United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge.
November 9, 2016, the defendant Milwaukee County (the
“County”) filed a motion for summary judgment.
(Docket #17). The plaintiff Davius Conrod
(“Conrod”) responded to the motion, and also
offered his own cross motion for summary judgment, on
December 12, 2016. (Docket #25 and #26). The County offered
its reply on December 22, 2016. (Docket #28). For the reasons
explained below, the Court must grant the County's motion
and deny Conrod's, and put Conrod on notice that it is
considering granting summary judgment sua sponte as
to defendants Robert R. Smith (“Smith”) and Amy
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides the mechanism for seeking
summary judgment. Rule 56 states that the “court shall
grant summary judgment 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a); see Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d 910, 916 (7th
Cir. 2016). A “genuine” dispute of material fact
is created when “the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). The Court construes all facts and reasonable
inferences in a light most favorable to the non-movant.
Bridge v. New Holland Logansport, Inc., 815 F.3d
356, 360 (7th Cir. 2016). In assessing the parties'
proposed facts, the Court must not weigh the evidence or
determine witness credibility; the Seventh Circuit instructs
that “we leave those tasks to factfinders.”
Berry v. Chicago Transit Authority, 618 F.3d 688,
691 (7th Cir. 2010).
Conrod's Failure to Dispute Any Facts
has been informed of the requirements of the Federal and
Local Rules regarding summary judgment at least twice; by
attachments to the Court's trial scheduling order, and by
the defendants' own summary judgment motion. (Docket #16
and #17). He has chosen to ignore those rules by failing to
even attempt a dispute of any of the County's proffered
facts. Instead, he merely offers statements in his responsive
brief and a collection of exhibits, none of which are
connected to any statement of facts or response thereto.
These infirmities cannot be overlooked.
the Court is required to liberally construe a pro se
plaintiff's filings, it cannot act as his lawyer; the
Court cannot and will not delve through Conrod's
submissions in this case to craft a response to the
County's statements of fact on his behalf. Indeed:
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). And 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). Smith's
summary-judgment materials were woefully deficient in either
responding adequately to the defendants' statement or in
setting forth additional facts with appropriate citations to
the record. As such, Smith's purportedly good intentions
aside, the district court did not abuse its discretion in
deeming admitted and only considering the defendants'
statement of material facts.
Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003).
This Court would offer a similar analogy: it is not an
archaeologist, made to sift through Conrod's filings
hoping to piece together clues to the evidence behind his
Smith, no matter Conrod's intentions, his utter
failure to comply with the rules of procedure means that the
Court has no choice but to deem the County's facts
undisputed for purposes of deciding the motion. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e)(2). The Court will still consider his legal brief, to
the extent it could be of any value in light of the
facts relevant to the Court's instant determination are
brief. Conrod is a former inmate in the County's Jail
(the “Jail”). On December 17, 2012, Milwaukee
municipal judge Philip Chavez issued four warrants for
Conrod's arrest based on probable cause that he committed
the offenses alleged therein. (Docket #21-1). Conrod was
arrested on December 19, 2012. The warrants would have been
provided to Jail personnel upon Conrod's arrival there;
they were in fact kept in his Jail file. On December 18,
2012, Stolowski, a Milwaukee police officer, swore to and
signed a CR-215 form (the “Probable Cause
Statement”) recounting the basis for Conrod's
arrest, including references to the warrants. (Docket #21-2).
The Probable Cause Statement identified Smith as the
arresting officer. Id. On December 19, 2012, the
Probable Cause Statement was signed by Milwaukee County Court
Commissioner Maria S. Dorsey (“Commissioner