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Thornton v. Snyder

April 4, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harold A. Baker United States District Judge


This cause is before the court for consideration of the parties motions for summary judgment.[d/e 129, 135]


On November 3, 2005, the United Stated Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the judgment in favor of the defendants on the denial of the plaintiff's yard exercise claim, but remanded the plaintiff's claim concerning his cell conditions. The district court had dismissed the cell conditions claim for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. However, the appellate court ruled that the plaintiff had in fact met this requirement. The court reopened the plaintiff's case with this sole surviving claim against Defendants Donald Snyder, James Schomig, and Captain Shettleworth in their individual capacities.

The plaintiff has filed a motion for summary judgment as has defendant Donald Snyder.


The plaintiff has not submitted a statement of undisputed facts with his dispositive motion. The plaintiff has claimed that the defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights when the placed him in a cell that was so unsanitary it impacted his health. While the plaintiff's complaint appears to state he was in this cell for more than 7 1/2 months, the plaintiff testified in his deposition that he was in the unsafe cell, # 106, for "roughly a month and a half." (Plain. Depo. P. 37); See also (Plain. Comp., p. 9). The plaintiff says the cell was roach infested and had feces on the wall. The plaintiff also claims the cell had three inches of standing water from a leaky toilet, unusable sink water, poor lighting, no window, no ventilation, and an unusable mattress. The plaintiff also says he was denied cleaning supplies. The plaintiff says as a result of the cell conditions, he was forced to sleep on the steel frame without a mattress. He was often nauseous, had difficulty eating, and lost 30 pounds.

Defendant Donald Snyder says he was Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections during the time frame addressed in the plaintiff's complaint. Snyder says he was responsible for the operations of 59 facilities including approximately 43,000 adult inmates and 1,600 juvenile offenders. During the normal course of business, Snyder would not personally address inmate grievances or correspondence. Snyder says he did not visit with the plaintiff while he was housed in the cell he claims was unsanitary and never spoke with the plaintiff. In addition, any correspondence or grievances from an inmate were not personally reviewed by Defendant Snyder. Consequently, Snyder says he had no personal knowledge of the plaintiff's alleged cell conditions.

Administrative Review Board Member Melody Ford says it was her job to review any correspondence or grievances that were addressed to Defendant Snyder.


The entry of summary judgment is proper only "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." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)). 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 nonmoving party. Id.

A party moving for summary judgment initially has the burden of showing the absence of any genuine issue of material fact in evidence of record. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 153 (1970); Schroeder v. Barth, Inc., 969 F.2d 421, 423 (7th Cir. 1992). A nonmoving party cannot rest on its pleadings, but must demonstrate that there is admissible evidence that will support its position. Tolle v. Carroll Touch, Inc., 23 F.3d 174, 178 (7th Cir. 1994). "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).


The plaintiff has not submitted a proper motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff simply restates facts in his complaint. He does not provide any evidence that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The claims in the plaintiff's motion are issues of fact that are more appropriately ...

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