Court Dismisses Inmate’s Failure to Protect Claims

May 2, 2019

The Honorable Colin S. Bruce in the Central District of Illinois granted summary judgment on a prisoner’s federal civil rights suit against Marshall County correctional officers in Seiler v. Kruse, et al., C.D. Ill. Case No. 17-cv-1370, (C.D. Ill. Feb. 28, 2019). Plaintiff Anthony Seiler, a pre-trial detainee, filed suit against two correctional officers for their failure to protect him from another inmate’s assault upon him and for their failure to provide him with medical care in the wake of the assault.

Seiler had been booked in the jail on felony drug charges. While Seiler was awaiting trial, an acquaintance of his was booked into the jail on disorderly conduct charges. This new detainee was intoxicated at the time he was booked. The new detainee indicated that he knew Seiler, and would have no problems if he were housed in the same cell. Seiler, too, did not object to having this new detainee placed in his cell. Without warning, once the new detainee was placed in Seiler’s cell, he attacked Seiler, punching him in the face at least three times. The corrections officer who escorted the second detainee to Seiler’s cell immediately pulled him off of Seiler and moved him to another cell. The second detainee admitted that he had lied to the officers in order to be placed in Seiler’s cell because he had a grudge against Seiler. Seiler suffered minor cuts and had a bloody nose from the encounter. Seiler’s injuries were examined by two corrections officers and did not appear to be serious. Seiler had a sink in his cell in which to wash his injuries.

The Court found that due to the Defendants’ lack of knowledge of any risk posed to Seiler by the new detainee, and the lack of any objective indication that the new detainee would attack Seiler; the officers had not failed to protect Seiler by placing the new detainee in his cell. Plaintiff, himself, had believed that he had been on good terms with the new detainee prior to the assault. Additionally, the officers’ response in examining the Plaintiff’s injuries was found to be reasonable, because his injuries did not appear to be serious enough to warrant sending Plaintiff to the hospital, as he requested. The Court granted summary judgment in Defendants’ favor on all of Plaintiff’s claims. The Defendants were represented by Michael Condon and Tony Fioretti.

Seiler v. Kruse, et al., C.D. Ill. Case No. 17-cv-1370, (C.D. Ill. Feb. 28, 2019)

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