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Martin v. Stinson

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 2, 2020

FRANK MARTIN, Plaintiff,



         The matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 53) filed by Defendant Pappas and the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 56) filed by Defendant Stinson. Plaintiff timely filed responses (Docs. 63, 64). For the following reasons, Defendant Pappas' motion is GRANTED and Defendant Stinson's motion is DENIED.


         Plaintiff Frank Martin, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Following threshold review, Plaintiff proceeds on the following claims:

Count 1:Defendants Stinson and Pappas failed to protect Plaintiff from violence at the hands of inmate Gaines, in violation of the Eighth Amendment.

         Defendants filed motions for summary judgment arguing there is no evidence they had actual knowledge of an impending harm. Plaintiff contends he informed both Defendants of the harm posed by his cellmate.

         Findings of fact

         During all times relevant, Plaintiff was housed at Menard (Plaintiff's Deposition, Doc. 54-1 at 5). Plaintiff was transferred to Menard on January 6, 2016 (Doc. 56-2 at 1). On February 5, 2016, Plaintiff was placed in West 509 with a cellmate, Calvin Gaines (Id., Doc. 54-1 at 5). According to Plaintiff, when he moved into the cell, Gaines told him there were rules for the cell (Doc. 54-1 at 5). Gaines would become angry with Plaintiff if he did not clean the cell the right way (Id.). The two were celled together for approximately two and a half months (Doc. 56-2 at 1).

         Plaintiff testified during the time the two were housed together, Gaines' attitude worsened, and he grew angry (Doc. 54-1 at 6). Plaintiff sent a kite to the mental health department expressing confusion with his cell placement (Doc. 54-3 at 99). Melissa Pappas, a mental health professional, responded to Plaintiff's kite and set up a face-to-face meeting on February 18, 2006 (Id.). Plaintiff inquired about how he was placed with his cellmate and expressed frustration and unhappiness with his living situation (Id.). Pappas explained the placement protocol (Id.). She noted Plaintiff suffered from depression and scheduled a follow up within 30 days (Id.). The interaction lasted approximately five minutes (Id.).

         On March 14, 2016, Pappas met with Plaintiff a second time to discuss a treatment plan (Doc. 54-3 at 102). Plaintiff reported, “I am coping with my cellie. Well, I am trying to.” (Id.). Pappas discussed with Plaintiff coping skills to deal with frustration (Id., 54-4 at 2, 54-1 at 17). The interaction lasted approximately twelve minutes (Doc. 54-3 at 102). Pappas attested that at no time during the February 18, 2016 or March 14, 2016 interactions did Plaintiff indicate he was being threatened or feared for his safety (Doc. 54-4 at 2). Pappas further stated that if an offender came to her fearing for his safety from his cellmate, it is her regular practice to note specific threats in his records, contact internal affairs, and note that internal affairs has been contacted (Id.). Plaintiff's mental health records from February 18, 2016 and March 14, 2016 contain no documentation regarding threats from his cellmate (Doc. 54-3 at 99-102). Defendant Pappas had no other interaction with Plaintiff prior to the May 25, 2016 assault (Id.).

         Plaintiff testified during the two-month period they were housed together, Gaines increasingly threatened him approximately 40-50 times (Doc. 54-1 at 8). Gaines would threaten to “beat my ass, ” “take me out, ” and “make my life miserable” (Id. at 7). Plaintiff testified he complained to a number of correctional staff, including Internal Affairs Officer Bridges and Lieutenant Samuel (Id. at 7-8). Plaintiff also testified during one exchange, Gaines punched him in the face (Id. at 8). Plaintiff did not report the incident of being punched to anyone (Id. at 9).

         Plaintiff testified he spoke to Defendant Officer Stinson on one occasion in May 2016 about the issues he was having with Gaines (Doc. 54-1 at 11-12). He could not recall exactly when he spoke to Stinson (Id. at 11-13). Plaintiff told Stinson he felt threatened by Gaines and needed to be moved (Id. at 11-12, 14). The conversation took place when Plaintiff was in line coming back from chow and lasted approximately 30-45 seconds (Id.). Plaintiff testified regarding his conversation with Stinson, “I think I generalized what was going on in the cell. I didn't give any specific examples” (Id. at 14). Reo Stinson attested he does not recall every speaking with Plaintiff (Doc. 59).

         On May 25, 2016, Plaintiff was assaulted by Calvin Gaines (Doc. 54-1 at 15). Plaintiff had just returned from lunch and was getting ready to go down to the showers when Gaines told him he was not going to take a shower (Id.). Plaintiff replied that he was going to go to the showers and Gaines threw him into the wall, causing him to lose consciousness (Id.). The correctional officers that were unlocking cells three doors down responded and separated Gaines from Plaintiff (Id.). Plaintiff was taken to the health care unit bleeding and believes he suffered a concussion (Id. at 16).

         Plaintiff testified he never filed a grievance regarding his cell placement with Gaines (Doc. 54-1 at 13). According to Plaintiff's Cumulative Counseling Summary, he talked to his correctional counselor on February 22, 2016, March 16, 2016, March 25, 2016, April 6, 2016, and April 8, 2016, and made no complaints regarding his cell placement with Gaines (Id. at 19). Plaintiff testified that he did not tell his counselor about complaints with Gaines when he visited the cell because he did not want to say anything in front of Gaines (Id.). Plaintiff testified he ...

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