SINN v. LEMMON et al
ORDER granting Defendants' 79 Motion for Summary Judgment. For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. ***SEE ENTRY*** Signed by Judge William T. Lawrence on 3/6/2018. (JDC)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
) Cause No. 1:15-cv-1394-WTL-DML
BRUCE LEMMON, et al.,
ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS’ MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
This cause is before the Court on the motion for summary judgment filed by the three
Defendants who remain in this lawsuit: Bruce Lemmon, Stanley Knight, and John Brush. The
motion is fully briefed, and the Court, being duly advised, GRANTS the motion for the reasons
set forth below.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment is appropriate “if
the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the
admissible evidence presented by the non-moving party must be believed, and all reasonable
inferences must be drawn in the non-movant’s favor. Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th
Cir. 2009) (“We view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all
reasonable inferences in that party’s favor.”). However, a party who bears the burden of proof on
a particular issue may not rest on its pleadings, but must show what evidence it has that there is a
genuine issue of material fact that requires trial. Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., Inc., 325 F.3d
892, 901 (7th Cir. 2003). Finally, the non-moving party bears the burden of specifically
identifying the relevant evidence of record, and “the court is not required to scour the record in
search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment.” Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d
713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001).
Of particular relevance to this Entry is the axiom that a district court is not required to
“wade through improper denials and legal argument in search of a genuinely disputed
fact.” Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trustees, 233 F.3d 524, 529 (7th Cir. 2000).
Further, a mere disagreement with the movant’s asserted facts is inadequate if made without
reference to specific supporting material. Edward E. Gillen Co. v. City of Lake Forest, 3 F.3d
192, 196 (7th Cir. 1993). In short, “[j]udges are not like pigs, hunting for truffles buried in
briefs.” United States v. Dunkel, 927 F.2d 955, 956 (7th Cir. 1991). Sinn’s summary judgment
materials were woefully deficient both in responding adequately to the Defendants’ statement of
facts and in setting forth additional facts with appropriate citations to the record. 1
Properly Supported Background Facts of Record
The properly supported background facts of record, viewed in the light most favorable to
the Plaintiff, Dylan Sinn, are as follows. Additional properly supported relevant facts are
included in the Discussion section.
For example, Sinn cites to Exhibits K and L. See Dkt. No. 88 at 2. However, the Court is
unable to find those exhibits. If Sinn is perhaps attempting to refer to Exhibits 11 and 12, see
Dkt. No. 79 at 2, those citations would nonetheless be insufficient, as they would refer to entire
depositions rather than the relevant portions thereof. Indeed, Sinn does repeatedly cite to entire
depositions, see, e.g., Dkt. No. 88 at 7, in contravention of Local Rule 56-1(e) (“A party must
support each fact the party asserts in a brief with a citation to a discovery response, a deposition,
an affidavit, or other admissible evidence. The evidence must be in the record or in an appendix
to the brief. The citation must refer to a page or paragraph number or otherwise similarly specify
where the relevant information can be found in the supporting evidence.”).
Three Defendants remain in the case: Bruce Lemmon, former Commissioner of the
Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”); Stanley Knight, former Superintendent at
Putnamville Correctional Facility (“Putnamville”); and John Brush, a unit manager at
Putnamville Correctional Facility.
From June 2011 to February 2015, Dylan Sinn was incarcerated within the IDOC. In
2014, the IDOC moved Sinn to Putnamville because his security level was decreased due to good
behavior. At Putnamville, Sinn was with other offenders who were deemed to be a lower security
risk than those inmates at his prior facility, and he was put in an open dorm. 2 Sinn felt that he
was affected by gang activity at Putnamville from the time he arrived there; however, before the
events in April 2014 out of which this case arises, he did not report any threats to prison officers,
although he had received information from the IDOC that encouraged inmates to report illegal
activity at the facilities. 3 Sinn told counselors that he did not like the open dorm set-up and
wanted to move back to a facility with single-man cells. However, he did not ask for protective
Sinn indicates that he disagrees with this statement, but the evidence he cites does not
create a genuine issue of material fact. Rather, the deposition testimony Sinn cites expresses only
that Sinn was aware of Security Threat Group (“STG”) activity and was anxious about it. See
Dkt. No. 88 at 4 (citing Sinn Dep. at 41-42).
