United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
currently incarcerated in Pekin Federal Correctional
Institution, proceeds pro se on a claim for deliberate
indifference to his serious mental health needs and excessive
force during his detention in the Livingston County
Jail. Plaintiff maintains that Defendants
delayed putting Plaintiff in a restraint chair and then
prematurely removed Plaintiff from the restraint chair,
causing Plaintiff to harm himself. Plaintiff also maintains
that excessive force was used to transfer Plaintiff from the
restraint chair to a cell.
move for summary judgment. For the reasons below, summary
judgment is denied to Defendant Inman on the Plaintiff's
deliberate indifference claim but granted to the other
Defendants. Summary judgment is denied to Defendants McGrath,
Durham and Long on Plaintiff's excessive force claim.
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."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A movant may demonstrate the absence of a
material dispute through specific cites to admissible
evidence, or by showing that the nonmovant “cannot
produce admissible evidence to support the [material]
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(B). If the movant clears this
hurdle, the nonmovant may not simply rest on his or her
allegations in the complaint, but instead must point to
admissible evidence in the record to show that a genuine
dispute exists. Id.; Harvey v. Town of
Merrillville, 649 F.3d 526, 529 (7th Cir. 2011).
summary judgment stage, the evidence is viewed in the light
most favorable to the nonmovant, with material factual
disputes resolved in the nonmovant's favor. Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A
genuine dispute of material fact exists when a reasonable
juror could find for the nonmovant. Id.
October 23, 2015, Plaintiff, a federal detainee, was detained
at the Livingston County Jail. That morning, Plaintiff was
reassigned to a different cell due to an altercation with
another inmate. Plaintiff refused and became angry,
threatening a hunger strike. He was placed in a holding cell
pending his reassignment, whereupon he “flipped
out” and started hitting himself in the face and
hitting his face against the wall. Plaintiff told Defendant
Fosdick over the intercom that Plaintiff was hurting himself
and needed to put in a restraint chair. Defendant Fosdick was
in the master control room at the time. (Defs.'
Undisputed Facts 8-12.) Officer Fosdick avers that he told
Defendant Durham about Plaintiff's threats of self-harm.
Plaintiff disputes this but he does not explain how he knows
what Officer Fosdick did since Officer Fosdick was in the
control room and not in Plaintiff's line of sight.
event, at 10:00 a.m., about 45 minutes after Plaintiff was
placed in the holding cell, Defendant Durham visited
Plaintiff's cell. Plaintiff again said he needed to be
put in a restraint chair because he was hurting himself.
Defendant Durham informed Defendant Inman, who was an
Assistant Superintendent. Defendant Inmate ordered that
Plaintiff be placed on suicide watch in a padded cell, issued
a suicide proof smock, and monitored every 15 minutes.
(Defs.' Undisp. Fact. 21.) Plaintiff continued to hurt
himself, hitting himself in the face and hitting his head on
the doors and walls. At about 10:45 a.m., Plaintiff kicked
and broke the cell window. (Defs.' Undisp. Fact 22.)
Inman then directed that Plaintiff be placed in a restraint
chair, where Plaintiff remained for about six and ½
hours. According to Plaintiff, he continued to try to hurt
himself in the restraint chair by pulling and twisting on the
restraints. (Pl.'s Dep. 71.) At around 5:35 p.m.,
Defendant Inman ordered that Plaintiff be moved to a cell
because he believed that continued confinement in the
restraint chair was counter-productive and could increase the
risks to Plaintiff. Defendants McGrath, Durham, and Long then
tried to move Plaintiff from the restraint chair into the
cell. According to Defendants, Plaintiff was combative and
uncooperative, requiring the use of a wrist lock and carrying
Plaintiff in “hog tied” fashion to his cell.
Plaintiff counters that he was not unable to cooperate
because of the position of his arms and that McGrath
unnecessarily twisted Plaintiff's arm and tried to force
Plaintiff's arm into position to be handcuffed. According
to Plaintiff, his wrist was “severely bruised”
for days because “every time [McGrath] tried to twist
it, I twisted back because he was hurting my elbow. He just
kept twisting, and as I said, it severely bruised my
wrist.” (Pl.'s Dep. 70.) Plaintiff also asserts
that his throat was pressed up against concrete while the
handcuffs were being removed and that he could not breathe.
(Pl.'s Dep. 71.)
inferences in Plaintiff's favor, Plaintiff was having a
mental health crisis or breakdown on October 23, 2015. The
question is whether Defendants were deliberately indifferent.
The deliberate indifference standard applies on the mental
needs claims even though Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee.
Estate of Clark v. Walker, 865 F.3d 544, 551-52
(7th Cir. 2017). Deliberate indifference is the
conscious disregard of a known and substantial risk of
serious harm. Rice ex rel. Rice v. Correctional Medical
Serv., 675 F.3d 650, 665 (7th Cir. 2012)("An
official is deliberately indifferent when he is subjectively
aware of the condition or danger complained of, but
consciously disregards it.").
certainly could conclude that Defendants responded reasonably
to Plaintiff's mental health crisis, doing their best in
an impossible situation. Plaintiff argues that he should have
been placed in the restraint chair sooner and kept there
until the crisis passed, but he does not have the right to
dictate Defendants' response. Anyway, Plaintiff continued
to hurt himself after he was placed in the restraint chair,
so the chair did not help much, though at least he could not
bang or hit his head.
accepting that Plaintiff was experiencing a mental health
crisis, a mental health professional was arguably the one
with the expertise to decide how Plaintiff should be handled.
Defendants did not have that training. No mental health
expert was called to see Plaintiff that day. Defendant Durham
avers that he had another correctional officer call a crisis
counselor, Keri Daniels, who purportedly advised that