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GOMEZ v. BRILEY

November 4, 2005.

ALBERTO GOMEZ, JR., B-17000, Plaintiff,
v.
KENNETH R. BRILEY, Warden, Stateville Correctional Center, ROGER E. WALKER, Director of Illinois Department of Corrections, D. WARR, SANDRA HAWKINS, A. DAVIS, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES ZAGEL, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Alberto Gomez, who was incarcerated at the Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville"), brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging unconstitutional living conditions in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights, and retaliation because of his efforts to grieve the violation. Defendants Kenneth R. Briley, Roger E. Walker, Jr., and Sandra Hawkins filed a motion for summary judgment on July 22, 2005, which argues, among other things, that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. A Local Rule 56.1 Statement of Facts and a Local Rule 56.2 warning for pro se plaintiffs regarding summary judgment were also submitted. Defendant D. Warr filed a dispositive motion on August 4, 2005 adopting the previously filed motion for summary judgment; and Defendant A. Davis filed a similar motion on August 10, 2005, also adopting the previously filed motion. Plaintiff Gomez filed his response to the motion for summary judgment on September 2, 2005, and Defendants have replied. For the reasons stated in this order, the motions for summary judgment are granted in part and denied in part. Standard of Review

Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a motion for summary judgment shall be granted "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the 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." A "material fact" is one that "might affect the outcome of the suit." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is genuine only if a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party. Id. "Summary judgment is not a discretionary remedy. If the plaintiff lacks enough evidence, summary judgment must be granted." Jones v. Johnson, 26 F.3d 727, 728 (7th Cir. 1994). "[S]ummary judgment is appropriate — in fact, is mandated — where there are no disputed issues of material fact and the movant must prevail as a matter of law." Dempsey v. Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Ry., 16 F.3d 832, 836 (7th Cir. 1994); O'Connor v. DePaul Univ., 123 F.3d 665, 669 (7th Cir. 1997).

  A party moving for summary judgment carries the burden of showing the absence of any genuine issue of material fact in evidence of record. Schroeder v. Barth, Inc., 969 F.2d 421, 423 (7th Cir. 1992). If the moving party carries this burden, the opposing party must then "go beyond the pleadings" and present specific facts which show that a genuine issue exists. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986); Scherer v. Rockwell Int'l Corp., 975 F.2d 356, 360 (7th Cir. 1992). In weighing a motion for summary judgment, the court must take the facts in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Bahl v. Royal Indem. Co., 115 F.3d 1283,1289 (7th Cir. 1997); Condo v. Sysco Corp., 1 F.3d 599, 601 (7th Cir. 1993). However, neither "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties," Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, nor the demonstration of "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts," Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986), will sufficiently demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact. In that regard, the "mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

  Background

  For purposes of this motion for summary judgment, the allegations which can demonstrate a genuine issue of material fact mainly concern Plaintiff's completion of the administrative remedies provided by the Illinois Department of Corrections' ("IDOC") grievance procedure.*fn1 However, a short review of the incident which prompted Plaintiff's grievances is necessary.

  On July 31, 2004, Defendant Sergeant Warr ("Warr") announced over the public address system that all inmates must wear shirts as they made their way to the showers because female correctional officers were present. Plaintiff did not hear the announcement because he was watching television with head phones. Plaintiff walked from his cell to the shower room without a shirt and was told to return to his cell. Back in his cell, Plaintiff argued with Warr about his right to take a weekly shower and how he was going to file a grievance. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff told another officer that he needed a crisis team member because he was under stress, and Warr refused to call the crisis team.

  When dinner trays came around, Plaintiff and his cellmate were removed from their cell, taken to another space, and strip searched. Their cell was searched, and Plaintiff's cellmate was returned to the cell. Plaintiff was left in the other space, handcuffed and standing. He was also not allowed to use a bathroom and told not to speak. Four hours later, Plaintiff was returned to his cell.

  Illinois Department of Corrections' Grievance Procedure

  The IDOC grievance procedure is as follows. Generally, an inmate attempts to resolve a grievance informally with a counselor. If this fails, then he must file a written grievance with the Grievance Officer. This officer may interview the inmate and investigate the grievance. The officer's report is then submitted to the Chief Administrative Officer ("CAO") of the prison. The CAO or his designee then makes a decision and submits it to the inmate. If the inmate is not satisfied with the decision, he can appeal in writing to the Director of the Department by submitting both the Grievance Officer's report and the CAO's decision with his appeal. The Administrative Review Board ("ARB") reviews the appeal and determines whether or not it can be handled without a hearing. If it cannot, the ARB schedules a hearing, which involves an interview of the inmate, examination of relevant documents and, if the ARB determines it is necessary, the testimony of witnesses. The ARB submits a written report to the Director who reviews the report and makes a final determination. A copy of the ARB report and the Director's final decision is sent to the inmate. 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.800 et seq.; see also Defs.' Ex. Aff. of Terri Anderson ¶¶ 2-3. Defendants' Statement of Relevant Facts

  On December 13, 2004, Hawkins denied Plaintiff's grievance requesting that two correctional officers be fired for denying Plaintiff a shower and verbally abusing him. (Defs.' Ex. Aff. of Sandra Hawkins ¶ 3.) The grievance was then sent to the Warden's designee, reviewed and signed, and sent back to Plaintiff through the inmate mail. (Id. at ¶ 4.)

  Plaintiff's Allegations

  The following material facts, relevant to Plaintiff's exhaustion of IDOC grievance procedures, are culled from Plaintiff's response to the motion for summary judgment and are supported by Plaintiff's affidavit and the documents, including IDOC grievance forms, memos, and correspondence attached to the complaint.*fn2 On August 1, 2004, Plaintiff filed an IDOC Committed Person's Grievance ("Grievance") against Defendants Davis and Warr, describing the incident and asking that these Defendants be fired for their action. Counselor Bass received the grievance on August 13, and denied the grievance on August 17.*fn3

  An undated memo from Counselor Bass explains that Davis denied Plaintiff his shower because he did not comply with directions, and that Plaintiff's cell was shaken down because his razor blade had been altered. On August 23, 2004, the ARB issued a Return of Grievance or Correspondence regarding the July 31 incident, which was received on August 12, 2004. Plaintiff was told that he had to ...


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