Sinn indicates that he disagrees with this statement, but, again, the information he cites
in response does not create a genuine issue of material fact. Rather, it actually corroborates the
Q. Did you tell anyone about this (threat)?
Q. Why not.
A. At the Farm (Putnamville) that’s an everyday occurrence. That happening. If I
would have told somebody, nothing would have happened. Nothing. . . . And it
would make it 20 times worse for me [and make] the Vice Lords in the dorm mad.
Dkt. No. 88 at 5 (citing Sinn Dep. at 43-49).
In April 2014, Sinn lived in Putnamville Dorm 11 South. Prior to April 24, 2014, he had
not been harmed. However, on April 24, 2014, an inmate lured Sinn from his bed to an area that
was not far away. Sinn was grabbed from behind, his arms were restrained, and another inmate
punched Sinn’s face several times. Sinn believes that two or three inmates were involved in the
attack, and those inmates were Vice Lords or “real good friends of them.” Dkt. No. 79-11 at 55.
In the days after the attack, it became clear to Sinn that the attack had been choreographed by the
gang. Sinn was not injured badly by the attack; he had some scrapes and maybe a busted lip, but
nothing he felt was serious. Sinn believed that he was targeted for the attack because he was
unaffiliated with any gang and was a “White, clean-cut, tall, nerdy guy with glasses.” Id. 11
South was regularly understaffed and had just one correctional officer on the floor when Sinn
After the attack on April 24, Officers Paul Hoskins and Scott Rodgers reviewed the video
and moved Sinn to a different dormitory: 18 South. 18 South was regularly understaffed and had
just one correctional officer on the floor when Sinn was again attacked. Sinn told Hoskins and
Rodgers that the situation was not going to stop and in fact would escalate. 4 He wanted to know
why he was being moved while his assailants remained in the same dormitory. Hoskins and
Rodgers told Sinn that he needed to speak with his counselor the next day. At the time, Sinn did
not know about protective custody.
When Sinn was taken to 18 South after the attack, he was met by other members of the
same gang who let him “know that it wasn’t over yet; that they were going to get me when time
came and they saw fit. . . . They said they had Vice Lords all over the camp. There wasn’t any
The Court granted the Defendants’ motion for judgment on the pleadings as to Sinn’s
claims against Rogers and Hoskins because Rogers and Hoskins raised the defense of qualified
immunity and Sinn failed to address the issue in his response. See Dkt. No. 48 at 12.
dorm I’d be safe in.” Id. at 57. He did not tell anyone about these threats. When he went to
breakfast the next morning, he saw Defendant Brush. Brush already knew about the incident and
told Sinn that he had handled himself well. Sinn told Brush about his concerns and asked to be
moved to a different facility. Sinn did not tell Brush any of the names of the people who
concerned him; he did not know any of their names at the time.
Sinn wrote a letter to Brush that is dated April 26, 2014. The letter recounted the events
of April 24, 2014, and indicated that Sinn believed he would be subject to assault from black
inmates. Sinn does not recall whether he turned in the letter to a counselor’s box in the chow hall
or slipped it under the counselor’s door. Sinn did not have any communication with Brush after
he sent the letter.
Sinn also filled out a grievance form on April 28, 2014, which reads in relevant
On 4-24-14 @ approx. 5:30 pm in 11 South, I was assulted, jumped,
and robbed for all my property. Hygeine, good, cloths, glasses, shoes, and
radio and headphones. Camera showed the incident and who was involved.
Due to number of black gang members involved and time of incident. Custody
violated by 8th Amendment protection rights by deliberate indifference.
Further putting me in violent situations over the incident and other people
involved being retaliated against.
Dkt. No. 79-9 (errors in original).
Between April 24 and April 30, Sinn was threatened by members of the Vice Lord gang.
They threatened him because he defended himself against his property being taken and because
they believed he was taking steps to talk with officers about his safety. They knew that he got
pulled out, spoke to officers, and was moved. They were making it clear what their intentions
On April 30, 2014, Sinn was again assaulted by black inmates. He believes that the
people who attacked him were members of the Vice Lords. They forced him into the shower area
and severely beat him. Sinn’s leg was broken in two places, and he also suffered a fractured jaw,
a broken nose, and several contusions to his face and body. Sinn was taken by ambulance to a
hospital and then transferred to a different hospital, where he underwent two surgeries. It was
later determined that Sinn had been assaulted by inmate Marquette Neal. Inmate Chauncey
Davenport also was involved. Both Davenport and Neal were put in disciplinary segregation.
