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Mann v. Gibbs

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 19, 2017

JASON MANN, Plaintiff,
v.
JUSTIN GIBBS, TRAVIS FRED, DARLENE BLUDWORTH, GALE GLADSON, and JACKSON COUNTY Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Introduction

         Plaintiff Jason Mann brought the present lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his civil rights. Plaintiff Mann alleges that while he was a detainee at the Jackson County Jail, he was attacked by another inmate and did not receive adequate medical treatment. This matter is before the Court on Motions for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Gibbs, Fred, Bludworth, and Gladson. (Docs. 115, 125) and a Motion to Dismiss filed by Jackson County, Illinois. (Doc. 118). Previously, Defendant Thomas Kupferer was voluntarily dismissed by Plaintiff. (Docs. 127, 129). Therefore, the Motion for Summary Judgment that was filed by Defendant Kupferer (Doc. 114) is MOOT.

         Responses to the remaining motions have been filed, and they are ripe for disposition. For the reasons stated below, the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by by Defendants Fred, Gibbs, and Bludworth (Doc. 125) is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part, the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Gladson (Doc. 115) is DENIED, and Defendant Jackson County, Illinois' Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On January 23, 2013, Jason Mann was a pretrial detainee being held at the Jackson County Jail (“the Jail”) and was housed in the C Dormitory (“C Dorm”). (Doc. 128-5, p. 12). C Dorm can house 12 people (Doc. 128-6, p. 7); however, on January 23, 2013 there were 19 inmates in C Dorm. (Doc. 128-7). Since there were only enough beds for 12 people, Plaintiff Mann had to sleep on a mat on the floor. (Doc. 128-5, p. 13). Plaintiff, slept a couple of feet away from an inmate named Jason White. (Id.). On January 23, a group of inmates, led by White, attacked Plaintiff. (Id. at 15). Due to the attack, Plaintiff suffered an injured nose, bruises to his ribs and torso, contusions on his abdomen, an injury to his ankle, and stab wounds. (Id. at 27). Plaintiff was left with two parallel scars on his torso as a result of the stab wounds. (Id.).

         Plaintiff's mother and brother saw Plaintiff after the attack on the same day, January 23, 2013. (Doc. 128-9, 128-10). Shortly after the attack, Plaintiff was escorted to the visitation area by Defendant Travis Fred. (Doc. 128-5, p. 19). Defendant Fred asked Plaintiff what happened, to which Plaintiff responded “What does it look like?” (Id. at 20). Defendant Fred responded by saying “It looks like you got your ass beat.” (Id.). Once Plaintiff got to the visitation area, both his mother and his brother noted that Plaintiff had lacerations on his face and head and that his lip was bleeding. (Doc. 128-9, 128-10). After the visit, Plaintiff was taken to the booking area and was asked to identify his assailants. (Doc. 128-5, p. 20). He was placed in a holding cell, and Defendants Fred and Gibbs then arrived and told Plaintiff that White and his cohorts indicated that Plaintiff owed them something. (Id.). While Plaintiff was in the holding cell, his ankle swelled to the size of a baseball. (Id. at 35). Eventually, Plaintiff was taken to B Dorm. (Id. at 20). Later that evening, while medication was being brought around in B Dorm, Plaintiff asked for, and was given, two Band-Aids. (Id.).

         Plaintiff filled out medical request forms and grievances every day from January 23, 2013 through the end of February 2013. (Id. at 39). In his medical requests, Plaintiff sought treatment for the injuries he sustained in the attack. (Id. at 22). Another detainee, Thomas Bible, claims that he witnessed Plaintiff writing daily grievances. (Doc. 128-11, p. 3). Plaintiff was not provided with a copy of his medical requests or grievances. (Doc. 128-5, p. 21). Medical requests are picked up by jail officers, (Doc. 115-1, p. 4), and according to Nurse Gladson, are reviewed by nursing staff at least twice a day, (Doc. 115-2, p. 2). Plaintiff admitted that he does not personally know whether Nurse Gladson saw the medical requests he claims he submitted. (Doc. 115-1, p. 4). Plaintiff sent a Freedom of Information Act request asking for medical records in this matter. (Doc. 128-5, p. 29). He did not receive any medical requests prior to February 25, 2013, however. (Id.)

         Plaintiff began receiving Benadryl around the 24th or 25th of January 2013. (Id. at 32). On February 14, 2013, Plaintiff drafted a grievance requesting that the Benadryl be discontinued. (Doc. 126-7). In this grievance, Plaintiff wrote: “I do appreciate the gesture by the nurse, but Benadryl does very little for a broken nose. An ice pack would have seemed more helpful.” (Id.). Nurse Gladson testified that she reviewed the part of the grievance only relating to Plaintiff not wanting any more Benadryl. (Doc. 126-1, p. 3, 4). She testified that she was not aware of Plaintiff suffering a broken nose, and she did not examine Plaintiff prior to discontinuing the Benadryl. (Id. at 3).

         At some point in February 2013, Plaintiff suffered from severe stomach pains. Doc. 126-2, p. 14). He put in a medical request, but had to wait two days before he was called to see the nurses. (Id.). By that time, however, he claims he was no longer experiencing the pain and decided not to see the nurse. (Id.).

