Watts is a pro se plaintiff and because both parties have made only legal, rather than factual, arguments, however, Watts' failure to comply with Local Rule 12(N) is not in itself fatal. The following recitation of facts is drawn from Ramos' Local Rule 12(M) statement and its exhibits.
Plaintiff Watts is currently serving a thirty-one year sentence in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC"). At all times relevant to this action Watts was an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois. On January 19, 1995, Watts violated several prison rules. He assaulted two correctional officers while he was being taken to the Health Care Unit ("HCU") and later set a blanket and a mattress on fire in the HCU. Watts apparently claimed that he "accidentally" assaulted the first officer, that he was blind and confused from pepper gas (presumably used to subdue him) when he assaulted the second officer, and that he inadvertently set the blanket and mattress on fire when he dropped a lit cigarette. Def.'s Exs. A-6 to A-16.
On January 26 and 27, 1995, Watts was found guilty of all four violations (two counts of assault and two counts of arson) by the Stateville Adjustment Committee. His sentence from the Committee included a total of two years in "I-House," Stateville's segregation unit, as well as the revocation of statutory good time credits, demotion to C-Grade, denial of commissary and audio/visual privileges, and restitution. Watts does not contest the findings or the sentencing of the Committee.
Defendant Ramos was the manager of I-House when Watts was assigned to segregation. As such, Ramos was a designee of the Warden and had the authority to impose recreation restrictions on I-House inmates under certain circumstances. Although most restrictions are based on the inmate's behavior while in segregation, IDOC's Administrative Directive 05.03.140A ("the Directive") allowed Ramos to place a 90-day restriction on any inmate in I-House who had been found guilty of, among other things, assault or arson, whether those acts were committed before or after the inmate entered segregation.
Def.'s Ex. B-2. Ramos imposed upon Watts four consecutive 90-day restrictions, one for each infraction committed on January 19. Added together, the restrictions denied Watts recreation from March 6, 1995 through March 9, 1996. Watts claims that he suffered from stress and sleeplessness as a result of the restrictions imposed by Ramos, against whom he seeks damages and declaratory and injunctive relief.
Summary judgment is proper only if the record shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). A genuine issue for trial exists only 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, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). The court must view all evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, Valley Liquors, Inc. v. Renfield Importers, Ltd., 822 F.2d 656, 659 (7th Cir. 1987), and draw all inferences in the nonmovant's favor. Santiago v. Lane, 894 F.2d 218, 221 (7th Cir. 1990). However, if the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50; Flip Side Prods., Inc. v. Jam Prods., Ltd., 843 F.2d 1024, 1032 (7th Cir. 1988).
In determining whether a genuine issue exists, the court "must view the evidence presented through the prism of the substantive evidentiary burden." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 254. In making its determination, the court's sole function is to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to support a verdict in the nonmovant's favor. Credibility determinations, weighing evidence, and drawing reasonable inferences are jury functions, not those of a judge when deciding a motion for summary judgment. Id. at 255.
I. ISSUE PRECLUSION
Ramos' first contention is that he is entitled to summary judgment on the ground of issue preclusion. Ramos relies on Davenport v. DeRobertis, a class action suit brought by Stateville segregation inmates
that involved the amount of out-of-cell recreation afforded such inmates as a matter of segregation policy. See Davenport v. DeRobertis, 653 F. Supp. 649 (N.D. Ill. 1987), aff'd, 844 F.2d 1310 (7th Cir. 1988). After hearing extensive testimony concerning the mental and physical effects of "prolonged idleness and isolation," the jury found that Stateville's practice of allowing segregation inmates only one hour of out-of-cell recreation per week constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Id. at 655-57. The court issued an injunction requiring Stateville to increase out-of-cell recreation time from one hour to five hours per week. Id. at 664. The injunction stated, however, that "reasonable exceptions" to the five hour minimum could be made for certain fractious inmates. Id. Subject to this exception, the court approved the Directive, which set forth procedures for recreation restrictions that had been agreed upon by the parties. The same Directive remains in effect today, and provides the set of rules under which Ramos imposed 360 days without recreation on Watts. Ramos claims that the reasonable exception for fractious inmates allowed by the court's injunction in Davenport, coupled with that court's approval of the Directive, preclude any segregation inmate from challenging actions taken under the Directive. This Court disagrees.
