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Reyes v. Ramos

March 23, 2010

ANTONIO G. REYES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ANTHONY RAMOS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. Introduction

Before the Court is Defendant's Initial Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 16). Plaintiff has filed a response to the motion (Doc. 19).

Plaintiff is an inmate in the IDOC and brings this suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's original Complaint included two claims. The first claim against Defendant B. Thomas and J. Bauersachs regarding a disciplinary proceeding against Defendant was dismissed (Doc. 6). Plaintiff's Complaint also included a claim against Anthony Ramos for violation of his Eighth Amendment Rights due to excessive noise and lack of cold water in his cell in the segregation unit at Menard Correctional Center. Defendant Ramos subsequently filed a motion for summary judgment on Reyes' conditions of confinement claim. On February 12, 2010, the Court held a hearing on Ramos' motion. At the hearing, Reyes requested and was granted leave to file supplemental authority to his response (Doc. 29). On February 26, 2010, Reyes submitted his supplemental authority (Doc. 30). Having considered the parties briefings as well as their arguments at the hearing, the Court rules as follows.

II. Factual Background

Antonio Reyes is an inmate on at the Menard Correctional Center and brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Anthony Ramos for conditions of confinement he experienced while housed in the segregation unit at Menard. Plaintiff was housed on two gallery in the North II segregation unit at Menard from April 28, 2005, though October 8, 2005 (Doc. 10 ¶15). Staff in the segregation unit were instructed to control the noise by touring the unit every 30 minutes to ensure that noise levels were acceptable and to issue disciplinary tickets to those were creating a disturbance (Doc. 18, Ex. A at ¶4). Further, cells were furnished with flushable toilets and workable sinks, but staff were instructed that in the event that cells experienced plumbing issues, inmates were to be provided with cups of ice (Id., Ex. A at ¶¶5-6).

During Reyes time in segregation, inmates on two and four galleries would "yell, sing, bang and scream all day and through the night" which prevented Reyes from receiving "restful sleep." (Doc. 19 p. 2; 19-1 ¶ 12). Also during his time on two gallery, Plaintiff experienced faulty plumbing in his cell which prevented him from obtaining cold water from the faucets (Doc. 19-1 ¶¶6-8).

Reyes complained of his conditions by writing a letter to Defendant Ramos (Id. at ¶12). Reyes received no response from his informal complaint (Id.). On May 30, 2005, Reyes filed a formal grievance, specifically complaining about the loud noise in his unit. The May 30 grievance was exhausted (Doc. 16, Ex. B). However, the grievance failed to state that Anthony Ramos was responsible for the excessive noise in the segregation unit (Id., Ex. B at ¶8). Further, when Reyes received the findings of the grievance the words "Grievance has no merit" were written on the bottom of the grievance form as will as a scribbled signature and date (Doc. 1-3). While the signature is illegible, Plaintiff was informed that the writing was by Defendant Ramos.

III. Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate under the FEDERAL RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED.R.CIV.P.56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The movant bears the burden of establishing the absence of factual issues and entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. Wollin v. Gondert, 192 F.3d 616, 621-22 (7th Cir. 1999). The Court must consider the entire record, drawing reasonable inferences and resolving factual disputes in favor of the non-movant. Schneiker v. Fortis Inc. Co., 200 F.3d 1055, 1057 (7th Cir. 2000); Baron v. City of Highland Park, 195 F.3d 333, 337-38 (7th Cir. 1999); Santaella, 123 F.3d at 461 (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323); Regensburger v. China Adoption Consultants, Ltd., 138 F.3d 1201, 1205 (7th Cir. 1998) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)). While the Court may not "weigh evidence or engage in fact-finding" it must determine if a genuine issue remains for trial. See Lewis v. City of Chicago, 496 F.3d 645, 651 (7th Cir. 2007).

In response to a motion for summary judgment, the non-movant may not simply rest on the allegations as stated in the pleadings; rather, the non-movant must show through specific evidence that an issue of fact remains on matters for which the non-movant bears the burden of proof at trial.Walker v. Shansky, 28 F.3d 666, 670-71 (7th Cir. 1994), aff'd, 51 F.3d 276 (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324). No issue remains for trial "unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the non-moving party for a jury to return a verdict for that party. If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not sufficiently probative, summary judgment may be granted." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50 (citations omitted); accord Starzenski v. City of Elkhart, 87 F.3d 872, 880 (7th Cir. 1996); Tolle v. Carroll Touch, Inc., 23 F.3d 174, 178 (7th Cir. 1994). In other words, "inferences relying on mere speculation or conjecture will not suffice." Trade Fin. Partners, LLC v. AAR Corp., 573 F.3d 401, 407 (7th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted); see also Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252 ("The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-movant's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-movant]."). Instead, the non-moving party must present "definite, competent evidence to rebut the [summary judgment] motion." EEOC v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 233 F.3d 432, 437 (7th Cir. 2000) (citation omitted).

IV. Discussion

A. Administrative Exhaustion

Defendant Ramos first argues that Reyes has failed to exhaust his claim as to the excessive noise in his cell unit as Reyes failed to include Ramos' name or a ...


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