McCottrell et al v. Wexford Health Sources et al
MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order Signed by the Honorable Amy J. St. Eve on 5/22/2017:Mailed notice(kef, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
JOHN McCOTTRELL and DUSTIN
CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS, MARCUS,
WHITE, LABARIN WILLIAMS, SALEH
OBAISI, M.D., and WEXFORD HEALTH
SOURCES, INC., et al.,
Case No. 15-CV-03208
Hon. Amy J. St. Eve
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
AMY J. ST. EVE, District Court Judge:
Defendants Marcus White (“White”) and Labarin Williams (“Williams”), collectively,
“the Officer Defendants,” have moved for summary judgment on Count I of Plaintiffs John
McCottrell and Dustin Clay’s Complaint brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (R. 76, Defs.’
Mem. of Law in Support of Mot. for Summ. J.) For the following reasons, the Court grants the
Officer Defendants’ motion for summary judgment.
This case arises from injuries Plaintiffs, both of whom were inmates at Stateville
Correctional Center (“Stateville”), suffered on November 6, 2013, after the Officer Defendants
discharged shotguns causing shotgun pellets to strike Plaintiffs. (R. 75, Defs.’ Statement of
Facts ¶¶ 1, 6.) Plaintiffs have sued the Officer Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging
that the Officer Defendants deprived them of their rights under the Eight Amendment by using
excessive force in discharging their firearms.
The Dining Hall
On November 6, 2013, the Officer Defendants were both stationed in the Stateville
dining hall guard tower, which is about 15 feet above the ground. (Id. ¶¶ 2, 15.) Correctional
officers on the ground floor of the dining hall are generally armed with pepper spray, and the
officers in the tower are armed with firearms. (Id. ¶ 33.) The Officer Defendants were each
armed with a loaded shotgun. (R. 83, Pls.’ Statement of Facts ¶ 8.) There is a “target box” at the
same level of the guard tower, and there is also a “shot box”1 in the dining hall seating area, as
well as in other areas in the dining hall. (Defs.’ Statement of Facts ¶¶ 15-16.) Inmates largely
outnumber correctional officers in the dining hall, and inmates are not placed in hand restraints
or foot restraints while in the dining hall. (Id. ¶30-31.) Fights are more common in the dining
hall because it is one of the only places at Stateville where large groups—often between 300 and
400— of unrestrained inmates are able to congregate. (Id. ¶¶ 34-37.) According to the Officer
Defendants, fights between inmates pose a serious threat to everyone in Stateville because the
fights often escalate quickly, inmates refuse to be subdued, and inmates sometimes utilize
makeshift but dangerous weapons to harm officers and others. (Id. ¶¶ 38-40.)
Plaintiffs were both incarcerated at Stateville and at the time of the incident, they were in
the dining hall for lunch. (Id. ¶ 7.) The Stateville dining hall is a semicircle that is divided into
different sections. (Id. ¶ 8.) Inmates attend meals with other inmates in their cell house and they
are separated in the dining hall according to the floor (“gallery”) on which they reside. (Id. ¶¶ 910.) On the date of the incident, Plaintiffs both lived in D-House on gallery nine. (Id. ¶ 11.) DHouse contains about 400 inmates. (Id. ¶ 12.) Prior to the incident, inmates from galleries nine
Plaintiffs used the term “target box” interchangeably with the term “shot box.”
and seven, including Plaintiffs, had already sat down in two sections of the dining hall, and about
50 inmates from gallery five were entering the dining hall. (Id. ¶¶ 13-14.)
The Plaintiffs’ Perspective of the Incident
The incident started when two non-party inmates began fighting while in line to enter the
dining hall. (Id. ¶ 17; Defs.’ Statement of Facts, Ex. F, Dining Room Video.) Clay recalled that
the two inmates were fighting for approximately three seconds before officers intervened, and
McCottrell recalled that the inmates fought for less than a minute before he heard a gunshot.
(Defs.’ Statement of Facts ¶¶ 19-20; Ex. C, Dep. of Dustin Clay 24: 12-14.) The video of the
incident shows the two non-party inmates wrestling and holding each other, but it is not clear if
either inmate threw a punch. (Dining Room Video.) Neither inmate had or used a weapon.
