United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Blakey, Judge
Barnes (“Plaintiff”), an inmate in the custody of
the Illinois Department of Corrections, alleges that
correctional personnel Antionette Hinton, Andrew Brantley,
Emmanuel Ibarra, Gregory Stroud, and Jake Jorgensen
(collectively, “Defendants”) violated his Eighth
Amendment rights by confining him in a cell with an
inoperable toilet and no drinking water. Defendants recognize
that Plaintiff's “claim regarding the operation of
his toilet . . . raises a question of fact to be determined
by a jury.”  at 3. Nevertheless, Defendants have
moved for partial summary judgment on the grounds that
“Plaintiff's claim regarding his access to adequate
fluids fails to establish a violation of his constitutional
rights under the Eighth Amendment.” Id. As
further explained below, Defendants' motion is denied.
September 4, 2013, Plaintiff was transferred to the Northern
Reception and Classification Center (“NRC”),
where Defendants worked as correctional officers.  at 2.
Shortly after entering his cell at NRC, Plaintiff realized
that there was no running water in the sink and the toilet
would not flush.  at 3. Plaintiff and his cellmate, Mr.
Darius Bailey, both testified that they complained to
Defendants regarding the conditions in their cell from
September 4, 2013 through September 10, 2013 (the
“Relevant Period”), when the plumbing was
eventually fixed.  at 4, 8. Defendants alternatively
testified that they do not recall Plaintiff, Mr. Bailey, or
any complaints regarding the conditions of their cell.
Id. at 5.
the Relevant Period, Plaintiff left his cell on only four
occasions: to go to the exercise yard (where he used the
water fountain); to use a different restroom; to take a
shower; and to attend a court hearing.  at 8. The amount
of water consumed by Plaintiff during these excursions
remains an unclear question of fact. The parties also dispute
the amount of potable liquid given to Plaintiff at meal times
during the Relevant Period. Defendants claim that Plaintiff
received some milk and juice with breakfast, while Plaintiff
and Mr. Bailey testified that they only received milk.
Id. at 9. Defendants also assert that Plaintiff
received a four-ounce serving of juice with his dinner, while
Plaintiff insists that he occasionally did not receive a
drink with dinner. Id. The parties agree that at
some point during the Relevant Period Defendant Jorgenson
also provided Plaintiff with one 20-ounce bottle of drinking
water. Id. at 10.
judgment is appropriate if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Spurling v. C
& M Fine Pack, Inc., 739 F.3d 1055, 1060 (7th Cir.
2014). A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists if
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The
party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact.
See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). In determining whether a genuine issue of material
fact exists, this Court must construe all facts and
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. See CTL ex rel. Trebatoski v. Ashland
Sch. Dist., 743 F.3d 524, 528 (7th Cir. 2014).
“inmates cannot expect the amenities, conveniences and
services of a good hotel, ” they are entitled to
constitutionally adequate conditions of confinement.
Harris v. Fleming, 839 F.2d 1232, 1235-36 (7th Cir.
1988). To determine if Plaintiff's conditions were
constitutional, the Court must look to “the evolving
standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing
society.” Id. at 1236 (internal quotation
doctrinal matter, Eighth Amendment claims based upon a
prisoner's conditions of confinement have an objective
and a subjective component. McNeil v. Lane, 16 F.3d
123, 124 (7th Cir. 1994); see also Wilson v. Seiter,
501 U.S. 294, 302 (1991). To satisfy the objective prong,
Plaintiff must establish that the conditions of his
confinement were sufficiently serious to result “in a
denial of the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities.” Townsend v. Fuchs, 522 F.3d 765,
773 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 834 (1994)). The subjective prong focuses on
whether Defendants were aware of facts supporting an
inference that a substantial risk of serious harm existed and
actually drew that inference. Farmer, 511 U.S. at
834; Olson v. Morgan, 750 F.3d 708, 713 (7th Cir.
2014). Plaintiff must establish that Defendants “acted
with the equivalent of criminal recklessness.”
Grieveson v. Anderson, 538 F.3d 763, 777 (7th Cir.
2008) (quoting Borello v. Allison, 446 F.3d 742, 747
(7th Cir. 2006)). That is, “a plaintiff must establish
that the official knew of the risk (or a high probability of
the risk) and did nothing.” Pope v. Shafer, 86
F.3d 90, 92 (7th Cir. 1996).
“is no constitutional right to running water in a
prison cell.” Downs v. Carter, No. 13-cv-3998,
2016 WL 1660491, at *8 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 27, 2016).
Accordingly, “a lack of running water in an
inmate's cell is not a constitutional violation where the
inmate has access to drinking water in other prison
areas.” Williams v. Collins, No. 14-cv-5275,
2015 WL 4572311, at *1 (N.D. Ill. July 29, 2015); see
also Mims v. Hardy, No. 11-cv-6794, 2013 WL 2451149, at
*9 (N.D. Ill. June 5, 2013) (a short-term breakdown of
cell's plumbing does not amount to a constitutional
violation if the inmate is “otherwise provided with
food, beverages, access to showers, and access to
toilets”). At the same time, however, “an
inmate's lack of drinking water may state an objectively
unconstitutional condition where the deprivation endures for
an extended period.” Williams, 2015 WL
4572311, at *4. As a general rule, “a week in a cell
with broken plumbing is ‘an inconvenience, ' not a
constitutional violation, if the inmate receives three meals
a day, each of which is accompanied by beverages.”
Downs, 2016 WL 1660491, at *8 (quoting Muhammad
v. Wilson, No. 05-cv-743, 2006 WL 2413710, at *2 (N.D.
Ill. Aug. 16, 2006)).
argue that the “undisputed evidence demonstrates that
the temporary breakdown of the water in Plaintiff's cell
did not amount to an objectively cruel condition under the
Eighth Amendment, ” such that summary judgment is
appropriate.  at 7. This argument elides several disputed
factual questions noted above, and misconstrues controlling
precedent. Muhammad and its progeny establish that
depriving an inmate of running water in their cell for one
week is acceptable only if “the inmate receives
three meals a day, each of which is
accompanied by beverages.” Downs, 2016 WL
1660491, at *8 (citing Muhammad, 2006 WL 2413710, at
*2) (emphasis added). Here, Defendants claim that NRC always
provided Plaintiff with beverages at two (not three) meals a
day, namely, breakfast and dinner. See supra at *2.
Plaintiff contends, however, that he only received milk with
breakfast, supplemented by juice with dinner “more
often than not.” Id. On this disputed record,
the Court “cannot find as a matter of law that the
liquids that [Plaintiff] says he received (which the court
must rely on at the summary judgment stage) satisfy the
Eighth Amendment.” Downs, 2016 WL 1660491, at