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 defendant's motion for summary judgment. [d/e 29].
The plaintiff, Dijon Grissette, originally brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging that his constitutional rights were violated at the Henry County Jail. On December 21, 2004, the court conducted a merit review of the plaintiff's complaint and found the plaintiff had adequately alleged that Defendants Jail Administrator Bob Straight, Deputy Angie Lippetts and Deputy Nancy Lazar:
1) denied the plaintiff meaningful access to the courts in violation of the Eighth Amendment; and,
2) violated the First Amendment based on repeated delays in mail service.
The claims are against the defendants in their individual capacities only. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants repeatedly delayed his incoming mail which lead to the loss of personal correspondence, delays in court filing, an inability to locate and correspond with potential trial witnesses and a forfeiture of bond money. The defendants have filed a motion of summary judgment, and the plaintiff has filed a response.
The following facts are taken from the defendants' statement of undisputed facts, the plaintiff's response and exhibits submitted by the parties.
Defendant Robert Streight is a Henry County Sheriff's Deputy who was appointed Jail Administrator during the relevant time periods of the complaint. Defendants Nancy Lessard and Angie Lippens were both Henry County Sheriff's Deputies assigned to the county jail during the same time period.
The plaintiff was first taken into custody on April 28, 2000 and held at the Kane County Jail. The plaintiff was transferred to the McHenry County Jail from July or August of 2000 to January 28, 2001. The plaintiff was then returned to the Kane County Jail.
Due to overcrowding, the plaintiff was transferred from the Kane County Jail to the Henry County jail on three occasions: 1) July 16, 2002 to September 11, 2002; 2) September 25, 2002 to October 8, 2002 and 3) November 5, 2002 to November 19, 2002. While detained by the Kane County Sheriff, the plaintiff was also transferred to White, Schuyler and Saline Counties. The plaintiff was ultimately transferred to the Illinois Department of Corrections on May 16, 2003.
The plaintiff says inmates are given approximately ten minutes notice of a transfer. The plaintiff says when he went back to the Kane County jail on September 11, 2002, no one informed him that he was about to be transferred.
The plaintiff filed a civil rights lawsuit in the United States District Court in the Northern District of Illinois that was dismissed on June 25, 2002 for failure to state a claim. (Def. Memo, Ex. E, p. 59); Grissette v. Ramsey, Case No. 02-4325. The plaintiff filed a notice of appeal, but the Seventh Circuit affirmed the District Court's decision on October 24, 2003. Grissette v. Ramsey, 81 Fed.Appx. 67 (7th Cir. 2003). The plaintiff states this lawsuit is not the basis of his Eighth Amendment claims.
The plaintiff was found guilty of the offense of Unlawful Delivery of Controlled Substance on October 9, 2002. The bench trial was held on two separate days: July 10, 2002 and October 9, 2002. The plaintiff filed a notice of appeal of his criminal conviction while he was incarcerated in Stateville ...