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James v. Barker

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 30, 2019

NED JAMES, Plaintiff,
v.
RODNEY BARKER and JEFFREY GARDINER, Defendants.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

          MARK A. BEATTY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         The matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Mark A. Beatty by United States District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), and SDIL-LR 72.1(a) for a Report and Recommendation on the motion for summary judgment (Doc. 66). It is recommended the District Court adopt the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, and the motion for summary judgment (Doc. 66) be GRANTED IN PART, DENIED IN PART.

         I. Findings of Fact

         Following the Court's threshold review of Plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court permitted Plaintiff to proceed on the following claims: (1) an Eighth Amendment claim for excessive force against Defendant Gardiner, (2) an Eighth Amendment claim for failure to protect against Defendant Barker, (3) an Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference against Defendants Gardiner and Barker (“Defendants”), and (4) an assault and battery state law tort claim against Defendants. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on March 20, 2019 (Doc. 66). Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to the motion (Doc. 72).

         Construed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, the evidence and the reasonable inferences that can be drawn from it establish the following relevant facts for purposes of the instant summary judgment motion.

         A. Transfer of Cells and Alleged Assault

         On July 8, 2016, Plaintiff was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”) when personnel transferred him from 4 gallery of the north 2 cell house to the 6 gallery of the north 2 cell house (Doc. 67-1, p. 17: 13-16). Plaintiff asserts Defendants, along with a few other non-defendant correctional officers approached Plaintiff's cell and instructed him to pack his property because he was being transferred to a different segregation cell (Id. at 20: 3-8; 33: 14-16). After packing his property for an hour, correctional officers, possibly Defendant Gardiner, placed Plaintiff in handcuffs behind his back, gathered his belongings, and escorted him to 6 gallery.

         Upon arriving at cell 47 on 6 gallery, Plaintiff testified after his handcuffs were removed, Defendant Gardiner pulled down his pants and “stuck his finger in [him].” (Id. at 26: 11-12). Plaintiff later testified his handcuffs were not removed until Defendant “[Gardiner] got aggressive when he pulled my boxers down and inserted his fingers into me.” (Id. at 43: 21-23). When asked where the other correctional officers were at the time of the alleged assault, Plaintiff testified they were “standing right there.” (Id. at 62: 2). Plaintiff later testified Defendant Gardiner and the other three or four correctional officers were not inside the cell during the alleged assault, but instead were outside of the cell and reaching their hands through the chuckhole to grab him (Id. at 67: 14-19). The cell door was solid with no bars, so reaching through the chuckhole was the only way for the four or five officers to grab Plaintiff at that point (Id. at 81: 4-12).

         Plaintiff then testified that while the officers were holding Plaintiff by the lead chain[1] attached to his handcuffs, Defendant Gardiner, who was also outside the cell, reached through the chuckhole, pulled down Plaintiff's pants, and inserted his fingers into Plaintiff's anus three or four times. (Id. at 81: 24). During that time, Plaintiff testified his hands were in the chuckhole and he was trying to get away. (Id. at 91: 4-23).

         B. After the Alleged Assault

         Plaintiff testified he immediately informed the officers he required medical attention (Id. at 96: 14-21). He also testified he spoke to a nurse several hours later about his need for medical attention and was still bleeding at that time (Id. at 101:14-20). Around 3 p.m., Plaintiff's correctional counselor, Jason Vasquez, spoke with Plaintiff then noted in Plaintiff's cumulative counseling report that “[Plaintiff] wanted to talk to Dr. Butler cause [sic] he is back in seg . . . I told him I would tell her . . . I called and let her know.” (Doc. 67-7, p. 13). The counseling note does not mention the alleged assault (Id.).

         On July 12, Plaintiff filed a grievance regarding his conditions of confinement and the alleged sexual assault by Defendants Gardiner and Barker (Doc. 67-4, p. 11). The grievance predominantly takes issue with his ability to breathe within his cell and requests a transfer to Dixon Correctional Center (“Dixon”), but it does briefly reference a sexual assault (Id. at 11-13). Specifically, within the two-page grievance, Plaintiff solely states Defendants Barker and Gardiner “sexually assaulted [him].” Beyond naming the alleged perpetrators, Plaintiff does not provide any other details about the alleged assault. On July 13, Menard medical conferred with Plaintiff then noted in an outpatient progress note that “offender does not have an inhaler in his cell.” (Doc. 67-5, p. 2). The note does reference the alleged assault. In a letter dated July 17, Plaintiff wrote the Director of the IDOC seeking transfer from Menard to Dixon (Doc. 67-4, p. 6-8). Again, like his July 12 grievance, the letter predominantly takes issue with his ability to breathe within his cell and requests a transfer to Dixon (Id.). Plaintiff solely states staff “sexually assaulted [him].” (Id. at 8). Beyond that, Plaintiff does not provide any other details about the alleged assault.

         On July 27, the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) contacted Menard officials about Plaintiff's claim of sexual assault then Menard mental health and medical personnel conferred with Plaintiff that day (Doc. 67-5, p. 2). After meeting with Plaintiff, Menard medical personnel noted in an outpatient progress note that Plaintiff stated, “I don't want a rape kit.” (Id.). The entry further notes Plaintiff signed a ‘right to refuse' medical services (Id.). Plaintiff testified he did not refuse treatment, but rather medical personnel told him “it's too late for you pretty much to do a rape kit if they didn't do it the same day.” (Doc. 67-1, 138: 9-12). That same day IDOC records indicate an investigation into Plaintiffs sexual assault allegations commenced (Doc. 67-6). Five days later, IDOC personnel transferred Plaintiff from Menard to Dixon which pleased Plaintiff (Doc. 67-1, 127: 2-9).

         II. Conclusions of Law

         A. Summary ...


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