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Beard v. Falmier

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 10, 2019

LIONEL R. BEARD, Plaintiff,
v.
FREDDIE FALMIER and RYAN HUMPHREYS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is a Report and Recommendation issued by Magistrate Judge Gilbert C. Sison regarding Defendants Freddie Falmier and Ryan Humphreys' Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 73). Judge Sison recommended that this Court grant Defendants' Motion. (ECF No. 76). Plaintiff Lionel R. Beard objected. (ECF No. 77). After de novo review of the record, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.

         II. PROCEDURAL & FACTUAL HISTORY

         Like Judge Sison, this Court gathered the facts directly from Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, (ECF No. 12-1), and Plaintiff's deposition (ECF No. 73-1).

         Plaintiff is a federal inmate that has been incarcerated since 2005. (ECF No. 73-1 at 5). He was housed at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois from April 2007 until January 2016- where the incident in question allegedly occurred. (ECF No. 73-1 at 6, 19).

         Beginning in 2010, Plaintiff worked in UNICOR's electronics factory in cable operations. (ECF No. 73-1 at 8). Specifically, Plaintiff operated a Eubanks machine: a wire cutter. (ECF No. 73- 1 at 11). Defendants worked as UNICOR supervisors, and both supervised Plaintiff at some time. (ECF No. 73-1 at 9-10).

         On August 11, 2015, Plaintiff arrived at his work station at approximately 7:00 AM. (ECF No. 73-1 at 18, 27). Neither Defendant supervised Plaintiff that day, (ECF No. 73-1 at 22), and Defendant Falmier was giving a tour of the factory to a fire inspector (ECF No. 73-1 at 23). Plaintiff operated the Eubanks machine alongside inmate Terrell Porter. (ECF No. 73-1 at 19). The Eubanks machine, located in the basement, was particularly loud that day because it was connected to a noisy air compressor. (ECF No. 73-1 at 22-23).

         When Defendant Falmier brought the fire inspector to the basement, their voices were drowned out by the sound of the air compressor attached to the Eubanks machine. (ECF No. 73-1 at 24). Defendant Falmier instructed Porter to turn off the Eubanks machine, and he did. (ECF No. 73-1 at 24). Although Plaintiff did not hear Defendant Falmier speak to Porter, (ECF No. 73-1 at 24), Plaintiff knew “in a split second” that Defendant Falmier wanted the machine off (ECF No. 73- 1 at 28). Despite this instruction, Plaintiff immediately turned the Eubanks machine back on. (ECF No. 73-1 at 24). Plaintiff was concerned that turning the Eubanks machine off mid-cut might cause it to break down. (ECF No. 73-1 at 27).

         Agitated by Plaintiff's insistence to keep the Eubanks machine on, Defendant Falmier turned it off himself and confronted Plaintiff, stating, “I said shut the mother fucker off. Don't be such a rude ass, Beard.” (ECF No. 73-1 at 24). Plaintiff felt disrespected and approached Defendant Falmier, getting within six inches. (ECF No. 73-1 at 31). Defendant Falmier's demeanor did not show that he felt scared or threatened. (ECF No. 73-1 at 31). The two argued for “maybe a couple few minutes” as others watched, though none intervened. (ECF No. 73-1 at 33-34).

         Plaintiff decided to end the argument by walking past Defendant Falmier to clock into work. (ECF No. 73-1 at 35). Defendant Falmier “pushed [Plaintiff] back” and said, “Where you think you going?” (ECF No. 73-1 at 35).[1] When Plaintiff informed him that was going to clock in, Defendant Falmier told him, “[Y]ou're not going in there. You get the fuck out of here.” (ECF No. 73-1 at 35). Plaintiff acquiesced, and Defendant Falmier continued to curse at Plaintiff as he walked away. (ECF No. 73-1 at 36).

         Defendant Humphreys, the assistant factory manager, witnessed the incident and did not object. (ECF No. 73-1 at 35-36). Plaintiff hoped, however, that Defendant Humphreys would tell him that it was okay to clock in. (ECF No. 73-1 at 36).

         Plaintiff did not return to work that day or the next. (ECF No. 73-1 at 38-39). Two days later, he was placed on administrative detention, where he remained for five months. (ECF No. 73-1 at 39). Plaintiff did not ask for Defendant Humphreys's assistance in filing an incident report. (ECF No. 73- 1 at 41).

         Plaintiff filed this Bivens action against eight defendants alleging Eighth Amendment violations. Defendants Falmier and Humphreys are the only defendants ...


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