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HAMMOND v. BRILEY

January 28, 2004.

MARLON HAMMOND, #8-16387, Plaintiff,
v.
KENNETH BRILEY, et al. Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOAN H. LEFKOW, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

The plaintiff, a state prisoner, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiff claims that the defendants, two officers at the Stateville Correctional Center, violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights by subjecting him to cruel and unusual conditions of confinement and by acting with deliberate indifference to his medical needs. This matter is before the court for consideration of the defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated in this order, the motion will be granted.

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 (1986); Prime Northgate Plaza Ltd. Partnership v. Lifecare Acquisitions Corp., 985 F. Supp. 815, 817 (N.D. Ill. 1997). In determining whether factual issues exist, the court must view all the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Walker v. Northeast Regional Commuter Railroad Corp., 225 F.3d 895, 897 (7th Cir. 2000). Page 2

  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. "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no `genuine issue for trial.'" Chiaramonte v. Fashion Bed Group, Inc., 129 F.3d 391, 393 (7th Cir. 1997), cert. denied, 523 U.S. 1118(1998).

  FACTS

  The plaintiff is a state prisoner, confined at the Illinois River and Stateville Correctional Centers at all times relevant to this action. (Defendants' Exhibit 2, Inmate Occupancy History Sheet.) The defendant Daniel Artl is a correctional officer at Stateville, assigned to the "F" Unit where the plaintiff was assigned while housed at Stateville. (Defendants' Exhibit 3, Affidavit of Daniel Artl, ¶ 2.) The defendant Kenneth Agnew, now retired, was a captain in "F-House" at the time of the events giving rise to this lawsuit.*fn1 (Defendants' Exhibit 4, Affidavit of Kenneth Agnew, ¶¶ 1-2-)

  The following facts are uncontested for purposes of this motion (or if disputed are nevertheless not outcome-dispositive): On April 26, 2002, while confined at the Illinois River Correctional Center, the plaintiff saw an optometrist regarding blurred long distance vision. (Exhibit 5, Affidavit of Willard Elyea, M.D., IDOC Medical Director, ¶ 6.) At the time of the plaintiff's examination, his vision with the glasses he had was 20/30 in the left eye, 20/25 in the right eye, and Page 3 20/25 with both eyes. (Id., ¶ 7; Plaintiff's Exhibit 7, Medical Progress Notes dated April 26, 2002.) The optometrist ordered a new pair of glasses for the plaintiff to correct his vision to 20/20. (Elyea Affidavit, ¶ 7.) Eyeglasses are manufactured at the Dixon Correctional Center; it usually takes between thirty and sixty days for an inmate to get new eyeglasses. (Id. ¶ 8.)

  Twelve days later, on May 8, 2002, the plaintiff was temporarily transferred from the Illinois River Correctional Center to the Stateville Correctional Center on a court writ. (Offender Tracker Sheet.) The plaintiff remained at Stateville until May 29, 2002, for a total of three weeks. (Id.; Exhibit 1, Deposition of Marlon Hammond, at p. 6.)

  A medical screening was performed upon the plaintiff's arrival at Stateville. (Elyea Affidavit, ¶ 9; Plaintiff's Deposition, p. 10.) The examination revealed no significant medical needs or conditions. (Elyea Affidavit, ¶ 9.)

  The plaintiff claims that in mid-May 2002, he started experiencing headaches and dizziness, (Plaintiff's deposition, p. 70; Plaintiff's Affidavit, ¶ 12.) The plaintiff still gets the headaches, even with glasses. (Id. at p. 69.) At his deposition, the plaintiff stated that he believed that his headaches were triggered by fatigue. (Plaintiff's Deposition, p. 70.) In response to the defendants' motion for summary judgment, the plaintiff asserts that the headaches were caused by having to strain to read in the dark. According to Elyea, the plaintiff's allegation that he suffered headaches as a result of not having an updated prescription for eyeglasses is "unfounded," as "there is no medical relation between these complaints." (Elyea Affidavit, ¶ 13.) Although it is possible that the plaintiff's uncorrected astigmatism caused headaches at the time (Plaintiff's Exhibit 7, (unnamed) Medical Treatise, p.2), Elyea further states that "there is no medical reason that would support plaintiff's Page 4 claims that he is suffering any type of permanent injury" as the result of the delay in receiving new eyeglasses. (Elyea Affidavit, ¶ 14.)

  The plaintiff did not see an optometrist or ophthalmologist during the three weeks he was confined at Stateville. (Plaintiff's Affidavit, ¶ 13.) Inmates who are temporarily transferred from one facility to another are supposed to be given the same medical treatment as all other inmates. (Elyea Affidavit, ¶ 11.) Inmates seeking medical care must follow proper procedures. (Id.) Medical technicians and nurses perform daily rounds in all of the living units and are available to tend to inmates' health complaints and concerns. (Id.) If an inmate were to request medical treatment, the medical staff is required to keep a record of that request. (Id.) There is no record in the plaintiff's files that he suffered from headaches or had any other medical problems while housed at Stateville. (Id, ¶ 12.) (The plaintiff nevertheless insists that he was denied medical treatment when he complained of headaches and vision problems because his master file had not been transferred with him to Stateville. (Plaintiff's Local Rule 56.1 Statement, ¶ 32.))

  The parties dispute whether the plaintiff's cell had hot water. The plaintiff contends that only cold water came from the hot water tap. (Plaintiff's Affidavit, ¶ 4.) The defendants maintain that because all of the hot water in Unit F is heated at a central location, then distributed to the cells, if one cell had no hot water, none of the cells would have had hot water. (Griffin Affidavit, ¶ 16.) Regardless, it is undisputed that the plaintiff was able to shower at least once a week. (Plaintiff's deposition, p. 63.) The shower had hot water. (Id.)

  Each cell in the "F* Unit has individual light fixtures inside. (Plaintiff's Rule 56.1 Filing, ¶ 15.) Fluorescent light fixtures around the guard tower illuminate the entire Unit F cellhouse. (Artl Affidavit, ¶ 8; Plaintiff's Deposition, p. 21.) The ambient lighting in the common areas of Unit F Page 5 is "akin to daylight twenty-four hours a day." (Artl Affidavit, ¶ 9.) The plaintiff's cell door had a security glass front. (Plaintiff's Deposition, p. 13.)

  The plaintiff's cell and the cellblock itself had windows to the outside. (Artl Affidavit, ¶ 10.) During the daytime, the windows allowed additional, natural light into cells. (Artl Affidavit, ¶ 9(B); plaintiff's deposition at p. 13.) Sunlight provided "ample" light to the individual cells. (Artl Affidavit, ¶ 9; plaintiff's deposition at p. 21.) At least in the morning, the plaintiff had adequate sunlight to read, although at other ...


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