Additional Facts Set Forth by Sinn That Are Not Properly Supported
Sinn provides a Statement of Material Facts in Dispute or Favorable to the Plaintiff in his
Brief. 5 The Court has incorporated the facts that Sinn properly supports into section A, above.
The Court will address Sinn’s remaining purported facts, in turn.
Sinn asserts that the “following facts are in dispute or are favorable to the Plaintiff’s
theory of liability against each defendant: Bruce Lemmon, Stanley Knight, John D. Brush, Scott
Rodgers, and Paul Hoskins.” Dkt. No. 88 at 8. First, “Dylan Sinn did all that he was required to
do to alert the Security staff at Putnamville of the imminent threat he feared in retaliation for
Sinn also provides a “Plaintiff’s List of Additional Exhibits and Evidence in Support of
His Argument Objecting to Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment.” Dkt. No. 88 at 9-10.
The Court is unable to locate in the record several of the items, including the deposition of Paul
Hoskins; the deposition of Scott Rodgers; and pictures of dormitory 11 South and 18 South. In
any case, simply providing a list is insufficient, as the Court is “not obliged in our adversary
system to scour the record looking for factual disputes.” Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24
F.3d 918, 922 (7th Cir. 1994).
Sinn also lists the Affidavit of Kandi Northcutt (Dkt. No. 88-5) and the Affidavit of
Matthew Dunham (Dkt. No. 88-6). Each of these affidavits fails to comply with Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56(c)(4) (“An affidavit or declaration used to support or oppose a motion must
be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show
that the affiant or declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated.”). As the Defendants
point out, neither Northcutt nor Dunham was employed at Putnamville during the time period
that gave rise to Sinn’s lawsuit. Rather, Northcutt was employed by the IDOC between April and
July 2016, and Dunham was employed by the IDOC and assigned to Putnamville from January
2009 to May 2012. As such, neither has personal knowledge of the conditions at Putnamville in
2014, and the facts cited in their affidavits would not be admissible as evidence.
reporting the gang attack on April 24, 2014, by the Vice Lords. Brush Dep. p.83, Knight Dep. p
193.” Id. Neither of the pages cited by Sinn supports this fact.
Second, “[t]he security staff could verify the attack on April 24 on another white inmate
by the Vice Lords on April 25 or 26. There were 6 security cameras on each side of the dorm.”
Dkt. No. 88 at 9. Sinn fails to support this allegation with a citation to material in the record.
Third, “Michael Berg, an expert in prison and jail management and operations, found the
events of April 24, and April 30 at Putnamville to have been preventable. Mr. Sinn did meet the
obligation to inform the security staff in sufficient detail of his well-founded fear of being
attacked by the Vice Lords or their friends. Paul Hoskins did not know what to do if an inmate
was in fear of being attacked. Hoskins Dep. p. 88.” Dkt. No. 88 at 9. The Court is unable to
locate Hoskins’ deposition in the record before the Court.
Fourth, “[t]he Defendants did not provide an expert report nor would they identify what
Mr. Lemmon and Mr. Knight would offer an opinion about. They are now precluded from
offering any expert opinion.” Dkt. No. 88 at 9. This statement is not a material fact relevant to
Sinn’s remaining claims are based on his assertion that the Defendants violated his rights
under the Eighth, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments by imposing cruel and unusual
punishment. Following the Court’s entry on the motion for judgment on the pleadings, the
following claims remain: (1) claims related to failure to protect against Defendant Brush; and (2)
claims related to failure to protect against Defendants Lemmon and Knight in their individual
Claims Against Defendant Brush
A prison official can violate the Eighth Amendment by failing to take reasonable steps to
protect inmates from a known, substantial threat to their safety. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 847 (1994). The official must have actual knowledge of “a substantial risk of serious harm.”
