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Abbott v. LeMarr

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 26, 2019

JAMES ABBOTT, Plaintiff,


          Hon. Reona J. Daly United States Magistrate Judge

         The matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly by United States District Judge J. Phil Gilbert 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 Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. It is RECOMMENDED that the District Court ADOPT the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, and Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 88) be GRANTED IN PART, DENIED IN PART.

         Findings of Fact

         Plaintiff James Abbott, a former pretrial detainee at the Madison County Jail (“the Jail”), filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging his constitutional rights were violated while he was detained at the Jail. Plaintiff is proceeding on the following two counts:

Count One: Claim against Hill and LeMarr for failing to protect Plaintiff from the attack by inmate Cole,
Count Two: Claim against LeMarr for failing to obtain prompt medical treatment for Plaintiff after the attack.

         Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment arguing they did not fail to prevent an attack on Plaintiff and Plaintiff was provided timely and appropriate medical care. Plaintiff filed a Response (Doc. 95) arguing there are disputed issues of material fact.

         In February 2016, Plaintiff was housed in a cell block at Madison County Jail with another inmate, William Cole (“Cole”) (Plaintiff's Deposition, Doc. 90 at 5-6). Plaintiff testified that he and Cole started having verbal altercations almost immediately after they were placed in the same cell block (Id. at 5). Cole was “trying to boss the whole block around” (Id. at 6). Plaintiff testified he knew something would happen between him and Cole because, “I am not going to let another grown man dictate my actions. He is not my authority figure or my father. So, you know what I mean. I could see by the way he was trying to tell everybody what to do and how to do their time that it wasn't going well with me” (Id.). A week prior to February 23, 2016, Plaintiff told Defendant Deputy LeMarr that he and Cole were going to have problems if he did not get out of that cell block (Id.). When asked if Cole had ever threatened Plaintiff, he testified there was not a specific threat, but it was made clear the two were going to have problems (Id. at 10). Specifically, Plaintiff testified, “I don't know if I told [LeMarr] he was threatening me, but I told him there was going to definitely be problems if he or I didn't move off that block” (Id.). He told LeMarr that Cole was a troublemaker (Id. at 11). On one occasion, LeMarr responded, “You have been moved quite a bit already, Mr. Abbott” and suggested it would be best to stay where he was at (Id. at 10).

         Plaintiff also testified he told Defendant Lieutenant Hill about his problems with Cole (Doc. 90 at 11). Plaintiff could not recall the exact conversation but testified he reported to LeMarr and Hill that Cole “kept trying to be my boss and being aggressive with me, you know. He would say, ‘You might want to clean that shower over there' you know. He would talk to people like that” (Id. at 12).

         On February 23, 2016 at some point between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., Plaintiff had an altercation with one of the inmates on his cellblock and they made a mess (Doc. 90 at 6). Cole told Plaintiff to clean up the mess that he made and Plaintiff replied that if Cole wanted the mess cleaned up, he should clean it up himself (Id.). Plaintiff and Cole then began pushing each other and a fight broke out between the two of them (Id.). Cole hit Plaintiff during the fight (Id.). Plaintiff attempted to fight back but was knocked unconscious (Id.). Plaintiff lost consciousness when he had his head rammed into the bars (Id.). When Plaintiff regained consciousness, he was on the floor and his head was bleeding (Id. at 6-7).

         Approximately five minutes after Plaintiff regained consciousness, LeMarr happened to walk by doing rounds and Plaintiff told him he had a seizure[1] and fell and hit his head (Doc. 90 at 7). Plaintiff testified that he lied about having a seizure because he did not want to tell the entire block about the fight (Id. at 8). According to Plaintiff, LeMarr responded, “Let me finish my rounds and I will be back” (Id. at 8, 16).

         Approximately ten to fifteen minutes later, LeMarr returned with Lieutenant Hill (Doc. 90 at 7). Lieutenant Hill and Deputy Tassone then escorted Plaintiff into the shower area and gave him a new jumpsuit (Id. at 9). Plaintiff did not see LeMarr again the rest of that evening (Id. at 17). Hill and Tassone took Plaintiff to the infirmary and cleaned his head with a bottle of drinking water and a couple of gauze squares (Id. at 9, 16). Plaintiff testified there were no medical staff on duty in the infirmary (Id. at 10). Plaintiff requested to go to the hospital but Tassone told him he would be fine (Id. at 9). A steri-strip was placed on the cut on the top of his head (Doc. 95-6 at 3). The bleeding stopped and Plaintiff was taken back to his cell (Doc. 90 at 17). Later that evening, the bleeding started again, but eventually stopped bleeding the second time (Id.).

         The following day, Plaintiff was again taken to the infirmary and treated by a nurse (Doc. 90 at 10). Plaintiff complained of right-hand pain, as well as left jaw pain, however there were no signs of swelling (Doc. 95-6 at 4). Medical staff noted a 1½ inch laceration on the side of Plaintiff's head and gave Plaintiff Tylenol for the pain (Id.). Based on Plaintiff's complaints of hand pain and jaw pain, x-rays of Plaintiff's hand and head were ordered (Id.). The x-rays indicated there were no fractures (Id.). Plaintiff testified he still has a scar as a result of that cut on his head (Doc. 90 at 18).

         Legal ...

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