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Hayes v. Berry

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

July 3, 2018

BERRY Sergeant, CHAIFIN Captain, Defendants.



         Plaintiff Gregory Hayes brought this civil rights actions pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on an alleged attack he suffered at the hands of another inmate and the alleged loss and destruction of his property while he was incarcerated at Putnamville Correctional Facility (“Putnamville”). His claims against Officers Laloux and Bolt regarding the loss and destruction of his property were severed into a separate civil action. See Dkt. No. 8. What remain in this action are Mr. Hayes's Eighth Amendment failure to protect claims against Sergeant Berry and Captain Chalfin. Presently pending before the Court is defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, the motion for summary judgment, Dkt. No. 27, is granted.

         I. Summary Judgment Legal Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). A “material fact” is one that “might affect the outcome of the suit.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). To survive a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must set forth specific, admissible evidence showing that there is a material issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The court views the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Darst v. Interstate Brands Corp., 512 F.3d 903, 907 (7th Cir. 2008). It cannot weigh evidence or make credibility determinations on summary judgment because those tasks are left to the fact-finder. O'Leary v. Accretive Health, Inc., 657 F.3d 625, 630 (7th Cir. 2011).

         A dispute about a material fact is genuine only “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. If no reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, then there is no “genuine” dispute. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).

         Mr. Hayes failed to respond to the defendants' motion for summary judgment, and the deadline for doing so has long passed. The consequence is that Mr. Hayes has conceded the defendants' version of the events. 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.”); 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.”). Because Mr. Hayes failed to respond to the defendants' motion, and thus failed to comply with the Court's Local Rules regarding summary judgment, the Court will not consider allegations in Mr. Hayes's complaint in ruling on this motion. Although pro se filings are construed liberally, pro se litigants such as Mr. Hayes are not exempt from procedural rules. See Pearle Vision, Inc. v. Romm, 541 F.3d 751, 758 (7th Cir. 2008) (noting that “pro se litigants are not excused from compliance with procedural rules”); Members v. Paige, 140 F.3d 699, 702 (7th Cir. 1998) (stating that procedural rules “apply to uncounseled litigants and must be enforced”). This does not alter the standard for assessing a Rule 56 motion, but it does “reduc[e] the pool” from which the facts and inferences relative to such a motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997).

         II. Factual Background

         The 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 reasonably most favorable to Mr. Hayes as 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).

         At all times relevant to this action, Mr. Hayes was an inmate at Putnamville. On the morning of January 2, 2017, Mr. Hayes and another inmate, Bayon, got into a fight. Defendants have provided a surveillance video recording that captured the events surrounding the fight. See Dkt. No. 33 (manual filing of a CD). Thus, the events that occurred and actions taken immediately before, during, and immediately after the fight are not in dispute because the Court can base its decision on the video evidence provided. See Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 379-81 (2007) (“[the court] should have viewed the facts in the light depicted by the videotape”) Specifically, the video shows that:

• Immediately prior to the fight, Mr. Hayes was seated at the foot of a bunk. Dkt. No. 33 at 00:32.
• Bayon was returning to the bunks and as he walked in front of Mr. Hayes, Mr. Hayes gets up and, unprovoked, begins to attack Bayon. Id. at 00:36. Mr. Hayes's opening salvo was to hit Bayon with a closed fist to the left side of Bayon's face. Id.
• Mr. Hayes and Bayon fight and wrestle for approximately twenty seconds.
• Sergeant Berry and another correctional officer can be seen approaching and running over about ten seconds after the fight begins. Id. at 00:48.
• Shortly after arriving, Sergeant Berry successfully breaks up the fight between Mr. Hayes and ...

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