Id. It is not enough that he failed to address “a significant risk that he should have perceived but
did not.” Id. at 838. The Supreme Court expressly rejected the suggestion that a prison official
violates the Eighth Amendment when he might have known—or even should have known—of a
risk of harm. See id. at 837-38. Further, mere negligence is insufficient to state a claim for
deliberate indifference. Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 332 (1986). Even gross negligence
does not constitute deliberate indifference. Soto v. Johansen, 137 F.3d 980, 981 (7th Cir. 1998)
Prison officials have a duty to ensure the safety of inmates from the violent acts of other
inmates. Id. A beaten inmate must establish that the prison official knew that the inmate faced a
substantial risk of serious harm and, appreciating the danger, failed to take reasonable measures
to abate it. Id. (quotation and citation omitted). A prisoner normally proves actual knowledge of
impending harm by showing that he complained to prison officials about a specific threat to his
safety. Pope v. Shafer, 86 F.3d 90, 92 (7th Cir. 1996) (citation omitted). “Prisons, after all, are
dangerous places often full of people who have demonstrated aggression.” Dale v. Poston, 548
F.3d 563, 569 (7th Cir. 2008).
A complaint that conveys only a generalized or vague concern about one’s safety
typically will not support an inference that a prison official had actual knowledge that the
prisoner was in danger. Gevas v. McLaughlin, 798 F.3d 475, 480 (7th Cir. 2015). In Gevas, the
court collected examples of complaints that did not support an inference that the official had
See, e.g., Dale v. Poston, 548 F.3d 563, 569 (7th Cir. 2008) (“[The prisoner’s]
vague statement that inmates were ‘pressuring’ him and ‘asking questions’ were
simply inadequate to alert the officers to the fact that there was a true threat at
play.”); Klebanowski v. Sheahan, 540 F.3d 633, 639-40 (7th Cir. 2008) (beyond
expressing fear for his life, prisoner’s statements to guards did not identify who
was threatening him or what the threats were); Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d
763, 776 (7th Cir. 2008) (prisoner did not mention to guards that he was perceived
to be a “snitch” or otherwise apprise them of a specific threat to his life); Butera
v. Cottey, 285 F.3d 601, 606 (7th Cir. 2002) (prisoner only stated vaguely that he
was “having problems” in his cellblock and “needed to be removed”).
Sinn points to his letter addressed to Brush and the conversation he had with Brush as
evidence that supports his claim that Brush failed to protect him. In his deposition, Sinn stated
that Brush initiated a conversation with Sinn and recounted their conversation as follows:
I told him my concerns, told him what was going on. I said I know I’m going to
get it again here soon. I’m going to be back in trouble, you know. [I was
concerned about] getting beat up or having to get in an altercation, either way.
Whether you get beat up, or you do the beating up, it’s still the same in your head.
You’re still going to get in trouble. And if you do the beating up, you’re worse off
because, again, you’ve got more people mad at you. You’re almost just better to
get beat up.
Dkt. No. 79-11 at 68. Sinn told Brush, “[Y]ou’ll be getting a call. It’s coming. I mean, it’s just a
matter of time before they feel like they’re going to move in on me when they see the time is
right.” Id. Sinn told Brush that Sinn wanted to be moved; he either wanted to go back to a Level
3 or Level 4 facility, or be moved out of Putnamville. Brush told Sinn to write Brush a report.
During the conversation, Sinn did not tell Brush any of the names of the people who concerned
him; he did not know any of their names at the time.
Sinn then wrote a letter to Brush. In the letter, Sinn never mentioned gangs; rather, he
discussed race and the racial conflicts at Putnamville:
On 4-24-14 at approximately 5:30 pm in II South I was jumped and robbed
for all my property. Hygeine, food, clothes, [illegible] shoes, radio and
I was pulled out by officers and taken to medical to be inspected. Following
the incident I was moved to another dorm.
Officers stated to me that they saw who was involved and who robbed my
property. They said the camera clearly showed it, yet no actions were taken due to
inconvenience of time and housing overcrowdness.
In the days that followed this incident the other two white people moved
with me were assaulted again and jumped. 6 Further showing that the incident
followed them to the new dorms. I have yet to be assaulted again. But I know it’s
The administration turns a blind head to the racial differential of conflicts
here at PCF. This incident is prime example. Several offenders (more than 6)
could be Id on video robbing and assaulting offenders, but because seg is full and
custody doesn’t want to deal with the drawn out procedures for properly
addressing the situation at 5:30 p.m. (waiting to clock out at 6 pm.) My safety is
jeapordiced due to this.
