United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
William D. Riley El #B-03069, Plaintiff,
Salvador Godinez, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Gottschall United States District Judge
William D. Riley El, who is currently incarcerated at Pontiac
Correctional Center and proceeding pro se, brought
this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action claiming unconstitutional
conditions of confinement and deliberate indifference to his
medical needs when he was incarcerated at Stateville
Correctional Center. Named as Defendants are Darryl Edwards,
Marcus Hardy, Salvador Godinez, and Joseph Sheehy (hereafter
collectively “IDOC Defendants”) and Dr. Imhotep
Carter (hereafter “Defendant Carter”). Both the
IDOC Defendants and Defendant Carter have filed motions for
summary judgment, which are currently before the Court.
Plaintiff has responded. For the reasons that follow, the
Court grants both the IDOC Defendants' and Defendant
Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1
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). Under Local Rule
56.1(a)(3), the moving party must provide “a statement
of material facts as to which the moving party contends there
is no genuine issue.” Ammons v. Aramark Unif.
Servs., Inc., 368 F.3d 809, 817 (7th Cir. 2004) (quoting
N.D.Ill. L.R. 56.1(a)); see also Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(c). The opposing party must then “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.'”
Cracco v. Vitran, Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th
Cir. 2009) (quoting N.D.Ill. L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(B)). The
opposing party may also present a separate statement of
additional facts that requires the denial of summary
judgment. See Ciomber v. Coop. Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d
635, 643 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing N.D.Ill. L.R.
parties have generally complied with Local Rule 56.1; both
the IDOC Defendants and Defendant Carter each submitted a
Statement of Uncontested Facts, (Dkts. 103, 96), to which
Plaintiff responded. (Dkt. 107 at pp. 1-19.) Plaintiff also
filed the non-movant's optional statement of additional
facts, (Dkt. 107 at pp. 20-23), and submitted in support his
own declaration with accompanying exhibits (Dkt. 107 at. pp.
24-181), to which he cited throughout his response and
statements of additional facts. Neither the IDOC Defendants
nor Defendant Carter argue that Plaintiff's responses,
additional facts, declaration or attachments fail to comply
with the Local Rule.
facts are therefore taken from the parties' N.D.Ill.
Local Rule 56.1 Statements of Material Facts
(“SOF”) and facts included in Plaintiff's
responses and supporting declaration, where he is competent
to testify as to those facts. See Koszola v. Bd. of Educ.
of City of Chi., 385 F.3d 1104, 1109 (7th Cir. 2004)
(stating that courts may decide a summary judgment motion
based on a factual record established by the parties'
Rule 56.1 Statements). The Court will accept as true any
undisputed statements of fact from the parties'
statements. Where Defendants' statements are properly
supported by the cited materials and are not otherwise
disputed by evidence Plaintiff raises, including his
deposition testimony and declaration, the Court will consider
those statements as undisputed. See Local Rule 56.
1(b)(3)(C); see also Almy v. Kickert Sch. Bus Line,
Inc., No. 08-cv-2902, 2013 WL 80367, at *2 (N.D. Ill.
Jan. 7, 2013) (“[C]ourts are not required to
‘wade through improper denials and legal arguments in
search of a genuinely disputed fact.'”) (quoting
Bordelon v. Chi. Sch. Reform Bd. of Trs., 233 F.3d
524, 529 (7th Cir. 2000)). The Court has carefully examined
each response submitted by Plaintiff for relevancy,
evidentiary support, and admissibility in construing the
facts of this case and gives deference to Plaintiff's
version of the facts where they are properly presented and
supported by admissible evidence. The Court will, of course,
not consider purely legal arguments, incomplete responses
that lack evidentiary support, or responses that are
inconsistent with deposition testimony.
the above factors in mind, the Court turns to the facts of
William Riley is an IDOC inmate, who during the time period
relevant to this lawsuit, was incarcerated at Stateville
Correctional Center. (Dkt. 103, IDOC SOF at ¶ 4.) During
the relevant time period, Defendant Sheehy was a Correctional
Medical Technician at Stateville, Defendants Edwards and
Hardy were the Assistant Warden and Warden, respectively, at
Stateville, and Defendant Godinez was the Director of the
IDOC. (Id. at ¶¶ 2-5.) Defendant Carter is
a licensed physician in Illinois and served as the Medical
Director of Stateville from July 25, 2011 through May 10,
2012. (Dkt. 96, Carter SOF at ¶ 2.)
raises two claims in this lawsuit. (Dkt. 103, IDOC SOF at Ex.
