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Rainey v. English

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

July 16, 2019

VIDAL RAINEY, Plaintiff,
v.
LIEUTENANT SHERRI ENGLISH f/k/a SHERRI DUNMARS, and OFFICER LORIENT STANBACK, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          John J. Tharp, Jr., United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Vidal Rainey contends that Lieutenant Sherri English and Correctional Officer Lorient Stanback (collectively, “the defendants”) beat him up when moving him between prison cells on November 6 and 22, 2014, and disregarded his serious medical needs after each attack. Rainey moves for summary judgment on his excessive force claims, and the defendants move for summary judgment on his deliberate indifference claims. But the parties dispute the foundational fact at the core of this lawsuit: whether the defendants (or other correctional officers in the defendants' presence) assaulted Rainey. Rainey's motion for partial summary judgment [99] is therefore denied, and the defendants' motion for partial summary judgment [100] is denied as to the claims that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to Rainey's medical needs following the alleged November 6 assault, and as to the claim that English was deliberately indifferent to his medical needs following the alleged November 22 assault. But because Rainey has not pointed to any evidence suggesting that Stanback was aware that Rainey was assaulted on November 22, the defendants' motion is granted as to the claim that Stanback was deliberately indifferent to Rainey's medical needs following the alleged November 22 assault.

         BACKGROUND

         During November 2014, Rainey was an inmate at the Stateville Northern Reception Center, where English was a lieutenant and Stanback was a corrections officer. On or around November 6, 2014, English and Stanback arrived at Rainey's cell at approximately 2:45 p.m. to handcuff him and move him to a segregation unit.

         English and Stanback testified that they placed Rainey in handcuffs and moved him to the segregation unit without incident and without using force. English claims that she did not enter Rainey's cell, that there were “no issues” during the move, and that she did not punch or kick him during this incident or at any other time. Stanback also claims he did not enter Rainey's cell and denies ever using any force against him.

         Rainey's account of events stands in stark contrast to the accounts of English and Stanback. According to Rainey, when English told him on November 6 that he needed to handcuff him to move him to segregation, Rainey asked for time to finish using the toilet. English refused Rainey's request and requested the assistance of Stanback and another correctional officer, Officer Holyfield, in removing Rainey from his cell. Stanback and Holyfield grabbed Rainey by his shoulder and shirt before he was done using the toilet, causing him to fall on the floor onto his left shoulder. Stanback, English, and Holyfield then punched and kicked him all over his body and head until he was removed from his cell. Once Rainey was outside of his cell, Stanback put a knee into Rainey's back and handcuffed him. While English, Stanback, and Holyfield were escorting Rainey to his new cell, Rainey informed English that he wanted medical attention, but Rainey was not provided with medical attention within the next several minutes before the guards' shift changed. Less than an hour later, after the shift change, Rainey requested medical treatment from a non-defendant lieutenant, at which time that lieutenant escorted Rainey to the health care unit.

         Rainey estimates that he received medical treatment within three hours of the incident. Prison records reflect that Rainey visited the medical facility at 10:30 p.m., where the nurse who evaluated him noted that his face and arms were bruised and that he reported that his ribs were sore. Rainey was given Tylenol and placed on a list for follow-up evaluation. The next day, November 7, a physician's assistant evaluated Rainey. The physician's assistant noted that Rainey had an abrasion on his left eye and abrasions on both elbows, prescribed Rainey fifteen-days' worth of ibuprofen, and ordered X-rays of his ribs and left orbital bone. Although the IDOC was unable to locate the X-rays, the X-ray requisition form showed no fractures.

         Another inmate, Byron Willis, testified that during the November 6 encounter, he heard Rainey screaming and telling the officers that he wasn't resisting. Willis says that he saw Rainey taken out of his cell wearing only his boxers and that the officers “had him in the air” and were pinching him and pulling his hair. Joint Statement of Facts (“JSOF”) Ex. B, Willis Dep. 17:7-19, ECF No. 98-2. Willis saw bruises on Rainey's neck and face after the encounter.

         Rainey testified that a few days later, on November 14, English told him that she had someone to put Rainey in a cell with “to handle that business for her.” Pl.'s Statement of Facts (“PSOF”) ¶ 18, ECF No. 103. But English testified that she only ever interacted with Rainey during the one uneventful transfer to segregation on or around November 6 and otherwise did not know who Rainey was before this lawsuit. English also denies ever threatening Rainey.

         But according to Rainey, English again arrived at Rainey's cell on November 22 and told him to pack up his property so that he could be moved to a new cell. This time, instead of being moved to a segregation unit, Rainey was being moved into a cell with Eugene Andrews, whom Rainey knew had a reputation for fighting and sexually assaulting other inmates. Andrews testified that English and Stanback had given Andrews extra food to attack other inmates, and that Andrews often had to get new cellmates after getting into physical confrontations with them.

         Rainey testified that knowing Andrews' reputation, he refused to enter the cell, at which time English kicked, and the other correctional officers punched and kicked, Rainey to force him into the cell. Rainey estimates that English and the other correctional officers kicked him roughly 10 to 15 times. After Rainey fell into the cell, English pepper sprayed Rainey twice. Rainey claims that as a result of the incident, his left shoulder felt out of place, and his ribs, back, and neck were injured.

         Rainey was then taken to the showers, where he washed his eyes, which “helped a little, ” but “it really didn't do a good job” because he was still handcuffed. JSOF Ex. E, Rainey Dep. 71:6-16, ECF No. 98-5. While in the shower, Rainey asked unidentified correctional officers for medical attention, but his request was denied. Later that day, after asking for medical attention from a non-defendant lieutenant, Rainey was seen by a nurse, who put him on sick call for medical evaluation the following day, November 23. Rainey was evaluated for shoulder and wrist pain on November 23 and was found to have “no signs of injury, ” but the medical professional who evaluated him placed him on sick call to be seen by a medical doctor, who saw him on November 25. JSOF ¶ 47, ECF No. 98. The medical doctor who evaluated Rainey noted that he saw “no signs of trauma” and prescribed Rainey with Tylenol. JSOF ¶ 48. Rainey testified that he experienced pain in his body and face as a result of the assaults.

         When evaluating the motions for summary judgment, the Court must construe all facts and draw reasonable inferences “in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Alexander v. Casino Queen, Inc., 739 F.3d 972, 977 (7th Cir. 2014). “Summary judgment is appropriate where there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Id. (citations omitted).

         Rainey has asserted four claims against each defendant. He has asserted an excessive force claim and a deliberate indifference claim against each defendant as to the November 6 incident, and he has asserted an excessive force claim and a deliberate indifference claim against each defendant as to the November 22 incident. For purposes of Rainey's motion, the defendants' denials of ever having used force against Rainey must be accepted as true. And for purposes of the defendants' motion, evidence ...


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