United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
ANTHONY J. COLEMAN, JR, A/K/A LENARD WRIGHT, Plaintiff,
JEFF KORTE, et al. Defendants.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT OPINION
MYERSCOUGH, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
proceeding pro se and presently incarcerated at Lawrence
Correctional Center, brought the present lawsuit pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging an Eighth Amendment claim for
failure to protect from harm arising from incidents that
transpired while he was incarcerated at Western Illinois
Correctional Center. The matter comes before this Court for
ruling on the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.
The motion is granted.
judgment should be granted “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). All facts must be construed in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party, and all reasonable
inferences must be drawn in his favor. Ogden v.
Atterholt, 606 F.3d 355, 358 (7th Cir. 2010).
The party moving for summary judgment must show the lack of a
genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In order to be a
“genuine” issue, there must be more than
“some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “Only disputes
over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under
the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary
judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
times relevant, Plaintiff was incarcerated at Western
Illinois Correctional Center (“Western”).
Defendants were employed at Western in the following
capacities: Defendant Korte was the Warden, and Defendant
Megginson was a lieutenant assigned to Internal Affairs. All
other defendants named in Plaintiff's complaint, except
for Defendant Nurse Jane Doe, have been dismissed.
12, 2015, another inmate in Plaintiff's housing unit spit
through the window screen in Plaintiff's cell door after
calling Plaintiff several derogatory names. The next day,
Plaintiff told Malia Harney, the associate dean of the
college program, that Plaintiff would be forced to fight this
inmate if officials did not take action. Ms. Harney reported
Plaintiff's comments to other staff, and, according to
Plaintiff's deposition testimony, Defendant Megginson
interviewed Plaintiff regarding the incident. Pl.'s Dep.
17:23-18:12. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff was taken to
segregation pending a disciplinary hearing for violating the
rule against threats and intimidation. Plaintiff was later
found guilty and sentenced to 15 days in segregation.
wrote several letters and grievances regarding the incident
and the resulting punishment. In a letter sent to Defendant
Korte, Plaintiff briefly describes the incident with the
other inmate and complains about the severity of punishments
for violating certain rules. (Doc. 1-1 at 2-3). The letter
does not state that Plaintiff feared any future harm or
retribution from the other inmate as a result of the May 2015
incident. Only one of the grievances, dated June 16, 2015,
states that Plaintiff feared attack from the other inmate.
(Doc. 1-1 at 15); see also (Docs. 1-1 at 6-7, 9-10,
testified that he sent two letters to Defendant Megginson
while he was in segregation describing his fear of the other
inmate and his reservations about being released into general
population. Pl.'s Dep. 40:7-17; 42:18-23. Plaintiff has
not produced copies of these letters-any copies are at
“home” and he has no access to them. Id.
41:2-8. Defendant Megginson does not dispute that Plaintiff
wrote the letters. Instead, he states in his affidavit that
he does not recall receiving them. (Doc. 37-2 at 1, ¶
also testified that he told Defendant Teel about his fears
in a personal conversation while he was in segregation.
According to Plaintiff, Defendant Teel stated that she would
notify Internal Affairs of his statements. Plaintiff does not
know if she ever followed through.
his expressed fears, Plaintiff was sent back into general
population where he was housed in a unit different from the
one where the incident with the other inmate had occurred.
Pl.'s Dep. 33:11-15. Plaintiff is not sure where the
other inmate was housed at that time, but, at any rate,
Plaintiff only encountered this inmate one time thereafter
while “outside on the walk.” Id.
43:13-22. Plaintiff suffered no physical injury as a result
of prison officials' actions in this case. Id.
succeed on a failure to protect claim, a plaintiff must show
(1) “that he is incarcerated under conditions posing a
substantial risk of serious harm, ” and, (2) prison
officials acted with “deliberate indifference” to
that risk. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834
(1994). For purposes of satisfying the first prong, “it
does not matter whether the risk comes from a single source
or multiple sources, any more than it matters whether a
prisoner faces an excessive risk of attack for reasons
personal to him or because all prisoners in his situation
face such a risk.” Id. at 843.
prison official acts with deliberate indifference if he
“knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate
health or safety; the official must both be aware of the
facts from which the inference could be drawn that a
substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also
draw the inference.” Farmer, 511 U.S. at 843.
A plaintiff “normally proves actual knowledge of
impending harm by showing that he complained to prison
officials about a specific threat to his safety.”
Pope v. Shafer, 86 F.3d 90, 92 (7th Cir. 1996). A
prisoner complaint “that identifies a specific,
credible, and imminent risk of serious harm and identifies
the prospective assailant typically will support an inference
that the official to whom the complaint was communicated ...