These black inmates had the wide open ability to have the other two people
besides myself jumped less than 24 hours after the incident, and custody again
took no action.
When I am moved from 18 south to BMU or another Idle unit I will be
subjected to these assults. Assults I know through experience that won’t be caught
or addressed with proper attention.
I will not let myself be put in that vulnerable situation. I’m not affallated. I
am by myself and I’m a white minority. I’d rather refuse housing than to get my
brains stomped in the floor by ten hated filled racist blacks. Even scarier the
alternative of defending myself and seriously hurting someone.
Dkt. No. 79-8 (errors in original). Neither Sinn’s recollection of the conversation nor this
letter provides the specific information that would provide Brush actual knowledge of “a
substantial risk of serious harm.” Rather, while Sinn expressed concerns about his safety
and requested to be moved, he did not identify individuals or even mention a particular
Sinn is referring to Justin Franklin and another inmate whose name he did not know.
gang in either the letter or conversation. Simply identifying a particular race of inmates is
too generalized a concern to support an inference that a prison official had actual
knowledge that the prisoner was in danger. Because Sinn has failed to point to facts of
record that could allow a reasonable finder of fact to find that Defendant Brush acted with
deliberate indifference, Defendant Brush is entitled to summary judgment on the claims
Claims Against Knight and Lemmon
Sinn does not point to evidence of record from which a reasonable trier of fact could find
that either Knight or Lemmon had personal knowledge of Sinn’s situation. Rather, he alleges that
Knight and Lemmon were responsible for the failure of gang policies and deliberate
understaffing and budget for staff, which created a security problem.
To hold defendants liable under § 1983, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendants’
“official policy, widespread custom, or action by an official with policy-making authority was
the ‘moving force’ behind his constitutional injury.” Dixon v. County of Cook, 819 F.3d 343, 348
(7th Cir. 2016) (citing City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 379 (1989)). An unconstitutional
policy can include both implicit policies as well as a gap in expressed policies. Id. (citation
When seeking to rely upon indirect proof, a plaintiff must point to admissible evidence
that could allow a reasonable trier of fact to find “systemic and gross deficiencies in staffing,
facilities, equipment, or procedures in a detention center’s medical care system.” Dixon, 819
F.3d at 348 (quotation mark omitted). If he is able to do so, he must then show that a
policymaker or official knew about these deficiencies and failed to correct them. Id. (citation
omitted). To be attributed to the municipality as a “policy,” a course of action must be
“consciously chosen from among various alternatives;” therefore, evidence must “be adduced
which proves that the inadequacies resulted from conscious choice—that is, proof that the
policymakers deliberately chose a . . . program which would prove inadequate.” Calhoun v.
Ramsey, 408 F.3d 375, 380 (7th Cir. 2005) (quoting City of Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S.
808, 823 (1985)).
Lemmon and Knight are responsible for policy and staffing at Putnamville. They are also
responsible for implementing and sustaining policies which are effective and provide a
reasonable response to a notice from an inmate that he fears for his safety or his life. In his
response, Sinn indicates that he “alleges that Commissioner Lemmon and Superintendent Knight
made a deliberate decision to deny inmates who were being threatened by gangs, objectively
reasonable protection under the Eighth Amendment by deliberately understaffing the facilities
and not providing appropriate safety measures to protect Mr. Sinn.” Dkt. No. 88 at 16.
In support of his argument, Sinn cites to the following language from the report by his
expert, Michael Berg:
It is my professional opinion that as a result of numerous deliberate
procedural failures and the utilization of bad customs and practices by the
personnel of the Indiana Department of Correction, and those of the Putnamville
Correctional Facility, Mr. Dylan Sinn was wrongfully injured as a result of a total
[sic] predictable gang assault on April 30th, 2014. As identified earlier, these
failures included but may not be limited to: failure to respond, failure to report,
failure to provide safe and administrative housing, failing to provide coordinated
efforts between security, classification and the security threat group unit, failure
to protect, failure to adequately train, failure to properly handle administrative
requests and grievances, failure to staff security units appropriately, failing to
monitor the in-cell activity of housing units, failing to safely monitor the daily
behavior of gang members and other high risk offenders, and failing to supervise
the performance of their line staff officers and specialized units.
