United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
William C. Lee, Judge
matter is before the Court on the motion for summary judgment
filed by Defendants Taren McCullough and Rene Jennings (ECF
108). Plaintiff Tyquan Stewart bey filed a response brief in
opposition to the motion (which he titled a “motion in
opposition”) (ECF 112). The Defendants chose not to
file a reply brief. For the reasons set forth below,
the motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.
The Clerk of the Court is instructed to enter judgment in
favor of Defendants McCullough and Jennings and against
Plaintiff Stewart bey. Plaintiff's claims against the
remaining Defendants are unaffected by this order and remain
Stewart bey filed this lawsuit on June 29, 2017, alleging
that the Defendants violated his constitutional rights while
he was being held at the Allen County Jail from May 22, 2017,
to June 16, 2017. Complaint (ECF 1), p. 2. Specifically, as
to McCullough and Jennings, Stewart bey contends that the
Defendants failed to give him medication or to properly treat
his high blood pressure and as a result he “fainted[, ]
fell, and hit the back of my head. Since then I've been
suffering from sever[e] headaches.” Id. On
September 21, 2018, the Court (Magistrate Judge Paul Cherry)
entered an order granting, in part, a motion by Stewart bey
to file a Third Amended Complaint. Court Opinion and Order
(ECF 57). Accordingly, the Third Amended Complaint (ECF 58)
is the controlling Complaint in this case. Defendants Taren
McCullough and Rene Jennings filed their Answer and
Affirmative Defenses to the Third Amended Complaint on
November 15, 2018 (ECF 68). In the Third Amended Complaint,
Stewart bey states his claim against McCullough and Jennings,
who were both nurses at the Allen County Jail during the time
Stewart bey was incarcerated, as follows:
I Tyquan Stewart bey, Plaintiff, states that in the months of
May and June of 2017 I Tyquan Stewart bey, was treated cruel
and unusual [sic]. Two nurses one named T. McCullough, and
the other named Rene Jennings, and a Doctor by the name of
Dr. Dennis all deliberately and intentionally refuse [sic] to
give me medication. Both nurse[s] and the [doctor] all knew
about my serious medical condition. They knew my blood
pressure was high and they still failed [to] give me
medication or stabilize my condition.
Amended Complaint, p. 2. Stewart bey contends that Defendants
McCullough and Jennings “subjected me to cruel and
[unusual] punishment which is a violation of my 8th amendment
right[.]” Id., p. 3. He claims the actions of the
Defendants were “intentional, willful, wanton, and
malicious” and that as a result he “suffered
physical and permanent mental injury, pain, humiliation,
mental anguish, emotional distress, and other damages.”
Id., p. 5. He is suing to recover compensatory and
punitive damages in the amount of $1.5 million. Id.,
Pro se pleadings.
bey is proceeding pro se. “A document filed
pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro
se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held
to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007). This court is mindful of the well-settled principle
that, when interpreting a pro se petitioner's
complaint, district courts have a “special
responsibility” to construe such pleadings liberally.
Donald v. Cook County Sheriff's Dep't, 95
F.3d 548, 555 (7th Cir. 1996); Estelle v. Gamble,
429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) (a “pro se complaint,
‘however inartfully pleaded' must be held to
‘less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted
by lawyers'”) (quoting Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519 (1972)). The mandated liberal construction
afforded to pro se pleadings “means that if
the court can reasonably read the pleadings to state a valid
claim on which the [petitioner] could prevail, it should do
so despite the [petitioner's] failure to cite proper
legal authority, his confusion of various legal theories, his
poor syntax and sentence construction, or his unfamiliarity
with pleading requirements.” Barnett v.
Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1133 (10th Cir. 1999) (quoting
Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir.
1991)). On the other hand, “a district court should not
‘assume the role of advocate for the pro se
litigant' and may ‘not rewrite a petition to
include claims that were never presented.'”
Summary judgment standard.
judgment must be granted when “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 when
‘the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'”
Dulin v. Hankins, 2019 WL 6348023, at *1 (N.D. Ind.
Nov. 26, 2019) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). “To determine
whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the court
must construe all facts in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that
party's favor.” Id. (citing Heft v.
Moore, 351 F.3d 278, 282 (7th Cir. 2003)).
concerning material facts are genuine where the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In deciding whether genuine issues
of material fact exist, the court construes all facts in a
light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all
reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party.
See Id. at 255. However, neither the “mere
existence of some alleged factual dispute between the
parties, ” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, nor the
existence of “some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts, ” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986), will
defeat a motion for summary judgment. Michas v. Health
Cost Controls of Ill., Inc., 209 F.3d 687, 692 (7th Cir.
judgment is not a substitute for a trial on the merits nor is
it a vehicle for resolving factual disputes. Waldridge v.
Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994).
Therefore, after drawing all reasonable inferences from the
facts in favor of the non-movant, if genuine doubts remain
and a reasonable fact-finder could find for the party
opposing the motion, summary judgment is inappropriate.
See Shields Enterprises, Inc. v. First Chicago
Corp., 975 F.2d 1290, 1294 (7th Cir. 1992); Wolf v.
City of Fitchburg, 870 F.2d 1327, 1330 (7th Cir. 1989).
If it is clear that a plaintiff will be unable to satisfy the
legal requirements necessary to establish his or her case,
summary judgment is not only appropriate, but mandated.
See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322; Ziliak v.
AstraZeneca LP, 324 F.3d 518, 520 (7th Cir. 2003). Rule
56 states in part as follows:
When a motion for summary judgment is properly made and
supported, an opposing party may not rely merely on
allegations or denials in [his] own pleading; rather [his]
response must-by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this
rule-set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for
trial. If the opposing party does not so ...