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Johnson v. Godinez

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois

December 10, 2014

OPTER T. JOHNSON (#M-01803), Plaintiff,
SALVADOR GODINEZ, et al., Defendants

Opter T. Johnson, Plaintiff, Pro se, M-01803, Danville, IL.

For Salvador Godinez, Marcus Hardy, Micheal Lemke, Jerry Lyte, Nikki Robinson, Tracy Engleson, Defendants: Miguel E. Larios, Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Chicago, IL.


Judge James B. Zagel, United States District Court Judge.

Plaintiff Opter Johnson (hereinafter, " Plaintiff' or " Johnson") brought the instant lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that officials at the Northern Reception and Classification Center (hereinafter, " NRC") at Stateville Correctional Center (hereinafter, " Stateville") violated his civil rights due to various alleged unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Defendants Salvador Godinez, Marcus Hardy, Michael Lemke, Jerry Lyte, Nikki Robinson and Tracy Engleson (collectively, " Defendants"), move for partial summary judgment (Dkt No. 32). They contend that with the exception of one claim related to a lack of hot water, Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. For the reasons that follow, the Defendants' motion is denied.

Local Rule 56.1

A district court may insist on strict compliance with its local rules regarding summary judgment. Koszola v. Bd of Educ. of City of Chi., 385 F.3d 1104. 1109 (7th Cir. 2004). This means that a court may decide a motion based on the factual record outlined in the parties' Local Rule 56, 1 Statements of Material Facts. Id. (internal citation omitted). Although Johnson is pro se, he must comply with Local Rule 56.1. Coleman v. Goodwill Indus. of Se. Wis., Inc., 423 Fed.App'x 642, 643 (7th Cir. 2011); see Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1061 (7th Cir. 2006) (" even pro se litigants must follow rules of civil procedure").

Defendants filed a Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement of Material Facts along with appropriate supporting documentation. Consistent with the Local Rules, Defendants served Plaintiff with a Local Rule 56.2 Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. No. 35.) That notice, among other things, explained Plaintiff's need to respond to Defendants' Statement of Material Facts with documentation supporting any disagreement with the facts as presented by Defendants. Notwithstanding this, Plaintiff has not submitted a response to Defendants' Local Rule 56.1 Statement of Material Facts, nor has he submitted his own statement of additional material facts. Accordingly, the facts set forth in Defendants' Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement are deemed admitted to the extent they are supported by evidence in the record. See Keeton v. Morningstar, Inc., 667 F.3d 877, 880, 884 (7th Cir. 2012).

However, because Johnson is proceeding pro se, the Court has considered the factual assertions he makes in his brief and his affidavit opposing summary judgment (Dkt. No. 46), but only to the extent he has pointed to evidence in the record or could properly testify himself about the matters asserted. Antonelli v. Sherrow, 02 C 8714, at *5-*6 (N.D.Ill. Sept 21, 2005); see Boykin v. Dart, No. 12 C 4447, (N.D.Ill. November 4, 2014) (" Although the Court is entitled to demand strict compliance with Local Rule 56.1, it ordinarily affords pro se plaintiffs significant leeway in responding to summary judgment filings.") Additionally, the Court observes that a non-movant's failure to comply with Local Rule 56.1 does not automatically result in judgment for the movant. See Brown v. Navarro, 09 C 3814, at *7 (N.D. Ills. Sept. 11, 2012) (citing Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608 (7th Cir. 2006)). Rather, " even where the non-moving party fails to file a timely response to a motion for summary judgment, the district court must still review the uncontroverted facts and make a finding that summary judgment is appropriate as a matter of law." Nabozny v. Podlesny, 92 F.3d 446 (7th Cir. 1996).

Factual Background

The following factual background is taken from Defendants' Rule 56.1 Statement of Material Facts and the supporting documentation in the record. Plaintiff is currently an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (" IDOC") at the Danville Correctional Center. (Defs.' 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 1.) Plaintiff brought this lawsuit alleging that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to unconstitutional conditions of confinement while he was housed at the NRC, the male intake facility at Stateville. (Id.) Defendant Godinez is the director of the Illinois Department of Corrections (hereinafter, " IDOC"), while the other Defendants are current or former employees at Stateville. (Id. at ¶ 2.) Plaintiff alleges various unconstitutional conditions of confinement, including: (1) overcrowding and understaffing; (2) delayed medical care; (3) unsanitary living conditions; (4) contaminated water; (5) inadequate cleaning supplies; (6) infestation of roaches, ants, spiders, and mice; (7) unsanitary shower facilities; (8) lack of hot water; (9) unsanitary food trays; (10) lack of clothing/clothing not regularly washed; and (11) insufficient phone access. (Id. at ¶ 4.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendants knew of these unconstitutional conditions of confinement and failed to correct them. (Id. at ¶ 5.)

The IDOC has a formal grievance procedure for inmates. (Id. at ¶ 6.) Generally, there are three steps to the grievance process. (Id. at ¶ 7.) First, an inmate must attempt to resolve grievances through his counselor. (Id.; see 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.810(a).) If that fails, the inmate may file a written grievance to the grievance officer within 60 days of the incident, (Id.; see 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.810(a).) The grievance officer may interview the inmate and/or any witnesses and obtain relevant documents to determine the merits of the grievance. (Id.; see 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.830(c).) After investigation, the grievance officer's conclusions and recommended relief are forwarded to the chief administrative officer (hereinafter, " C AO"). (Id.; see 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.830(d).) The decision of the CAO or the CAO's designee is then submitted to the inmate. (Id; see 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.830(d).) The CAO is to advise the inmate of the decision within two months after receipt of the written grievance, when " reasonably feasible under the circumstances." (20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.830(d).)

If, after receiving that decision, the inmate disagrees with it, he may appeal in writing to the director of the IDOC through the director's designee, the Administrative Review Board (hereinafter, " ARB"). (Defs.' 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 8; see 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.850(a).) In order to appeal, the inmate should attach the grievance officer's report and the CAO's decision. (Dkt. No. 33-3, Aff. of Sherry Benton, at ¶ 3; see 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.850(a).) The ARB reviews the appeal and determines whether a hearing is necessary. (Defs.' 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 8; see 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.850(b).) If it is determined that the grievance is without merit or can be resolved without a hearing, the inmate is advised. (Id.; see 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.850(b).) Otherwise, an ARB hearing is scheduled. (Id.) The ARB submits a written report to the director or his designee, who reviews the report and makes a final determination of the grievance. (Id.; see 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.850(f).) A copy of the ARB's report and the director's final decision are then sent to the inmate. (Id ; 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.850(f).)

In an emergency situation, a prisoner may request that a grievance be reviewed on an expedited basis by submitting the grievance directly to the CAO, rather than a counselor or grievance officer. (Defs.' 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 9; see 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.840.) If the CAO determines there is a substantial risk of imminent injury or serious harm to the inmate, the grievance may be handled on an emergency basis. (Id.; 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.840(a).)

Certain issues may be addressed directly to the ARB, rather than first through a counselor or grievance officer. (Defs.' 5 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 10; see 20 Ill. Admin. Code ยง 504.870.) Those issues are: (a) decisions involving the involuntary administration of psychotropic medication; (b) decisions regarding protective custody placement, Including continued placement in or release from protective custody; (c) decisions regarding disciplinary proceedings which were made at a facility other than the facility where the inmate is currently assigned; and (d) other issues except personal ...

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