United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. ROWLAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Maximino Roman Castañeda, currently an Illinois state
prisoner, brings this pro se civil rights action
purportedly pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff
claims that Defendant Thomas Dart, the Sheriff of Cook
County, violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights by
denying him access to the courts when he was a pretrial
detainee because the jail's divisional law libraries had
no books in Spanish. Currently before the Court is
Defendant's motion for summary judgment [R. 70].
Plaintiff's motion “to support the demand against
Thomas Dart” [R. 81] is granted, but for the reasons
discussed in this order, the Court grants Defendant's
motion for summary judgment.
Plaintiff's Pro Se Status
Plaintiff's professed language barrier, pro bono
counsel was recruited to represent him in the early stages of
this lawsuit. See R. 4, Order of May 30, 20178
(Pallmeyer, J.). However, the Court permitted counsel to
withdraw based on his assertion that, after thoroughly
investigating the matter, he was unable to litigate
Plaintiff's claims consistent with his professional
obligations under Fed.R.Civ.P. 11. (R., 10, Order of August
8, 2018 (Pallmeyer, J.). Consequently, Plaintiff has pursued
this lawsuit without the assistance of counsel. Having
reviewed the summary judgment record, the Court is satisfied
that pro bono representation would not have altered
the outcome of this case.
Legal Standards on a Motion for Summary Judgment
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Hanover Ins. Co. v. Northern Bldg.
Co., 751 F.3d 788, 791 (7th Cir. 2014). In determining
whether factual issues exist, the Court must view all the
evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Weber v. Univ.
Research Assoc., Inc., 621 F.3d 589, 592 (7th Cir.
2010). The Court does not “judge the credibility of the
witnesses, evaluate the weight of the evidence, or determine
the truth of the matter. The only question is whether there
is a genuine issue of fact.” Gonzalez v. City of
Elgin, 578 F.3d 526, 529 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 249-50
survive summary judgment, the nonmoving party must make a
sufficient showing of evidence for each essential element of
his case on which he bears the burden at trial. Blow v.
Bijora, Inc., 855 F.3d 793, 797-98 (7th Cir. 2017)
(citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23). “Where
the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier
of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine
issue for trial.” Blythe Holdings, Inc. v.
DeAngelis, 750 F.3d 653, 656 (7th Cir. 2014) (citations
omitted). “A genuine issue of material fact arises only
if sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party exists to
permit a jury to return a verdict for that party.”
Johnson v. Manitowoc Cty., 635 F.3d 331, 334 (7th
Cir. 2011) (quoting Faas v. Sears, Roebuck &
Co., 532 F.3d 633, 640-41 (7th Cir. 2008)).
Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1
Rule 56.1 (N.D. Ill.) governs the procedures for filing and
responding to motions for summary judgment in this judicial
district. “Under the Local Rules of the Northern
District of Illinois, a party filing a motion for summary
judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 must serve and file ‘a
statement of material facts as to which the moving party
contends there is no genuine issue and that entitle the
moving party to a judgment as a matter of law.'”
Judson Atkinson Candies, Inc. v. Latini-Hohberger
Dhimantec, 529 F.3d 371, 382 (7th Cir. 2008) (citation
omitted). The opposing party must then file “‘a
response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's
statement, including, in the case of any disagreement,
specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record,
and other supporting materials relied upon.'”
Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th
Cir. 2009) (citing N.D.Ill. R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)); Fabiyi v.
McDonald's Corp., No. 11 CV 8085, 2014 WL 985415, at
*1 (N.D. Ill. Mar. 13, 2014) (aff'd 595
Fed.Appx. 621 (7th Cir. 2014)). The opposing party may also
present a separate statement of additional facts that require
the denial of summary judgment. See Ciomber v. Coop.
Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008).
party fails to respond to a L.R. 56.1 statement of
uncontested facts, then those facts are deemed admitted to
the extent they are supported by the evidence in the record.
Keeton v. Morningstar, Inc., 667 F.3d 877, 880 (7th
Cir. 2012); Parra v. Neal, 614 F.3d 635, 636 (7th
Cir. 2010); L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C) (N.D. Ill.) (“All
material facts set forth in the statement required of the
moving party will be deemed to be admitted unless
controverted by the statement of the opposing party.”).
A plaintiff's pro se status does not excuse him
from complying with these rules. Morrow v. Donahoe,
564 Fed.Appx. 859, 860 (7th Cir. 2014) (unpublished opinion)
(citing Pearle Vision, Inc. v. Romm, 541 F.3d 751,
758 (7th Cir. 2008) (inter alia)).
a non-movant's failure to respond to a summary judgment
motion, or failure to comply with L.R. 56.1, does not
automatically result in judgment for the movant.
