Firm Wins Summary Judgment for Correctional Officer on Inmate’s Failure to Protect Claim

September 4, 2023

Chief Judge Sara Darrow granted summary judgment to a Vermilion County Jail correctional officer on the plaintiff inmate’s claim that the CO failed to protect him from a fellow inmate’s attack. At deposition, the inmate admitted that he had no prior disagreements or altercations with the other inmate and that the attack was a complete surprise to him. Once the attack occurred, the inmates were separated. In granting summary judgment, the court concluded that the facts did not lead to a reasonable inference that the plaintiff faced a substantial risk of harm. Nor did the CO act objectively unreasonable by opening the attacking inmate’s cell so that he could take a shower as the CO was escorting the plaintiff back to his cell, which immediately preceded the attack. The CO’s alleged failure to follow jail protocol by allowing more than one inmate out of his cell at a time did not establish a constitutional violation.

Michael Condon and Andrea Nikolai represented the CO in the case.

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