Court Rules Correctional Officers Not Liable For Injuries Caused by Fellow Inmates’ Attack

August 22, 2017

Judge Joe Billy McDade of the U.S. District Court of Central Illinois granted summary judgment in favor of corrections staff in Sandridge v. Allen, et al., 15-cv-2176. Plaintiff Jeffery Sandridge claimed that his constitutional rights were violated when he was pushed into his cell and attacked by other inmates while the jail security desk and unit was left unsecured during the altercation.

While the correctional officer assigned to Sandridge’s housing unit and the adjacent unit made his rounds, two inmates pushed Sandridge into his cell where they began punching Sandridge. The door locked automatically behind them. Approximately 10 minutes later, the officer returned from his rounds, looked into Sandridge’s closed cell door, saw him being attacked, immediately called for back-up, and ordered the rest of the housing unit to lockdown. Within minutes, other officers arrived and removed the three inmates from the cell. Sandridge was immediately taken to the hospital for treatment.

Judge McDade rejected Sandridge’s argument that the correctional staff was responsible for failing to protect him from the attack. The Court noted that there were no advance warning signs that Sandridge was going to be attacked; that Sandridge himself described the assault as “unexpected” and testified that he had no idea why he was attacked; that Sandridge did not notify any jail staff of a potential danger or threat; and that Sandridge failed to present any evidence that the officers knew of an impending danger to Plaintiff. Thus, the Court granted the officers summary judgment. Mike Bersani and Tara Grimm represented the defendant officers.

Sandridge v. Allen

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