourth
Amendment. (Doc. 14, pp. 1, 8).
was housed at the Madison County Jail when he filed his
original Complaint on September 4, 2015. (Doc. 2, ¶1).
Multiple filings sent by Thomas from the Madison County Jail
were received by this Court through December 23, 2015. (Docs.
8-13). In its August 9, 2016 Order severing three of
Thomas's claims, however, the Court noted that records
from the Illinois Department of Corrections showed Thomas had
been transferred to Robinson Correctional Center. (Doc. 14,
p. 3). Thomas had not filed a notice of change of address as
required by Local Rule 3.1(b) and the Court's earlier
Order (Doc. 6, p. 7).
Splittorff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 26). A
notice regarding the filing of the motion was sent to Thomas
at Robinson Correctional Center. (Doc. 29, p. 4). On October
3, 2016, Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson issued an Order
directing Thomas to show cause in writing why this matter
should not be dismissed for failure to follow the Local Rules
regarding notice of change of address, and informing Thomas
that he must respond to the pending Motion for Summary
Judgment. (Doc. 30, pp. 1-2). The Order to Show
Cause (Doc. 30), along with the Scheduling Order (Doc. 24),
were sent to Thomas at both his address of record (the
Madison County Jail) and his more recent address at the
Robinson Correctional Center (Doc. 30, p. 1).
filed a notice of change of address on October 31, 2016,
stating that he was housed at the Robinson Correctional
Center. (Doc. 34). As of the date of this order, however,
Thomas has not responded to the Motion for Summary
judgment is proper only where there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law. Spurling v. C & M Fine Pack,
Inc., 739 F.3d 1055, 1060 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)). Courts review the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on
file, together with the affidavits, if any, to determine
whether there are genuine issues of fact or the moving party
is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Albiero v.
City of Kankakee, 246 F.3d 927, 931-32 (7th Cir. 2001).
The court must view the record, and any inferences to be
drawn from the underlying facts, in the light most favorable
to the party opposing the motion. United States v.
Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962); Albiero v.
City of Kankakee, 246 F.3d 927, 931-32 (7th Cir. 2001)
(citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 255 (1986)). If material issues of fact exist that would
allow a reasonable jury to find in favor of the non-moving
party, summary judgment is inappropriate. Spurling,
739 F.3d at 1060.
Court notes that Thomas did not file a response to the Motion
for Summary Judgment. This does not, however, absolve the
Court of its obligation to determine whether material issues
of fact exist and Splittorff is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398
U.S. 144, 161 (1970). Because the movant bears the initial
burden, if the evidence produced in support of summary
judgment is insufficient, “summary judgment must be
denied even if no opposing evidentiary matter is
presented.” Id. at 160 (emphasis added).
the Court has discretion to consider the affidavits filed by
Thomas with his Amended Complaint for purposes of determining
whether to grant the Motion for Summary Judgment.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3). Given the pro se nature of
the action and the fact that Thomas's request for
appointment of counsel was denied (Doc. 18, p. 1), the Court
chooses to exercise its discretion. The Court cautions Mr.
Thomas, however, that further failure to respond to motions,
discovery requests, or orders of this Court will likely
result in his claims being dismissed for failure to
Analysis of Summary Judgment
assessing summary judgment on a § 1983 claim, a Court
must determine: (1) whether the conduct complained of was
committed by a person acting under color of state law; and
(2) whether this conduct deprived a person of rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws
of the United States. Armato v. ...