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Goings v. Stolworthy

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 16, 2019

FREDRICK GOINGS, Plaintiff,
v.
DONALD STOLWORTHY, KIMBERLY BUTLER, C/O BENEFIELD, ANDREW SPILLER, JOSH SCHOENBECK, TRACY K. LEE, JEANETTE C. HECHT, MICHAEL HOF, AARON RUNGE, ERIN CARTER, ANDREW DILLINGHAM, LANCE PHELPS, BRANDON M. ANTHONY, SHERRY BENTON, AND UNKNOWN PARTY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE United States District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation (“Report”) of United States Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly (Doc. 270), recommending that the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants Anthony, Benefield, Benton, Butler, Carter, Dillingham, Hecht, Hof, Lee, Phelps, Runge, Schoenbeck, Spiller, and Stolworthy (Doc. 229) be granted. Plaintiff Fredrick Goings filed an objection to the Report on February 22, 2019 (Doc. 310), three days late.[1] For the following reasons, Judge Daly's Report is ADOPTED.

         Background

         Plaintiff Frederick Goings filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs, failed to protect him, failed to intervene, used excessive force, and subjected him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement in violation of the Eighth Amendment. He also asserted several state law claims of defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress (Docs. 1, 11). Goings' claims relate to an incident that occurred on November 5, 2014 at the Menard Correctional Center when he was violently attacked by his cellmate, David Sesson. Pursuant to an Amended Complaint, he is proceeding on the following claims:

Count 1: An Eighth Amendment failure to protect claim against Benefield for setting in motion the violent attack by inmate David Sesson.
Count 3: An Eighth Amendment claim for excessive force and unconstitutional conditions of confinement against Benefield for subjecting Goings to dangerous or restrictive conditions and guard brutality.
Count 4: An Eighth Amendment failure to protect claim against Butler, Schoenbeck, Tracy Lee, Jeannette Hecht, Michael Hof, Aaron Runge, Erin Carter, Lance Phelps, Andrew Dillingham, Andrew Spiller, and Brandon Anthony.
Count 5: A claim of state law defamation against Benefield for telling other inmates that Goings dropped a kite about an incident and referring to Goings as a rat and stool pigeon.
Count 6: A claim of state law defamation against Benton and former Illinois Department of Corrections Director Stolworthy for written findings following a protective custody hearing.
Count 12: An Eighth Amendment claim of deliberate indifference towards medical needs against Warden Butler for denying Goings medical care following the attack by inmate David Sesson.
Count 16: A state law claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against Benefield for setting in motion the attack by inmate David Sesson.
Count 17: A state law claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress against Butler, Spiller, Tracy Lee, Schoenbeck, Jeannette Hecht, Michael Hof, Aaron Runge, Erin Carter, Andrew Dillingham, and Brandon Anthony for allowing the attack by inmate David Sesson.
Count 20: A First Amendment claim of retaliation against Benefield for harassing Goings in retaliation for filing grievances.[2]

(Docs. 79, 82, 112). Defendants, who are or were employees of the Illinois Department of Corrections, moved for summary judgment (Doc. 229). Goings filed a response (Doc. 266).

         Judge Daly issued a Report setting forth the applicable law and her conclusions (Doc. 270). She found that there were no material facts in dispute and that there was insufficient evidence to support Goings' claims. Thus, she recommends that Defendants' Motion be granted and that the claims against them be dismissed with prejudice. Goings filed an objection to the Report on February 22, 2019 (Doc. 310).[3]

         Factual Background

         The following facts are either undisputed or drawn in a light most favorable to Goings, the non-moving party, except as otherwise stated. See Carson v. ALL Erection & Crane Rental Corp., 811 F.3d 993, 994 (7th Cir. 2016): Goings was housed at Menard Correctional Center from June 2013 to June 2016 (Doc. 230-3, p. 3). When Goings first arrived there, he was prevented from accessing his legal property by Benefield, a maintenance officer who would “cover the galleries as a temporary officer, ” and who was covering the gallery where Goings was initially housed (Id. 78). Goings submitted a grievance about Benefield's actions during orientation and continued to file additional grievances about him (Id.).[4] Thereafter, Benefield began treating Goings poorly by preventing him from using call passes to access his property, being disrespectful, using profanity, and raising his voice (Id.). It is unclear from the record how long or if Benefield worked as a temporary officer in the gallery where Goings was housed after the initial orientation phase.[5]