A.) First he claims that from 2003 through 2012, Defendants
Edwards, Hardy, and Godinez were deliberately indifferent to
unconstitutional conditions of his confinement at Stateville,
specifically that the prison's drinking water was
systemically contaminated with radium and lead.
(Id.) He second claims that all the IDOC Defendants
and Defendant Carter were deliberately indifferent to his
medical needs arising after he allegedly became ill from one
instance of drinking the contaminated water in January 2012.
January 5, 2012 Incident
January 5, 2012, Plaintiff drank water from the sink in his
cell. (Dkt. 103, IDOC SOF at ¶ 17.) Upon drinking it,
Plaintiff realized it was brownish in color, had a salty
taste, and foul smell. (Id.; Dkt. 107, Pl.'s
Decl. at ¶ 2.) About five to ten minutes later,
Plaintiff started having sharp stomach pains that he had
never had before. (Dkt. 107, Pl.'s Decl. at ¶ 2.)
Approximately one hour later, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant
Sheehy. (Dkt. 103, IDOC SOF at ¶ 18.) Plaintiff told
Defendant Sheehy that he was having sharp stomach pains from
drinking the water. (Dkt. 107, Pl.'s Decl. at ¶ 2.)
Defendant Sheehy took Plaintiff's vitals and provided
Plaintiff with Amalgam and Milk of Magnesia for his upset
stomach. (Dkt. 103, IDOC SOF at ¶ 18.) Plaintiff asked
Defendant Sheehy to see a doctor. (Dkt. 107, Pl.'s Decl.
at ¶ 2.) This was Plaintiff's only interaction with
Defendant Sheehy regarding the January 5, 2012 incident.
(Dkt. 103, IDOC SOF at ¶ 21.) Starting the following
day, Plaintiff began to have diarrhea. (Dkt. 103, IDOC SOF at
filed a grievance at the prison regarding the incident, which
is dated the same day, January 5, 2012. (Dkt. 96, Carter SOF
at ¶ 10.) The grievance describes the incident, the
stomach pains that resulted from drinking the water, and
Plaintiff's interactions with Sheehy. (Dkt. 96, Carter
SOF at Ex. 5 at pp. 3-4.) It also states that his stomach was
still hurting, and Plaintiff requested to be provided with
drinkable water and to be seen by a doctor. (Id.)
The grievance was denied, and Plaintiff unsuccessfully
appealed it to the Administrative Review Board. (Id.
at pp. 1-2.)
Plaintiff's letters to Defendants
testified at his deposition that he wrote two letters
regarding the January 5, 2012 incident to each of Defendants
Edwards, Hardy, and Godinez, but he describes only one such
letter to each of these Defendants in his Declaration and has
submitted copies of only one such letter to each Defendant.
(Dkt. 103, IDOC SOF at ¶ 14 and at Ex. A, pp. 15-20;
Dkt. 107, Pl.'s Decl. at ¶¶ 30, 32, 33.)
Plaintiff's letters to Edwards, Hardy, and Godinez are
dated January 30, 2012, February 5, 2012, and February 15,
2012, respectively. (Dkt. 107, Pl.'s Decl. at
¶¶ 30, 32, 33; IDOC SOF at Ex. A, pp. 15-20.) Each
letter describes the incident and asks the Defendant to
“do something about the unsafe drinking water”.
(Id.) Each letter also states that Plaintiff is
continuing to experience severe stomach pains and diarrhea
(and also headaches), that he wrote to Dr. Carter informing
him of the situation but has not heard anything in response,
and that he needs to be seen by a doctor. (Id.)
wrote one letter to Defendant Carter as well. (Dkt. 96,
Carter SOF at¶ 19; Dkt. 107, Pl.'s Decl. at ¶
29; IDOC SOF at Ex. A, p. 14.) The letter is dated January
15, 2012 and states that Plaintiff is having severe stomach
pains, headaches, and diarrhea from having drunk the dirty
water on January 5, 2012. (Dkt. 107, Pl.'s Decl. at
¶ 29; IDOC SOF at Ex. A, p. 14.) Plaintiff requests in
the letter that he be seen by Dr. Carter for treatment.
(Id.) Plaintiff had not tried to communicate with
Defendant Carter about his problems related to the drinking
water prior to sending this letter. (Dkt. 96, Carter SOF
at¶ 19.) Dr. Carter testified that he did not receive
the January 15, 2012 letter or any other letters from
Plaintiff concerning his stomach problems. (Id. at
also dropped two sick call requests in the box, one on
January 5, 2012 and one on January 15, 2012, requesting
treatment for his stomach pain from drinking dirty water.
