Santiago v. Lane, 88-2840

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
Citation894 F.2d 218
Docket NumberNo. 88-2840,88-2840
PartiesJose SANTIAGO, Plaintiff-Appellant, Cross-Appellee, v. Michael P. LANE, et al., Defendants-Appellees, Cross-Appellants.
Decision Date23 January 1990

Edward J. Lewis, II (argued), Robert T. Markowski, Jenner & Block, Chicago, Ill., for plaintiff-appellant, cross-appellee.

Thomas A. Morrissey, William D. Fraizer (argued), Asst. Attys. Gen., Office of the Atty. Gen., Chicago, Ill., for defendants-appellees, cross-appellants.

Before BAUER, Chief Judge, and CUDAHY and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

CUDAHY, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff, Jose Santiago, appeals from a summary judgment in his 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 action against various officers of the Illinois Department of Corrections for violating his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. Plaintiff's charges stem largely from two brutal attacks he suffered at the hands of other inmates while incarcerated in the Illinois prison system. The district court found as a matter of law that the defendants' failure to take certain precautions to protect the plaintiff could not constitute deliberate indifference to his safety in violation of the Eighth Amendment and that, therefore, defendants could not be liable for injuries suffered by the plaintiff at the hands of other prisoners. 697 F.Supp. 300.

Plaintiff appeals the grant of summary judgment. Defendants cross-appeal the decision of the district court not to impose costs upon the plaintiff. We affirm the summary judgment as to some counts, but conclude that there is an issue of fact for the jury as to others, and we reverse and remand as to them. We also affirm the district court's decision not to impose costs upon the plaintiff.

I. Facts

On March 22, 1984, Jose Santiago was robbed, beaten and stabbed by two inmates in the "death alley" section of Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville") where he was incarcerated. After recuperating from his injuries in a private hospital, Santiago was returned to Stateville, whereupon he cooperated with prison authorities in the identification and prosecution of his attackers. Within a week of his return to prison and his cooperation with prison officials, plaintiff was threatened by a gang member who demanded that he leave the prison. In response to these threats, and to the plaintiff's request to be moved to a safer institution, Stateville authorities placed Santiago in "control segregation" pending transfer.

Santiago was sent to Menard Correctional Center ("Menard") on April 11, 1984. The master prison file on Santiago, which contained reports of the Stateville attack, a list of plaintiff's enemies and other materials regarding his transfer was sent to Menard along with the plaintiff, but Stateville authorities never expressly or specifically notified their counterparts at Menard of Santiago's need for protection from possible gang retaliation.

At Menard, plaintiff underwent a seven day orientation program which was designed to determine his security needs. Plaintiff was interviewed by an inmate clerk who learned of the attack at Stateville. Plaintiff also informed Menard counselor Jack Thomas of this attack and the reasons for his transfer. At the conclusion of this orientation period, Santiago was informed that he had been assigned a job in the kitchen and would be living in Menard's South Cell House. 1

But, Santiago, a prisoner with an excellent institutional record, was sent to the East Cell House instead. The East Cell House is the toughest house at Menard and is not normally considered to be an appropriate place for cooperative inmates. Within hours of moving to the East Cell House, Santiago's property was stolen from his cell and he was verbally threatened by two inmate gang members who made references to the previous attack at Stateville.

In response to these new threats, plaintiff quickly informed Major McDonough, Chief of Security at Menard, that he was in fear for his life. More specifically, plaintiff asked Major McDonough to move him to a safer section of Menard that evening. Major McDonough talked with Santiago for approximately forty-five minutes about these threats and about the plaintiff's request to be moved and decided to reassign Santiago to a safer section of Menard the next morning. While escorting Santiago back to his cell, Major McDonough stopped to ask the prison leader of the Latin Kings gang whether Santiago would be in any further danger that night. The gang leader assured McDonough that Santiago was not marked for attack by his gang. 2

Santiago was returned to his cell just before dinnertime. Shortly after his cellmate (allegedly a gang member) left to eat, plaintiff was attacked in his cell by several Menard inmates wielding homemade knives and pipes. This attack resulted in serious injuries to plaintiff, including permanent eye damage. Apparently, Santiago's cellmate had neglected to lock the cell door behind him even though Santiago, by his own account, had asked his cellmate to make sure that the door was locked.

