United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
CAVINAUGH L. HUGHES (M-18138), Plaintiff,
SARGENT DURRENT, et al. Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JORGE ALONSO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Cavinaugh L. Hughes, an Illinois state prisoner, has brought
this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Hughes claims that Defendants,
correctional officials and health care providers who work at
the Stateville Correctional Center, violated his
constitutional rights by engaging in excessive force against
him and acting with deliberate indifference to his medical
needs. More specifically, Hughes contends that Defendants
unjustifiably sprayed him with OC pepper spray and then
denied him follow-up medical care.
the Defendants, both Dr. Saleh Obaisi, a medical professional
employed by Wexford Health Sources Inc. (hereafter “
Dr. Obaisi”), and the correctional staff (hereafter
“the IDOC Defendants”), have filed motions for
summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). For the
following reasons, the Court grants Dr. Obaisi's motion
 in its entirety and grants in part and denies in part
the IDOC Defendants' motion .
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56
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).
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).
Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1
Rule 56.1 “is designed, in part, to aid the district
court, ‘which does not have the advantage of the
parties' familiarity with the record and often cannot
afford to spend the time combing the record to locate the
relevant information, ' in determining whether a trial is
necessary.” Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d
895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). 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 Unif.
Servs., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004) (quoting
N.D.Ill. L.R. 56.1(a)); see also Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(c). The opposing party must then “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.'”
Cracco v. Vitran, Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th
Cir. 2009) (quoting N.D.Ill. L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). The
opposing party may also present a separate statement of
additional facts that requires the denial of summary
judgment. See Ciomber v. Coop. Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d
635, 643 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing N.D.Ill. L.R.
56.1(b)(3)(C)). A court may consider true any uncontested
fact in the movant's Rule 56.1 Statement that is
supported by the record and is not addressed by the opposing
party. Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608
(7th Cir. 2006); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2);
Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C).
courts are entitled to expect strict compliance with Rule
56.1.” Ciomber, 527 F.3d at 643 (citations and
internal quotation marks omitted). A plaintiff's pro
se status does not excuse him from complying with these
rules. Greer v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chicago, 267
F.3d 723, 727 (7th Cir. 2001); Cady v. Sheahan, 467
F.3d 1057, 1061 (7th Cir. 2006) (“even pro se
litigants must follow rules of civil procedure”).
contemplated by Local Rule 56.1, Dr. Obaisi and the IDOC
Defendants each filed a statement of uncontested material
facts supporting summary judgment in their favor. (Obaisi.
Stmt. of Fact, Doc. 69 (“Obaisi SOF”); IDOC Defs.
Stmt. of Fact, Doc. 97 (“IDOC SOF”).) All
Defendants also filed and served on Hughes a Local Rule 56.2
Notice, which explains in detail the requirements of Local
Rule 56.1. (Docs. 72, 98.)
filed several documents, which consist of multiple sub-parts,
in response to Defendants' motions. As is relevant here,
Hughes filed responses to both sets of Defendants'
statements of uncontested fact. (“Pl's Resp. to
Obaisi's Undisputed Material Facts, ” Doc. 106 at
1-13 (“Pl. Resp. Obaisi SOF”); “Pl.'s
Resp. to Defs.' Material Facts [as to IDOC
Defendants]”, Doc. 103 at 2-14 (“Pl. Resp. IDOC
SOF”).) Hughes also submitted statements of additional
facts. (“Pl. Set of Additional Material Facts for Trial
[as to Obaisi].” Doc. 106 at 13-15 (“Pl. Obaisi
SOAF”); “Pl. Set of Additional Material Genuine
Facts for Trial [as to IDOC Defendants], ” Doc. 103 at
14-15 (“Pl. IDOC SOAF”).) Additionally, Hughes
submitted two declarations, one in support of his claim
against Dr. Obaisi (Doc. 108 at 1-3, (“Pl. Dec.
(Obaisi)”)), and one regarding his claims against the
IDOC Defendants (Doc. 103 at 16-18, (“Pl. Dec.
(IDOC)”)), and approximately 20 pages of exhibits in
support of his claim against Dr. Obaisi (Doc. 108 at 5-25)
and approximately 25 pages of exhibits in support of his
claims against the IDOC Defendants (Doc. 103 at 21-55).
Hughes has pointed to evidence contrary to Defendants'
statements of fact in his responses to those statements, the
Court will consider that evidence. The Court will, in
general, incorporate Hughes' factual assertions to the
extent they provide additional facts relevant to the
Court's analysis, are supported by record evidence, or
are such that Hughes' properly could testify as to them
at trial. The Court further will rely upon Hughes'
references to exhibits where they are relevant to the
Court's analysis and may be admissible at trial. But the
Court will not dig through the record to identify disputed
issues of fact. See Hemsworth v. Quotesmith.com,
Inc., 476 F.3d 487, 490 (7th Cir. 2007) (“In
considering a motion for summary judgment, the district court
is not required to scour the record in search of evidence to
defeat the motion; the nonmoving party must identify with
reasonable particularity the evidence upon which the party
however, cannot create genuine issues of material fact by
relying upon legal arguments, conclusions, or suppositions,
which do not constitute “facts.” See Judson
Atkinson Candies, Inc. v. Latini-Hohberger Dhimantec,
529 F.3d 371, 382 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008); see also Almy v.
Kickert Sch. Bus Line, Inc., No. 08-cv-2902, 2013 WL
80367, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 7, 2013) (“[C]ourts are
not required to ‘wade through improper denials and
legal arguments in search of a genuinely disputed
fact'”) (quoting Bordelon v. Chi. Sch. Reform
Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 529 (7th Cir. 2000)). Nor may
Hughes, without demonstrating some source of contrary
evidence or personal knowledge of the events, counter
Defendants' uncontested facts within their knowledge.
