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Horton v. Snyder

March 6, 2007

EUGENE HORTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DONALD SNYDER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Proud, Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff Eugene Horton, who at all relevant times was incarcerated at Tamms Correctional Center, proceeded to trial on his claims that defendants Donald Snyder, George Welborn and Charles Hinsley intentionally subjected him to foreseeable physical and mental harm by placing him in a single-man cell, exposing him to second-hand smoke, subjecting him to bed checks at 30 minute intervals, and not allowing him to have contact with other inmates-- all in violation of the Eighth Amendment. At the close of plaintiff's case-in chief, the defendants moved for and were granted judgment as a matter of law, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(a).

Before the Court are two related motions filed by plaintiff Horton: (1) "Plaintiff [sic] Motion in Opposition to Defendants [sic] Verbal Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict" (Doc. 353) and "Plaintiff [sic] Motion for Reconsideration of Court Order to Dismiss Based on Defendants [sic] Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict" (Doc. 354). Although plaintiff's terminology is not quite correct, he clearly takes issue with the Court granting the defendants judgment as a matter of law at the close of his case-in-chief, rather than allowing trial to proceed to a jury verdict. (Docs. 345 and 350). Plaintiff's motions are little more than an assertion that he disagrees with the Court's ruling. Plaintiff argues:

1. The jury never reached a verdict;

2. The Court's decision was against the weight of the evidence and established law;

3. The defendants knowingly permitted policies to be violated; and

4. Plaintiff has hypertension, a recognized serious medical condition, and the conditions of his confinement pose a serious risk of future harm, as recognized in Alvarado v. Litscher, 267 F.3d 648 (7th Cir. 2001), and Keenan v. Hall, 83 F.3d 1083 (9th Cir. 1996).

(Docs. 353 and 354).

Defendants Snyder, Welborn and Hinsley counter:

1. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(a) permits entry of judgment prior to submission of the case to the jury;

2. Plaintiff did not present evidence sufficient to establish each defendant's personal involvement in plaintiff's housing assignment;

3. The bedcheck policy that lead to the lights being on during the night was reasonably related to a legitimate penological interest;

4. The conditions of confinement did not violate contemporary standards of decency; and

5. There was no medical or scientific evidence presented that plaintiff's exposure to second-hand smoke, lack of sleep and exposure to ...


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