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Stephen T. Cassell v. Gladyse C. Taylor

August 3, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: James E. Shadid United States District Judge


Wednesday, 03 August, 2011 11:51:23 AM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD


This cause is before the court for consideration of the Defendants' motion for summary judgment. [d/e 19 ]


The Plaintiff originally filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§1983 claiming that his constitutional rights were violated at Pontiac Correctional Center. The Plaintiff named seven Defendants including Illinois Department of Correctional Director Gladyse C. Taylor, Warden Guy Pierce, Assistant Warden Lemke, Assistant Warden Reed, Medical Director Steven Taller, Medical Director Dr. Schaffer and Administrative Review Board Member Brian Fairchild.

The court found that the Plaintiff had adequately alleged that the Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights when they were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition. Specifically, the Plaintiff alleged that the Defendants failed to provide him medical care after he fell in the shower on two occasions. See May 4, 2011 Merit Review Order.

The Defendants then filed a motion for summary judgment claiming the Plaintiff had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies for his Eighth Amendment claim. [d/e 19] The Plaintiff filed a response, but also filed an amended complaint alleging an additional claim. The Plaintiff now states the Defendants violated his rights pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act when they refused to move him to an ADA approved facility for his disability. The Plaintiff says one of his legs is significantly shorter than the other which makes it difficult for him to move and has caused him to fall repeatedly.

The court will consider the Defendants' motion for summary judgment on the Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim. The court notes that it has also reviewed the Plaintiff's amended complaint and the Plaintiff has not changed his original Eighth Amendment claim. The Plaintiff still alleges he was injured while trying to take a shower on December 11, 2009 and January 20, 2010 and "on both incidents Plaintiff repeatedly asked to see the medical director and was denied." (Amd. Comp., p. 6-7). The Plaintiff says the continued "refusal to treat Plaintiff for his constant back pain shows deliberate indifference to a serious medical condition." (Amd. Comp, p. 7)


The Illinois Department of Corrections has an established grievance process. See 20 Ill. Admin. Code §§ 504.800 et seq. An inmate is first required to speak with a counselor about the contested issue. 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.810(a). If the counselor does not resolve the problem, the inmate must file a grievance form directed to the Grievance Officer within 60 days of the incident. Id. The grievance officer submits his recommendation to the Chief Administrative Officer who "shall advise the offender of the final decision in writing within two months after receipt of the written grievance, where reasonably feasible." 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.830(d). If the inmate is not satisfied with the Chief Administrative Officer's response, he or she can file an appeal with the Director through the Administrative Review Board within 30 days after the date of the Chief Administrative Officer's decision. 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.850(a). The Director shall then review the findings and recommendations of the board and make a final determination within six month after receipt of the grievance. 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.850(f). When an inmate has received a copy of the Director's decision, the grievance procedure is complete.

Defendant Brian Fairchild says he is the Chairperson of the Office of Inmate Issues and he is familiar with the records of the Administrative Review Board (herein ARB). Fairchild says he has searched the ARB records for any grievances filed by the Plaintiff pertaining to his Eighth Amendment claim. (Def. Memo, Fair. Aff., p. 3)

Defendant Fairchild says between December 2, 2009 and February 12, 2010, the Plaintiff exhausted his administrative remedies for one grievance. The grievance stated that the Plaintiff was forced to sleep on the floor because he did not have a low-bunk permit. The Plaintiff stated he had a physical disability but was not housed in a handicapped-accessible facility. (Def. Memo, Fair. Aff., p. 3) The Plaintiff stated his current facility did not have handrails or rubber mats in the shower and he had fallen twice and been injured. The relief requested by the Plaintiff was placement in a handicapped-accessible facility. The grievance does not claim that the Plaintiff was denied medical attention at any time. (Def. Memo, Fair. Aff., p. 3)

The Defendants have not provided a copy of the grievance, but the Plaintiff did include a copy with his original complaint. (Comp., p. 28). The grievance is dated January 22, 2010, ...

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