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Lauderdale v. Russell

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

September 24, 2019

LAMONE LAUDERDALE, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIAM RUSSELL (Deputy), DEVON CLARK (Deputy), THOMAS WILLIAMS (Corporal), and STREET (Deputy), Defendants.

          ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 by Defendants William Russell (“Deputy Russell”), Thomas Williams (“Corporal Williams”), Devon Clark (“Deputy Clark”), and Jeremy Street (“Deputy Street”) (collectively, “the Defendants”) (Filing No. 131). Plaintiff Lamond Lauderdale, (“Lauderdale”), initiated this action against the Defendants in their individual and official capacities, as deputies of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, alleging that while housed in the Marion County Jail, he was assaulted by the Defendants, retaliated against and denied proper medical treatment in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and under Indiana State law. (Filing No. 1.) On May 28, 2019, the Defendants filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, contending that Lauderdale cannot prevail on his official capacity claims. (Filing No. 133.) Lauderdale did not respond to the Motion and the time to do so has expired. For the following reasons, the Court grants the Defendants’ Motion for Partial Summary Judgment.

         I. LEGAL ANALYSIS

         The purpose of summary judgment is to pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.” Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587106 S.Ct. 1348 (1986). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is appropriate only where there exists “no genuine issue as to any material facts and . . . the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court reviews “the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in that party’s favor.” Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). “However, inferences that are supported by only speculation or conjecture will not defeat a summary judgment motion.” Dorsey v. Morgan Stanley, 507 F.3d 624, 627 (7th Cir. 2007) (citation and quotation marks omitted). Additionally, “[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 v. Quotesmith.com, Inc., 476 F.3d 487, 489–90 (7th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). “The opposing party cannot meet this burden with conclusory statements or speculation but only with appropriate citations to relevant admissible evidence.” Sink v. Knox County Hosp., 900 F.Supp. 1065, 1072 (S.D. Ind. 1995) (citations omitted).

         “In much the same way that a court is not required to scour the record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment, nor is it permitted to conduct a paper trial on the merits of [the] claim.” Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001) (citations and quotation marks omitted). “[N]either the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties nor the existence of some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts is sufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment.” Chiaramonte v. Fashion Bed Grp., Inc., 129 F.3d 391, 395 (7th Cir. 1997) (citations and quotation marks omitted).

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         As the non-moving party, the Court must construe all factual disputes and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of Lauderdale. Grant v. Trustees of Indiana Univ., 870 F.3d 562, 568 (7th Cir. 2017). The movant has appropriately asserted facts based on Lauderdale’s version of the events. The Court notes that Lauderdale’s failure to respond to the Defendants’ Motion means the Court must treat the movant’s version of the facts as uncontested. See Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 922 (7th Cir. 1994); Childress v. Experian Info. Servs., 2014 Lexis 103738, 9-11 (S.D. Ind. 2014) (J. Pratt); S.D. Ind. Local R. 56-1(f) (“[i]n deciding a summary judgment motion, the court will assume that the facts as claimed by admissible evidence by the movant are admitted without controversy except to the extent that the non-movant specifically controverts the facts in that party’s “Statement of Material Facts in Dispute” with admissible evidence”) (internal citations omitted).

         A. The Assault

         All inmates of the Marion County Jail I receive a copy of the inmate handbook and are informed that they may not place items over the light fixture in their cells. (Filing No. 132-2 at 1). “Placing items on the bars, bunks, or light fixtures, which obstruct the view” are considered security concerns. Id. Security concerns, include but not limited to, “covered windows and lights, and [should] be noted [by deputies] during clock rounds.” (Filing No. 133 at 2).

         In August 2015, Lauderdale was an inmate at the Marion County Jail I. On August 28, 2015, he returned to his cell by 11:00 p.m. and eventually fell asleep. In the early morning hours of August 29, 2015, Deputy Russell was performing a clock round, in which deputies are required to “be aware of inmate/detainee activity in any cell and/or unit” and to observe any security concerns. (Filing No. 133 at 2.) Deputy Russell entered Lauderdale’s cell during clock rounds and as required, removed some clothing that was covering the light fixture.

         A few hours later, again during clock rounds, Deputy Russell returned to Lauderdale’s cell with Corporal Williams and noticed clothing again covering the light fixture. Deputy Russell asked Lauderdale “to take the clothing off the light.” (Filing No. 132-1 at 16.) Lauderdale refused, and responded, “the clothing [i]s not mine so I [am] not going to remove it.” Id. at 16-17. Lauderdale and Deputy Russell “got into a verbal argument at that time.” Id. at 17. Deputy Russell attempted to take Lauderdale into custody, but Lauderdale refused to comply. Eventually Lauderdale allowed Deputy Russell to handcuff him and Deputy Russell escorted Lauderdale out of the cell. The altercation then turned physical. Id. at 25. Lauderdale had pressure applied to his neck, was almost run into a wall, and received an uppercut punch and a knee to his face. Id. Thereafter, Deputy Russell, accompanied by other deputies, continued to escort Lauderdale to the other side of the jail. As they were walking, Lauderdale got into a second verbal altercation-this time with Deputies Russell and Clark. Id. at 32-33. When they arrived at the other side of the jail, Lauderdale “felt the bottom of [his] pants get tucked and pressure was applied to [his] upper body” as he was driven into the wall. Id. at 34-35. He was dropped on the ground and then “immediately started feeling impacts from blows on [his] body.” Id. at 36, 42. He remembers being taken to a holding cell and requested medical assistance but was refused. A few hours later, Deputy Street escorted him back to his original cell. Id. at 54-55. He again requested medical assistance, but was denied.

         Lauderdale spoke to a nurse during the medication pass around noon that day who informed him “to put in a health care request[, ]” which he did not do. (Filing No. 132-1 at 56-57, 61-62.) He was examined by another nurse during the regular medication pass a few hours later, at which point he was given a bottom bunk pass and informed that he was scheduled to see the doctor in a couple of days. Lauderdale was seen by a doctor “three or four days after the actual incident. Id. at 65. “[T]he results of the initial x-rays … were negative.” Id. at 66. Nevertheless, Lauderdale was given ibuprofen and an injection to help put on a neck brace. The August 29, 2015 incident was the only incident of physical assault that Lauderdale experienced while at the Marion County Jail I.

         B. Deputy Training

         Sherriff’s deputies have a responsibility for the reasonable safety of all prisoners in their custody. (Filing No. 132-9 at 6.) And Sheriff’s deputies “shall not willingly … endanger the life or limbs of another person.” Id. at 4. Accordingly, all Marion County Jail I Sheriff’s deputies are trained on the use of force when interacting with those housed in the Marion County Jail I. (Filing No. 132-2 at 2.) This training “examine[s] the use of force and allow[s] Deputies to make appropriate choices in the degree of force to use in a given situation.” (Filing No. 132-9 at 8.) This enables the deputies to assess a situation and make the necessary determination the degree of force reasonably needed to exercise the requisite control. (Filing No. 132-9 at 10.) “The critical aspect in ...


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