See Fed. R. Evid. 602. Hughes cannot, for example,
counter Dr. Obaisi's statement that other than via the
Offender Injury Report, he was never notified/informed by any
person that Hughes had requested an appointment with him, or
Dr. Obaisi's statement that he interpreted the
Report's notation that Hughes was “standing in the
shower” to mean his eyes were being flushed, unless
Hughes has an evidentiary foundation for disputing those
representations. (Pl. Resp. Obaisi SOF ¶ 40, 37.)
the Court will not consider Hughes' statements of
additional facts because they are not factual assertions but
rather consist of a series of open-ended legal questions
beginning in “whether, ” e.g.,
“Whether Dr. Obaisi had the subjective knowledge which
condoned his deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's
medical needs”; . . . “Whether Defendant Durrett
used excessive force when he used OC spray on Plaintiff while
he was handcuffed in good faith or bad faith.” (Pl.
Obaisi SOAF ¶ 2; Pl. IDOC SOAF ¶ 1.)
these guidelines established, the Court turns to the facts of
Hughes is an IDOC inmate who was incarcerated at Stateville
Correctional Center (“Stateville”) in August 2014
and is presently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center
(“Pontiac”). (IDOC SOF ¶ 1.) In August 2014,
Hughes was incarcerated in segregation at Stateville and was
participating in the “weapons violator/staff assaulter
program” as discipline for possessing a shank in IDOC
custody. (Id. ¶ 5.)
Defendants Sergeant Durrett, Officer Dobkowski, and
Lieutenant Brown all worked in F-House at Stateville during
August 2014. (Id. ¶¶ 2-4.) Defendant Dr.
Obaisi is currently, and was in August 2014, the medical
director at Stateville. (Obaisi SOF ¶ 2.)
Hughes' Version of Events
August 5, 2014 at 8:51 a.m., Hughes was in a chow line that
had stalled and backed up on the stairs. (Pl's Dec.
(IDOC) ¶ 1.) Correctional Officer Moldovan ordered
Hughes to keep moving; in response, Hughes attempted to
explain that the line had backed up and he could not move.
(Id.) Officer Moldovan called Hughes a
“striper” (a term for inmates in the
“weapons violator program”) and became
aggressive. (Id.) Officer Moldovan grabbed
Hughes' collar and snatched his I.D. card. (Id.
¶ 2.) Hughes reached back for his I.D., making contact
with Officer Moldovan's hand. (Id.; Pl.'s
Dep. at 15: L 13-16.) Hughes never closed his fist to strike
Officer Moldovan and never touched Moldovan's face.
(Pl's Dec. (IDOC) ¶ 2; Pl.'s Dep. at 26: L
8-14.) A “10-10” (officer in distress call)
issued, and the responding officers immediately subdued,
handcuffed, and then placed Hughes on the ground. (Pl's
Dec. (IDOC) ¶ 3.) Hughes never resisted. (Id.
¶¶ 3-4.) Hughes agrees that the use of force up to
this point was reasonable, as was handcuffing him. (IDOC SOF
minutes later, Defendant Sgt. Durrett, shouting expletives,
approached the second gallery landing where Hughes lay
handcuffed on the ground. (Pl's Dec. (IDOC) ¶ 4.) He
came from two flights of stairs down, and as he was coming to
the top of the stairs at the second gallery, he pulled out
his OC pepper spray and sprayed Hughes 3-5 times in rapid
succession on the exposed side of his face. (Id.;
Pl.'s Dep. at 21-22.) Sgt. Durrett gave no directives
prior to spraying Hughes. (Pl.'s Dep. at 22: L. 8-14.)
None of the officers present attempted to stop Sgt. Durrett
from using his OC pepper spray. (Pl's Dec. (IDOC) ¶
5.) Hughes does not know how long each burst lasted. (IDOC
SOF ¶ 28.)
was then taken to a non-working shower on the first gallery
of F-House. (Pl's Dec. (IDOC) ¶ 5.) It is an
unofficial practice at Stateville to use this area of showers
as a waiting room for prisoners who have just committed a
disciplinary infraction. (Pl.'s Dep. at 97-99: L. 8-24,
1-6.) A medical technician, Shanal Barnett, then arrived to
examine Hughes and document his complaints. (Pl's Dec.
(IDOC) ¶ 6.) Hughes informed CMT Barnett that he
coincidentally had a healthcare appointment scheduled with
Dr. Obaisi that day for an unrelated issue.
(Pl.'s Dec. (Obaisi) ¶ 4.) ...