The opinion of the court was delivered by: Evans, United States Magistrate Judge.
The plaintiff, a state prisoner, has brought this civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff
claims that the defendants, various Western Illinois
Correctional Center officials, violated the plaintiff's
constitutional rights by depriving him of access to the courts.
The parties have consented to have this case heard to judgment
before a U.S. Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
This matter is before the court for consideration of the
parties' cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons
stated in this order, judgment will be granted in favor of the
Summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that
there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the
moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Herman v.
National Broadcasting Co., Inc., 744 F.2d 604, 607 (7th Cir.
1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1028, 105 S.Ct. 1393, 84 L.Ed.2d
782 (1985). In determining whether factual issues exist, the
court must view all the evidence in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. Beraha v. Baxter Health Corp.,
956 F.2d 1436, 1440 (7th Cir. 1992).
However, Rule 56(c) "mandates the entry of summary judgment,
after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a
party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on
which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial."
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322, 106 S.Ct. at 2552. "Where the record
taken as a whole could
not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving
party there is no `genuine' issue for trial." Mechnig v. Sears,
Roebuck & Co., 864 F.2d 1359 (7th Cir. 1988). A "metaphysical
doubt" will not suffice. Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1355, 89
L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). Disputed facts are material only if they
might affect the outcome of the suit. First Ind. Bank v. Baker,
957 F.2d 506, 507-08 (7th Cir. 1992).
The plaintiff is a state prisoner, currently confined at the
Stateville Correctional Center. At the time of the events
giving rise to this lawsuit (from February or March, 1992,
through April 28, 1993), the plaintiff was incarcerated at the
Western Illinois Correctional Center [hereinafter, "W.I.C.C."].
The defendants Janet Nicholas and Billie Johnson are W.I.C.C.
law librarians. The defendants William O'Sullivan and Jon
Heckel are, respectively, the prison's warden and assistant
The following facts are uncontested: Between February 5,
1993, through April 19, 1993, the plaintiff attended W.I.C.C.'s
law library at least 103 times. In addition, the plaintiff was
given special call passes to use the library on off-hours,
including weekends and holidays. [Institution policy bars use
of the library during certain hours unless inmates have
imminent filing or court dates and consent from their
supervisor.] In addition to using the library nearly every
morning, the plaintiff was granted special permission to go to
the library after he completed his daily work.
During his stay at W.I.C.C., the plaintiff was provided some
4,119 copies at state expense. In addition, the plaintiff was
furnished with free notary services, writing materials,
business-size envelopes and large manila envelopes. The
plaintiff was allowed to use the envelopes only for legal mail;
to ensure compliance, the plaintiff was required to address his
mail at the circulation desk.
The State advanced postage for the plaintiff's legal mail; as
of the date of filing of the lawsuit, the plaintiff owed
W.I.C.C. $69.18 for mail costs.
Prior to the plaintiff's transfer to W.I.C.C., the
institution had no set policy regarding the dispensing of
writing materials. Shortly after his arrival, the plaintiff
expressed dissatisfaction with the library services provided
and amount of paper received. Because the plaintiff protested
the lack of a formal rule, W.I.C.C. officials developed a
policy [three sheets of typing paper per session (more on a
case-by-case basis) and one pencil per session], in line with
other institutions. When the plaintiff continued to complain
that he was not being given enough paper, the policy was
changed to five sheets per session.*fn1
While in the law library, the plaintiff frequently was
observed working on the cases of other inmates (whom he
referred to as his "clients,") or simply talking. The plaintiff
currently is litigating no less than fifteen of his own
cases.*fn2 According to the affidavit of librarian Jon Heckel,
W.I.C.C. "is in compliance with the mandates of the Illinois
Department of Corrections regarding Law Library procedures and
No material facts are in dispute, and the court concludes
that the defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of
law. No reasonable person could find that the defendants
impermissibly infringed on the plaintiff's right of access to
the courts. To the contrary, the record shows that the
defendants went to great lengths to accommodate the plaintiff's
legal needs. The plaintiff's lawsuit is completely groundless.
There is no dispute that the Constitution guarantees prison
inmates a right to meaningful access to the courts. Bounds v.
Smith, 430 U.S. 817, 821, 97 S.Ct. 1491, 1494, 52 L.Ed.2d 72
(1977). That fundamental right requires prison authorities "to
assist inmates in the preparation and filing of meaningful
legal papers by providing prisoners with adequate law ...