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Carter v. Marion County Sheriff's Office

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

July 2, 2018




         Plaintiff Antwion Carter filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law alleging that he was assaulted while he was confined at the Marion County Jail (the Jail) and that the defendants failed to protect him from this assault. Carter brings constitutional claims against Deputy Eric Taylor and Sergeant Richard Brown. He also sues Taylor, Brown, and the Marion County Sheriff's Office (MCSO)[1] for state law negligence. Carter also sues the inmate who assaulted him. The parties seek summary judgment on Carter's claims against the MCSO, Taylor, and Brown. For the following reasons, the defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted and Carter's motion for summary judgment is denied.

         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).

         Carter has filed a cross-motion for summary judgment, but that motion simply states “the designated evidence establishes there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the Plaintiff is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Dkt. 57. Further, Carter did not file a response to the motion for summary judgment. Carter therefore has not presented evidence to dispute the evidence presented by the defendants.[2] Accordingly, the facts alleged in the defendants' motion are deemed admitted so long as support for them exists in the record. See Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) (“[F]ailure to respond by the nonmovant as mandated by the local rules results in an admission”); Brasic v. Heinemanns, Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 285-286 (7th Cir. 1997) (affirming grant of summary judgment where the nonmovant failed to properly offer evidence disputing the movant's version of the facts); see S.D. Ind. Local Rule 56-1 (“A party opposing a summary judgment motion must . . . file and serve a response brief and any evidence . . . that the party relies on to oppose the motion. The response must . . . identif[y] the potentially determinative facts and factual disputes that the party contends demonstrate a dispute of fact precluding summary judgment.”). This does not alter the summary judgment standard, but it does “reduce the pool” from which facts and inferences relative to the motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997).

         II. Facts

         A. The Assault on Carter

         At the time of the incident at issue in this case, Carter was an inmate at the Jail. He was being held in the Disciplinary Lockdown Segregation unit, known as “deadlock.” Inmates on deadlock are confined to individual cells and are held separately from inmates in general population. On deadlock, only one inmate is permitted to be outside his or her cell at any given time and inmates receive only one hour per day outside of their cells to shower or for strict recreational purposes. More than one inmate should never be out of his cell at a time. There are ten cells in the deadlock section.

         When Carter was placed in deadlock, his cell was next to Hardister's cell. Carter testified at his deposition that he and Hardister did not previously know each other and that from the time Carter was reclassified to deadlock on March 19, 2014, to the time the incident occurred on March 23, 2014, Hardister and Carter never spoke to each other. Hardister didn't talk to anyone. Carter witnessed Hardister spit and masturbate when Carter was in deadlock.

         In the morning of March 23, 2014. Hardister entered Carter's cell and started rummaging through his commissary items. Carter was asleep in his cell at the time and did not hear Hardister enter. Carter believes that Hardister entered his cell because his cell door was opened by a guard and Hardister was not yet back in his cell. Carter believes the deputies made a mistake and were negligent in performing their duties.

         Carter woke when he heard Hardister rustling through his commissary bag. Once Carter awoke, and Hardister realized it, Hardister punched Carter in the face a number of times. Carter then left his cell and went to press the call button for assistance, but the call button was not working. Hardister tried to pursue Carter after Carter left his cell. Carter used a mop wringer to defend himself while he yelled for help. Hardister then went and hid in the shower. After “some minutes” two Jail deputies came to Carter's assistance.

         The deputies found and placed Hardister back in his cell. After that, Carter received attention from the medical staff. Carter had a bloody nose and head pain. The medical staff provided Carter two days' worth of ibuprofen for pain. A sergeant was present while the medical staff evaluated Carter. Carter does not know who the sergeant was or if it was Sergeant Brown.

         Before the incident, Carter stated that he told an unidentified “officer” he was “having problems” with Hardister. Carter contends that the deputies failed to protect him from other inmates because they did not ensure that Hardister was back in his cell before they opened the door to Carter's cell. After the incident, Carter informed the deputies that Hardister attacked and threatened him. After the incident, Carter informed Taylor about the incident and requested medical attention. Taylor created an entry in OMS to document the incident. After Taylor created the OMS entry documenting the incident, he told Brown about it.

         B. Reporting of Safety ...

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