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Reginald F. Cowan v. Mearl J. Justus

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS


November 28, 2011

REGINALD F. COWAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MEARL J. JUSTUS, PHILLIP L. MCLAURIN, ST. CLAIR COUNTY, ILLINOIS, AND JENNIFER RUDE-LITTLE, DEFENDANTS.

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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

A former detainee in St. Clair County (Illinois) Jail, Reginald Cowan filed suit in this Court under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging violations of his constitutional rights during his lengthy pretrial detention. His claims focused on the conditions of his pretrial confinement, specifically including denial of access to meaningful exercise. Cowan's original complaint named four Defendants: (1) Mearl Justus, the Sheriff of St. Clair County; (2) Phillip McLauren, the Jail Superintendent; (3) Health Care Unit Administrator Jane Doe; and (4) St. Clair County. "Health Care Administrator Jane Doe" was later identified by Cowan as Jennifer Rude-Little, and she was substituted via amended complaint.

In a threshold review Order pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915A, the undersigned Judge dismissed Count 2 of the complaint (containing claims based on state law) and allowed Count 1 (containing the federal civil rights claim stemming from denial of all access to exercise while in pretrial detention) to proceed against the four Defendants.

On May 12, 2011, Defendants Justus, McLaurin,*fn1 and St. Clair County moved to dismiss this case based on Cowan's failure to exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing suit, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. 1997e(a). On June 29, 2011, Defendant Rude-Little moved for summary judgment on the same ground -- Plaintiff Cowan's failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

The Honorable Stephen C. Williams, Magistrate Judge, submitted a Report and Recommendation on November 2, 2011, recommending that the undersigned District Judge DENY both dispositive motions, based on the conclusion that the St. Clair County Jail "did not maintain an adequate process of administrative remedies," and Plaintiff "Cowan attempted to exhaust those processes that were available" (Doc. 40, p. 2).

The Report and Recommendation was sent to the parties along with a Notice plainly advising that any Objections must be filed within 14 days of service, and failure to file such objections "shall result in a waiver of the right to appeal all issues, both factual and legal, which are addressed in the Report and Recommendation/Proposed Findings of Facts and Conclusions of Law" (Doc. 40-1). A second docket entry notified the parties that Objections were due by November 21, 2011.

As of November 28, 2011, no objections were filed by any party. Accordingly, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 636(b), the undersigned Judge need not conduct de novo review of the Report and Recommendations. 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(C)("A judge of the court shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made."). See also Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985); Johnson v. Zema Systems Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 741 (7th Cir. 1999); Video Views Inc., v. Studio 21, Ltd., 797 F.2d 538 (7th Cir. 1986).

No objections have been filed to the Report and Recommendation submitted by Judge Williams on November 2, 2011. The Court hereby ADOPTS that Report in its entirety (Doc. 40), and DENIES Defendants' motions to dismiss (Doc. 20) and for summary judgment (Doc. 27).

IT IS SO ORDERED.

Michael J. Reagan United States District Judge


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