United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, LaFayette Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. Miller, Jr. Judge United States District Court
Schwartz sued the defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
state laws after he was attacked by a fellow inmate at the
Benton County Jail. The defendants have moved for summary
judgment. For the following reasons, the court grants the
events in this case revolve around an altercation in the
Benton County Jail, a small facility with a capacity of 47
inmates and a typical inmate population of about 25. In the
early evening, Mr. Schwartz was playing cards in his pod, or
housing unit, with three other inmates, one of whom was
Matthew Shepard. Mr. Schwartz and Mr. Shepard disagreed about
whether another inmate ought to move into their pod. Mr.
Schwartz walked toward the door and hit the button on the
speaker to alert an officer that they were having a problem.
Mr. Shepard then attacked Mr. Schwartz from behind. Mr.
Schwartz covered the back of his head with his hands.
Rittenberry, the correction officer on duty, was in another
pod at the time. He heard yelling from Mr. Schwartz's
pod. Surveillance footage shows that Mr. Shepard's attack
lasted about 18 seconds, and that Deputy Rittenberry returned
to the control room and tried to speak with Mr. Schwartz
through the intercom system just over a minute after the
attack began. Deputy Rittenberry couldn't understand what
Mr. Schwartz was saying over the intercom, so he came to the
pod door and spoke with Mr. Schwartz through the door slot.
Deputy Rittenberry told Mr. Schwartz he couldn't enter
the pod because there wasn't a second officer on duty.
policy required two corrections officers to staff the jail at
all times and, to protect officers, prohibited officers from
entering a pod alone. It was customary for a single
corrections officer to staff the jail when a second was
unable to work. During this incident, Deputy
Rittenberry's partner was ill, so he was working alone.
Rittenberry returned to the control room, called dispatch for
assistance, and waited there. Surveillance footage shows that
Mr. Shepard continued to make threatening gestures at, but
did not attack, Mr. Schwartz while Deputy Rittenberry awaited
than a minute after calling dispatch, Sheriff's Deputy
Donald Munson arrived. Deputy Rittenberry and Deputy Munson
entered the pod and secured it. The footage indicates that 4
minutes and 40 seconds elapsed between the start of the
attack and Deputy Rittenberry and Deputy Munson securing the
Schwartz sued Deputy Rittenberry, in his individual and
official capacities; Ernest Winchester, Deputy
Rittenberry's supervisor, in his individual and official
capacities; Benton County, Indiana; and Boston Pritchett, in
his official capacity as Benton County Sheriff. Mr. Schwartz
claims, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that: (1) Deputy
Rittenberry's acted with deliberate indifference, in
violation of Mr. Schwartz's Fourteenth Amendment rights;
(2) Mr. Winchester is liable for Deputy Rittenberry's
actions as his supervisor; and (3) Benton County and the
Benton County Sheriff's Department had a policy or custom
that caused the constitutional violation. Mr. Schwartz also
asserts state law claims of: (1) negligence against all
defendants; (2) negligent infliction of emotional distress
against Deputy Rittenberry; and (3) intentional infliction of
emotional distress against Deputy Rittenberry. The defendants
have moved for summary judgment on all claims.
Standard of Review
judgment is appropriate when "the pleadings,
depositions, answers to the interrogatories, and admissions
on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that
there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A genuine issue of material
fact exists whenever "there is sufficient evidence
favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict
for that party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). In deciding whether a
genuine issue of material fact exists, "the evidence of
the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable
inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 255; Weigle v. SPX
Corp., 729 F.3d 724, 730 (7th Cir. 2013). The existence
of an alleged factual dispute, by itself, won't defeat a
summary judgment motion; "instead, the nonmovant must
present definite, competent evidence in rebuttal, "
Parent v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc., 694 F.3d 919, 922
(7th Cir. 2012), and "must affirmatively demonstrate, by
specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue
of material fact that requires trial." Hemsworth v.
Quotesmith.com, Inc., 476 F.3d 487, 490 (7th Cir. 2007);
see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2). "[S]ummary
judgment is not a dress rehearsal or practice run; it is the
put up or shut up moment in a lawsuit, when a party must show
what evidence it has that would convince a trier of fact to
accept its version of events." Steen v. Myers,
486 F.3d 1017, 1022 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting Hammel v.
Eau Galle Cheese Factory, 407 F.3d 852, 859 (7th Cir.
Claims Against Benton County
Schwartz's entire suit is based on the actions of Deputy
Rittenberry; the vicarious liability of his supervisor,
Commander Winchester; and the policies of Sheriff Pritchett.
The county "has no authority over the Sheriff and his
deputies, and therefore cannot be blamed for any deficiency
in the training or supervision of the defendant deputy
sheriffs that may have been responsible." Estate of
Drayton v. Nelson, 53 F.3d 165, 167-168 (7th Cir. 1994).
Nor can the county can be vicariously liable for the actions
of any of these parties. Monell v. Dep't of Social
Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978). Mr. ...