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Tompkins v. Whiteside County Jail

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Western Division

July 26, 2017

Shawn Tompkins (R-45728), Plaintiff,
Whiteside County Jail, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Shawn Tompkins, a prisoner currently incarcerated at Taylorville Correctional Center, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming a denial of medical care when he was incarcerated at Whiteside County Jail. Before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Dkt 44.) Defendants contend that summary judgment is appropriate because Plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies before filing this federal lawsuit. For the reasons discussed below, the Court denies Defendants' motion. A hearing pursuant to Pavey v. Conley, 544 F.3d 739, 742 (7th Cir. 2008), may be scheduled to resolve disputed issues of fact.

         Procedural History

         After screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, Plaintiff is proceeding on a claim for deliberate indifference to his medical needs against Defendant Nurse Julie and also against Sheriff Wilhelmi as a nominal defendant only for the purpose of identifying a John Doe Doctor (collectively hereafter “Defendants”). Defendants filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. (Dkt. 18.) This Court adopted the recommendation and report of the Magistrate Judge that (1) the motion to dismiss be converted into a motion for summary judgment because evidence outside of the complaint had been introduced, and that (2) new briefing be ordered, but the requirements of Local Rule 56.1 be forgone. (Dkt. 36.) Subsequently, Plaintiff filed a response (Dkt. 38), and Defendants filed a reply (Dkt 39). After reviewing the briefing, however, this Court determined that given the particular nature of the exhaustion question in this case, which appeared to potentially raise disputed issue of facts that might require a hearing under Pavey v. Conley, 544 F.3d 739, 742 (7th Cir. 2008), compliance with Local Rule 56.1 was necessary. (Dkt. 42.) Defendants were ordered to re-submit their summary judgment motion, along with a Local Rule 56.1 statement of facts, if they still wished to pursue their exhaustion defense. (Dkt. 42.) Defendants did so (Dkts. 44, 45, 46, and 49), and Plaintiff responded (Dkt. 53).

         Summary Judgment Standard of Review

         A. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), this Court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” To establish that a material fact is undisputed, a party “must support the assertion by . . . citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . . admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.” Rule 56(c)(1). “The court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in the record.” Rule 56(c)(3). Courts must “construe all facts and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.” Van den Bosch v. Raemisch, 658 F.3d 778, 785 (7th Cir. 2011), citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).

         Once the party moving for summary judgment demonstrates the absence of a disputed issue of material fact, “the burden shifts to the non-moving party to provide evidence of specific facts creating a genuine dispute.” Carroll v. Lynch, 698 F.3d 561, 564 (7th Cir. 2012). The non-movant must go beyond the allegations of his complaint and “set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Hannemann v. Southern Door County School Dist., 673 F.3d 746, 751 (7th Cir. 2012). A genuine issue of material fact exists only if there is evidence “to permit a jury to return a verdict for” the nonmoving party. Egonmwan v. Cook County Sheriff's Dept., 602 F.3d 845, 849 (7th Cir. 2010); Carroll, 698 F.3d at 564 (“[m]ere metaphysical doubt” about material facts is not enough).

         B. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1

         When addressing a motion for summary judgment, the Court derives the background facts from the parties' N.D.Ill. Local Rule 56.1 Statements and Responses, which assist the Court by “organizing the evidence, identifying undisputed facts, and demonstrating precisely how each side propose[s] to prove a disputed fact with admissible evidence.” Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000). Under Local Rule 56.1(a)(3), the moving party must provide “a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue.” Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Servs., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004). The statement must “consist of short numbered paragraphs, including within each paragraph specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon to support the facts set forth in that paragraph.” Local Rule 56.1(a).

         The non-moving party must admit or deny each factual statement offered by the moving party and refer to any material facts that establish a genuine dispute for trial. Schrott v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 403 F.3d 940, 944 (7th Cir. 2005); Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B). The non-moving party may submit his own statements of facts, to which the moving party must similarly reply. Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) & (a)(3). This Court may consider true a Rule 56.1 factual statement that is supported by the record and that is not properly addressed by the opposing party. Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C). The same rule applies for facts submitted by a non-moving party that are not contested or responded to by the moving party. Local Rule 56.1(a)(3)(C); see also Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608 (7th Cir. 2006). A party's pro se status does not excuse him from complying with these rules. Greer v. Bd. of Edu. of City of Chicago, 267 F.3d 723, 727 (7th Cir. 2001); see also McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993).

         In this case, Defendants filed a memorandum of law (Dkt. 46) and a Local Rule 56.1 Statement of Material Facts (“SOF”) (Dkt. 45). The SOF consists of numbered paragraphs that cite to two affidavits from Jail administrator Lt. Erickson and to the Inmate Handbook, which although not attached to the SOF, are attached to the summary judgment motion (Dkt. 44). Each of Defendants' Local Rule 56.1 factual statements cite to parts of these exhibits. (Dkt. 45.) Defendants also submitted a copy of the Local Rule 56.2 Notice to Pro Se Litigants sent to Plaintiff, which sets out how Plaintiff was to respond to Defendants' summary judgment motion and Rule 56.1 Statement. (Dkt. 49.) Plaintiff submitted a response to Defendant's Local Rule 56.1 statement (“SOF Response”). (Dkt. 53.) In the SOF Response, Plaintiff separately admitted or denied each of Defendants' numbered statements of fact, and he supported his denials with citations to Defendants' exhibits and/or new exhibits of his own. (Dkt. 53.) Those exhibits are: his own affidavit, an affidavit from Jail inmate Cory Olalde, and an affidavit from Plaintiff's mother, April Robnett, and they are attached to the SOF Response. (Id.) Plaintiff did not submit an additional Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) statement of facts.

         Thus, interpreting Plaintiff's filings generously consistent with his pro se status, the Court will consider the evidence submitted by Plaintiff, to the extent that he has identified it specifically in his filings or could properly testify himself about the matters asserted, along with the evidence properly submitted by Defendants. Sistrunk v. Khan, 931 F.Supp.2d 849, 854 (N.D. Ill. 2013); Fed.R.Evid. 602. Accordingly, the Court will consider the exhibits that Plaintiff attached and referred to in his SOF Response, despite that Local Rule 56.1 provides that the non-movant should submit new evidence such as these materials as part of a Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) statement of additional facts. (Defendants did not respond to Plaintiff's new evidence nor otherwise file a reply, despite that the Court's briefing schedule provided a date for doing so (Dkt. 52).)

         Plaintiff did not submit a separate memorandum of law; however, he did submit a response memorandum (Dkt. 38) during the first round of briefing on Defendants' converted motion to dismiss. That memorandum was signed by Plaintiff and notarized. (Id.) Because Defendants' newly submitted summary judgment motion does not raise arguments that differ from those raised in its converted motion to dismiss, and given the wide latitude granted to pro se litigants in general, the Court will consider Plaintiff's arguments in his previously filed ...

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