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Lehn v. Bartley

March 8, 2007

DONALD LEHN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KEN BARTLEY, AND ROGER E. WALKER, JR.,*FN1 DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

Before the Court is defendants' oral motion for judgment as a matter of law at the close of all the evidence. (Doc. 81).

Plaintiff Donald Lehn is an inmate in the Illinois Department of Corrections. He filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that exposure to secondhand smoke in the IDOC violates his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. He seeks injunctive relief only.

The parties consented to final disposition by a magistrate judge (Docs. 67 and 73), and the case was tried before the undersigned. At the close of plaintiff's case-in-chief and at the close of all the evidence, defendants orally moved for judgment as a matter of law under Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(c).

Pursuant to Rule 52(a), "the court shall find the facts specially and state separately its conclusions of law thereon." Rule 52(c) provides that:

If during a trial without a jury a party has been fully heard on an issue and the court finds against the party on that issue, the court may enter judgment as a matter of law against that party with respect to a claim or defense that cannot under the controlling law be maintained or defeated without a favorable finding on that issue, or the court may decline to render any judgment until the close of all the evidence. Such a judgment shall be supported by findings of fact and conclusions of law as required by subdivision (a) of this rule.

Findings of Fact

The Court makes the following findings of fact:*fn2

1. Plaintiff Donald Lehn has been an inmate in the Illinois Department of Corrections since 1996. He is currently assigned to Pinckneyville Correctional Center. (Tr. 6-7).

2. Plaintiff does not smoke and prefers to live with a cellmate who does not smoke either. (Tr. 34).

3. Plaintiff did not present any evidence to indicate that he presently suffers from any disease or health condition which makes it medically necessary that he avoid secondhand smoke. He does not have a permit signed by a doctor for a non-smoking cell. (Tr. 33-34).

4. The IDOC has a policy which authorizes the warden of a correctional institution to designate non-smoking cells. (Tr. 23-24, Plaintiff's Exhibit 14).

5. The warden of Pinckneyville has designated 6 cells on each wing as non-smoking. (Tr. 12-13).

6. At the time of trial, plaintiff was assigned to a non-smoking cell with a non-smoking cellmate. (Tr.18 ).

7. Plaintiff testified that some of his cellmates in designated nonsmoking cells have smoked. He gave no details about how many of his cellmates have smoked or about how much they smoked. He testified in detail about only one such cellmate, Cox. After Lehn complained, a guard took ...


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