(Pls.’ Statement of Facts ¶ 3.) The video shows the two inmates struggling with each other for
approximately 20 seconds before several correctional officers intervened to separate and
handcuff the fighting inmates. (Id. ¶¶ 5-6; Dining Room Video.) At least one officer used
pepper spray to subdue the fighting inmates. (Pls.’ Statement of Facts ¶ 6.) After the officers
separated the fighting inmates, one inmate refused to be subdued and struggled with the officers
for approximately another 20 seconds. (Dining Room Video.) At the time of the incident,
Plaintiffs were seated at tables in the dining hall about 40-50 feet away from the fighting
inmates. (Pls.’ Statement of Facts ¶ 7.)
After the officers on the ground separated the fighting inmates, the Officer Defendants
simultaneously fired their shotguns, causing Plaintiffs to be struck with shotgun pellets. (Id. ¶ 9.)
The pellets struck McCottrell in his leg and neck and Clay in his right elbow. (Defs.’ Statement
of Facts ¶¶ 28-29.)
Both Plaintiffs heard only one shot. (Id. ¶¶ 21-22.) Clay recalled that the
“fight was under control,” and officers were in the process of handcuffing the fighting inmates
when the Officer Defendants fired their weapons. (Dep. of Clay, 25: 2-14.) A report by the
Illinois Department of Corrections Internal Affairs Department concluded that the Officer
Defendants fired their weapons after the officers had separated the fighting inmates in violation
of department regulations. (Pls.’ Statement of Facts, Ex. 1 4-5.) In their reports after the
incident, both the Officer Defendants failed to note that they fired their weapons after officers
separated the inmates. (Pls.’ Statement of Facts ¶ 12.) Neither Plaintiff observed the direction
that the Officer Defendants were pointing their guns when they fired the shots that hit Plaintiffs,
but both believe that the Officer Defendants must have been pointing their guns at Plaintiffs.
(Defs.’ Statement of Facts ¶¶ 24-27.)
Plaintiffs’ Statement of Facts also includes several assertions from documents or
witnesses that the Officer Defendants argue constitute hearsay, including the Officer Defendants’
report regarding the incident, the Department of Corrections internal report about the incident,
and statements other inmates made to Plaintiff McCottrell. (See Pls.’ Statement of Facts, ¶¶ 10,
12, 13, 15.) The Officer Defendants contend that all assertions from these sources are hearsay
and are inadmissible at the summary judgment stage as well as at trial. Cairel v. Alderden, 821
F.3d 823, 830 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 137 S. Ct. 493 (2016) (“If the evidence is inadmissible
hearsay, the courts may not consider it.”). The Court finds that the factual findings from the
internal affairs report are admissible under Rule 803(8), and the Officer Defendants’ reports are
admissible as statements by a party opponent, but the statements other inmates made to
McCottrell about the Officer Defendants allegedly aiming at the inmates are hearsay and are not
admissible.2 See Fed. R. Evid. 803(8) and 801(d)(2); see also Jessup v. Miami-Dade Cty., 697 F.
Supp. 2d 1312, 1322 (S.D. Fla. 2010), aff’d, 440 F. App’x 689 (11th Cir. 2011) (“factual
The parties did not depose or take any statements from the other inmates.
findings in internal affairs reports are generally admissible under an exception to the hearsay
rule”). Specifically, Plaintiffs attempt to use the statements other inmates made to Plaintiff
McCottrell for the truth of the matter asserted, namely, that the Officer Defendants aimed their
guns at the inmates. This is classic hearsay.
The Officer Defendants’ Perspective of the Incident
The Officer Defendants observed two inmates fighting in the dining hall. (Id. ¶ 41.)
Correctional officers on the ground moved quickly to separate the fighting inmates, but one
inmate continued to struggle and refused to comply with the officers’ orders. (Id. ¶¶ 42-43.)
The correctional officers were having difficulty restraining the inmate, and Defendant Williams
“discharged a warning shot into the ceiling toward the nearest shot-box.”3 (Id., Ex. D, Dec. of
Labarin Williams ¶ 9.) Defendant White also fired a warning shot into the ceiling, although he
did not aim for the shot box because other officers told him that shooting into the ceiling
decreased the chance of a ricochet and he wanted to minimize the chance of a ricochet. (Defs.’