In response to these two attacks, Santiago filed a Sec. 1983 suit in district court against various Stateville and Menard officers in both their official and individual capacities. 3 Plaintiff is suing Michael P. Lane, Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections; Michael O'Leary, warden of the Stateville Correctional Center; Billy Johnson, Chief of Security (Major) of Stateville; James Thieret, warden of the Menard Correctional Center; and Richard Guebert, Jr. 4 Santiago also brought a pendent Illinois tort law claim against all defendants for negligent, reckless and unlawful conduct.

The district court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on all counts and declined to exercise jurisdiction over plaintiff's pendent state law claim since none of plaintiff's federal claims survived. Plaintiff appeals the granting of summary judgment on counts I-V of his complaint. The defendants cross-appeal the district court's decision not to impose costs upon the plaintiff. 5

II. Analysis

In his appeal of Counts I-V, Santiago argues that the existence of certain factual disputes precludes summary judgment. To prevail, the defendants must demonstrate the absence of any material issue of fact and show that, on the undisputed facts, they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986).

A genuine issue of material fact exists only where "there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party." Wolf v. City of Fitchburg, 870 F.2d 1327 (7th Cir.1989), citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). The trial court must view all evidence in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion for summary judgment. Bowyer v. U.S. Dept. of Air Force, 804 F.2d 428, 430 (7th Cir.1986). Our review of a grant or denial of summary judgment is, of course, de novo. Dribeck Importers, Inc. v. G. Heileman Brewing Co., Inc., 883 F.2d 569, 573 (7th Cir.1989) (quoting Colan v. Cutler-Hammer, Inc., 812 F.2d 357, 360 (7th Cir.) (per curiam), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 820, 108 S.Ct. 79, 98 L.Ed.2d 42 (1987)); Central States, S.E. & S.W. Areas Regional Pension Fund v. Jordan, 873 F.2d 149, 152 (7th Cir.1989). We must examine the entire record in the same fashion as the district court, drawing all inferences in favor of the nonmovant. Richardson v. Penfold, 839 F.2d 392, 394 (7th Cir.1988). We must also, of course, apply the law to the undisputed facts; in this case the law is that implicated by the plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claims.

The Eighth Amendment, as incorporated by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, prohibits a state from inflicting cruel and unusual punishment. In Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d 251 (1976), the Supreme Court held that deliberate indifference by prison employees to a prisoner's serious illness or injury constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. The "deliberate indifference" standard articulated in Estelle has been extended "to impose upon both federal and state correctional officers and officials the obligation to protect inmates from violence at the hands of other inmates." Goka v. Bobbitt, 862 F.2d 646, 649 (7th Cir.1988). As a result, "a prison official will be held liable for failing to protect an inmate from attacks if that official acts with 'deliberate indifference.' " Richardson v. Penfold, 839 F.2d at 394, citing Duckworth v. Franzen, 780 F.2d 645, 652 (7th Cir.1985), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 816, 107 S.Ct. 71, 93 L.Ed.2d 28 (1986). In order to show "deliberate indifference," a plaintiff is required to prove that the prison official's action was deliberate or reckless in the criminal sense. 6 Goka v. Bobbitt, 862 F.2d at 650. 7

A. The Stateville Attack

Count I of Santiago's complaint involves charges that defendants Lane, O'Leary and Johnson knew, had reason to know or should have known that the "death alley" section of Stateville Prison was a "high risk area" because the area was dangerously concealed and because at least one other prisoner-on-prisoner attack had occurred there. But, as the district court correctly pointed out, the plaintiff presented no affirmative evidence that any prisoner-on-prisoner attacks had occurred in this area prior to the March 22, 1984 attack upon him. Mem. Op. at 8-9. Without specific reason to know of a danger that this area of the prison yard posed to Santiago in particular, the defendants cannot be charged with being "deliberately indifferent"--with "consciously disregarding" a threat--to his safety. Thus, plaintiff presents no question of material fact as to this claim.

Plaintiff also contends in Count I that the fact that the "death alley" area was later fenced in by the Department of Corrections supports his...

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