United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
JOSEPH B. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
CORE CIVIC, Defendant.
ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT CORECIVIC'S MOTION FOR
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE
Joseph Williams brought this civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. He named as a defendant CoreCivic,
Inc. (“CoreCivic”). Mr. Williams alleges that he
suffered injury when, as a result of overcrowding and
understaffing at Marion County Jail II, an inmate performed
CPR on Mr. Williams after he suffered a drug overdose.
CoreCivic operates Jail II and thus is responsible for the
policies and practices implemented there. Mr. Williams's
complaint asserts that CoreCivic exhibited deliberate
indifference to his safety through its policy and practice of
allowing overcrowding and understaffing at Jail II.
civil rights action is before the Court for resolution of
CoreCivic's motion for summary judgment, dkt. 39. For the
reasons discussed below, the motion is
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate where “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.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine issue of material fact exists
if there is sufficient evidence from which a reasonable juror
could return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party.
Brown v. Advocate S. Suburban Hosp., 700 F.3d 1101,
1104 (7th Cir. 2012).
a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely
disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing
to particular parts of the record, including depositions,
documents, or affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party
can also support a fact by showing that the materials cited
do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute
or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence
to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or
declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out
facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the
affiant is competent to testify on matters stated.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). Failure to properly support a fact in
opposition to a movant's factual assertion can result in
the movant's fact being considered undisputed, and
potentially in the grant of summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P.
court need only consider disputed facts that are material to
the decision. A disputed fact is material if it might affect
the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Williams
v. Brooks, 809 F.3d 936, 941-42 (7th Cir. 2016). In
other words, while there may be facts that are in dispute,
summary judgment is appropriate if those facts are not
outcome-determinative. Montgomery v. American Airlines
Inc., 626 F.3d 382, 389 (7th Cir. 2010). Fact disputes
that are irrelevant to the legal question will not be
considered. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
court views the record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that
party's favor. Skiba v. Illinois Cent. R.R. Co.,
884 F.3d 708, 717 (7th Cir. 2018). It cannot weigh evidence
or make credibility determinations on summary judgment
because those tasks are left to the fact-finder. Miller
v. Gonzalez, 761 F.3d 822, 827 (7th Cir. 2014). The
court need only consider the cited materials, Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)(3), and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has
repeatedly assured the district courts that they are not
required to “scour the record” for evidence that
is potentially relevant to the summary judgment motion before
them. Grant v. Trustees of Indiana University, 870
F.3d 562, 569, 572 (7th Cir. 2017) (internal quotation
omitted). “Any doubt as to the existence of a genuine
issue for trial is resolved against the moving party.”
Ponsetti v. GE Pension Plan, 614 F.3d 684, 691 (7th
Williams is currently incarcerated at Miami Correctional
Facility. Dkt. 1 at 1. Prior to arriving at Miami, Mr.
Williams was incarcerated at Marion County Jail II
(“Jail II”). Dkt. 1 at 2. Mr. Williams alleges
that Jail II was “grossly overcrowded” and
“grossly understaffed.” Dkt. 1 at 2.
October 13, 2016, Mr. Williams overdosed on a substance he
believed was heroin. Id. At the time of this
incident, according to Mr. Williams, one correctional officer
was responsible for monitoring 148 inmates, which led to Mr.
Williams receiving CPR from an inmate. Id. He
sustained injuries to his ribs and sternum from the CPR. Dkt.
1 at 2-3.
shift logs kept at Jail II indicate that, shortly before the
incident, two correctional officers were posted on the south
end of the fourth floor. Dkt. 40-3 at 10. Two correctional
officers were also posted on the north end of the fourth
floor. Id. at 11. When Mr. Williams overdosed, an
emergency response was called to the north end of the fourth
floor, and the correctional officers from the south end of
the fourth floor responded to assist with lockdown and
securing inmates. Id.
Williams brought his claim against CoreCivic, a private
company that operates Jail II, rather than individuals who
work at Jail II. See dkt. 1 at 1. Because CoreCivic
acts under color of state law by contracting to perform a
government function, i.e., running a correctional
institution, it is treated as a government entity for
purposes of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Jackson v. Ill.
Medi-Car, Inc., 300 F.3d 760, 766 n.6 (7th Cir. 2002).
To state a claim against a private corporation, the plaintiff
must show a constitutional violation that “was caused
by an unconstitutional policy or custom of the corporation
itself.” Shields v. Ill. Dep't of Corr.,
746 F.3d 782, 789 (7th Cir. 2014); see also Bd. of Cty.
Comm'r of Bryan Cty, Okla. v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397,
403 (1997) ...