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Jerry Granville v. Tom Dart

March 11, 2011

JERRY GRANVILLE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TOM DART, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

The Plaintiff, Jerry Granville (hereinafter, the "Plaintiff"), a former detainee at the Cook County Jail, has brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Plaintiff claims that the defendants, jail officials, violated the Plaintiff's constitutional rights by subjecting him to inhumane conditions of confinement. This matter is before the court for ruling on the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. For the reasons stated herein, the Motion is granted.

I. BACKGROUND

The Defendants filed a Statement of Uncontested Material Facts pursuant to Local Rule 56.1 (N.D. Ill.). Together with their motion for summary judgment, the defendants included a "Notice to the Plaintiff Regarding Requirements of Rule 56 . . . and the Applicable General Rules," as required by circuit precedent. That notice clearly explained the requirements of the Local Rules and warned the Plaintiff that a party's failure to controvert the facts as set forth in the moving party's statement results in those facts being deemed admitted. See, e.g., Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003). The notice specifically provides:

Local Rule 56.1(b) requires a party opposing a motion for summary judgment to file:

(3) a concise response to the movant's statement that shall contain

(A) a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon, and

(B) a statement, consisting of short numbered paragraphs, of any additional facts that require denial of summary judgment, including references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon.

L.R. 56.1(b).

The district court may require strict compliance with Local Rule 56.1. See Ammons v. Aramark Uniform Serv., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004); Bordelon v. Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees, 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir 2000) (strict compliance with the local rules governing summary judgment is upheld given the importance of local rules that structure the summary judgment process). Although pro se plaintiffs are entitled to lenient standards, compliance with procedural rules is required. Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1061 (7th Cir. 2006); see also Koszola v. Bd. of Educ. of the City of Chicago, 385 F.3d 1104, 1108 (7th Cir. 2004). "We have . . . repeatedly held that a district court is entitled to expect strict compliance with [Local] Rule 56.1." Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., L.L.C., 401 F.3d 803, 809 (7th Cir. 2005).

Despite these admonitions -- and although granted almost five months to file an opposing brief -- Plaintiff's response to the Defendants' Statement of Uncontested Facts merely argues or clarifies certain points; the Plaintiff does not cite any authority for most of the factual propositions he makes. [Moreover, the Plaintiff responded only to the Defendants' Statement of Facts, declining to file a brief in opposition to the Defendants' memorandum of law.]

Because the Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court will grant him some leeway and consider the factual assertions he makes in his response. However, the Court will entertain the Plaintiff's factual statements only to the extent that he could properly testify about the matters asserted. Among other things, a witness may not testify to a matter unless evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that the witness has personal knowledge of the matter. FED. R. EVID. 602. In addition, a layperson may not testify about matters involving medical, technical, or other specialized knowledge. See FED. R. EVID. 701, 702.

Consequently, the following facts, gathered from the Defendants' essentially uncontroverted Statement of Facts and other supporting evidence, are deemed undisputed for purposes of this motion [the Court has also inserted additional facts based upon the Plaintiff's deposition testimony]:

The Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the Cook County Jail at the time of the events giving rise to this action. (Complaint, p. 2. Section I(C).) The Plaintiff is no longer incarcerated. (Change-of-Address Notice, Document No. 41.) Defendant Tom Dart ("Dart") is the Sheriff of Cook County. (Id., Section II(A)). Defendant Kenneth Trebilco ("Trebilco") is the Director of the Cook County Jail's Division 14, where the Plaintiff was confined. (Id., Section II(B); Defendants' Exhibit 6, Affidavit of Kenneth Trebilco, ¶ 1.)

On January 19, 2009, the Plaintiff sought medical care for headaches, an upset stomach, and a sore throat. (Defendants' Exhibit 4, Detainee Health Service Request Form.) The Plaintiff was treated on January 21, 2009. (Ibid.; Trebilco Affidavit, ¶ 17.) A follow-up appointment for further examination was scheduled for February 6, 2009. (Trebilco Affidavit, ¶ 17.)

The Plaintiff was placed in Division 14 on January 27, 2009. (Complaint, p. 6; Defendants' Exhibit 2, Deposition of Jerry Granville, p. 6.) Upon arrival at his cell, the Plaintiff noticed the smell of mildew, water dripping from the ceiling, exposed mesh wire, general "decay," crumbling plaster, chipped paint, asbestos, and mold. (Complaint, p. 6; Plaintiff's Dep., p. 7.) The Plaintiff conceded during his deposition that he had no way of knowing whether the paint was lead-based. (Plaintiff's Dep., p. 32.) According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lead-based paint has been banned in the United States since 1978, more than thirty years. See http://www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/leadinfo.htm. In addition, because the bed frame was metal and was installed very close to a radiator, the bed became very hot. (Complaint, p. 6; Plaintiff's Dep., p. 7.) The Plaintiff burned himself "several times a week" on the radiator. (Ibid.) Other inmates (but not the Plaintiff) were sometimes bitten by "poisonous insects." (Plaintiff's Dep., p. 34.)

The Plaintiff began to experience headaches, nausea, and shortness of breath after being housed in the cell. (Id., pp. 10, 35; Complaint, p. 6.) The Plaintiff claims that he had not experienced these problems prior to his confinement in Division 14. (Ibid.) The Plaintiff's unit housed inmates who were in a drug treatment program. (Plaintiff's Dep., p. 37.)

The Plaintiff never complained to the named Defendants about his living conditions. (Plaintiff's Dep., pp. 10-11.) At the time, the Plaintiff did not know who either Dart or Trebilco was.

(Id., p. 11.) The Plaintiff complained to counselors and guards. (Id., pp. 11-12.) Due to the Plaintiff's complaints, unidentified jail staffers "in coats and jackets" went to the cell and asked the occupants questions ...


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