United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
C. Dickmeyer INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL
Elizabeth Fiorini INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL
Teresa Martin INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL
ENTRY GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
William T. Lawrence, Judge
Daniel Andress was incarcerated at the Wabash Valley
Correctional Facility (Wabash Valley) when his left leg
became tangled in computer wires under a table. When he
attempted to stand up, he fell and fractured his left leg.
The Court screened his complaint and determined that Mr.
Andress adequately stated a claim against the law librarian,
Karen Richards, pursuant to the Eighth Amendment and a state
law claim for negligence.
pending before the Court is the defendant's motion for
summary judgment filed on September 14, 2017. Dkt. No. 61.
defendant's motion argues that she was not deliberately
indifferent to a hazardous condition and that she is immune
from a claim of negligence under the Indiana Tort Claims Act.
Mr. Andress's response argues that the defendant is not
entitled to summary judgment. For the reasons set forth
below, the defendant's motion for summary judgment, Dkt.
No. 61, is granted.
Summary Judgment Standard
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. 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.”). “When a
motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported,
an opposing party may not rely merely on allegations or
denials in its own pleading; rather, its response must-by
affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule-set out
specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. If the
opposing party does not so respond, summary judgment should,
if appropriate, be entered against that party.”
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2). The nonmoving party bears
the burden of demonstrating that such a genuine issue of
material fact exists. Harney v. Speedway Super America,
LLC., 526 F.3d 1099, 1104 (7th Cir. 2008). 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).
Statement of Material Facts Not in
following statement of facts was evaluated pursuant to the
standard set forth above. That is, this statement of 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 most favorable to Mr.
Andress as the non-moving party with respect to the motion
for summary judgment. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing
Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).
Karen Richard has been employed by the Indiana Department of
Correction (IDOC) since 1994. She is currently employed as
Program Coordinator 3 at Wabash Valley. Dkt. No. 62-1, ¶
1. As Program Coordinator, one of her responsibilities
includes supervising the two law libraries at Wabash Valley.
Dkt. No. 62-1, ¶ 2.
Andress has had a prosthetic leg on his left side for
approximately 48 years. Dkt. No. 62-2, pp. 6-7. His
prosthetic leg gets caught on things more than his other leg
because he cannot feel anything in that foot. Generally, Mr.
Andress does not look at his feet before moving forward and
does not check his leg when standing up from a chair or desk
before walking. Dkt. No. 62-2, pp. 9-10.
are computers in the library at Wabash Valley. Mr. Andress
has been visiting the law library at Wabash Valley on and off
for years. Dkt. No. 77-1, p. 5. The computer cords are
located on the floor under the computer tables. Prior to the
incident described in the complaint, Mr. Andress's right
foot became hooked on a cord under the computer table in the
law library. Dkt. No. 62-2, pp. 12-13; Dkt. No. 77-1, p. 2.
He could feel the cord on his shoe but his foot did not
“get caught” and the cord was not “wrapped
around [his] shoe.” Dkt. No. 62-2, pp. 13, 15, 17. Mr.
Andress looked down at his feet to make sure that he had a
good foot hold before he pushed his chair back. Dkt. No.
62-2, pp. 31-32.
Andress informed Ms. Richard that this foot touched one of
the cords, and that “they need to be put up off the
floor . . . they need to be moved out of the way.” Dkt.
No. 62-2, pp. 14-15; Dkt. No. 77-1, p. 2. Ms. Richard was
aware that Mr. Andress had a prosthetic leg. Dkt. No. 77-1,
p. 31. At some point, Offender Adrian Jerrell's leg was
also tangled in the computer cords at the law library at
Wabash Valley. Dkt. No. 77-1, p. 22.
August 19, 2015, Mr. Andress arrived at the Wabash Valley law
library to use a computer. Dkt. No. 62-2, pp. 37-38. The
cords at his computer station were identical to the cords at
the computer station during the prior incident ...