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Gambrell v. Wiechart

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

March 30, 2017

DAMIEN D. GAMBRELL, Plaintiff,
v.
ERICA WEICHART, Defendant.

          ORDER

          J.P. Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge

         1. INTRODUCTION

         On November 21, 2016, Defendant Erica Weichart (“Weichart”) filed a motion for summary judgment. (Docket #47).[1] Plaintiff Damien D. Gambrell (“Gambrell”) submitted a response on January 9, 2017. (Docket #56). Weichart replied in support of her motion on January 24, 2017. (Docket #59). This case was reassigned to this branch of the Court on March 15, 2017. For the reasons explained below, Weichart's motion must be granted.

         2. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Federal 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 Auth., 618 F.3d 688, 691 (7th Cir. 2010).

         3. FACTS

         3.1 Gambrell's Failure to Dispute Any Facts

         Gambrell has been informed of the requirements of the Federal and Local Rules regarding summary judgment at least twice; by attachments to District Judge Charles N. Clevert's July 21, 2016 scheduling order, and by Weichart's own summary judgment motion. (Docket #33 and #47). He has chosen to ignore those rules by failing to even attempt a dispute of any of Weichart's proffered facts. Instead, he merely offers various statements in his responsive brief and a collection of exhibits, none of which are connected to any discrete statement of fact or response thereto. These infirmities cannot be overlooked.

         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 delve through Gambrell's submissions in this case to craft a response to Weichart'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 Gambrell's filings hoping to piece together clues to the evidence behind his legal positions.

         Like Smith, no matter Gambrell's intentions, his utter failure to comply with the rules of procedure means that the Court has no choice but to deem Weichart'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 undisputed facts.

         3.2 Relevant Facts

         The facts relevant to the Court's instant determination are brief. Gambrell was incarcerated in Brown County Jail (the “Jail”) from August 2015 to May 2016.[2] He claims that during his stay, his food allergies were not appropriately addressed by Jail medical staff. With respect to Weichart, Gambrell was allowed to proceed on a claim of deliberate ...


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