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Sain v. Wood

January 9, 2008

TIMOTHY SAIN, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RAYMOND WOOD, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 05 C 6394-Suzanne B. Conlon, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ripple, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED SEPTEMBER 27, 2007

Before BAUER, RIPPLE and KANNE, Circuit Judges.

Timothy Sain has been civilly committed to the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services ("IDHS") since 2000. Dr. Raymond Wood, the defendant, is one of several individuals whom Mr. Sain sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that his conditions of confinement violate the Fourteenth Amendment. Dr. Wood moved for summary judgment on the ground of qualified immunity. The district court denied his summary judgment motion, and Dr. Wood appeals the denial of qualified immunity. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we reverse the judgment of the district court and remand the case for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I. BACKGROUND

A.

Timothy Sain, a repeat sex offender, was civilly committed to the custody of the IDHS under the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, 725 ILCS 207/1. From 2000 to 2006, Mr. Sain was held at the Department's Joliet Treatment and Detention Facility. Mr. Sain is HIV positive, and he has a history of sexual interactions with other inmates.

Dr. Raymond Wood was employed by Liberty Health-care Corporation, a private organization, as the clinical director of the Joliet facility. He was the physician in charge of the treatment program for residents found to be sexually violent under Illinois law. As the clinical director, he did not have responsibility for the physical building or room assignments, although he did serve occasionally on the rooming committee. Issues regarding the room conditions generally were handled by the IDHS Facilities Director, Tim Budz.

The Joliet facility is comprised of two units: a new unit, built in 2001, and an old unit, built in the late 1800s. Mr. Sain was housed in the old unit. The cells in the old unit are small and contain two bunks, a sink, a toilet and a small window. The paint was chipping off the walls of Mr. Sain's room, and the outdated plumbing in the unit emitted a foul odor.*fn1 The cells in the old unit also are not air conditioned. Residents cannot control the temperature of their cells in the heat of summer, and Mr. Sain's cell often became very hot. Residents were told to open their windows for ventilation, but some windows, including Mr. Sain's, did not have screens. Opening the window allowed bees, wasps and spiders to come into his cell.

Even during the winter, Mr. Sain's cell was infested with roaches. He claims that he saw roaches crawling around his cell, coming from under his bed and out of cracks in the wall and sink. He also states that he was bitten several times and was treated for bites by the facility physician.*fn2 An exterminator visited the Joliet facility on a regular basis, however, and he frequently sprayed Mr. Sain's room.

Mr. Sain alleges that he repeatedly requested to be moved to the air conditioned new unit. Each time his request was considered, however, it was denied by the facility's rooming committee. A variety of reasons were given for the denials, including Mr. Sain's HIV-positive status, his history of sexual interactions with other residents and his failure to participate in sex-offender treatment. Dr. Wood, as clinical director, was a member of the rooming committee and attended placement meetings on occasion; it is unknown, however, whether he was present at the meetings in which Mr. Sain's requests were discussed.

Mr. Sain claims that he wrote a letter to Dr. Wood regarding the conditions in his cell, including the roaches, flies, bees, wasps, spiders, water odor and falling paint chips. Additionally, Mr. Sain alleges that he had a face-to-face discussion with Dr. Wood about his desire to move, although he admitted that he did not tell Dr. Wood that the reason he wanted to move to the new unit was related to the conditions of his room. He also did not mention bugs or water quality in this conversation. Mr. Sain also sent a number of official requests to speak with Dr. Wood, but they were each denied, and his complaints presumably were forwarded to his primary caseworker according to facility policy.

No letter to Dr. Wood from Mr. Sain ever was produced, and Dr. Wood denies ever seeing any such letter. He also does not recall discussing Mr. Sain's requests at any of the few rooming committee meetings that he attended. Dr. Wood claims that he does not remember any conversations with or letters from Mr. Sain, and that he was not aware of the problems with Mr. Sain's living conditions. Such complaints generally were handled by a patient's primary caseworker.

B.

Mr. Sain sued Dr. Wood and a number of other Joliet officials for violations of his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights. Dr. Wood moved for summary judgment, contending that Mr. Sain had not produced any evidence showing that Dr. Wood had known of Mr. Sain's conditions of confinement or that Dr. Wood had been deliberately indifferent to his plight. Additionally, Dr. Wood contended that he was entitled to qualified immunity.

The district court concluded that the evidence presented, viewed in the light most favorable to Mr. Sain, could support a reasonable inference that: (1) Dr. Wood knew of Mr. Sain's conditions of confinement, (2) Dr. Wood could have addressed his complaints by moving him to the new facility, and (3) his decision not to do so exhibited ...


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