United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
JAMES J. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
G.E.O. and R. Prus, Defendants.
ENTRY ON PARTIES' CROSS MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Defendants G.E.O and R.
Prus' (collectively referred to as “the
Defendants”) Motion for Summary Judgment. Also before
the Court is Plaintiff James Johnson's
(“Johnson”), cross Motion for Summary Judgment
and a Motion to Freeze R. Prus Estate, dkt. . Johnson, an
inmate at the New Castle Correctional Facility
(“NCCF”), filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, alleging that his rights were violated when he
was touched inappropriately during a search and that he was
retaliated against when he complained about these actions.
For the following reasons, the Defendants' motion for
summary judgment, dkt. , is granted in part and
denied in part and Johnson's motion for summary
judgment, dkt. , is denied.
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that summary judgment
should be granted when the evidence shows that “there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322-323 (1986). The purpose of summary judgment is
to “pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in
order to see whether there is a genuine need for
trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Disputes
concerning material facts are genuine where the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In deciding whether genuine issues
of material fact exist, the court construes all facts in a
light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draws all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.
See Id. at 255. However, neither the “mere
existence of some alleged factual dispute between the
parties, ” id., 477 U.S. at 247, nor the
existence of “some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts, ” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586,
will defeat a motion for summary judgment. Michas v.
Health Cost Controls of Ill., Inc., 209 F.3d 687, 692
(7th Cir. 2000).
often confront cross motions for summary judgment because
Rules 56(a) and (b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
allow both plaintiffs and defendants to move for such relief.
In such situations, courts must consider each party's
motion individually to determine if that party has satisfied
the summary judgment standard. Kohl v. Ass'n. of
Trial Lawyers of Am., 183 F.R.D. 475 (D. Md. 1998).
Thus, in determining whether genuine and material factual
disputes exist in this case, the Court has considered the
parties' respective motions and the exhibits attached
thereto, and has construed all facts and drawn all reasonable
inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the
respective nonmovant. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 574.
following statement of undisputed material facts is not
necessarily objectively true, but as the summary judgment
standard requires, the undisputed facts and the disputed
evidence are presented in the light reasonably most favorable
to the non-moving party with respect to the motion for
summary judgment. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing
Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).
Group, Inc. (“GEO”) is a Florida-based company
that specializes in privatized corrections and is the
correctional administrator of NCCF. Johnson is an offender
housed by the IDOC at NCCF. At the time of the allegations in
the complaint, he worked in the kitchen. Robert Prus
(“Officer Prus”) is a correctional officer
employed by GEO who has worked in the kitchen of the NCCF
Prus receives training each year on the proper methods of
searching offenders and conducts searches of all offender
employees of the kitchen before permitting them to leave the
kitchen so as to thwart theft. On July 14, 2015, Officer Prus
conducted a pat-down search of Johnson. Following the
pat-down search, Johnson made a report that Officer Prus
squeezed his testicle during the search. A formal Prison Rape
Elimination Act (“PREA”) investigation,
coordinated by Compliance Administrator Jacob Pruis, was
initiated on August 18, 2015. During the investigation, there
was put in place a no-contact order between Officer Prus and
Johnson. Compliance Administrator Pruis met with Johnson on a
weekly basis. The investigation lasted until December 3,
2015, when it was concluded with an unsubstantiated finding.
Before Johnson filed a PREA claim against Johnson, there had
not been any previous PREA complaints against Officer Prus.
In addition, Officer Prus had received no prior disciplinary
actions taken against him for matters related to contact or
interaction with offenders housed at NCCF.
16, 2015, Officer Prus filed a disciplinary write up for
lying to staff against Johnson. Because of this write up,
Johnson lost six months of earned credit time. On July 29,
2015, before the PREA investigation began, Officer Prus
sought a reclassification for Johnson and removal from his
kitchen job, for an alleged theft. The approval and
reclassification to idle status was granted by persons other
than Officer Prus.
and the defendants have each moved for summary judgment on
Johnson's claims, including his claim that Officer Prus
violated his rights in the course of the search, his claim
that Officer Prus retaliated against him, and his claim that
GEO maintained a policy that resulted in the violation of his
Prus moves for summary judgment arguing that the search did
not violate Johnson's rights, while Johnson argues that
Officer Prus did violate his Eighth Amendment rights during
the search. “The Eighth Amendment prohibits punishments
which involve the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain,
are grossly disproportionate to the severity of the crime for
which an inmate was imprisoned, or are totally without
penological justification.” Whitman v. Nesic,
368 F.3d 931, 934 (7th Cir. 2004), as amended (June
4, 2004) (citing Meriwether v. Faulkner, 821 F.2d
408, 415 (7th Cir. 1987)). In the context of bodily searches,
only those searches that ...