An issue is precluded, or barred from further adjudication, when: (1) the same issue was involved in a prior judicial proceeding, (2) the issue actually was litigated, (3) the issue was resolved, and (4) the issue's determination was necessary to the judgment in the prior proceeding. See Bailey v. Andrews, 811 F.2d 366, 369 (7th Cir. 1987). Courts are reluctant to apply the doctrine when the defendant claims that a class action suit challenging general guidelines (such as the one in Davenport) should preclude an individual claim challenging the application of those guidelines (such as Watts' claim). See Cooper v. Federal Reserve Bank, 467 U.S. 867, 876, 81 L. Ed. 2d 718, 104 S. Ct. 2794 (1984); Hiser v. Franklin, 94 F.3d 1287, 1290-91 (9th Cir. 1996); Cameron v. Tomes, 990 F.2d 14, 18 (1st Cir. 1993). In the present case, Ramos fails to convince the Court that this reluctance should be overcome. Although Ramos arguably satisfies the first element (the prior proceeding involved the same issue), he clearly fails to satisfy the remaining three elements of the test, and indeed did not even address the last element. The plaintiffs in Davenport challenged a one hour per week recreation policy. None of them, so far as the record shows, were subjected to any special restrictions beyond this one hour guideline. The issue of further restrictions was addressed tangentially in the court's order for injunctive relief, but the issue of special, individualized restrictions was not litigated, was not resolved beyond the reasonable exception standard in the injunction, and was in no way necessary to the court's judgment.
Likewise, the subsequent Directive was no more than an agreement between the parties that generally conformed to the court's injunction and settled the issues between them. The issue of special restrictions for fractious inmates, as noted above, was not one of the originally litigated issues. Therefore, Ramos cannot use the terms of the Directive to preclude Watts from claiming that its application to him in this case violated the Eighth Amendment. To say otherwise would be to endorse the unfettered discretion of officials in imposing continuous consecutive restrictions on fractious inmates. Such an endorsement would nullify the Davenport requirement that special restrictions be "reasonable," something Judge Hart certainly never intended to accomplish in his one-paragraph approval of the Directive.
As the Davenport case did not fully litigate and resolve the issue of special restrictions, especially as applied in this case, Watts is not precluded from bringing his claim.
II. ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY
Ramos' second contention is that, under the Eleventh Amendment, he is immune from damages for claims brought against him in his official capacity. Suits in federal court against states for money damages are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Shockley v. Jones, 823 F.2d 1068, 1070 (7th Cir. 1987). It is well established that "[a] suit for damages against a state official in his or her official capacity is a suit against the state for Eleventh Amendment purposes." Id.; see Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 278, 92 L. Ed. 2d 209, 106 S. Ct. 2932 (1986); Kentucky v. Graham, 473 U.S. 159, 166, 87 L. Ed. 2d 114, 105 S. Ct. 3099 (1985); Knox v. McGinnis, 998 F.2d 1405, 1412 (7th Cir. 1993); Scott v. O'Grady, 975 F.2d 366, 369 (7th Cir. 1992). Illinois has not consented to be sued in federal court for the actions of IDOC officials. See Knox, 998 F.2d at 1412; Davenport, 653 F. Supp. at 662. Watts' action for damages against Ramos in his official capacity is barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
III. QUALIFIED IMMUNITY
Ramos' final contention is that, under the doctrine of qualified immunity, he is also immune from claims against him in his individual capacity. Qualified immunity will shield a defendant's actions unless the right allegedly violated was "clearly established in a sufficiently particularized sense at the time of the actions at issue." Knox, 998 F.2d at 1409 (quoting Hall v. Ryan, 957 F.2d 402, 404 (7th Cir. 1992)). The plaintiff bears the burden of "demonstrating that the infringed constitutional right was 'clearly established' at the time of the violation." Barichello v. McDonald, 98 F.3d 948, 1996 U.S. App. LEXIS 27109, *8 (7th Cir. 1996).
Ever since French v. Owens, 777 F.2d 1250 (7th Cir. 1985), the Seventh Circuit has recognized that "lack of exercise may certainly rise to a constitutional violation. Where movement is denied and muscles are allowed to atrophy, the health of the individual is threatened and the state's constitutional obligation is compromised." Id. at 1255. Both the AMERICAN CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION, STANDARDS FOR ADULT CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTIONS, Std. 3-4258, at 84 (3d ed., 1990) and the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, STANDARDS FOR HEALTH SERVICES IN PRISONS, Std. 161, at 31 (1979) prescribe at least five hours of out-of-cell exercise per week, and courts in this Circuit continue to recognize this goal. See Jamison-Bey v. Thieret, 867 F.2d 1046, 1048 (7th Cir. 1989) (reversing district court's grant of summary judgment to defendant for a claim that prison conditions violated the Eighth Amendment; expressing specific concern that the magistrate never mentioned plaintiff's claim "that he was denied exercise five times a week [and that] he was subjected to exercise restrictions over and above those imposed as a condition of segregation"); Preston v. Thompson, 589 F.2d 300, 303 (7th Cir. 1978) (district court not clearly in error when it broke Pontiac's "lockdown," four months after a riot, and granted prisoners one hour per day of yard recreation); Davenport, 653 F. Supp. at 654-56, 664 (granting segregation inmates at Stateville five hours of exercise per week); Lightfoot v. Walker, 486 F. Supp. 504, 511 (S.D. Ill. 1980) ("one shower and one hour of exercise per week . . . is not a medically acceptable frequency or duration of showers or exercise; it promotes deterioration of inmates physically."); Bono v. Saxbe, 462 F. Supp. 146, 149 (E.D. Ill. 1978) (four hours of exercise for inmates in the Marion Control Unit were constitutionally inadequate; inmates must "be provided a minimum of seven (7) hours per week for physical exercise"), aff'd in part and remanded in part on other grounds, 620 F.2d 609, 614 (7th Cir. 1980).
