United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, E.D
May 31, 1985
MARTY REEVES, PLAINTIFF,
MICHAEL P. LANE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: McMILLEN, District Judge.
Plaintiff has sued the Director of the Illinois Department of
Corrections, the Warden of Sheridan Correctional Center and
various subsidiary correctional officers at that institution for
an alleged violation of his rights under the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. He
alleges that he was sentenced to solitary confinement for eight
days without running water in his cell, sustaining loss of health
and high blood pressure. Plaintiff seeks $500,000 damages. He is
no longer an inmate at Sheridan.
Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment, supported
by numerous documents including extracts from plaintiff's
deposition. The undisputed facts are that, although there was no
running water in plaintiff's cell, he was allowed to go to the
gymnasium every day between 5:00 o'clock a.m. and 8:00 o'clock
a.m., that he was allowed to take a shower every day for thirty
minutes and did so, that he had a visitor one evening who gave
him a soda, and that he visited the medical unit on two occasions
for matters unrelated to dehydration. During these periods of
time, he had unlimited access to drinking water. He also could
use the toilet in his cell, although it backed up.
Plaintiff has filed no counteraffidavits, and defendants have
filed no statement of uncontested facts as such. They did file a
statement in their motion for summary judgment on December 20,
1984 that the foregoing facts are not disputed. Plaintiff's
attorney filed a "counter memorandum" on February 4, 1985 which
contends that being deprived of water from 10:00 o'clock a.m.
until 6:00 o'clock a.m. the following morning is cruel and
We do not believe that the foregoing scenario rises to the
level of shocking the conscience of any reasonable citizen.
Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 101 S.Ct. 2392, 69 L.Ed.2d 59
(1981). After all, plaintiff was in solitary confinement by
virtue of his own wrongdoing, and the "totality of the
conditions" which are summarized above do not show intentional or
even reckless disregard of his well-being. He did receive
adequate food and medical attention. The lack of drinking water
is de minimus in view of the other attention and privileges
which plaintiff received while in confinement. Madyun v.
Thompson, 657 F.2d 868 (7th Cir. 1981).
If deprivation of drinking water were intentionally imposed
upon the plaintiff as a punishment, we might rule differently. If
the prison authorities failed to reestablish the flow of water in
plaintiff's sink or failed to move him to a cell which had
running water, this might possibly constitute negligence for
which he has an adequate remedy under the common law of Illinois.
To elevate these circumstances into a violation of the United
States Constitution, however, in our opinion is not justified. At
least it is not justified to the extent of submitting this
controversy to a jury.
Therefore, the motion of the defendants for summary judgment is
granted and judgment is entered in favor of defendants, without
© 1992-2003 VersusLaw Inc.