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Barrows v. Illinois Department of Corrections

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

August 26, 2014

HENRY BARROWS, #B82577, Plaintiff,


MICHAEL M. MIHM, District Judge.

This cause is before the Court for consideration of Defendant Jesse's ("Defendant") Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 13). Plaintiff Henry Barrows ("Plaintiff"), proceeding pro se, filed his lawsuit against Defendant, a Correctional Officer at Pontiac Correctional Center, in accordance with 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging a violation of constitutional rights. (ECF No. 1 at 1). For the reasons stated below, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 13) is GRANTED IN PART and RESERVED IN PART.


A motion for summary judgment will be granted where there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). A material fact is one that might affect the outcome of the suit. Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 598-99 (7th Cir. 2000). The moving party may meet its burden of showing an absence of material facts by demonstrating "that there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). If the moving party meets its burden, the non-moving party then has the burden of presenting specific facts to show there is a genuine issue of material fact. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986).

On summary judgment, the inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd., 475 U.S. at 588. Any disputed issues of fact are resolved against the moving party. GE v. Joiner, 552 U.S. 136, 143 (1997). The moving party has the responsibility of informing the Court of portions of the record or affidavits that demonstrate the absence of a triable issue. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e) requires the non-moving party to go beyond the pleadings and produce evidence of a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324. Where a proposed statement of fact is supported by the record and not adequately rebutted, a court will accept that statement as true for purposes of summary judgment; an adequate rebuttal requires a citation to specific support in the record. Drake v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 134 F.3d 878, 887 (7th Cir. 1998). This Court must then determine whether there is a need for trial - whether, in other words, there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may be reasonably resolved in favor of either party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986).


Plaintiff, who is incarcerated within the Illinois Department of Corrections ("the Department") at Pontiac Correctional Center, filed his Complaint against Defendant on April 8, 2013, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff also named the Illinois Department of Corrections ("the Department") as a party in his Complaint, but the Department has since been terminated as a party in this case. Plaintiff alleged that for a three week period he was placed in a cell contaminated with feces, that he was given a mattress contaminated with feces and urine, and that he was not given any cleaning supplies. Id. at 5.

The Administrative Review Board ("ARB") records show Plaintiff submitted two grievances regarding his condition of confinement at Pontiac Correctional Center. (ECF No. 14 at 2). One grievance was dated May 20, 2012, and the other was dated July 23, 2012. Id. ( See also Johnson Aff. ¶7-8). The May 20, 2012, grievance was received by the ARB on July 27, 2012, regarding the condition of Plaintiff's mattress and contained no other allegations. (ECF No. 14 at 2) ( See also Johnson Aff. ¶9). Plaintiff was sent a response from the ARB to his May 20, 2012, grievance on March 7, 2013, in which the ARB recommended the grievance be considered moot because Plaintiff had received a different mattress. Id. The July 23, 2012, grievance was received by the ARB on August 10, 2012, regarding the fact Plaintiff claimed his cell was contaminated with feces and urine. (ECF No. 14 at 3) ( See also Johnson Aff. ¶11). Plaintiff was sent a response to his July 23, 2012, grievance from the ARB on March 3, 2013, stating the grievance was not submitted in the timeframe outlined in Department Rule 504. Id. Therefore, the issue was not further addressed. There were no other grievances received by the ARB from Plaintiff regarding the condition of his cell while he was incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center. Id.


This matter is now before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendant. In Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, he argues "Plaintiff failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies with respect to his claims that the cell was contaminated with feces and that he was denied cleaning supplies by Defendant prior to filing his Complaint." (ECF No. 13 at 2).

A. Prison Litigation Reform Act and Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

The Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), governs a variety of procedural requirements related to inmate suits brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 39 at 8). Under the PLRA, inmates must first exhaust all available administrative remedies prior to filing suit. Specifically, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) states "[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." See also Pavey v. Conley, 544 F.3d 739, 740 (7th Cir. 2008).

The exhaustion requirement applies to all inmate suits relating to prison life. Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002). Exhaustion of administrative remedies is a condition precedent to filing suit. Perez v. Wisconsin Dept. of Corr., 182 F.3d 532, 535 (7th Cir. 1999). A plaintiff's suit must be dismissed if administrative remedies are not fully and properly exhausted. Woodford v. Nqo, 126 S.Ct. 2378, 2383 (2006) (holding a prisoner cannot satisfy the exhaustion requirement by filing untimely or otherwise procedurally defective grievances). To meet the ...

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