United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
STEVEN W. PRITT, Plaintiff,
ENTRY GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT AND DENYING DEFENDANT'S CROSS-MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON JUDGE
Steven Pritt is currently incarcerated at the New Castle
Correctional Facility (New Castle). He filed a civil rights
complaint alleging he was subjected to excessive force by
defendant Deputy Brandau while being escorted to medical at
the Marion County Jail. The Court screened his complaint and
determined that Mr. Pritt adequately stated an excessive
force claim pursuant to the Fourth Amendment against Deputy
Brandau. Dkt. 23.
pending before the Court are the plaintiff's motion for
summary judgment and the defendant's cross-motion for
plaintiff's motion argues that there is sufficient
evidence to show that the defendant committed excessive force
against him. Dkt. 76. The defendant's motion argues that the
plaintiff's constitutional claim is without merit because
the defendant only placed the plaintiff in handcuffs and such
conduct does not amount to a constitutional violation. Dkt.
86. The defendant also argues he is entitled to qualified
immunity. For the reasons set forth below, the
plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, dkt. , is
granted and the defendant's cross-motion
for summary judgment, dkt. , is denied.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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).
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).
existence of cross-motions for summary judgment does not
imply that there are no genuine issues of material fact.
R.J. Corman Derailment Servs., LLC v. Int'l Union of
Operating Engineers, Local Union 150, AFL-CIO, 335 F.3d
643, 647 (7th Cir. 2003). Local Rule 56-1(e) requires that
facts asserted in a brief must be supported “with a
citation to a discovery response, a deposition, an affidavit,
or other admissible evidence.” Id. The Court
“has no duty to search or consider any part of the
record not specifically cited in the manner described in
subdivision (e).” Local Rule 56-1(h); see Kaszuk v.
Bakery and Confectionery Union and Indus. Int'l. Pension
Fund, 791 F.2d 548, 558 (7th Cir. 1986).
Mr. Pritt's motion for summary judgment includes an
appendix and entry of exhibits, dkt. 75, a statement of
undisputed facts, dkt. 77, and a declaration, dkt. 78. Only
the declaration is signed under penalty of perjury. His
statement of undisputed facts is the only submission in which
each fact is supported with a citation to a discovery
response, deposition, affidavit, or other admissible evidence
as required by Local Rule 56-1(e). However, taken together,
these documents sufficiently comply with Local Rule 56-1
because courts are not required to hold pro se
litigants to the potential consequences of their failure to
comply with the local rules and can instead take “a
more flexible approach, ” including by ignoring the
deficiencies in their filings and considering the evidence
they submit. See Gray v. Hardy, 826 F.3d 1000,
1004-05 (7th Cir. 2016). Such flexibility is particularly
warranted when a pro se litigant is proceeding
without the benefit of counsel and where such flexibility
allows the case to be considered on the merits. See
Robinson v. Sweeny, 794 F.3d 782, 784 (7th Cir. 2015)
(“[i]f the courts intend not to excuse procedural
mistakes by pro se litigants, the spirit of legal
justice would seem to require that someone inform those
litigants of the rudiments of federal procedure . . .
STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS
with the foregoing, the following facts were evaluated
pursuant to the standards set forth above.
Pritt was transferred to the Marion County Jail on July 13,
2016, for post-conviction proceedings. He stayed there
for nine days until July 22, 2016. Dkt. 78, ¶ 3. On or
about July 22, 2016,  while at the Jail, Deputy Brandau escorted
Mr. Pritt to the nurse for an examination. Dkt. 77, ¶ 1;
dkt. 75, p. 32. Deputy Brandau placed Mr. Pritt in handcuffs
before he escorted him to the nurse. Dkt. 77, ¶ 4.
According to Mr. Pritt, as they were walking, Deputy Brandau
stated to Mr. Pritt “we're going up here to the
elevator around the corner and down to the nurse.” Dkt.
75, p. 20. As they rounded the corner, Deputy Brandau jerked
Mr. Pritt to the side by his elbow, turned Mr. Pritt to face
him, and used his forearm to slam Mr. Pritt's chest into
the wall, while stating “you don't listen.”
Id. Deputy Brandau then took his right foot and
stomped on Mr. Pritt's left foot and then kneed Mr. Pritt
in his right thigh. Id. They arrived at medical and
the nurse asked Mr. Pritt if he had any wounds or scratches.
Deputy Brandau glared at Mr. Pritt and Mr. Pritt responded,
“no, not yet.” Id. The nurse did not
examine Mr. Pritt for any bruises and the rest of the
examination focused on Mr. Pritt's heart condition.
Id. Mr. Pritt sustained a large bruise on his thigh.
Id., p. 21. Officer Brandau has no recollection of
this incident. Dkt. 75, p. 44.