United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
S. SHAH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Marque Bowers brings this action against defendant Thomas
Dart, in his official capacity as Sheriff of Cook County.
Bowers was in custody at the Cook County Jail when several
inmates attacked him. Defendant moves for summary judgment on
Bowers's claim that the Sheriff's policy of vertical
cross-watching was unconstitutional under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, and that it caused Bowers's injuries. Defendant
also moves for sanctions against Bowers and his counsel. For
the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment is
granted in part, denied in part, and the motion for sanctions
judgment is appropriate 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 genuine dispute as to any material fact exists if
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The
party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact.
See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). A court must view all facts and reasonable inferences
in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Roh
v. Starbucks Corp., 2018 WL 663093, at *2 (7th Cir.
December 31, 2012, Bowers and his cellmate got into a fight
in their cell, while a vertical cross-watching policy was in
effect.  ¶ 26. Vertical cross-watching was a plan to
reduce overtime by having the first-floor officers assigned
to the tiers of the housing blocks continuously rotate
upwards through the housing blocks, while officers normally
assigned to those tiers would take their lunch breaks. 
¶¶ 20-21. Later in the evening of December 31,
2012, several inmates attacked Bowers in the hallway. 
¶ 28; [113-1] at 32, 123:23-124:4. Bowers is paralyzed
and unable to walk because of the attack. [113-1] at 25,
96:7-11. The hallway attack occurred while Officer Steven
Rottar was approximately twenty-feet away in “the
bubble.”  ¶ 28; [113-1] at 32, 123:23-124:9;
[113-3] at 33, 122:20- 23. Bars and electrical panels
separate the bubble from the dayroom and the hallway, but
otherwise, there are minimal obstructions of view or sound.
 ¶¶ 14-16. Both Bowers and Rottar claim to
have personal knowledge of the attack in the hallway, but
their accounts of what happened differ.
says that at approximately 6:00 or 6:30 pm, he told Rottar
that he had been in a physical fight with his
cellmate. [113-1] at 23, 86:10-89:10. Bowers felt he
was in danger because he believed that members of his
cellmate's gang were going to attack him; Bowers asked
Rottar to separate him from his cellmate and to be moved to a
different cell. Id. Bowers said that Rottar had
already been informed of the situation by other officers, and
that Rottar inquired about a move for Bowers, but that a move
was not possible that night. Id. Bowers says that
although Rottar was in the bubble at the time of the second
attack in the hallway, Rottar did not see the attack until
after the inmates had already badly beaten Bowers.
Id. at 32, 124:4-125:6. Since Rottar did not see the
fight “from the beginning, ” Bowers thinks that
he was not “on his job and doing his duty.”
Id. at 33, 128:9-12. Bowers said he screamed for
help for several minutes and since Rottar's reaction to
the attack was delayed, Bowers concludes that Rottar was
either not paying attention or he ignored the attack.
Id. at 34, 130:3-16. Moreover, Bowers says it is
Rottar's fault for not moving Bowers earlier that night,
before the hallway attack occurred. Id. at 34,
contrast, Rottar says that he was sitting at the
officer's desk in the bubble when he heard a fight, stood
up, looked into the dayroom, and saw a mass of bodies, which
he understood to be a fight, in the hallway near the dayroom.
[113-3] at 32, 120:16-121:16. He watched the “mass of
bodies” for one to two seconds before making a call on
the radio about the fight. Id. at 32-33,
121:21-122:7. After Rottar made the radio call, he saw the
mass of bodies break up and the inmates who were involved in
the attack scattered into the hallway. Id. at 33,
122:16-123:14. Correctional staff arrived approximately two
minutes after Rottar made the radio call. Id. at 33,
125:10-17. Rottar says he learned about Bowers's earlier
fight with his cellmate after Bowers was attacked in the
hallway. Id. at 26, 96:16-98:23. In his incident
report, Rottar wrote: “the fight that [the responding
officer] called at [8:40 pm] had its beginnings while [the
responding officer] was gone and [the responding
officer's] tier was covered by the vertical relief
officer.”  ¶ 27. Rottar also opined:
“the fight that developed later was a direct result of
these action[s], and no officer had been present to
intervene. This situation proves to a certain extent, that
the detainees can and will take advantage of the fact that
officers are not on the tiers for the full 8 hours.”
submitted a grievance dated January 3, 2013, in which he
asked to “press charges on all of the people who were
identified for assaulting [him]” on December 31, 2012.
[40-3] at 2. Commander Cozzolino responded to that grievance:
“Inmate Bowers identified two inmates as his attackers.
. . . CCSPD will contact [Bowers] to press charges for the
incident.” Id. at 3. Bowers was displeased
with that response, so he requested an appeal on February 13,
2013, stating: “I identified (7) inmates total. Why
only two of them are getting charged?! And not the other
five?!” Id. Director of Program Services,
Theresa Olson, rejected Bowers's request for an appeal,
explaining: “According to incident report, when you
were questioned re: the incident, you only identified two
attackers.” Id. Bowers received the rejection
of his appeal on February 26, 2013. Id. That same
day, Bowers submitted another grievance, which he described
as “in lieu of and conjunction with” his first
grievance. [40-2] at 32. Program Services processed
Bowers's second grievance as a
“non-grievance.” Id. Olson responded to
the non-grievance: “Your allegations are currently
under investigation by the Office of Professional Review,
” and Bowers received her response on April
17, 2013. Id. at 33.
Inmate Information Handbook describes the grievance process,
but it does not define a non-grievance.  ¶ 1. There
is no Sheriff's Order, General Order, or other written
document that describes how a non-grievance is processed.
 at 44, 46:20-47:2. Olson says that inmates cannot amend
grievances; they can only file a new grievance. Id.
at 49, 65:22-66:9. Yet, when a grievance is filed fifteen
days after the relevant incident, even if the purpose of that
grievance is to provide more information about an incident
described in an earlier grievance, Program Services processes
it as a “non-grievance.” Id. at 49,
66:11-17. Olson also says that inmates may not appeal
non-grievances. Id. at 46, 54:14-55:7. Even though
there was no action that Bowers could take regarding the
response to his non-grievance (respond, appeal, etc.) that
Program Services would accept, Olson says that the content of
Bowers's non-grievance prompted Program Services to refer
Bowers's first grievance to OPR. Id. at 49,
67:13-68:6. Ultimately, OPR issued a written decision
exonerating Rottar of any charges of misconduct related to
the hallway attack and Bowers's first grievance.  at
offers two bases for his motion for summary judgment. First,
that there is insufficient evidence to show that the
cross-watching policy caused Bowers's injuries. Second,
that the statute of limitations bars Bowers's claim.
Evidence of Causation
prevail on a Monell claim against defendant, Bowers
must demonstrate that an official policy, widespread custom,
or action by an official with policy-making authority was the
“moving force” behind his constitutional injury.
Dixon v. County of Cook, 819 F.3d 343, 348 (7th Cir.
2016). His theory is that the cross-watching policy caused
his injuries. While defendant acknowledges that the
cross-watching policy was in place on the day Bowers was
attacked, defendant nevertheless ...