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Dale v. Agresta

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

November 16, 2017

JEREMY L. DALE, Plaintiff,



         Plaintiff Jeremy Dale (“Mr. Dale”), an Indiana prisoner incarcerated at the Indiana State Prison (“ISP”), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the defendant Anthony Agresta was deliberately indifferent to his safety in violation of the Eighth Amendment by failing to restrain him while being transported in a police vehicle. He also alleges that Sheriff John Layton and the Marion County Sheriff's Department have a policy or practice of not restraining inmates while they are being transported and that this policy places inmates in danger in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Mr. Dale also alleges that Anthony Agresta was deliberately indifferent to the injuries he sustained in a car accident by failing to provide him with medical attention in violation of the Eighth Amendment.[1] The parties have all moved for summary judgment.[2] For the following reasons, Mr. Dale's motions for summary judgment, dkt. [136, 142], are denied and the defendants' motion for summary judgment, dkt. [162], is granted.

         I. Summary Judgment Standard

         Federal 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., 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. 2001).

         “The existence of cross-motions for summary judgment does not, however, imply that there are no genuine issues of material fact.” R.J. Corman Derailment Servs., LLC v. Int'l Union of Operating Engineers, 335 F.3d 643, 647 (7th Cir. 2003). Cross-motions for summary judgment are treated separately. McKinney v. Cadleway Properties, Inc., 548 F.3d 496, 504 n. 4 (7th Cir. 2008). When cross-motions for summary judgment are filed, courts “look to the burden of proof that each party would bear on an issue of trial; [courts] then require that party to go beyond the pleadings and affirmatively to establish a genuine issue of material fact.” Santaella v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 123 F.3d 456, 461 (7th Cir. 1997).

         II. Undisputed Facts

         The following facts are undisputed for purposes of summary judgment:[3]

Mr. Dale has been incarcerated since 2003. He is currently incarcerated at the ISP in Michigan City, Indiana. On April 30, 2013, he was in Indianapolis seeking post-conviction relief. Dkt. [163]-1, p. 4. That day, Mr. Dale was to be transported back to the ISP He was in ankle restraints and handcuffs. He had a shackle chain and black box around his waist. The handcuffs and ankle restraints were connected to the black box at his waist. He was loaded into a Marion County Sheriff Office (“MCSO”) transport vehicle but was not placed in seatbelts or otherwise restrained. A female inmate was also being transported in the same van with Mr. Dale. Dkt. [163]- 1, p. 5. The transport vehicle was a Ford E-350 passenger van. Dkt. [163]-2, p. 17. Deputy Anthony Agresta was driving the transport van. Deputy William Ellis was riding in the passenger seat.
At approximately 8:45 a.m., the transport van was stopped at a red light at the intersection of New York Street and Pine Street in Indianapolis. The transport van was struck from behind by a second vehicle. Mr. Dale states that immediately following the collision, he was tossed around and saw stars. He was thrown into a cage that separated him from the door, and ended up crunched up on the floor. He hit a portion of the cage separating him from the other passenger. He then felt pain shoot down his back, leg, and groin area. Because of the hand cuffs and waist chain, Mr. Dale was not able to use his arms to protect himself. Dkt. 163-1, pp. 7-9. After the van was struck, Deputy Agresta immediately placed the van in park and activated his emergency lights. Dkt. 163-2. He exited the van and checked on the passengers. Deputy Agresta asked Mr. Dale if he was injured. Dkt. 163-1, p. 13. Mr. Dale complained that his neck, back, leg and groin hurt because he hit the metal cage. Dkt. 163-1, p. 14.
Deputy Agresta radioed dispatch to inform them that he had been involved in an accident and requested an accident report. Deputy Ellis radioed Lieutenant Steve Keithley, who arrived on the scene with Deputy Steve Crawley. Dkt. 163-2, p. 5.
After the collision, Deputy Agresta's supervisor, Sgt. Schuyler Atkins, arrived on the scene and completed a Supervisor's Vehicle Crash and Damage Report. When preparing this report, Sgt. Atkins spoke with the driver of the vehicle that struck the van, Amanda Wuestefeld. Wuestefeld claimed that she was traveling at the estimated speed of 2 mph when her vehicle struck the van. She stated that she accelerated when she saw traffic in the next lane move forward before she realized the transport van had not yet accelerated. Dkt. 163-2, p. 5.
Sgt. Atkins also spoke to Mr. Dale and noted he complained of pain in his upper torso. Dkt. 163-2. An Indianapolis Fire Department medic was dispatched to the scene, but Lt. Keithley disregarded the medic and instructed Deputy Crawley to transport Mr. Dale to the Jail to be evaluated by medical personnel. Dkt. 163-2, p. 5.
Deputy Agresta and another officer removed Mr. Dale from the transport van and carried him to a patrol car. Dkt. 163-1, pp. 10, 13, 16. Mr. Dale was transported back to the Jail. Dkt. 163-1, p. 16.
Mr. Dale was taken directly to be seen by medical personnel when he arrived at the Jail. After being examined by medical personnel at the Jail, Mr. Dale was transported to Wishard Hospital by a transport vehicle. Dkt. 163-1, p. 16. This transport vehicle had safety belts. Mr. Dale estimates that he was transported ...

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