Statement of Facts, Ex. E, Dec. of Marcus White ¶¶ 9, 11.)4 The Officer Defendants both
believed that it was necessary to shoot a warning shot to restore safety and order in the dining
hall because they did not know if the struggling offender possessed a weapon and they believed
he posed a threat to the correctional officers attempting to subdue him. (Defs.’ Statement of
Plaintiffs argue that the Court should reject the Officer Defendants version of events because it is
“unlikely that both defendants fired into ceiling” because the ceiling is acoustic tile and would not have
caused a ricochet. Despite this argument, the Court accepts the Officer Defendants’ declarations that they
fired into the ceiling. Plaintiffs testified that they themselves did not observe where the Officer
Defendants aimed their guns, but they have attempted to create a factual dispute on this point by asserting
that two inmates (known only as “Rico” and “Fuzz”) told McCottrell that they observed one of the
Officer Defendants aiming at the inmates. (Pls.’ Statement of Facts ¶ 15.) As noted above, this
statement, is inadmissible hearsay, and the Court will not consider it. Cairel, 821 F.3d at 830.
Plaintiffs argue that Defendant White’s statement that other officers told him to fire into the ceiling is
hearsay, but the Court finds that Defendant White’s statement about what other officers told him is
admissible, not for the truth of the assertion, but to explain why he did not shoot directly at the shot box.
F. R. Evid. 801(c)(2).
Facts ¶¶ 49-51.) The Officer Defendants have stated that they did not discharge their firearms
with the intent or will to injure anyone. (Dec. of White ¶ 10; Dec. of Williams ¶ 10.) Neither of
the Officer Defendants recall meeting or knowing Plaintiffs and they harbor no ill will towards
either Plaintiff. (Defs.’ Statement of Facts ¶¶ 55-56.) Plaintiffs also do not recall meeting the
Officer Defendants and are not aware of any ill will or malicious intent on behalf of the Officer
Defendants. (Id. ¶¶ 59-62.)
Plaintiffs’ Medical Treatment
Plaintiffs both received medical treatment in the Health Care Unit at Stateville. (Id.
¶¶ 64-66.) Clay received three stiches, and McCottrell received bandages for his neck and leg as
well as Tylenol. (Id. ¶¶ 65-66.)
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56
Summary judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party, reveals that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a); Zaya v. Sood, 836
F.3d 800, 804 (7th Cir. 2016). A genuine issue of material fact exists when “the evidence is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. (citing Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)); Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599
(7th Cir. 2000) (“The existence of a mere scintilla of evidence supporting a plaintiff’s position is
insufficient; there must be evidence on which a jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff.”). In
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must consider the record as a whole, in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
The party seeking summary judgment has the initial burden of showing that there is no
genuine dispute and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Carmichael v. Vill. of
Palatine, 605 F.3d 451, 460 (7th Cir. 2010). If the moving party demonstrates the absence of a
disputed issue of material fact, “the burden shifts to the non-moving party to provide evidence of
specific facts creating a genuine dispute.” Carroll v. Lynch, 698 F.3d 561, 564 (7th Cir. 2012).
The non-movant must go beyond the pleadings and “set forth specific facts showing there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Hannemann v. S. Door Cty. School Dist., 673 F.3d 746, 751 (7th Cir.
Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1
Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1 governs how the parties identify material
facts and potential disputed material facts. “The purpose of Rule 56.1 is to have the litigants
present to the district court a clear, concise list of material facts that are central to the summary
judgment determination. It is the litigants’ duty to clearly identify material facts in dispute and
provide the admissible evidence that tends to prove or disprove the proffered fact.” Curtis v.
Costco Wholesale Corp., 807 F.3d 215, 219 (7th Cir. 2015). Local Rule 56.1(a) “requires the
party moving for summary judgment to file and serve a ‘statement of material facts as to which
the moving party contends there is no genuine issue and that entitle the moving party to a
judgment as a matter of law.’” Id. at 218 (citation omitted). “The non-moving party must file a
response to the moving party’s statement, and, in the case of any disagreement, cite ‘specific
references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon.’”
