United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE.
Robert Michael Martin, an inmate at the New Castle
Correctional Facility, brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that while he was a pretrial
detainee at the Hamilton County Jail (the Jail), defendant
Jail Officials Lt. Benson, Sgt. Hoggard, Sgt. Lacey, Officer
Carroll, and Officer Scherer failed to protect him from being
assaulted by his cellmate in violation of his civil rights.
Martin also asserts a state law negligence claim based on
these allegations. The defendants have moved for summary
judgment and the plaintiff has responded. For the following
reasons, the motion for summary judgment [dkt 48] is
granted in part and denied in part.
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment
is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” In ruling on
a motion for summary judgment, the admissible evidence
presented by the non-moving party must be believed and all
reasonable inferences must be drawn in the non-movant's
favor. Hemsworth v. Quotesmith.com, Inc., 476 F.3d
487, 490 (7th Cir. 2007); Zerante v. DeLuca, 555
F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (“We view the record in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor.”).
However, “[a] party who bears the burden of proof on a
particular issue may not rest on its pleadings, but must
affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations,
that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires
trial.” Hemsworth, 476 F.3d at 490. Finally,
the non-moving party bears the burden of specifically
identifying the relevant evidence of record, and “the
court is not required to scour the record in search of
evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment.”
Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir.
claims center on his booking and classification at the Jail,
his expressed fear that he was at risk of assault because of
the charges against him, the classification of his cellmate
and assailant Shawn Williams, and the alleged actions and
inactions of the defendants in monitoring his cell at the
time of the assault.
Martin's Booking into the Jail
was booked into the Jail on or about September 14, 2013,
after being charged with rape. When an inmate is booked, the
Jail uses a computer generated classification questionnaire
to determine whether an inmate will be classified as minimum,
medium, or maximum. The goal of the classification system is
to provide for the safety and protection of all Jail
detainees and inmates by “housing like kind offenders
together to the extent possible.” To complete the
classification questionnaire, information relating to a
detainee's criminal history is obtained from a national
database and a state database, as well as from a fingerprint
return. Questions are also answered regarding whether there
are any holds for the inmate, the inmate's disciplinary
history (with the focus being on when given incidents
occurred, whether a pattern exists, and whether the inmate
was sanctioned) and the inmate's residency. After the
initial classification is completed, the initial
classification determination is reviewed as soon as possible.
Because he was booked on a B felony rape charge, Martin was
classified as “high medium.”
Martin's Placement in and Removal from Protective
after he was booked into the Jail, Martin was placed in
protective custody after he mistakenly told one of his
cellmates (inmate Kercsmer) that he was accused of a sex
crime, the cellmate provided this information to multiple
other inmates, and Martin was allegedly threatened by other
inmates while he was in the Jail's day room. Martin was
placed in protective custody because he believed he was in
danger due to his having told Kercsmer about his being
charged with a sex crime.
September 20, 2013, Martin was removed from protective
custody by defendant Sgt. Debra Hoggard. The parties dispute
whether Martin requested to be removed from protective
custody. The defendants assert that inmates are removed from
protective custody only upon request while Martin states that
he was taken out of protective custody “under
duress.” Martin does not elaborate on the meaning of
“under duress, ” except to that he “felt
unsafe being in the general population.” Martin also
states that when he was removed from protective custody, Sgt.
Hoggard told him to “lie about [his] charges or learn
to fight.” This is the only alleged interaction between
Sgt. Hoggard and Martin.
he was removed from protective custody, Martin was moved from
cell block D to cell C-3 in cell block C.
Martin's Fear of Assault
parties dispute whether Martin expressed his fear of assault
to the defendants. According to Martin, before he was
assaulted on October 2, 2013, he spoke with Sgt. Lacey and
informed her that “he was in fear of being attacked by
the next person the Jail put in the cell with him.”
Martin told Sgt. Lacey that problems would be prevented if
she would move inmate Ronnie Lemon, who had similar charges
pending against him and was Martin's friend, into
Martin's cell. Sgt. Lacey responded by telling him that
he would deal with whoever she put in his cell, that the Jail
cannot move friends in together, and that he should not be a
cry baby and should grow up. Sgt. Lacey asserts that she does
not remember any interactions with Martin.
The Placement of Williams with Martin and the
October 2, 2013, Shawn Williams entered the Jail on a
Community Corrections hold related to a non-violent D felony
auto case. Book-In Sergeant Stinson classified Williams as
high medium because he had a prior charge involving violence.
Williams did not have any other holds and the disciplinary
history information which was then available to Sgt. Stinson
on the Jail's computer system did not show that Williams
had been sanctioned by the Disciplinary Hearing Board for a
violent offense. While the computer records did not reflect
it, Williams did have a previous history of violence at the
Jail. Approximately four years before the incidents in this
case, Williams was involved in three fights at the Jail.
Although the incident reports indicate that Williams and
other inmates were sent to the Disciplinary Hearing Board
following these 2009 incidents, the reports do not indicate
what if any findings were made.
night Williams entered the Jail, between 8:30 p.m. and 9:00
p.m., Sgt. Lacey placed Williams in Martin's cell. Sgt.
Lacey was not familiar with Martin or Williams before the
assault. She did not know the charges pending against Martin
and she does not recall any conversations she may have had
with Williams or with the other officers about Martin before
the assault. She also does not recall taking any action that
involved placing Williams and Martin together in a cell, and
she was not aware of Williams having previously been involved
in a violent incident prior to his assault of Martin.
The Assault on Martin
Williams entered Martin's cell, the two introduced
themselves and “there was no problem” until
around 12:30 to 1:00 a.m. when Williams covered the two-way
call box in their cell with deodorant stickers and covered
the cell door window with toilet paper. Approximately ten
minutes later, Williams climbed up onto his top bunk and
began a conversation ...