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Julio Sanchez v. Roger Walker

December 17, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Sharon J. Coleman

(R-26026 ),


Plaintiff, Julio Sanchez, currently an inmate at the Illinois River Correctional Center, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against Stateville Correctional Center's former warden Terry McCann, Assistant Warden Venita Wright, Correctional Officers Rodriguez and Turner, and Grievance Officer Ami Workman ("Defendants"). Briefly stated, Plaintiff alleges the following. In May 2007, he was ordered to take a urine drug test, which showed positive for marijuana use. Plaintiff's requests to take another test were refused. Disciplinary proceedings ensued. He contends that he was not present at the second disciplinary hearing. He was found guilty and sentenced to six months of segregation confinement. Plaintiff further alleges that the conditions in segregation confinement (unclean and roach/vermin infested) were unconstitutional. He also states that Defendants refused to address his grievances challenging his disciplinary procedures and the conditions of his segregation.

On April 2, 2010, the court granted in part, and denied in part, Defendants' motion to dismiss. (R. 51.) The court dismissed Plaintiff's claims that he had to endure rust on the bars on his segregation cell and a lead-based undercoat in the paint on the walls. The court allowed his other claims to proceed.

Currently before the court is Defendants' joint motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff has responded, and Defendants have replied. For the following reasons, the court grants the motion.


Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). In determining the existence of a genuine issue of material fact, the court construes all facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party (Plaintiff in this case) and draws all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). "The evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Id. at 255.

If the moving parties meets their burden of showing that there are no issues of material fact and that they are entitled to a judgment as a mater of law, the non-moving party must "go beyond the pleadings and affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue of material fact." Borello v. Allison, 446 F.3d 742, 748 (7th Cir. 2006) (internal quotation marks and citations omitted); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-26. A genuine issue of material fact is not demonstrated by the mere existence of "some alleged factual dispute between the parties," Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or by "some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists only if a reasonable finder of fact could return a decision for the nonmoving party based upon the record. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252; Insolia v. Phillip Morris Inc., 216 F.3d 596 (7th Cir. 2000).

When addressing a summary judgment motion, the court derives the background facts from the parties' Local Rule 56.1 Statements, which assist the court by "organizing the evidence, identifying undisputed facts, and demonstrating precisely how each side propose[s] to prove a disputed fact with admissible evidence." Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000). Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, Defendants served him with a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment" as required by N.D. Ill. Local Rule 56.2. (R. 89.) The notice explains the consequences of failing to properly respond to a motion for summary judgment and to the undisputed material facts in the movant's Local Rule 56.1 Statement. (Id.) A litigant's failure to respond to a statement of fact in a Local Rule 56.1 Statement results in the court considering the uncontroverted statement admitted. Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608 (7th Cir. 2006). The court may also disregard responses that do not properly cite to the record or that offer only evasive denials. Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., 401 F.3d 803, 809-10 (7th Cir. 2005); Brasic v. Heinemann's Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 284 (7th Cir. 1997). In the present case, Defendants filed their Rule 56.1 Statement (R. 88) and provided notice to Plaintiff of his need to respond. (R. 89.) Plaintiff did not respond, but instead, submitted his own Rule 56.1 Statement. (R. 99) Defendants responded to Plaintiff's Statement. (R. 103.) Defendants contend that, because Plaintiff did not respond to their Rule 56.1 Statement, the court may deem the uncontested facts contained therein admitted. (R. 102.) Defendants are correct. Under Rule 56.1(b), a party opposing a motion for summary judgment must first respond to the uncontested facts stated in the movant's Rule 56.1 Statement, and then submit his or her own Rule 56.1 Statement to provide additional facts not addressed by the movant's Rule 56.1 Statement. See Rule 56.1(b)(3) (B) and (C). The court may thus consider Defendants' Rule 56.1 Statement's facts admitted, to the extent they are supported by the record. Raymond, 442 F.3d at 608.

However, the court must also consider Plaintiff's Rule 56.1 Statement. Accordingly, the analysis below deems the facts in Defendants' Rule 56.1 Statement admitted, but notes where Plaintiff's Rule 56.1 factual statements address the same factual issue. With these standards in mind, the court considers the evidence of this case.