         In the Fall of 2014, Goings was having issues and he stopped Defendant Spiller as he was walking by to tell him that he was thinking about protective custody (Id. 17). Spiller, who was an internal affairs officer, told Goings that his department did not handle protective custody but that he could fill out a request to start the process (Id.). There is no evidence that Goings filled out a protective custody request.

         Later, Goings heard from other inmates that Benefield was telling them he had written a kite (or note) about another inmate and that he was a snitch (Id. 63, 65). Goings, who was a lawyer prior to being incarcerated, believes that these accusations diminished his reputation and resulted in a loss of trust among the prison population (Id. 66). He did not suffer any physical injury because of the rumor but did lose friends and associates (Id.).

         Thereafter, on October 28, 2014, Benefield was the acting sergeant on Goings' cell block (Id. 18). Benefield walked through the gallery claiming that someone tampered with paperwork (Id.). When he was outside Goings' cell, he said, “I better not find out who's been fucking with my shit, or I'm going to come and burn their house down” (Id.). He then ordered that Goings' cell be shaken down (Id.). After the shakedown, Goings' belongings were “trashed” and certain documents were missing (Id.). When Goings asked for a shakedown slip, he got into a verbal altercation with Benefield who said he was “going to open up that cell and kick [his] ass” and that “this is what you get when you fuck with me” (Id. 20). Benefield also commented, “[t]his is what happens when you piss me off, and I remember when you filed that grievance about legal property” (Id. 78; Doc. 82, p. 9-10).[6] Benefield then left. A shakedown slip dated October 29, 2014 showed that Goings' cell did not contain contraband, although Goings did not receive the shakedown slip (Docs. 230-2, p. 1, Doc. 230-3, p. 19).

         A day after the shakedown, Benefield told Goings to pack up his belongings because he was going to be transferred to another cell in the North II Cellhouse (Doc. 230-3, p. 21). When Goings asked for assistance in moving his belongings, Benefield said no (Id. 59). While he was being moved, Benefield said “let's see how you like your next fucking cellmate” (Id. 20). This was the last interaction that Goings had with Benefield. Benefield did not accompany Goings to his new cell.

         When Goings arrived at his new cell, number 311 in the North II Cellhouse, he was housed with inmate David Sesson (Id. 21). Sesson told Goings and the correctional officer who accompanied him that he did not want a cellmate (Id.). Goings and Sesson avoided each other. While Sesson did not threaten him, he made clear that he did not want Goings on the floor while he was on the floor. Goings tried to keep to himself (Id.).

         A few days later, on November 5, 2014, Goings jumped down from his bunk onto the floor in order to get ready for chow (Id. 23). Sesson told him “I told you, don't be on the floor when I am on this floor” (Id.). Sesson then attacked Goings, knocking him down and tackling him to the floor where he proceeded to strangle Goings with extension cords (Id. 23-4). Goings lost consciousness. When he came to, he heard another inmate tell Sesson to cut it out (Id. 24). He then saw blood on the floor and discovered that he had a gash on his finger, a missing finger nail, and blood shot eyes (Id. 25, 52). Goings sought help from an unknown correctional officer who told him to write a “scribe, ” which he did, indicating that he was just strangled and needed to be separated from Sesson (Id. 25). He was not immediately removed from his cell even after he told another correctional officer about the attack (Id.).

         The next day, Sesson told Goings not to complain about the incident (Id. 53). Goings sought medical care by sending requests to the healthcare unit and asking for care from healthcare workers (Id. 49-50). Within a week, he wrote a letter to the Warden, Kimberly Butler, telling her that an officer had set him up and placed him in the cell with Sesson knowing that he had threatened to kill his next cellmate (I ...


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