United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTHEW F. KENNELLY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Scaife, who at the relevant time was incarcerated at the
DeKalb County Jail, filed a pro se lawsuit against
correctional officers Naomi Faivre and Shane Davis, alleging
they used excessive force against him while extracting him
from his cell on May 4, 2017. Counsel was appointed to
represent Scaife. The Court thanks appointed counsel, Richard
Dvorak of Dvorak Law Offices, LLC, and Rebecca McCorkle, a
7-11 licensed student at the Northern Illinois University
Zeke Giorgio Legal Clinic, for their diligent work on
defendants have moved for summary judgment. For the reasons
stated below, the Court grants defendants' motion.
was a pretrial detainee at the DeKalb jail at the time of the
incident, and Faivre and Davis were working as correctional
officers. Davis told Scaife that he was being transferred to
the Kendall County Jail due to overcrowding. (Scaife notes
that the top bunk in his cell was empty at the time.) Scaife
did not want to move; among other reasons, he had an enemy at
the Kendall County Jail and feared for his safety there. The
relocation would also made it harder for his family to visit
him. Scaife told the officers that he did not want to be
transferred, but they told him he had to move. To be clear,
there is no evidence that Faivre or Davis had anything to do
with the decision to transfer Scaife; rather they were
carrying out orders.
decided to resist transfer. He took off his
clothes-ostensibly to show he had no weapons-and he sat down
on the floor of his cell and wrapped his arms and legs around
the bars of his cell door. Scaife also wrapped his shirt
around his head and face, anticipating that the officers
might use pepper spray.
reasonable jury could find that the officers did not make any
effort, or any appreciable effort, to verbally convince
Scaife to leave his cell. That said, Scaife does not deny
that he was resisting transfer or that this was apparent to
Davis and Faivre from his actions.
pried at Scaife's fingers to loosen them from the bars
and also kicked Scaife's shins and feet. When this was
unsuccessful, Davis pulled the shirt off Scaife's face
and stepped aside. Faivre then approached. She initially
intended to use a taser on Scaife but opted not to do so.
Instead, she sprayed pepper spray toward Scaife's face.
But Scaife had his head pointed downward to avoid being
sprayed in the face, so the spray hit only his forehead. At
this point, Scaife says, Faivre deliberately sprayed the
pepper spray onto his genitals. Scaife says that this was
painful and that he screamed out. But he still did not
release his arms or legs from the cell bars.
then approached again and pried Scaife's fingers from the
cell bars and started kicking Scaife's feet or legs
again. The officers got the cell door open slightly, but
Scaife was then able to thwart them by getting his arm back
through the bars. After further use of force, the officers
were able to enter the cell. They handcuffed Scaife and
removed him from the cell gave him pants to wear, and removed
him from the cell. Scaife says he had pain in his hands,
arms, and legs as well as a burning sensation on his
genitalia and forehead.
next day, May 5, a nurse examined Scaife and cleared him for
transfer to the Kendall County Jail. The nurse's notes do
not reflect any residual effects from the pepper spray.
Scaife was also assessed by a mental health counselor, who
reported that he said he was fine and was not in any crisis.
About two weeks later, at the Kendall County Jail,
Scaife's hand was x-rayed based on his complaint to a
nurse that he had damage to his arms from the cell
extraction; the x-ray showed no dislocation or fracture.
Notes from examinations by a nurse on May 17 and by a
physician on June 28 make no reference to any complaint by
Scaife about any injury or harm to his penis. Medical records
reflect a complaint of a penile itch in January 2018, but
that was eight months after the incident. He was prescribed
an anti-fungal cream. Scaife says, however, that he has
experienced discoloration and desensitization. He also
contends that he has nerve damage in his hand, though there
is no medical evidence to support this.
Court assumes for purposes of discussion that the officers
did not try to talk Scaife out of his cell; Davis
deliberately kicked and hit Scaife's hands and feet;
under Sheriff's department procedure, Faivre was supposed
to get approval from her sergeant before using pepper spray,
but she did not; Faivre deliberately sprayed pepper spray
onto Scaife's genitals despite knowing that this was
contrary to department procedure; and that Scaife suffered
some injuries, albeit relatively minor ones.
indicated, the defendants have moved for summary judgment. In
considering the motion, the Court views the evidence in the
light most favorable to Scaife and draws reasonable
inferences in his favor. See, e.g., Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Martin v.
Marinez, 934 F.3d 594, 597-98 (7th Cir. 2019). Summary
judgment is appropriate when there are no genuine disputes of
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
Scaife was a pretrial detainee at the time of the incident,
his excessive force claim arises under the Fourteenth
Amendment's Due Process Clause. Kingsley v.
Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2472 (2015). Under that
provision, assuming force was knowingly used (which it was),
the issue is whether the force was objectively unreasonable.
Id. at 2473. The determination must be made from the
perspective of a reasonable officer on the scene knowing what
the officer knew at the time, not with hindsight.
Id. And there must be appropriate deference to