As a result of these failures, the Indiana Department of Correction also
failed to provide the care, custody, and control of their inmate population in a
constitutional and statutory manner. More specifically, inmate Dylan Sinn was
unnecessarily attacked and seriously injured by well known gang members – that
had an equally well-known history of disruptive behavior – on April 30th, 2014,
while being detained within the Putnamville Correctional Facility. It was a
needless and preventable event to say the very least.
Dkt. No. 88 at 19.
The statement, “As a result of these failures, the Indiana Department of Correction also
failed to provide the care, custody, and control of their inmate population in a constitutional and
statutory manner,” is a legal conclusion, and, as such, is not evidence that can be used to avoid
summary judgment. See, e.g., Good Shepherd Manor Found., Inc. v. City of Momence, 323 F.3d
557, 564 (7th Cir. 2003); West v. Waymire, 114 F.3d 646, 652 (7th Cir. 1997). Likewise, the use
of the word “deliberate” to describe the purported procedural failures would not be permissible,
as it would communicate a legal standard, either explicitly or implicitly. See Berry v. City of
Detroit, 25 F.3d 1342, 1353 (6th Cir. 1994) (holding that the expert should not have been
permitted to testify that the defendant acted with deliberate indifference and should not have
been permitted to define deliberate indifference).
With respect to gang violence, the IDOC adopted policies and procedures to address
problems related to gangs, referred to within the Department as Security Threat Groups
(“STGs”).” 7 Putnamville, in accordance with Department policy, had an STG coordinator who
tracked inmates who were confirmed STG gang members. 8 IDOC employees get training about
Sinn indicates that he disagrees with this fact, but the information he cites in response
does not create a genuine issue of material fact. Rather, Sinn asserts, “Putnamville had a
requirement of 2 STG coordinators, but they did not track any gang activity or gang members.”
Dkt. No. 88 at 7. In support of this statement, Sinn cites the Affidavits of Sinn, Durham, and
Northcutt. However, none of these affidavits actually supports this fact, and, as noted above, the
Affidavits of Durham and Northcutt do not contain evidence that would be admissible.
Sinn indicates that he disagrees with this fact, but Sinn has not demonstrated that, as an
inmate, he has personal knowledge as to what the STG coordinator does. See Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56(c)(4) (“An affidavit or declaration used to support or oppose a motion must
be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show
that the affiant or declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated.”). Further, Sinn’s
STGs. 9 IDOC employees are taught the importance of tracking known gang affiliations to
manage the facilities, to determine whether a certain offender may be appropriate for a specific
With respect to deliberate understaffing, Putnamville has had turnover among its
correctional officers and counselors. Defendant Knight, former Superintendent at Putnamville,
believes that the job is tough and not for everyone, and it does not pay particularly well. 11 While
Knight has heard the complaint that former correctional officers felt that Putnamville was being
deliberately understaffed, Knight believes those in charge of hiring are pretty aggressive and
work hard to keep their ranks full. During April 2014, Putnamville had twenty-seven
vacancies. 12 Knight would have filled the vacancies if he had been able to do so. He did not
assertion that “the gang members would openly wear their gang tattoos and everyone on the
dorm knew who were the gang members, but the security staff did nothing,” Dkt. No. 88 at 7,
does not establish a presence of a genuine dispute because it is not inconsistent with the
Sinn indicates that he disagrees with this fact: “Training was superficial and ineffective.
See Affidavits of Sinn, Durham, and Northcutt.” Dkt. No. 88 at 8. As noted above, the Affidavits
of Durham and Northcutt do not contain evidence that would be admissible. Further, Sinn has
not demonstrated that, as an inmate, he has personal knowledge about the training.
Again, Sinn disagrees with this fact: “The STG policy is detailed but is not followed by
hardly any staff. Mr. Knight did not see any C.O. at any security station on the video surveillance
CD on either occasion, nor did he see anyone show up for 3 minutes. It is reasonable to assume
that no one was on the floor or they were fearful of stepping in to the situation without backup. If
the C.O. was on station he would have seen a congregation of black offenders. That means
something to everyone whether you are an inmate or a security officer.” Dkt. No. 88 at 8 (errors
in original). Sinn’s response fails to support his factual position because he does not cite to
particular parts of materials in the record. See Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56(c).
