Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.


February 10, 1995

OFFICER BANKS et al., Defendants.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES B. MORAN

 Plaintiff Anthony Jones (Jones), an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections, brings this pro se § 1983 action against defendant Charles Banks (Banks), a correctional officer stationed at the Stateville Correctional Center. Jones seeks damages and injunctive relief for alleged violations of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Before this court are cross-motions for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil procedure. For the following reasons, defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part. Plaintiff's motion is denied.


 Jones is serving an 80-year sentence for murder and aggravated battery. On December 15, 1992, the day the events in question occurred, Jones was an inmate at the Stateville Correctional Center. He resided in H-House, a protective custody cellblock.

 Banks was a correctional officer at Stateville. He was responsible for maintaining custody and control of the inmates and ensuring that they received prison services. He was on duty in H-House during the day on December 15; he had been assigned to H-House a week earlier.

 Correctional officers monitor H-House from a control center: a booth enclosed in bulletproof glass from which they can electronically open the door of any cell on the block. On December 15, 1992, Banks was in the control booth, opening and closing cell doors so that inmates could go take showers.

 From there the parties' stories diverge. Jones says he gave Banks a note as he went to the shower on the morning of December 15, asking Banks not to open Jones' cell door for any reason because inmates were trying to get into the cell to sexually assault him. He also claims that Banks and other correctional officers knew that another inmate, Alonzo Cook, had AIDS and was Jones' enemy. That afternoon, Cook stood outside Jones' cell and asked Banks to open the door so he could "f--- that b/--- up." Banks opened the door and Cook charged in, swinging a knife and a small stereo speaker at Jones. Two other inmates restrained Cook.

 Banks tells a different story. He claims that as of December 15, 1992, he did not know Jones and had never spoken to Jones. *fn1" He was not aware that Jones had any enemies in H-House or that he needed protection, nor was he aware that Cook had AIDS. He saw Jones wave his hand out of his cell door and believed that Jones was signaling that he wanted to take a shower. Cook, a cellblock worker, also signaled that Jones wanted to leave his cell. Banks opened the door, and Cook ran inside, waving his hand at Jones. Jones picked up a chair and swung it at Cook. Banks then separated the two.

  Jones' deposition testimony reveals that he had had no problems with Cook before the incident in question. He had never fought with Cook, and Cook had never threatened him before the afternoon of December 15. Jones did not name Cook as an enemy *fn2" until after the December 15 incident, and he had never told Banks not to open his cell door while Cook was there. Jones admits that he was not injured as a result of Cook's attack; that the speaker "just skimmed [his] head" and he neither requested nor received medical attention for any injury (Jones Dep. at 7-9, 12, 16-18, 21-22).

 Jones' complaint requests injunctive relief and nominal, compensatory, and punitive damages. He names Banks as a defendant in both his individual and official capacities. Banks moved for summary judgment on August 9, 1993, arguing that (a) Jones' claim for injunctive relief was moot because he was no longer at Stateville, and (b) Jones' damages claim failed to state a cause of action because it alleged no injury resulting from Cook's attack. In response, Jones filed a cross-motion for summary judgment. He argued that recovery was possible under § 1983 even though he suffered no injury; that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated because Banks knew or should have known that an attack was imminent and was deliberately indifferent to the risk.


 As an initial matter, we agree with Banks that because Jones has been transferred to Joliet while Cook remains at Stateville, Jones' claim for injunctive relief, which asked that he be separated from Cook, is moot. See Moore v. Thieret, 862 F.2d 148 (7th Cir. 1988). Similarly, we need not delve into Jones' official capacity claims for damages. The Eleventh Amendment bars § 1983 plaintiffs from seeking damages against state officials in their official capacities. Ford Motor Co. v. Department of Treasury, 323 U.S. 459, 464, 89 L. Ed. 389, 65 S. Ct. 347 (1945); Meadows v. Indiana, 854 F.2d 1068 (7th Cir. 1988).

 Jones' individual capacity damages claims require more detailed analysis. The conduct of prison officials is subject to the constraints of the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits the infliction of "cruel and unusual punishments." U.S. Const. Amend. VIII. The amendment applies to state officials through the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Robinson v. California, 370 U.S. 660, 666, 8 L. Ed. 2d 758, 82 S. Ct. 1417 (1962). It is well established that "punishments" include not only penalties which are a formal part of an inmate's sentence, but also deprivations the inmate suffers during imprisonment. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 102-03, 50 L. Ed. 2d 251, 97 S. Ct. 285 (1976). Therefore, an inmate is entitled to invoke the Eighth Amendment to challenge the conditions of his confinement.

 Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 115 L. Ed. 2d 271, 111 S. Ct. 2321 (1991), held that such a challenge can succeed only if it has both an objective component and a subjective component. To satisfy the objective component the inmate must allege at least that he or she was denied "the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities," as defined by reference to "'the evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.'" Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347, 346, 69 L. Ed. 2d 59, 101 S. Ct. 2392 (1981) (quoting Trop v. Dulles, 356 U.S. 86, 101, 2 L. Ed. 2d 630, 78 S. Ct. 590 (1958) (plurality opinion)). To satisfy the subjective component the inmate must show that the official had the requisite state of mind. Even the most serious objective harm does not establish an Eighth Amendment violation unless it was driven by some culpable intent; the amendment's use of the word "punishment" necessarily implies a "'deliberate act intended to chastise or deter.'" Wilson, 501 U.S. at 300 (quoting Duckworth v. Franzen, 780 F.2d 645, 652 (7th Cir. 1985), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 816, 93 L. Ed. 2d 28, ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.