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McDonald v. Hardy

United States District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

December 18, 2014

WARDEN HARDY, et al., Defendants.


Joan B. Gottschall, United States District Judge.

Donald Lee McDonald (“Plaintiff”) filed a pro se civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that officials at Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”) violated the Eighth Amendment by limiting his recreation time and denying him a low cholesterol diet. Plaintiff also asserts that Defendant Salvador Godinez (the Director of the Illinois Department of Corrections) violated his right to equal protection by offering additional yard time and medical diet privileges to maximum security prisoners housed at Menard and Pontiac Correctional Centers, compared to maximum security prisoners housed at Stateville. Finally, Plaintiff contends that Stateville’s job assignment system aggravated his medical conditions. Defendants Godinez, Marcus Hardy (Stateville’s warden at the relevant time), and Daryl Edwards (Stateville’s assistant warden of programs at the relevant time) have moved for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted in its entirety.

I. Background

The following facts are taken from Defendants’ Local Rule 56.1 Statement of Material Facts, Plaintiff’s response to that statement, and the supporting documentation submitted by the parties, with any relevant disagreements noted. For the purposes of summary judgment, the facts are viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Moreover, given Plaintiff’s pro se status, the court will construe his filings liberally. See Ambrose v. Roeckeman, 749 F.3d 615, 618 (7th Cir. 2014).

Plaintiff has been diagnosed with high cholesterol. He alleges that the lack of low cholesterol diet adversely affects his ability to control his cholesterol. (Defs.’ 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶¶ 8, 9; Pl.’s 56.1(b)(3)(B) Statement at ¶ 8.) Plaintiff’s high cholesterol is being treated with medication, although Plaintiff contends this medication is ineffective because his cholesterol level remains high. (Defs.’ 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 9; Pl.’s 56.1(b)(3)(B) Statement at ¶ 9.) No physician has prescribed a low cholesterol diet for Plaintiff in the last several years, although Plaintiff testified that when he was first diagnosed with high cholesterol he was given medication and a diet, and was told he should exercise more. (Defs.’ 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 10; Pl.’s 56.1(b)(3)(B) Statement at ¶ 10.) Plaintiff testified that his cholesterol level has decreased from 400 to 300 in the past two years. (Dkt. No. 44-1, Pl.’s Dep. At 11:15-19.)[1]

Plaintiff alleges that the limited amount of yard time inmates are allotted at Stateville aggravates his high cholesterol and an arthritic condition. (Defs.’ 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 12; Pl.’s 56.1(b)(3)(B) Statement at ¶ 12.) Plaintiff testified that his arthritis is “not really” being treated by the doctors at Stateville, but he is prescribed a medication called Mobic. (Dkt. No. 44-1, Pl.’s Dep. at 13:1-10.) Since 2009, no physician has told Plaintiff that he is not getting enough exercise. (Defs.’ 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 14; Dkt. No. 44-1, Pl.’s Dep. at 13:23-14:2.)[2]No physician has recently told Plaintiff that he needs more than the allotted recreation time at Stateville in order to control his cholesterol level. (Defs.’ 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 15; Dkt. No. 44-1, Pl.’s Dep. at 12:7-10.)[3]

Inmates at Stateville are allowed yard time twice a week for two and a half hours at a time, weather permitting. (Defs.’ 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 16; Pl.’s 56.1(b)(3)(B) Statement at ¶ 16.) Plaintiff can exercise in his cell, although he contends this is difficult because exercising in his cell can cause conflict with his cell mate. (Defs.’ 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 17; Pl.’s 56.1(b)(3)(B) Statement at ¶ 17.) Plaintiff walks to the dining area twice a day for lunch and dinner. (Defs.’ 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 18; Pl.’s 56.1(b)(3)(B) Statement at ¶ 18.) Plaintiff also walks to the Health Care Unit for blood draws every three months. (Defs.’ 56.1 (a)(3) Statement at ¶ 19; Pl.’s 56.1(b)(3)(B) Statement at ¶ 19.)

Plaintiff has submitted a Statement of Additional Material Facts and Defendants have not filed a response to this statement. However, these additional “facts” largely consist of Plaintiff’s citation to various sources regarding the importance of exercise to treat arthritis and high cholesterol, including WebMD. Plaintiff also cites the American Bar Association’s Treatment of Prisoner Standards, Standard 23-3.6, which states, in relevant part, that:

Correctional authorities should provide all prisoners daily opportunities for significant out-of-cell time and for recreation at appropriate hours that allows them to maintain their physical health and, for prisoners not in segregated housing, to socialize with other prisoners. Each prisoner, including those in segregated housing, should be offered the opportunity for at least one hour per day of exercise, in the open air if weather permits.

ABA Treatment of Prisoner Standards, Standard 23.3.6(b).

Plaintiff also cites the Illinois Administrative Code, 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 502.30, which provides that “Medical diets shall be made available to committed persons as prescribed by a Department physician or a licensed physician authorized by the Department to be a committed person’s attending physician.” Finally, he cites 730 Ill. Rev. Stat. § 5/3-7-2(c), which provides:

All institutions and facilities of the Department shall provide facilities for every committed person to leave his cell for at least one hour per day unless the chief administrative officer determines that it would be harmful or dangerous to the safety or security of the institution or facility.

730 Ill. Rev. Stat. § 5/3-7-2(c). The inclusion of these secondary materials in Plaintiff’s Statement of Additional Material Facts is inappropriate, as the purpose of this statement is to identify facts supporting his claim, not to make factual or legal arguments. See Sys. Dev. Integration, LLC v. Computer Scis. Corp., 739 F.Supp.2d 1063, 1068 (N.D. Ill. 2010). Nonetheless, as these materials are referenced in Plaintiff’s memorandum in ...

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