         Plaintiff's stab wounds eventually healed, but they were not examined until he was transferred to Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). (Id. at 15). These wounds left two parallel scars on his torso. (Id. at 16, 17). Mann still has issues with his nose, balance, and pain. (Id. at 141 - 42). Plaintiff was transferred out of the Jail into IDOC custody on August 14, 2013. (Doc. 128-5, p. 5).

         Prior to the attack, Plaintiff did not have any problems or conflicts with Inmate White. (Doc. 125-1, p. 12). He did not make any complaints to Defendants Bludworth, Gibbs, or Fred during his time in C-Dorm before the January 23rd attack. (Id.). Plaintiff admitted that, immediately prior to the attack, he was unaware of any reason to believe that he would be attacked in the manner he was. (Id. at 17). Prior to the January 23, 2013 attack, however, on April 5, 2012, Inmate White was charged with a disciplinary violation wherein it is alleged he attacked another inmate, Rawlins, by “strik[ing] him repeatedly about the face and body.” (Doc. 128-15, p. 2). The report was completed by Deputy Tellor. (Id.). On April 9, 2012, Corporal John Huffman held a Disciplinary Hearing and reviewed the video of the April 5th incident. (Doc. 128-16, p. 2). Corporal Huffman concluded that White was the aggressor in the altercation and attacked Rawlins, attempted to pull Rawlins up the stairwell out of sight of the windows. (Id. at 2 - 3). The report was signed by Defendant Bludworth as shift supervisor. (Id. at 2).

         On August 15, 2012, an incident form was completed by a Corporal Smith. (Doc. 128-17, p. 2). Corporal Smith wrote that sources revealed to him “inmates in G block bullying and stealing commissary from other inmates.” (Id.). According to the corporal, there had been a fight the previous week involving Inmate White, and that White was responsible for the bullying and stealing. (Id.). As a result, White was transferred to K block to prevent him from bullying other inmates. (Id.).

         As Plaintiff was attacked in C Dorm, at some point prior to January 23, 2013, Inmate White was transferred to C Dorm. K block, where White was placed in August 2012, holds a total of six inmates. (Doc. 128-6, p. 8). An aggressive inmate can be placed in J or K blocks. (Doc. 128-4, p. 15, 18, 19). J block is a maximum security block with only three cells, thereby allowing the maximum number of inmates in the block to be six. (Id. at 18).

         On April 4, 2014, Plaintiff filed the instant lawsuit, naming as defendants, Gibbs, Fred, Bludworth, Gladson, and Kupferer.[1] (Doc. 1). Plaintiff successfully pleaded two counts against Defendants: Count 2 for failing to protect Plaintiff from an excessive risk of attack, and Count 4 for deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's serious medical needs. (Doc. 6, p. 5). On September 9, 2016, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, adding Jackson County, Illinois (“Jackson County”) as a defendant. (Doc. 110). He alleges that Jackson County was the source of unconstitutional policies and/or practices that led to his injuries and lack of medical treatment. (Doc. 110, p. 13 - 16).

         Motion to Dismiss

         1. Legal Standard

         Defendant Jackson County moves for dismissal on statute of limitations grounds. It argues that by the time it was brought into this suit, the limitations period had already passed, and that the amended complaint naming Jackson County as a defendant does not relate back to Plaintiff's original complaint within the limitations period.[2] Though Defendant Jackson County has titled its motion a Motion to Dismiss, the Court notes that the Seventh Circuit has expressed a preference for construing motions based on the statute of limitations as brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c), Judgment on the Pleadings. See e.g. Frey v. Bank One, 91 F.3d 45 (7th Cir. 1996). Practically, however, there is no difference between a motion to dismiss brought under Rule 2(b)(6) and a motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c). Brooks v. Ross, 578 F.3d 574, 579 (7th Cir. 2009). The standards for a 12(b)(6) motion and 12(c) motions are identical. Hayes v. City of Chi., 670 F.3d 810, 813 (7th Cir. 2012).

         Claims brought pursuant to § 1983 borrow the statute of limitations from the state in which the alleged violation occurred. Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 276 (1985); Ashafa v. City of Chicago, 146 F.3d 459, 461 (7th Cir. 1998). Illinois has a two year statute of limitations, which thus becomes the applicable statute of limitations for § 1983 claims arising in Illinois. Kalimara v. Illinois Dep't of Corrections, 879 F.2d 276, 277 (7th Cir. 1989). Additionally, the Federal Courts also borrow the forum state's principles of tolling. Smith v. City of Chicago Heights, 951 F.2d 834, 839-40 (7th Cir. 1992). Illinois requires tolling by statute where “the commencement of an action is stayed by an injunction, order of the court, or statutory prohibition.” 735 ILCS 5/13-216. While the Seventh Circuit has found that federal courts must toll the statute of limitations period while an inmate exhausts his administrative remedies as required by the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), Johnson v. Rivera, 272 F.3d 519, 522 (7th Cir. 2001), Plaintiff has not raised the issue of tolling in his response, and the Court therefore need not concern itself with the issue.

         The key issue here is whether Plaintiff's Amended Complaint filed on September 9, 2016 relates back to his original complaint filed on April 9, 2014. Relation back is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15. The rule ...


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