Petty v. Chicago, 754 F.3d 415, 420 (7th Cir. 2014) (citation omitted); see also L.R.
56.1(b)(3)(A). Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) requires the non-moving party to file a separate
statement of additional facts. See Thornton v. M7 Aerospace LP, 796 F.3d 757, 769 (7th Cir.
Local Rule 56.1 statements and responses should identify the relevant admissible
evidence supporting the material facts – not make factual or legal arguments. See Zimmerman v.
Doran, 807 F.3d 178, 180 (7th Cir. 2015). “When a responding party’s statement fails to dispute
the facts set forth in the moving party’s statement in the manner dictated by the rule, those facts
are deemed admitted for purposes of the motion.” Curtis, 807 F.3d at 218 (quoting Cracco v.
Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009)). The Seventh Circuit “has consistently
upheld district judges’ discretion to require strict compliance with Local Rule 56.1.” Flint v.
City of Belvidere, 791 F.3d 764, 767 (7th Cir. 2015).
Plaintiffs have alleged that the Officer Defendants used excessive force against them in
violation of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits the infliction of cruel and unusual
punishment. “[W]henever prison officials stand accused of using excessive physical force in
violation of the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause, the core judicial inquiry is that set out in
Whitley: whether force was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, or
maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.” Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 6–7 (1992)
(citing Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312 (1986)). Despite Plaintiffs’ argument that the Court
should apply a deliberate indifference standard, the Seventh Circuit has confirmed that the
“maliciously and sadistically to cause harm” standard applies to claims, like those here, that
correctional officers used excessive force in discharging firearms in prison. Gomez v. Randle,
680 F.3d 859, 864 (7th Cir. 2012) (applying Hudson/Whitley excessive force standard in
correctional officer shooting case).
“[T]he extent of injury suffered by an inmate is one factor that may suggest ‘whether the
use of force could plausibly have been thought necessary’ in a particular situation.” Hudson, 503
U.S. at 7 (quoting Whitley, 475 U.S. at 321). “Injury and force, however, are only imperfectly
correlated, and it is the latter that ultimately counts.” Wilkins v. Gaddy, 559 U.S. 34, 38 (2010).
“In determining whether the use of force was wanton and unnecessary, it may also be proper to
evaluate the need for application of force, the relationship between that need and the amount of
force used, the threat ‘reasonably perceived by the responsible officials,’ and ‘any efforts made
to temper the severity of a forceful response.’” Hudson, 503 U.S. at 7 (quoting Whitley, 475 U.S.
at 321). Correctional officers must balance the need to maintain or restore discipline through
force against the risk of injury to inmates. Hudson, 503 U.S. at 6. Courts must examine
evidence both of the officer’s subjective intent as well as the objective good faith of the officer’s
application of force given the particular circumstance. Id. at 8. The Seventh Circuit has distilled
the rules from these Supreme Court cases into a two-part inquiry: (1) “whether the force
[Plaintiff] describes rose above the de minimis level” and (2) “whether the actions of [the Officer
Defendants] were designed expressly for the purpose of punishing or humiliating [Plaintiffs].”
Fillmore v. Page, 358 F.3d 496, 504 (7th Cir. 2004). In other words, Plaintiffs’ burden at the
summary judgment stage is to present “evidence that ‘will support a reliable inference of
wantonness in the infliction of pain.’” Id. (quoting Whitley, 475 U.S. at 322).
Several courts have addressed factual scenarios, like here, where a correctional officer is
accused of using excessive force for discharging his firearm and injuring an inmate. Since
discharging a firearm is “plainly more than a de minimis use of force[,]” courts have focused on
whether the correctional officers fired in good faith and to restore order or did so wantonly and
without any effort to temper the severity of the force. Gomez v. Palmer, 181 F. Supp. 3d 498,
505–06 (N.D. Ill. 2015). This inquiry often rests on whether there is an issue of fact as to
whether the officer issued a warning, where the officer aimed, and why he fired. See, e.g., id.