Sinn indicates that he disagrees with this statement, but he again fails to comply with
Local Rule 56-1(e), which requires that he include a citation that refers to a page or paragraph
number or otherwise similarly specify where the relevant information can be found. Rather, he
simply refers to “the video and the affidavits provided by 2 former C.O.s, one former inmate, and
Mr. Sinn.” Dkt. No. 88 at 7. Further, Sinn’s statement that the video and affidavits “demonstrate
that often no one is on the dorm floor” (Dkt. No. 88 at 7) does not establish the presence of a
genuine dispute because it is not inconsistent with the Defendants’ facts.
Sinn indicates that he disagrees with this fact: “Mr. Knight claimed to have determined
the vacancy number on the day of the attack, but he did not have any documentation to refute the
intend to have vacancies. Contrary to Sinn’s unsupported allegations, Knight was never in a
discussion regarding governmental departments being required to return ten percent of their
budget. In fact, Knight spent his budget and sometimes went a little over budget. 13
Putnamville is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections. A
reaccreditional audit was conducted on August 20-23, 2013, and the Commission found the
facility to be in 100% compliance with the mandatory standards.
Even assuming for the purposes of this Entry that Berg’s report is sufficient to support a
finding that there were systemic and gross deficiencies in staffing, facilities, equipment, or
procedures, Sinn points to no evidence of record that could allow a reasonable factfinder to find
that Knight or Lemmon instituted policies that would prove inadequate. Summary judgment “is
the ‘put up or shut up’ moment in a lawsuit, when a party must show what evidence it has that
would convince a trier of fact to accept its version of events.” Schacht v. Wisconsin Dep’t of
Corr., 175 F.3d 497, 504 (7th Cir. 1999). Sinn has not pointed to evidence of a deliberate
decision to either deny protection or to understaff the facilities. Mere allegations are insufficient
at the summary judgment stage. In any case, Sinn has failed to point to evidence to show that
videos on two occasions or the affidavits offered to support Mr. Sinn. Knight admits that ‘on
occasion’ there may have been one C.O. in a dorm of 150 inmates for an 8-hour shift. Knight
Dep. pp. 151-154. Even if the number is 23 or 27, those vacancies are normally the entry level
C.O. positions. On average the facility was always short staffed.” Dkt. No. 88 at 7. Again, Sinn
fails to properly address the Defendants’ assertion of fact as required by Federal Rule of Civil
Sinn indicates that he disagrees with this fact: “Mr. Knight did not provide any
documentation on budget appropriations or expenses. With 27 vacancies and associated
employee costs, he was not spending. He was always under budget. He would be saving almost
$1,000,000 each year. Where did it go if it was not spent?” Dkt. No. 88 at 7-8. Sinn’s response
fails to support his allegation by citing to particular parts of materials in the record. Further, Sinn
has not asserted that Knight did not have personal knowledge about Putnamville’s budget.
Lemmon or Knight had the culpable state of mind that their decisions would result in substantial
harm to inmates.
Nor does Sinn point to facts of record that could allow a reasonable trier of fact to find
that the gang violence was so prevalent at Putnamville that it created a virtual “reign of terror.”
See Lewis v. Richards, 107 F.3d 549, 554 (7th Cir. 1997). The Seventh Circuit has recognized
that pervasive violence in a prison may create unconstitutional conditions of
confinement. See James v. Milwaukee County, 956 F.2d 696, 700 (7th Cir. 1992); Walsh v.
Brewer, 733 F.2d 473, 476 (7th Cir. 1984). However, Sinn fails to point to facts of record, such
as the number or frequency of incidents of inmate-on-inmate violence, to establish that violence
at Putnamville was so pervasive as to violate the Eighth Amendment. See Lewis, 107 F.3d at 555
(rejecting the plaintiff’s claim). Because Sinn has failed to point to facts of record that would
allow a reasonable finder of fact to find that Defendant Knight or Defendant Lemmon acted with
deliberate indifference, Defendants Knight and Lemmon are entitled to summary judgment on
the claims against them.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS the Defendants’ Motion for Summary
SO ORDERED: 3/6/18
Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
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