United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHN ROBERT BLAKEY, District Judge.
Before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a). For the following reasons, the Court denies Defendants' summary judgment motion based on Plaintiff's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies.
I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1
Because Plaintiff is a pro se litigant, Defendants served him with a "Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment" as required by Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.2. The notice explains the consequences of failing to properly respond to a motion for summary judgment and statement of material facts under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure and Local Rule 56.1.
Local Rule 56.1 "is designed, in part, to aid the district court, which does not have the advantage of the parties' familiarity with the record and often cannot afford to spend the time combing the record to locate the relevant information, ' in determining whether a trial is necessary." Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009). "The opposing party is required to file a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." Id. (citing N.D.Ill. R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) requires the nonmoving party to present a separate statement of additional facts that requires the denial of summary judgment, including references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon to support the statement of additional facts. See Ciomber v. Cooperative Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008).
In general, the purpose of Local Rule 56.1 statements and responses is to identify the relevant admissible evidence supporting the material facts, not to make factual or legal arguments. See Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 2006) (statement of material facts did "not comply with Rule 56.1 as it failed to adequately cite the record and was filled with irrelevant information, legal arguments, and conjecture"). "When a responding party's statement fails to dispute the facts set forth in the moving party's statement in the manner dictated by the rule, those facts are deemed admitted for purposes of the motion." Cracco, 559 F.3d at 632; see also Frey Corp. v. City of Peoria, Ill., 735 F.3d 505, 513 (7th Cir. 2013). In addition, district courts, in their discretion, may choose "to ignore and not consider the additional facts that a litigant has proposed" if the litigant failed to comply with Local Rule 56.1. Cichon v. Coop. Plus, Inc., 401 F.3d 803, 809-10 (7th Cir. 2005) (citing Midwest Imports, Ltd. v. Coval, 71 F.3d 1311, 1316 (7th Cir. 1995)).
In sum, "[f]or litigants appearing in the Northern District of Illinois, the Rule 56.1 statement is a critical, and required, component of a litigant's response to a motion for summary judgment. The purpose of the local rule is to make the summary judgment process less burdensome on district courts, by requiring the parties to nail down the relevant facts and the way they propose to support them." Sojka v. Bovis Lend Lease, Inc., 686 F.3d 394, 398 (7th Cir. 2012).
Plaintiff responded to the Defendants' Statement of Material Facts, indicating those that he did not dispute and those that he did "dispute." While most of the Defendants' proposed facts are not disputed, those that Plaintiff indicates he does dispute do not actually dispute the proposed fact. Instead, Plaintiff disputes whether the proposed fact supports Defendants' legal argument. For example, Plaintiff "disputes" Defendants' proposed fact No. 12 that states "Plaintiff testified that a counselor at the CCJ told him to fill out the grievance sheet, return it to her and wait for a response." Plaintiff indicates this fact is "disputed." However, Plaintiff does not dispute that he testified as such, he disputes whether he needed to file additional grievances/appeals if the response to his grievance was favorable to him (indicating a medical appointment was made). As such, the Court accepts all properly supported assertions in Defendants' statement of material facts as true to the extent that the facts are supported in the record. See L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C); Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d 962, 965 (7th Cir. 2013); Keeton v. Morningstar, Inc., 667 F.3d 877, 880 (7th Cir. 2012). Plaintiff's assertions supported by the record in opposition to the legal arguments propounded by Defendants are considered in addressing the merits of Defendants' motion.
With these standards in mind, the Court turns to the relevant facts of this case.
II. Relevant Facts
Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at Cook County Jail (CCJ) from July 19, 2011 through June 2, 2014.  ¶ 2. When Plaintiff entered CCJ, he received a copy of the inmate rules and regulations.  ¶ 8. Plaintiff is aware of, understands, and has utilized the grievance system while at CCJ.  ¶¶ 9-10. A counselor at CCJ told Plaintiff that he could fill out a grievance sheet, return it to her, and wait for response.  ¶¶ 11-12. Plaintiff also understands the grievance appeal process and has filed appeals of unrelated grievances.  ¶¶ 14-15.
On May 22, 2012, Plaintiff submitted a grievance seeking an additional mattress and back brace due to the arthritis he was diagnosed with in his back since his incarceration. [43-2] pg. 20. The grievance was given control number 2012 X 7612.  ¶ 16. The response on the grievance, dated May 24, 2012, stated that Plaintiff had a medical appointment scheduled for June 26, 2012, and that he needed to request the additional mattress at that time because a medical order was required to receive a second mattress. [43-2] pg. 21. Plaintiff received the response to this grievance on June 28, 2012.  ¶ 17. Plaintiff did not appeal this grievance.  ¶ 18.
On August 10, 2013, Plaintiff submitted a grievance regarding not receiving his medication for his back pain caused by his arthritis. [43-2] pg. 25. The grievance was given control number 2013 X 3127.  ¶ 19. The response on the grievance, dated August 23, 2013, stated that Plaintiff had been referred for physical therapy but he refused such treatment and that he had a medical appointment on August 26, 2013. [43-2] pg. 26. Plaintiff received the response to this grievance on September 2, 2013.  ¶ 20. Plaintiff did not appeal the response to this grievance.  ¶ 21. At his deposition, Plaintiff testified that he did not file an appeal of this grievance because "nothing was ...