This five-hour per week minimum is not required when the deprivation is short-term or when the inmate's disciplinary record makes it reasonable to restrict him based on the prison's interest in order and safety. See Henderson v. Lane, 979 F.2d 466, 468 (7th Cir. 1992) (one hour of recreation per week was not clearly unconstitutional for an inmate in Illinois' "circuit rider" program who was "a fractious and predatory inmate who refused to conform to the rules of the prison system" and who had been "disciplined on numerous occasions for assaultive behavior 'which had not ceased despite all efforts of the prison system'"); Harris v. Fleming, 839 F.2d 1232, 1236 (7th Cir. 1988) (a "short-term" denial of outdoor recreation for twenty-eight days, when it was believed that the prisoner was in danger, did not violate the constitution); Armstrong v. Lane, 771 F. Supp. 943, 947 (C.D. Ill. 1991) (one hour of recreation per week in the "tightly-controlled [circuit rider] program" did not violate plaintiff's rights where plaintiff was classified as an escape risk, had been "recognized from the outset of his incarceration as an inmate requiring heightened security measures," and had "repeatedly stated his willingness to kill any perceived enemies"); Davenport, 653 F. Supp. at 664 ("if a segregation inmate violates prison rules during his exercise or shower period, he may be denied the exercise or shower rights . . . for a reasonable period of time . . . [and] other reasonable exceptions . . . may be created pursuant to regulations approved by this court."). These cases limn this Circuit's definitions of what deprivations are "short-term" or when a longer-term restriction is "reasonable" in light of safety concerns.
Although the Seventh Circuit has not decided any bright-line test for this issue, the Court can find no confusion in the case law regarding whether some out-of-cell recreation time is necessary under the Eighth Amendment. See Anderson v. Romero, 72 F.3d 518, 527 (7th Cir. 1995) ("to deny a prisoner all opportunity for exercise outside his cell would . . . violate the Eighth Amendment unless the prisoner posed an acute security risk if allowed out of his cell for even a short time"); Henderson, 979 F.2d at 469 ("there is no 'clearly established' right to more than one hour of exercise per week" for dangerous inmate) (emphasis added). The only cases finding that officials may restrict recreation altogether are those involving relatively brief periods of isolation. See, e.g., Harris, 839 F.2d at 1236 (twenty-eight days). In this case, Watts' year-long restriction cannot be deemed "short-term." As the Seventh Circuit has noted, it "seems pretty obvious, that isolating a human being from other human beings year after year or even month after month can cause substantial psychological damage, even if the isolation is not total." Davenport, 844 F.2d at 1313.
Nevertheless, Ramos argues, again relying on Davenport and the approved Directive, that there is no "clearly established" right to any out-of-cell recreation for prisoners who break certain rules. In reviewing the case law existing at the time of Ramos' alleged Eighth Amendment violation, the Court concludes that, to the contrary, the right to some recreation over a one year time period was clearly established.
In evaluating whether a right was "clearly established" at the time of the alleged violation, the Seventh Circuit teaches that "the very action in question need not have previously been held unlawful" for the right to be clearly established. Cleveland-Perdue v. Brutsche, 881 F.2d 427, 430 (7th Cir. 1989). Furthermore, an official may be liable for civil rights violations even when there is no controlling case in his or her jurisdiction, if there is sufficient law on point elsewhere:
The presence of a controlling precedent is not . . . a sine qua non of a finding that a particular right has been clearly established . . . . In the absence of a controlling precedent we look to all relevant caselaw in an effort to determine whether at the time of the alleged acts a sufficient consensus had been reached indicating that the official's conduct was unlawful. To state the proposition in another way, we seek to determine whether there was such a clear trend in the caselaw that we can say with fair assurance that the recognition of the right by controlling precedent was merely a question of time. This approach makes eminent sense for it precludes an official from escaping liability for unlawful conduct due to the fortuity that a court in a particular jurisdiction had not yet had the opportunity to address the issue.