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Beal v. Schneider

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

January 20, 2017



          J.P. Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge

         1. INTRODUCTION

         On October 3, 2016, the defendant Sergeant Russell Schneider (“Schneider”) filed a motion for summary judgment as to all of the plaintiff Ronald Jerome Beal's (“Beal”) claims. (Docket #53). Beal's response to the motion was due on or before November 2, 2016. See Civil L. R. 56(b)(2). On November 10, 2016, having not received such a response, the Court ordered Beal to submit one within seven days. (Docket #58). On November 16, 2016, Beal submitted a nine-page brief in opposition to Schneider's motion and seventy-one pages of exhibits, which included an appellate brief, various medical documents, and documents relating to Beal's internal complaint about Schneider's alleged misconduct. (Brief, Docket #59; Exhibits, Docket #59-1). Beal did not offer a response to Schneider's statement of facts or his own additional statement of facts.

         Beal 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 Schneider's own summary judgment motion. (Docket #39 and #53). He has chosen to ignore these rules by failing to file anything which could be construed as a response to Schneider's statement of facts which would comply with Local Rule 56(b)(2)(B). Though 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 determine which facts Beal should dispute, and what evidence should support those disputes. The Seventh Circuit explained the problem in Smith:

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). Like Smith, no matter Beal's intentions, his utter failure to comply with the rules of procedure means that the Court has no choice but to find that Schneider's facts are undisputed for purposes of deciding the motion.

         2. RELEVANT FACTS [1]

         At all times relevant, Beal was a prisoner at the Kettle Moraine Correctional Facility, and Schneider was a correctional officer at that institution. On April 30 2013, Schneider was working in Beal's housing unit during lunchtime. Hot dogs were being served that day. Juan Rodriquez (“Rodriquez”), Beal's fellow inmate, asked Schneider if he was going to finish eating his lunch. Schneider said yes and then stated “if you took Beal's hot dog and put it in your mouth, he's not gonna be happy.” See (Docket #56 at ¶ 5). Though Beal immediately laughed, Schneider recognized the comment's sexual overtones. Schneider did not intend to convey any sexual implication and apologized to Rodriquez. Another inmate, Brian Anthony (“Anthony”), was not part of the conversation and Schneider felt he was too far away to hear what was said.

         Rodriquez nevertheless filed a complaint about Schneider's comment; Beal did not. Rodriquez identified Beal as a witness to the comment. As part of the prison's investigation of Rodriquez's complaint, Beal was interviewed later that same day. Beal answered various questions of the investigators, including the following:

         Question: Did [Schneider] say something bizarre today?

         Answer (by Beal): I'm gonna be honest. Rodriguez asked for another tray and Sgt. Point at me at [sic] stated “Put his weenie in your mouth and you'll smile.” I was sitting there waiting for another glass of water.

Q: What's your opinion of that comment?
A: Sgt. Schneider is one of the best Sgt.'s we have, He just like to talk to people. He shouldn't have said that outta his mouth.
Q: How did you take it?
A: It was wrong. But I didn't tell him that.
Q: What did you think weenie meant?
A: I was thinking hotdogs cause that's ...

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