In Gomez, for example, two inmates, neither of whom had a weapon, got in a fight while
coming back from the dining hall. Id. at 500. Within seconds, two officers started to break up
the fight using mace and physical force. Id. A third officer, who was patrolling the catwalk
opposite the fight, fired two rounds from his shotgun, and he aimed the second round—at an
angle from the seventh floor catwalk towards the inmates on the ninth floor catwalk—in the
direction of the plaintiff, who was about 15 feet away from the fighting inmates. Id. The officer
did not fire at the “black box” target designed to minimize ricochet, even though there was a
target nearby, and as a result, one his pellets ricocheted off an unknown object and struck the
plaintiff. Id. Under these facts, the court denied the officers’ motion for summary judgment. Id.
at 505. The court reasoned that there was a factual dispute as to where the officer aimed and
why he fired, as well as whether the officers had the fight under control when the officer fired his
second warning shot in the direction of inmates who were not involved in the fight. Id. The
court also noted that there was evidence suggesting that the officer fired the second shot at
inmates who were cursing at him and questioning why he fired the first shot, rather than to stop
the fight. Id. at 506. In sum, the court found that a jury could find that the officer’s use of force
was wanton and unnecessary because no reasonable officer would have perceived a need to
“shoot at inmates who were not involved” in a fight that was already under control. Id. See also
Lee v. Anderson, No. 93 C 5654, 1997 WL 106256 (N.D. Ill. Feb. 12, 1997) (denying motion for
summary judgment on prisoner excessive force claim because of factual disputes over where
guard aimed his gun and whether it was necessary to shoot); Sanchez v. O’Leary, 90 C 6271,
1993 WL 96117 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 1, 1993) (same).
In contrast, in Fields v. Millan, No. 11–856–GPM, 2013 WL 6182928, at *1 (S.D. Ill.
Nov. 26, 2013), an inmate got into a fight with two correctional officers in front of his cell on
gallery five. A third correctional officer on the catwalk ordered the inmate to stop fighting, and
when he refused to stop, the officer fired a warning shot into a “shot board” located on gallery
nine between cells 920 and 921. Id. Buckshot from the officer’s shot struck the plaintiff, who
was in cell 922. Id. Other inmates testified that the officer was shooting at the cells, but the
plaintiff himself did not see where the officer was aiming. Id. at *2. The officer testified that he
aimed at and hit the shot board. Id. Emphasizing that negligence was not enough to support an
Eighth Amendment claim, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the correctional
officer defendant. Id. at *4. The court reasoned that the officer shot his gun in response to an
ongoing altercation, did not know the plaintiff or have any intent to harm him, and did not “fire
upon Plaintiff,” only near him. Id. (emphasis in original). The court found that at most, the
plaintiff had established that the officer was negligent in failing successfully aim at the shot
board. Id. Distinguishing from cases where the officer intentionally aims and shoots at inmates,
the court found that the plaintiff had not established that the officer intended to cause him harm
or that the shot was even directed at the plaintiff, and accordingly granted summary judgment for
the officer. Id. at *4-6.
Here, construing the evidence and all reasonable inference in Plaintiffs’ favor, this case
more closely resembles Fields than Gomez. Unlike Gomez, where there was a legitimate factual
dispute about whether the officer aimed at the plaintiff and why he fired his gun, here, there is no
admissible evidence suggesting that the Officer Defendants’ use of force was wanton or
unnecessary. Unlike Gomez, where the officer may have fired at inmates that were cursing at
him, here, both Officer Defendants testified that they fired their guns because they wanted to
restore safety and order in the dining hall and they believed the struggling offender might
possess a weapon and pose a threat to the officers on the ground. (Defs.’ Statement of Facts ¶¶
49-51.) The Officer Defendants’ belief that the inmates’ fight, and one inmates’ subsequent 20second struggle with a correctional officer, presented a dangerous situation requiring the use of
force was reasonable given that fights often escalate quickly and inmates sometimes utilize
makeshift but dangerous weapons to harm officers and others. (Id. ¶¶ 38-40.)
