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Taylor v. Walker

January 12, 2009

CHARLES TAYLOR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ROGER WALKER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

SUMMARY JUDGMENT ORDER #2

This cause is before the court for consideration of the Defendant Shaw's Second Motion for Summary Judgment. [d/e 51]

I. BACKGROUND

The plaintiff, Charles Taylor, filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 claiming that his constitutional rights were violated at the Hill Correctional Center. The plaintiff named four defendants including Illinois Department of Corrections Directors Roger Walker, Warden Frank Shaw, Nursing Director Mitzi Harmon and Officer Kent Stegal.

On March 17, 2008, the court granted Defendant Shaw and Defendant Walker's motions for summary judgment. The court found the plaintiff had two surviving claims:

1) Defendant Shaw violated his Eighth Amendment rights when he was deliberately indifferent to the plaintiff's health and safety and exposed him continuously to second-hand smoke in his cell; and

2) Defendant Stegal retaliated against the plaintiff in violation of his First Amendment rights. Both claims are against the defendants in their individual capacities only.

Specifically, the plaintiff alleged that his cell was near the break room and inmates would come and smoke by his cell several times a day. The plaintiff claimed he suffered from headaches, shortness of breath and coughing. The plaintiff says he repeatedly complained about the problem. However, when he tried to send a memo to the warden, Officer Stegal took it and read it. The officer warned the plaintiff that if he tried to file a lawsuit, he would make his life difficult. The plaintiff says shortly afterward, he was fired from his prison job.

In the first motion for summary judgment, Defendant Shaw argued that the plaintiff could not show he suffered from a serious medical condition. The defendant stated that no doctor at Hill Correctional Center had ever diagnosed the plaintiff with a serious medical condition. Unfortunately, the defendant attached dozens of pages of medical documents to support his claim without an affidavit from any medical professional verifying or interpreting those records. Consequently, the court ordered the defendant to file a second motion for summary judgment and suggested that Defendant Stegal also file a second motion if there was additional evidence that could address the questions raised in the court order. Defendant Shaw has now filed second motion for summary judgment. Defendant Stegal has not.

II. FACTS

The following undisputed facts are taken from the Defendants' Second Motion for Summary Judgment and the plaintiff's response. Some facts were also repeated from the initial motion for summary judgment as noted.

The plaintiff was housed at the Hill Correctional Center from November 25, 2003 to February 22, 2006. (Sum. Judg. Order #1, p. 1). The plaintiff says he was housed in a non-smoking cell with a non-smoking roommate. The plaintiff says twice a day inmates would come to the day room which was adjacent to his cell and smoke for approximately one and half hours. The plaintiff says the smoke entered his cell through the screen door and ventilation system. (Sum. Judg. Order #1, p. 1-2).

In his deposition, the plaintiff alleges that second-hand smoke at Hill Correctional Center caused him to experience chest pains, runny eyes, a bad cough and a sore throat. (Plain. First Mot, Ex. A, p 14)

Dr. Jill Wahl is currently employed as a doctor at the Big Muddy Correctional Facility where the plaintiff is currently housed. Dr. Wahl says she has reviewed the medical records of the plaintiff and notes that he was seen by medical doctors over 10 times during his approximately two years at Hill Correctional Center. (Def. Mot, Ex. C, p. 1) In addition, he was seen ...


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