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DE LA PAZ v. PETERS

March 27, 1997

PAUL DE LA PAZ, Plaintiff,
v.
HOWARD A. PETERS, III, Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections; KEITH COOPER, Warden of Joliet Correctional Center; DWAYNE CLARK, Assistant Warden of Security Operations, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CASTILLO

 Plaintiff Paul De La Paz, *fn1" a prisoner of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), has sued certain IDOC officers under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that they violated his constitutional rights during his incarceration at the Joliet Correctional Center ("Joliet"). De La Paz's second amended complaint names the following defendants: Howard A. Peters, III, former Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections; Keith Cooper, Warden of Joliet Correctional Center; and Dwayne Clark, former Assistant Warden of Security Operations at Joliet, now at Stateville Correctional Center. The defendants have moved for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56; their motion is presently before the Court.

 RELEVANT FACTS

 The following facts are taken from the parties' respective Local General Rule 12(M) and (N) statements of material facts as to which there is no genuine issue, and the accompanying exhibits. *fn2" De La Paz has been in the custody of the IDOC since November 1985. De La Paz suffers from urinary and bowel incontinence because of a bullet lodged near his spinal cord. *fn3" (Pl.'s Facts PP 1-2.) The incontinence causes soiling of his clothing and bedding and yields bad odors. (Id. P 3.) Dr. Howard A. Mueller, the Medical Director for the IDOC, made certain recommendations with respect to De La Paz's medical condition in 1987 and 1990. (Pl.'s Facts P 4; Pl.'s Exs. A and B.) In identical memoranda (except for the date), he wrote: "Inmate De La Paz's problems continue. The problems are related to his inability to control his urine as a result of his spinal cord injury. This results in urine soiling of his clothes and bedding with a resultant bad odor. This problem will probably worsen with the coming warm weather." Dr. Mueller went on to say that "some things . . . need to be done to minimize this problem." Specifically, he requested that De La Paz "be permitted to take daily showers" and that "special attention . . . be given to an adequate supply of clothing and bedding as will [sic] proper laundering." *fn4"

 De La Paz was an inmate at Joliet from March 3, 1993 to May 29, 1996. *fn5" (Def.'s Facts P 2.) Upon his arrival at Joliet, medical personnel saw De La Paz and checked him for medical conditions. (Def.'s Ex. 1133-34.) As a result of his incontinence, De La Paz desired access to daily showers. (Pl.'s Facts P 1.) His condition and his requests for daily showers were repeatedly considered by the Joliet medical staff. (Def.'s Facts P 3.) On no occasion during his time at Joliet did medical personnel grant him medical permission for daily showers. (Def.'s Facts P 4.) Nevertheless, the medical staff approved a series of special permits allowing him to shower two or three times a week. On April 5, 1993, he was given permission to shower two times a week in Joliet's on-grounds hospital. (Def.'s Ex., Master File of Paul De La Paz, at 1137.) This special permit was only good for thirty days but was renewed for another thirty on May 5, 1993. (Id. at 1140-41.) The renewal allowed De La Paz to shower three times per week. This thirty day permit was renewed on June 4 and again on July 3, 1993. (Id. at 1136, 1143.) On August 5, 1993, De La Paz's showering privileges were extended for ninety days. (Id. at 1145.) His ninety day pass was renewed on November 4, 1993. (Id. at 1157.) Medical progress notes for March 17, 1994 show that De La Paz had "no special shower or laundry permits" on that date. (Id. at 1165.) On April 6, 1994, he was given a new permit for showers three times a week in the facility Health Care Unit. (Id. at 1166.) On April 20, 1994, he again was given permission to shower three times a week for the next ninety days. Alma R. Holm, the Health Care Unit Administrator at River, his current location, testified by affidavit that between January 8, 1995 and March 19, 1996, De La Paz was given three-times-a-week shower permits on at least five occasions. *fn6" (Holm Aff. P 2.)

 On June 25, 1993, De La Paz requested a housing transfer from his cell house to an honor dorm. (Pl.'s Ex. D.) The honor dorm has facilities for disabled individuals and transfer to it would have afforded him daily showers and allowed him to launder his clothes. (Pl.'s Facts PP 7-8.) The request was disapproved on the basis that De La Paz did not meet the "established criteria" for transfer to the honor dorm: De La Paz was classified as requiring maximum security, and the dorm was a medium security placement. *fn7" (Pl.'s Ex. D). The Joliet Institutional Assignment Committee also denied De La Paz's request for transfer, citing his security level and the fact that placement in the dorm was restricted to those inmates who were within twelve years of their projected release date, while De La Paz's release date was eighteen years away. (Pl.'s Exs. C & F.) Defendant Cooper affirmed this decision, signing the form "Keith Cooper, by DAC." (Id.)

 De La Paz has sued defendants Howard A. Peters III, Keith Cooper and Dwayne Clark under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, alleging they were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. De La Paz also claims that the defendants violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection by denying his request for honor dorm placement because he is Indian-American/Mexican-American. *fn8" The defendants seek summary judgment with respect to both claims.

 SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARDS

 Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith" if the evidence submitted shows that "there are no genuine issues 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). The court is to draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmovant, but the non-moving party is required to go beyond the pleadings and designate specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. Bank Leumi Le-Israel, B.M. v. Lee, 928 F.2d 232, 236 (7th Cir. 1991). A fact is material when it would determine the outcome of the case under governing law. Whetstine v. Gates Rubber Co., 895 F.2d 388, 392 (7th Cir. 1990). A material fact is genuinely in dispute 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).

 In support of their motion, the defendants have offered the following evidentiary materials: (a) 1987 and 1990 memoranda written by Dr. Howard A. Mueller; (b) medical progress notes from February 20, 1993 to April 20, 1994; (c) affidavit of Alma R. Holm, Health Care Unit Administrator at River; (d) an incomplete copy of De La Paz's Grievance Form requesting transfer to honor dorm or medium security unit; (e) denial of grievance signed "Keith Cooper by DAC"; (f) criteria for honor dorm placement; (g) affidavit of Rodney J. Ahitow, Warden at River; (h) affidavit of Faye Noll, Record Office Supervisor at River; (i) affidavit of Dr. Stephen A. Cullinan, physician at River.

 ANALYSIS

 The defendants raise the following arguments: (1) defendants Peters and Clark lack the requisite personal involvement for liability under § 1983; (2) De La Paz has failed to establish deliberate indifference to serious medical needs; and (3) De La Paz has no right to, or has not met the placement qualifications for, housing in an honor dorm.

 I. Personal Involvement

 The defendants contend that summary judgment should be granted in favor of defendants Peters and Clark for lack of personal involvement. The defendants acknowledge the personal involvement of defendant Cooper, who affirmed decisions made by subordinate personnel relating to the denial of De La Paz's request for admission to the honor dorm. De La Paz points out that Cooper's signature on the relevant forms is marked "by DAC," and states that this mark is an indication that the signature was made by defendant Dwayne Clark, Cooper's assistant. Thus, he claims, both Clark and Cooper were personally involved in his constitutional deprivations. The defendants have not ...


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