Most importantly, the Officer Defendants both testified that, like in Fields and unlike in
Gomez, they did not fire upon the inmates and instead aimed their shots away from the
inmates—at the ceiling and at the shot board on the ceiling. (Dec. of Labarin Williams ¶ 9; Dec.
of Marcus White ¶¶ 9, 11.) The Officer Defendants’ choice to aim at the ceiling and away from
inmates, indicates that they were reasonably attempting to “temper the severity of a forceful
response.” Hudson, 503 U.S. at 7. Plaintiffs have speculated that the Officer Defendants were
aiming at them, but it is undisputed that they did not see where the Officer Defendants were
aiming and there is no admissible evidence that would create a genuine factual dispute regarding
where the Officer Defendants aimed. (Dep. of Clay 33: 5; Dep. of McCottrell 21: 14-20.) As
noted above, Plaintiffs have attempted to create a factual dispute by asserting that two inmates,
identified only as “Rico” and “Fuzz,” told McCottrell that they observed one of the Officer
Defendants aiming at the inmates. (Pls.’ Statement of Facts ¶ 15.) This statement, however, is
inadmissible hearsay, and the Court may not consider it at the summary judgment stage. As a
result, there is no evidence suggesting that the Officer Defendants aimed at the inmates. Further,
it is undisputed that Plaintiffs and the Officer Defendants did not know each other or have any ill
will towards each other that would indicate that the shooting was intentional. (Defs.’ Statement
of Facts ¶¶ 55-56, 59-62.)
The only other potential factual dispute revolves around when the officers separated
inmates and whether the Officer Defendants fired their guns after the officers on the ground had
fully resolved the altercation. Clay testified that the “fight was under control” and the officers
were in the process of handcuffing the fighting inmates when the Officer Defendants fired their
weapons, (Dep. of Clay, 25: 2-14.), and a report by the Illinois Department of Corrections
Internal Affairs Department concluded that the Officer Defendants fired their weapons after
officers had separated the fighting inmates in violation of Stateville policies. (Pls.’ Statement of
Facts, Ex. 1, Report of Investigation 4-5.) While officers had separated the fighting inmates
when the Officer Defendants fired, the Officer Defendants testified that they fired because the
correctional officers were having difficulty restraining one of the inmates, who was refusing to
comply. (Dec. of Williams ¶ 9; Dec. of White ¶ 9.) The Court has reviewed the video of the
incident, and it shows that while officers separated the fighting inmates within about 20 seconds
of starting to fight, one inmate continued to struggle with a correctional officer for another 20 to
30 seconds. (Dining Hall Video.) It was during this time period that the Officer Defendants
discharged their firearms to stabilize the situation. Given that the inmate resisted being subdued
and that inmates can pose a danger to correctional officers when in close proximity to them, it
was reasonable for the Officer Defendants to believe, in good faith, that it was necessary to fire a
warning shot—aimed away from inmates at the ceiling—to restore order.
The Officer Defendants may have violated a department policy by firing after officers
had separated the fighting inmates, however, that is not enough to support an excessive force
claim. Thompson v. City of Chi., 472 F.3d 444, 454 (7th Cir. 2006) (“42 U.S.C. § 1983 protects
plaintiffs from constitutional violations, not violations of state laws or, in this case, departmental
regulations and police practices.”) (citations omitted). Under Whitley, Plaintiffs must “provide
evidence of specific facts creating a genuine dispute” that the Officer Defendants did not act in
good faith to restore discipline and instead acted maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.
Carroll, 698 F.3d at 564. Viewing the evidence and all reasonable inferences in Plaintiffs’ favor,
they have failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the Officer
Defendants’ use of force was malicious and sadistic. The evidence indicates that the Officer
Defendants plausibly believed that firing warning shots was necessary to restore order and stop
an inmate from struggling with officers and that they tempered the severity of their force by
aiming away from the inmates at the ceiling. Hudson, 503 U.S. at 7. There is no evidence
indicating that the Officer Defendants’ use of force was wanton, “designed expressly for the
purpose of punishing or humiliating [Plaintiffs],” Fillmore, 358 F.3d at 504, or was applied
“maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.” Hudson, 503 U.S. at 6-7. Accordingly, the Court
grants the Officer Defendants’ summary judgment motion.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court grants the Officer Defendants’ motion for summary
DATED: May 22, 2017
AMY J. ST. EVE
United States District Court Judge
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