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Tolentinoo v. Lashbrook

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 2, 2018



          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Edwin Tolentino, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”).

         Specifically, Tolentino alleges that correctional officers used excessive force against him and that he was subsequently denied medical care for the injuries the officers inflicted. Tolentino is proceeding on the following claims:

Count One: Eighth Amendment excessive force claim against Defendant Baker and the Unknown (John Doe) Tactical Officers for jerking, slamming, punching, kicking, and grabbing Plaintiff on March 14, 2013.
Count Two: Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to medical needs against Defendant Reichert, Defendant Baker, Defendant Hecht, and the Unknown (John Doe) Tactical Officers, for failing to obtain medical care for Plaintiff following the assault described in Count One.

         Defendant Lashbrook is named as a defendant only in her official capacity for purposes of providing injunctive relief, if awarded. In the Court's Screening Order, Plaintiff was advised that service would not be made on the unknown (John Doe) tactical officer defendants until he identified them by name in a properly filed amended complaint (Doc. 6). On June 23, 2015, the Court entered a Scheduling and Discovery Order giving Plaintiff until August 28, 2015 to seek leave to amend his Complaint to name the unknown parties (see Doc. 28). As of the date of this Order, Plaintiff has failed to identify the unknown tactical officers. Accordingly, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to prosecute his case against the unknown tactical officers and they are DISMISSED WITH PRJEUDICE pursuant to Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil procedure.

         The remaining defendants, Baker, Hecht, Reichert, and Lashbrook, filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 138) that is now before the Court. Plaintiff filed a timely response (Doc. 143). For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.


         The following facts are taken from Plaintiff's deposition unless noted otherwise. While being escorted to the chapel on March 14, 2013, Orange Crush Tactical members punched, kneed, and kicked Tolentino (Deposition of Edwin Tolentino, Doc. 139-1, p. 4). After arriving at the chapel and providing his name to the Orange Crush officers, Tolentino was taken to a shower in the segregation unit (Id.). Defendant Baker came to escort Tolentino to his cell (Id.). Tolentino told Baker that he hated what the officers had done to him, to which Baker stated “we hate you too, retard” (Id.). Once they arrived at Tolentino's cell, Baker kicked him in his upper left leg, causing Tolentino to drop to one knee (Id.). Baker also grabbed Tolentino's hair and kicked him in his back (Id. at 4-5). After Baker kicked him, Tolentino told him he would “whoop [his] ass” (Doc. 139-1 at 5). Tolentino requested medical attention, but Baker ignored him and walked away (Id. at 8-9).

         Soon after his altercation with Baker, Tolentino was taken to internal affairs and interviewed by Defendant Reichert (Id. at 9). Reichert asked Tolentino about what he said to Baker and asked if he knew anything about a recent staff assault in the chapel (Id.). Tolentino denied knowing anything about the chapel incident, but told Reichert that he had been assaulted by Baker and suffered injuries to his legs and back (Id.). Tolentino also requested medical attention (Id.). Reichert did not take any action to address Tolentino's request for medical care (Id. at 9-10).

         After speaking with Reichert, Tolentino was waiting in the bullpen to be transferred to Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”) when Defendant Hecht approached him (Id. at 10). Hecht asked Tolentino what happened. He explained that Baker had assaulted him and that he needed medical attention for the injuries he sustained to his back and legs (Id.). Hecht responded by saying “too bad” and told Tolentino she was not a doctor (Id. at 11).

         Soon thereafter, Hecht issued a disciplinary report against Tolentino for “Dangerous Disturbances, ” “Gang or Unauthorized Organization Activity, ” and “Intimidation/Threats” related to his interaction with Baker (see Doc. 139-2 at 5). In her disciplinary report, Hecht indicated that while Baker was removing Tolentino's restraints, Tolentino stated “when I get out of here, the Folks are going to whip that ass, ” and that he also made reference to a staff assault that took place in the chapel about a month prior (Id.). Tolentino was later found guilty of the offenses and was punished with six months of segregation, C Grade, and commissary restriction, and one month good conduct revocation (Doc. 139-1 at 6; see Doc. 139-2 at 3-4).

         Around 3:00 p.m. on March 14, 2013, Tolentino was examined by a nurse at Menard prior to his transfer to Lawrence (Doc. 139-1 at 12; see Doc. 139-3 at 1). No. current or acute conditions were noted on his Offender Health Status Transfer Summary, however Tolentino attests that he told the nurse that he had a back injury and was in pain (Doc. 143-1 at 31; see 139-3 at 1).

         Tolentino underwent another health screening with a nurse when he arrived at Lawrence around 8:00 p.m. on March 14, 2013 (Doc. 139-1 at 12; see Doc. 139-3 at 2). He informed the nurse that he had suffered a back injury. However, his Health Status Transfer Summary only notes that he indicated subjective complaints of bruising and pain on his left upper thigh and ribs (Doc. 139-1 at 12; see doc. 139-3 at 2). The transfer summary also indicates ...

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