Keeton, 667 F.3d at 884; Love v. Rockford
Illinois Mun. Police Dep't, No. 08 CV 50254, 2013 WL
159246, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 15, 2013). The movant must
still demonstrate that it is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Keeton, 667 F.3d at 884; Love, 2013
WL 159246, at *1. And the Court still views all the facts
asserted by the moving party in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party, drawing all reasonable inferences in
the non-movant's favor. Keeton, 667 F.3d at 884;
Love, 2013 WL 159246, at *1.
with the Local Rules, Defendant filed a Statement of Material
Facts along with his motion for summary judgment. (R. 72,
Defendant's Local Rule 56.1(a) Statement.) Each
substantive assertion of fact in Defendant's Local Rule
56.1(a)(3) Statement is supported by evidentiary material in
the record. Also in accordance with the Local Rules,
Defendant filed and served on Plaintiff a Local Rule 56.2
Notice, which explained in detail the requirements of Local
Rule 56.1. (R. 74, “Defendant's Local Rule 56.2
Notice to Pro Se Plaintiff.”) The notice
warned Plaintiff that a party's failure to controvert the
facts as set forth in the moving party's statement
results in those facts being deemed admitted. See also
Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d
962, 965 (7th Cir. 2013); Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d
680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003). In addition, pursuant to the
Court's directive, the Clerk specifically mailed
Plaintiff a copy of Local Rule 56.2. See R. 66,
Minute Entry of August 13, 2019 (Pallmeyer, J.).
those admonitions, Plaintiff did not file a formal response
to Defendant's Statement of Facts or attempt to provide a
statement of additional facts. See Local Rule
56.1(b)(3). Rather, he largely devotes his relatively cursory
motion in support of his claims to attacking the trial court
and Public Defender's handling of his state criminal
prosecution. Those few facts that Plaintiff does include in
his motion lack proper citations to the evidentiary record.
See, e.g., Almy v. Kickert Sch. Bus Line, Inc., No.
08 CV 2902, 2013 WL 80367, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 7, 2013)
(“[C]ourts are not required to ‘wade through
improper denials and legal arguments in search of a genuinely
disputed fact'”) (citation omitted).
because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court
has interpreted his response generously and has construed the
additional facts as favorably as the record and Local Rule
56.1 permit. See Thomas v. Williams, 822 F.3d 378,
385 (7th Cir. 2016). The Court has also taken into account
Plaintiff's unsupported factual assertions to the extent
that he could properly testify about the factual matters
asserted. See Hanners v. Trent, 674 F.3d 683, 691
(7th Cir. 2012); Sistrunk v. Khan, 931 F.Supp.2d
849, 854 (N.D. Ill. 2013); Fed.R.Evid. 602, 701, 702. In
addition, the Court has considered Plaintiff's documents
captioned “More Evidence” (R. 84, 85) even though
he did not seek the Court's leave to file a surreply.
said, the parties' respective versions of the events
underlying this action diverge only slightly. The Court notes
the single discrepancy below, and has otherwise incorporated
Plaintiff's additional facts into this opinion. The Court
finds that the following facts, all supported by the record,
are undisputed for purposes of the summary judgment motion:
Maximino Roman Castañeda, currently an Illinois state
prisoner, was a pretrial detainee at the Cook County Jail at
all times relevant to this action. (R. 72, Defendant's
Local Rule 56.1(a) Statement of Material Facts, ¶¶
1, 2.) Defendant Thomas Dart is the Sheriff of Cook County.
(Id., ¶ 3.)
was born in Mexico. (Id., ¶ 4.) He completed a
high school education in Mexico. (Id., ¶ 13.)
February 2013, Plaintiff was booked into the Cook County Jail
pending disposition of state criminal proceedings,
(Id., ¶¶ 7, 8.) Plaintiff spent time in
housing divisions 1, 9, 10, and 11, while incarcerated at the
jail. (Id., ¶ 9.)
trial court originally assigned Assistant Public Defender
Monica Mapp (who is not a Defendant in this action) to
represent Plaintiff in his criminal case. (Id.,
¶ 10.) In August 2015, Plaintiff advised the trial court
that he wanted a different public defender because he did not
believe that Ms. Mapp was providing effective representation.
(Id., ¶ 11.) Plaintiff and his attorney
apparently disagreed over trial strategy-specifically,
whether and how best to seek suppression of his confession to
police. (R. 81, Plaintiff's Motion in Opposition to
Summary Judgment, at p. 1.) The trial court denied
Plaintiff's request for a new attorney. (Deft's SOF,
September 2015, Plaintiff once again requested new counsel.
(Id., ¶ 12.) The court denied Plaintiff's
renewed request for another lawyer, admonishing him that he
was not entitled to a public defender of his choosing.
(Id.) The court also assured Plaintiff that Ms. Mapp
was well-qualified to represent his interests. (Id.)
The court did, however, grant Plaintiff's alternate
request to represent himself. (Id., ¶ 14.)
Accordingly, the trial court allowed Plaintiff's public
defender to withdraw from the case. (Id., ¶
hearing in December 2015, the court offered to appoint
Plaintiff another public defender because Ms. Mapp had been
promoted to a new position within the Public Defender's
Office. (Id., ¶ 16.) Plaintiff accepted the
assignment of new counsel. (Id., ¶ 17.)
Therefore, the court re-appointed the Public Defender's
Office. (Id., ¶ 19.) Plaintiff also spoke to a
supervisor in the Public Defender's Office that day.
(Id., ¶ 18.) Plaintiff's new,
court-appointed attorney (non-Defendant Deirdre McGuire)
entered an appearance on Plaintiff's behalf in January
2016. (Id., ¶ 20.)
August 2016, Plaintiff asked for new counsel again,
explaining that he was having a disagreement with Ms.
McGuire, and that he was dissatisfied with her performance.
(Id., ¶ 21.) The trial court gave Plaintiff the
option of ...