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King v. Heady

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

December 6, 2019

JERMOND KING, Plaintiff,
HEADY, et al. Defendants.



         Plaintiff Jermond King, an inmate at New Castle Correctional Facility, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action alleging that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his safety in the face of a threat from his cellmate. The defendants-Mala Cook, Trina Randall, Sergeant Heady, Officer McGrath, and GEO Group, Inc.-have filed a motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 65, 66. For the reasons below, the Court grants summary judgment as to Mr. King's Eighth Amendment claims and declines to continue exercising jurisdiction over his remaining state-law claims.

         I. Summary Judgment Standard

         A motion for summary judgment asks the Court to find that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). A party must support any asserted undisputed (or disputed) fact by citing to specific portions of the record, including depositions, documents, or affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party may also support a fact by showing that the materials cited by an adverse party 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).

         In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the only disputed facts that matter are material ones-those that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Williams v. Brooks, 809 F.3d 936, 941-42 (7th Cir. 2016). “A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists ‘if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'” Daugherty v. Page, 906 F.3d 606, 609-10 (7th Cir. 2018) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (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. 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 factfinder. Miller v. Gonzalez, 761 F.3d 822, 827 (7th Cir. 2014). The Court need only consider the cited materials and need not “scour the record” for evidence that is potentially relevant to the summary judgment motion. Grant v. Trustees of Indiana University, 870 F.3d 562, 573-74 (7th Cir. 2017) (quotation marks omitted); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3).

         Mr. King has not responded to the defendants' motion for summary judgment, and the deadline to do so has passed. As a result, Mr. King has conceded the defendants' version of 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(b) (“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 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

         Because Mr. King has failed to respond to the defendants' summary judgment motion, the Court sets forth the facts as stated by the defendants, except where otherwise noted.

         In August and September 2017, Mr. King was incarcerated at New Castle, which is operated by GEO Group. Ms. Cook, Ms. Randall, Sergeant Heady, and Officer McGrath were GEO Group employees.

         In late August or Early September 2017, Mr. King and his cellmate began arguing with each other. During this time, the cellmate threatened to “beat up” Mr. King. In the first week of September 2017, the cellmate pushed Mr. King out of the way in their shared cell.

         Ms. Cook was a teacher in Mr. King's housing unit. Ms. Cook states in an affidavit that Mr. King never told her that his cellmate had threatened violence. At most, Mr. King complained about disliking his cellmate. This would not have surprised Ms. Cook because many people disliked Mr. King's cellmate.

         Ms. Randall was the unit team manager where Mr. King was housed. Ms. Randall stated in response to interrogatories that she did not recall being notified by Mr. King that his cellmate had threatened him.

         In late August 2017, New Castle created a policy limiting inmate movement during recreation time. That policy was documented in a memorandum:

Be advised, that as of 08/21/2017, they're [sic] no longer be a half time (Rest Room Break) in the units during recreation. This is due to all the activities that has occurred in the past several months, (Assaults, ...

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