United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Michael J. Reagan United States District Judge.
brought his complaint against the United States of America
pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1346(b), 2671 et seq. (hereinafter
"FTCA"), alleging that Deputy U.S. Marshal Clark
Meadows used excessive force against him (Count 1) and that
Deputy U.S. Marshals Kevin Castleman and James Robertson
failed to prevent the assault (Count 2). This matter is
before the Court on Defendant's partial motion for
summary judgment on Count 2 of Plaintiff's complaint
(Doc. 47). Plaintiff has filed a response (Doc. 50).
Defendant has filed a reply (Doc. 51). Based on the
following, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN
PART Defendant's partial motion for summary
case, which was initially filed in the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, was transferred
to this Court on April 6, 2015 (Doc. 1). Plaintiffs complaint
was filed pursuant to the FTC A against the United States of
America. Plaintiff alleges that U.S. Marshal Clark Meadows
committed an assault and battery against Plaintiff when he
handcuffed Plaintiff and then punched him in the face.
Plaintiff further alleges that U.S. Marshals Kevin Castleman
and James Robertson failed to prevent the alleged assault and
battery. The summary judgment motion focuses solely on
Castleman's and Robertson's failure to prevent the
attack by Meadows.
time the events at issue took place, Plaintiff was on an
ankle monitoring system issued by District Judge J. Phil
Gilbert as a part of Plaintiff's bond. See United
States v. Staszak, Case No. 12-cr-40064-JPG, at
Doc. 15 (June 28, 2012). That bond was later revoked
because Plaintiff removed his ankle monitoring system with a
pair of bolt cutters (Doc. 47-2, p. 4). Additionally,
Plaintiff failed to appear at the revocation hearing so an
arrest warrant was issued (Id.). See also Case No.
12-cr-40064 at Docs. 39, 40, and 41.
Plaintiff removed the ankle monitor on October 2, 2012 and an
arrest warrant was issued on October 4, 2012 (Id.).
was arrested in the early morning hours of June 2, 2013 by
Meadows, Castleman, and Robertson at the Rameses Bar (Doc.
47-2, p. 8). Plaintiff testified that he was sitting on a
barstool when the Marshals came in to arrest him
(Id. at p. 10). Meadows approached Plaintiff in the
lead with the other two Marshals following behind
(Id.). Plaintiff testified that Meadows approached
him and he felt Meadows' hands slam down on his shoulders
(Id.). Plaintiff testified that Meadows then threw
him from the barstool onto the ground, with Plaintiff lying
face down on the ground (Id.). Castleman testified
that both he and Meadows placed Plaintiff on the ground from
the barstool (Doc. 47-3, p. 2). He also testified that he
assisted Meadows in handcuffing Plaintiff (Id. at p.
3). Robertson acknowledged that he assisted in making sure
that no patrons interfered with Plaintiff's arrest (Doc.
47-4, p. 3). Robertson testified that he did not see
Plaintiff being taken down or handcuffed because his back
faced them while he faced the patrons (Id. at p.
testified that after Meadows put Plaintiff on the ground,
chaos broke out in the bar (Doc. 47-2, p. 11). He heard one
of his friends, who he came to the bar with, arguing with one
of the Marshals and he could hear Castleman and Robertson
telling everyone in the bar to stand back (Id.).
Meadows cuffed Plaintiff and flipped him over (Id.).
Plaintiff testified that Meadows then punched him in the face
four times (Id.). At the time the incident occurred,
Plaintiff testified that Robertson and Castleman were worried
about crowd control and that they were not helping Meadows
with the arrest (Id.). The other two Marshals did
not help until after Meadows and another Marshal lifted
Plaintiff off of the ground, although he does not recall
which Marshal helped Meadows (Id.). Plaintiff
testified that he believed the other two Marshals should have
intervened by arresting Meadows after he punched Plaintiff
(Id. at p. 12). But Plaintiff testified that
Castleman and Robertson were controlling the crowd at the
time that Meadows punched Plaintiff and that the punches
happened in quick succession, one after the other
(Id.). Plaintiff testified that he did not believe
that Castleman or Robertson could have stopped the actual
punches as they were conducting crowd control and the timing
of the punches was very quick (Id.).
Summary Judgment Standard
Judgment is proper only "if the admissible evidence
considered as a whole shows there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Dynegy Mktg. & Trade v.
Multi Corp., 648 F.3d 506, 517 (7th Cir. 2011) (internal
quotation marks omitted) (citing FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a)).
See also Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian Info. Solutions,
Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The party
seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
demonstrating - based on the pleadings, affidavits, and/or
information obtained via discovery-the lack of any genuine
issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the
adverse party "must set forth specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986)
(quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2)). A fact is material if it is
outcome determinative under applicable law. Id. at
248; Ballance v. City of Springfield, III. Police
Dep't, 424 F.3d 614, 616 (7th Cir. 2005);
Hottenroth v. Vill. of Slinger, 388 F.3d 1015, 1027
(7th Cir. 2004). A genuine issue of material fact exists if
"the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party."
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. "A mere scintilla of
evidence in support of the nonmovant's petition is
insufficient; a party will be successful in opposing summary
judgment only when it presents definite, competent evidence
to rebut the motion." Harris N.A. v. Hershey,
711 F.3d 794, 798 (7th Cir. 2013).
summary judgment, the Court considers the facts in the light
most favorable to the non-movant. Srail v. Will, of
Lisle,588 F.3d 940, 948 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court
adopts reasonable inferences and resolves doubts in the
nonmovant's favor. Id.; Natl Athletic Sportswear,
Inc. v. Westfield Ins. Co.,528 F.3d 508, 512 (7th Cir.
2008). Even if the facts are not in dispute, summary judgment
is inappropriate when the information before the court
reveals that "alternate inferences can be drawn from the
available evidence." Spiegla v. Hull, 371 F.3d
928, 935 (7th Cir. ...