(Dkt 103, IDOC SOF at Ex. A at pp. 12-13.)
Plaintiff's access to water
the January 5, 2012 incident, Plaintiff never drank the water
from his sink again. (Dkt. 103, IDOC SOF at ¶ 19.)
Plaintiff had access to milk and water at the dining hall
twice a day during lunch and dinner, but he declined to drink
it because he believed that the plastic cups used to serve
the water were not thoroughly cleaned. (Dkt. 103, IDOC SOF at
¶ 19 and at Ex. B. 40: 4-18.) Plaintiff instead drank
bottled water; he received approximately 40-45 bottles of
water per month, either by purchasing them from the
commissary or by trading for them with other inmates in
exchange for other commissary items. (Dkt. 103, IDOC SOF at
¶ 19 and at Ex. B. 40: 4-18.)
also testified that the only time he personally had any
problems with the water at Stateville prior to January 2012
was “three or four times” when the water in the
showers came out brown, but he moved out of the way. (Dkt.
103, IDOC SOF ¶ 16.)
Evidence regarding water contamination
IDOC Defendants have submitted an affidavit from Michael
Studer, who was a licensed Class B Water Operator at
Stateville from 2002 to 2014. (Dkt. 103, IDOC SOF at Ex. B.)
As the Water Operator at Stateville, he was responsible for
taking samples of the water at Stateville and sending the
samples to laboratories for analysis pursuant to the Illinois
Environmental Protection Agency (EPS) sampling schedule.
(Id. at ¶ 3.) Studer testified that in 2004,
the City of Crest Hill began supplying water to Stateville.
(Id. at ¶ 4.) He also testified that from 2004
to 2014, there were no instances in which the water at
Stateville exceeded the EPA standards for copper, lead, or
radium. (Id. at ¶ 5.)
submitted and cited to in his declaration and/or LR 56.1
materials the following evidence:
. Excerpts of EPA reports for the water in
both Crest Hill, Illinois and Stateville for the years 2002,
2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2009. (Dkt. 107, at Exs. 3A-3T.)
excerpts that Plaintiff submitted show that levels of some
contaminants in Stateville's water in 2002, 2003, and as
of March 2004 were deemed violations of EPA standards. (Dkt.
107, at Exs. 3A-3C.) The excerpt for 2002 also states that
Stateville was working to completely upgrade its system by
November 2003 as a means of correcting the violations.
(Id. at Ex. 3A.)
provided excerpts of the reports for years 2007, 2008, and
2009 show that the Illinois EPA tested Stateville and/or
Crest Hill's water for the presence of 14 contaminants
each year, and in each of those years found that the levels
of all 14 contaminants did not violate EPA standards.
(Id. at Ex. 3D-3T.) The provided excerpts for
2007-2009 also each include a section titled “Source
Water Assessment”, which note that certain of Crest
Hill's wells are not susceptible to contamination, and
that certain wells are susceptible. (Id.) Plaintiff
provided no EPA reports for the years 2010, 2011, or 2012.
. A May 2008 letter to a warden of
Stateville from the Illinois EPA regarding Stateville's
2008 inspection report. (Dkt. 107 at Ex. 4A.)
letter notified Stateville officials that, following a
routine periodic inspection of Stateville's water supply
in April 2008, the Illinois EPA determined that aspects of
the water system “may” not comply with certain
regulatory standards regarding monitoring, testing, and
reporting. (Dkt. 107, Pl.'s at Ex. 4A.) For example, the
letter states that in the preceding year the Illinois EPA had
not received certain required monthly operating reports from
Stateville, and that the Illinois EPA had not received a copy
of Stateville's “cross connection control
letter provided Stateville 45 days to respond to the
potential violations and explicitly states that “it is
NOT a violation notice”. (Id.) (emphasis in
. A letter dated June 2011 to an inmate at
Stateville from the Director of the Water Division of the
Illinois EPA. (Dkt. 107, Ex. 8.)
letter begins by stating that there is “no
straightforward answer to your question about the build-up of
contamination in water pipes over time”. (Dkt. 107, Ex.
8.) It explains that pipes “can corrode”.
(Id.) The letter also explains that if water shows
signs of calcium or lime deposits, “it is
possible” that radium could be captured in those
deposits. (Id.) The ...