Julio Sanchez entered Stateville Correctional Center in November 2001. (R. 88, Defs.' Rule 56.1 Statement, ¶ 2, Exh. B, Pl.'s Depo., 11.) In 2007, Terry McCann was Warden, Vernita Wright was Assistant Warden, Ami Workman was a grievance officer, and Salvador Rodriguez and Leslie Turner were Internal Affairs officers. (R. 88, ¶¶ 3-7.) On May 2, 2007, Officer Rodriguez requested Plaintiff to provide a urine sample for drug testing. (Id., ¶ 8.) About 30 minutes after Plaintiff provided a sample, Officer Turner informed Plaintiff that he tested positive for marijuana. (Id., ¶ 9.) Plaintiff objected, contending that the plastic cup must have been tainted. (Id.) Plaintiff requested that he be retested using a blood or hair test.. (Id.) Turner refused, possibly because he did not have authority to order that Plaintiff use other forms of testing. (Id., 10.)

Plaintiff was issued a disciplinary ticket that stated that he tested positive for marijuana. (Id., 14.) The ticket mistakenly stated that the test occurred on May 1st, as opposed to May 2, 2007. (Id.) On May 9, 2007, Plaintiff attended a disciplinary hearing. According to the disciplinary hearing officer, Daryl Johnson, Plaintiff admitted to the following: he provided a urine sample on May 2, 2007, the sample tested positive, and he was not taking any medication that might have caused a false-positive result. (Id., ¶ 17; R. 88, Exh. D, Johnson Aff. ¶ 3; see also R. 22, Amended Compl., p.60-61 (copy of Final Summary Report).) Johnson states that Plaintiff contended that the sample cup was contaminated. (R. 88, Exh. D, Johnson Aff. ¶ 3.) According to Plaintiff, he pleaded not guilty to the charge, and denied that he submitted to a urine test on May 1, 2007. (R. 99, Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Statement ¶¶ 12-13.) He further states that he never said at the May 9, 2007, hearing that was not taking medications. (Id.)

Because of the wrong date of the ticket, Johnson remanded the ticket to the issuing officer for clarification. (R. 88, ¶ 18.) Officer Rodriguez issued an amended ticket with May 2, 2007, as the date of the drug test. (Id.) On May 15, 2007, Johnson reviewed the amended ticket, but did not conduct another hearing. Johnson explains that, although his May 15, 2007, Final Summary Report states in its heading "Hearing Date/Time 5/15/07," he was using a computerized form that automatically includes such language. (R. 88, Exh. D, Johnson Aff., ¶ 6.) Instead of conducting a second hearing, Johnson considered Plaintiff's statements from the May 9, 2007, hearing, as well as staff records, and issued a Final Summary Report. (Id., ¶ 5.) The Final Summary Report states that Plaintiff was present at the hearing (referring to the 5/9/07 hearing) and that Johnson considered Plaintiff's statements, the record, and the amended ticket. (Id., 20-22.) Plaintiff was sentenced to six months of segregation. (Id., ¶ 25.)

Plaintiff's period of segregation was spent in Stateville's F-House. (R. 88, Defs.' Rule 56.1 Statement, ¶ 35.) Plaintiff's complaints about segregation consist of the following issues: a greater pest infestation problem; slower collection of food trays after meals; a stained toilet; a lack of cleaning supplies; and a skin rash allegedly resulting from unclean conditions. (Id., ¶¶ 35-42.)

With respect to pest infestation, Plaintiff contends that there were cockroaches, little black bugs, spiders, and mice. (Id., ¶ 37.) Plaintiff contends that officers picked up food trays when the next meal was served instead of retrieving the trays immediately after meals, possibly contributing to the pest problem . (Id. ¶ 35.) Defendants have submitted a copy of a contract between the prison and an exterminator (Critter Ridder), as well as records showing that an exterminator sprayed FHouse's segregation area once a month (5/17/07, 6/21/07, 7/19/07, 8/16/07, 9/20/07, 10/22/07) during Plaintiff's six-month segregation stay. (Id. ¶ 38-39, Exh. F (exterminator contract and records)). Plaintiff does not contest that an exterminator sprayed the segregation area. He instead contends that the exterminator did not spray inside the inmate cells, as spraying was done in general population. (R. 99, Pl.'s Rule 56.1 Statement, ¶ 22.)

Plaintiff contends that he was not given cleaning supplies in segregation. In general population, Plaintiff allegedly received a spray bottle of soap, a scrub bush, a dust pan, and a mop.

(R. 88, Defs.' Rule 56.1 Statement, ¶ 41.) In general population, Plaintiff and other inmates used their clothes to clean and then washed their clothes. (Id.)

The steel toilet in Plaintiff's cell had a hard, brownish build-up inside the bowl above the water line that smelled like urine. (Id., ¶ 40.) There is no indication that the toilet did not work properly.

While he was in segregation, Plaintiff developed a skin rash, which was diagnosed as tinea corporis, a condition related to athlete's foot. (Id., ΒΆ 42.) Plaintiff contends that the evidence is contested as to whether his fungal infection was caused by the ...

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