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English v. Gardner

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

July 11, 2018

MARIO S. ENGLISH JR., Plaintiff,
v.
MARCELLES GARDNER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          John Robert Blakey United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Mario English brings two claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the defendant correctional officers for allegedly using excessive force while securing Plaintiff to a bedframe at the Stateville Correctional Center and demonstrating deliberate indifference to his medical needs while he was restrained. [66]. Defendants Gardner, Eskridge, and Berry (Defendants) moved to dismiss the claim against them for failing to state a cause of action. [73]. For the reasons explained below, this Court grants Defendants' motion.

         I. The Complaint's Allegations

         In February 2015, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Stateville Correctional Center. [66] ¶ 4. At that time, Defendants Nushardt, Dethrow, Battung, Sapia, Gee, and Pontarelli served as part of the Illinois Department of Corrections' (IDOC) tactical team at Stateville. Id. ¶¶ 8-14, 35-36.

         On February 26, 2015, Nushardt, Dethrow, Battung, Sapia, Gee, and Pontarelli put Plaintiff in four-point restraints on a metal bed frame in Stateville's healthcare unit. Id. ¶¶ 14-15, 37. The bed did not have a mattress. Id. ¶ 15. Defendants strapped Plaintiffs arms and legs to the upper bars of the bed's metal headboard and footboard. Id. ¶ 16, 38. In doing so, the officers hoisted Plaintiffs extremities at least 24 inches above the bedframe, so that only Plaintiffs backside rested on the bedframe. Id. Plaintiff asserts that Defendants acted intentionally and maliciously when they tied him to the bedframe. Id. ¶ 38. In total, Plaintiff spent over 16 hours in these restraints. Id. ¶ 20.

         Plaintiff claims that the tightness and elevated position of his restraints caused him intense pain in his feet and legs. Id. ¶¶ 17-19, 39. The restraints left indentations in Plaintiffs skin and, because the officers positioned Plaintiffs legs so far above his heart, he lost circulation in his legs and they fell asleep. Id. ¶¶ 17-18, 39-40. Plaintiff states that his legs felt “as if they were on fire, ” and that he experienced a “sharp stabbing sensation” for roughly the first three hours that he was restrained. Id. ¶¶ 17-19, 23, 41-42.

         At some point during that three-hour period, Defendants Marcelles Gardner, Herman Eskridge, and Jason Berry each encountered Plaintiff in his restraints. Id. ¶¶ 21, 24-25, 29. Gardner, Eskridge, and Berry worked as correction officers at Stateville, but did not form part of the tactical team that put Plaintiff in the four-point restraints. See Id. ¶¶ 5-7. Plaintiffs claims against these defendants stem from their alleged failure to help Plaintiff or address his medical needs while he was restrained. See Id. ¶¶ 21, 24-27, 29-33.

         Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants prevented Plaintiff from stretching his legs or using the restroom, causing Plaintiff to urinate on himself. Id. ¶¶ 21-22. Plaintiff also alleges generally that throughout this three-hour period Plaintiff repeatedly yelled for assistance. Id. ¶ 23. According to Plaintiff, he told Eskridge about his extreme leg pain many times and asked to see a nurse or mental health staff member, but Eskridge refused to help him. Id. ¶ 24.

         Shortly after, Gardner entered Plaintiff's healthcare unit cell. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiff told Gardner that his legs hurt and that he needed medical attention. Id. Gardner told Plaintiff that he had notified Berry-Gardner's lieutenant-about Plaintiff's condition but that Gardner did not have the authority to order Berry to come to the healthcare unit. Id. ¶ 26.

         After about three hours, someone removed Plaintiff's restraints, and his ankles were red and showed indentations from the restraints. Id. ¶¶ 27-28. Plaintiff then began to stretch his arms and legs. Id. ¶ 29. While Plaintiff was stretching, Berry arrived at the healthcare unit and Plaintiff explained his leg pain and loss of blood flow. Id. Berry “grabbed” Plaintiff's left foot and moved it around, causing Plaintiff to yell out in pain. Id.

         Plaintiff initiated this suit in May 2016. [1]. He amended his complaint in October 2017 and for a second time in March 2018. [53, 66]. Count I of Plaintiff's second amended complaint alleges that Gardner, Eskridge, and Berry used excessive force and violated the Eighth Amendment by failing to remove or loosen the restraints that caused Plaintiff extreme pain. [66] ¶ 30. Plaintiff also alleges that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights by demonstrating deliberate indifference to his medical needs and disregarding a risk of serious harm. Id. ¶¶ 31-32. Count II alleges that Defendants Nushardt, Dethrow, Battung, Sapia, Gee, and Pontarelli used excessive force and demonstrated deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Id. ¶¶ 44, 45.

         This opinion addresses Gardner, Eskridge, and Berry's motion to dismiss Count I of Plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a cause of action. [73-1].

         II. Legal Standard

         A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) “challenges the sufficiency of the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” Gen. Elec. Capital Corp. v. Lease Resolution Corp., 128 F.3d 1074, 1080 (7th Cir. 1997). A motion to dismiss does not test the ...


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