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Isaiah Gunartt v. Mr. Houer and Mr. Long

June 21, 2011

ISAIAH GUNARTT,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MR. HOUER AND MR. LONG, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gilbert, District Judge:

#B-70459,

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court for review of Plaintiff Isaiah Gunartt's First Amended Complaint (Doc. 16*fn1 ), filed in accordance with this Court's previous order (Doc. 12), and on Plaintiff's Motion for Service at Government Expense (Doc. 14) and Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. 15). Plaintiff is serving a 45-year sentence for murder. Plaintiff seeks relief for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Preliminary review of the First Amended Complaint must be conducted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening.-- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

This Court dismissed Plaintiff's original complaint (Doc. 1) because he failed to name the individual defendants who were responsible for the alleged deprivations of Plaintiff's constitutional rights. The First Amended Complaint identifies the relevant Defendants as required.

Factual Allegations

This summary of the facts is drawn from the First Amended Complaint (Doc. 16). Plaintiff suffers from multiple sclerosis and is confined to a wheelchair. He alleges that while he was housed in the segregation unit in Menard Correctional Center, on June 16, 2009, the toilet in his cell stopped working. When the plumber came to repair the toilet, he also tried to fix the leaky sink, which was dripping water onto the cell floor. Unfortunately, the plumber broke the sink, so Plaintiff then had no running water at all in the cell, other than the water in the toilet. The sink remained broken for 38 days, during which Plaintiff had no fresh drinking water, and had to resort to drinking his toilet water. He also had only the toilet water to brush his teeth, wash his face and body, and to wet down his body in an attempt to stay cool. Plaintiff had to continue to use the same toilet to defecate and urinate.

Because of Plaintiff's multiple sclerosis, he must drink water regularly to avoid dehydration and overheating, which can lead to complications of his medical condition. This need is most acute during the summer months. During the 38 days Plaintiff was without fresh water (June 16 to July 24, 2009), his cell was very hot. Plaintiff experienced discomfort and overheating throughout this period, and many times vomited while attempting to drink the toilet water.

Defendant Correctional Officer Mr. Houer was the wing officer for Plaintiff's cell area, was present on June 16, 2009, when the plumber broke Plaintiff's sink, and was aware the sink was broken. Defendant Houer continued working as the wing officer, on duty five days per week for the entire time Plaintiff was without a functioning sink. Defendant Correctional Officer Mr. Long was the wing officer the other two days of the week. Plaintiff complained to Defendant Houer and to Defendant Long repeatedly about his need for water, asking for the sink to be fixed or to be moved to a different cell with a working sink. Plaintiff alleges both Defendants were aware of the fact Plaintiff was suffering in the ...


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