United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
ANTON D. WALTON, Plaintiff,
BRANDON GOURLEY, KATIE BLANKENSHIP (FIGUEIRA), BRIAN OAKES, and KENNETH WINSLOW, Defendant.
ORDER AND OPINION
JONATHAN E. HAWLEY U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is the Defendants' motion for summary judgment.
(D. 41).The Plaintiff, proceeding pro se,
initially responded to the motion with a document docketed as
an exhibit to his original complaint, which contains various
documents produced in discovery. (D. 45). The Defendants then
filed a reply to the Plaintiff's filing, construing that
filing as a response to their motion. (D. 46). However,
Walton then filed a motion seeking additional time to file a
response to the motion for summary judgment, he noting that
he was attempting to retain counsel. After a hearing, the
Court granted Walton's motion and gave him until August
31, 2017 to file an additional response to the pending
summary judgment motion. That deadline has passed, and Walton
has neither retained counsel nor filed a supplemental
response to the Defendants' motion. Accordingly, the
motion is now ripe for a ruling, and, for the reasons stated,
infra, this Court GRANTS the motion for summary
filed a pro se complaint, later amended, alleging
that City of Springfield, Illinois police officers used
excessive force during their arrest of him, in violation of
42 U.S.C. § 1983. (D. 1, 34). Specifically, he alleges
that when a police officer tackled him during his arrest, the
use of excessive force resulted in the breaking of
Walton's left clavicle. Id.
undisputed facts forming the basis of Walton's complaint
are as follows. On May 17, 2015, Walton went into a local gas
station, walked behind the counter, and pocketed three packs
of cigarettes without paying for them. After he left the
store, an employee confronted Walton, asking that he return
the cigarettes. Walton denied taking the smokes (although he
now admits that he did) and walked across the street to avoid
further confrontation with the employee.
employee flagged down Defendant Officer Gourley, who happened
to be passing by in his marked squad car. After the employee
filled Officer Gourley in on what had happened, the officer,
through his car window, told Walton to “stop” and
“come here.” Although Walton heard the commands,
he ignored them, continued to walk away, and increased the
speed at which he was doing so- eventually running instead of
walking. Officer Gourley began to chase Walton on foot,
taking multiple twists and turns as he did so. Although he
issued multiple commands for Walton to stop, Walton kept on
Officer Gourley finally caught up to Walton, Officer Gourley
applied downward pressure to him which forced both of them to
the ground-aka he tackled him. The fall broke Walton's
left clavicle. Once on the ground, Walton still refused to
comply with Officer Gourley's command to lay on his
stomach with his hands behind his back, only doing so after
Officer Gourley threatened to pepper spray him. After all
this had happened, Defendant Officer Figueira arrived to
assist. Walton was then informed that he was under arrest for
retail theft and resisting and obstructing a police officer.
Walton complained of shoulder pain, Office Gourley saw that
Walton's shoulder was scraped and bruised. The Officer
then called an ambulance, which took Walton to the hospital.
There, an X-ray revealed that Walton had a broken left
clavicle. At some point during all of this, Officer Gourley
contacted his supervisor, Defendant Sergeant Brian Oakes, and
informed him about what had transpired. As for Police Chief
Kenneth Winslow, he had no personal involvement in or
knowledge of anything that had happened until becoming aware
of events during the course of this litigation.
judgment is appropriate “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.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The moving party
has the burden of providing proper documentary evidence to
show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323- 24
(1986). Once the moving party has met its burden, the
opposing party must come forward with specific evidence, not
mere allegations or denials of the pleadings, which
demonstrates that there is a genuine issue for trial.
Gracia v. Volvo Europa Truck, N.V., 112
F.3d 291, 294 (7th Cir. 1997). “[A] party moving for
summary judgment can prevail just by showing that the other
party has no evidence on an issue on which that party has the
burden of proof.” Brazinski v. Amoco Petroleum
Additives Co., 6 F.3d 1176, 1183(7th Cir. 1993).
the non-movant cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must
designate specific facts in affidavits, depositions, answers
to interrogatories or admissions that establish that there is
a genuine triable issue; he “‘must do more than
simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the
material fact.'” Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256-57
(1986)(quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)); Hot Wax,
Inc. v. Turtle Wax, Inc., 191 F.3d 813, 818 (7th Cir.
1999). Finally, a scintilla of evidence in support of the
non-movant's position is not sufficient to oppose
successfully a summary judgment motion; “there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
[non-movant].” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.
initial matter, no claim exists against Defendants Figueira,
Oaks, and Winslow. These defendants had nothing to do with
the force involved in the breaking of Walton's clavicle.
Officer Figueira showed up after Officer Gourley had taken
Walton down, Officer Oaks was merely informed of the events
after the fact, and Chief Winslow only learned of the events
as party to this litigation. Without any personal involvement
in the use of the force at issue in this case, these
Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on Walton's
claim as it relates to them. See Chavez v. Illinois State