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Paige v. Doe

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

December 5, 2016

CORY PAIGE, #M02717, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN DOE 1, KIMBERLEY BUTLER, STEPHANIE, JOHN DOES 3-4, CHRISTOPHER MATHIS, KELLY PIERCE, LT. SMOLAK, ILL. DEPT. OF CORR., OFFICER KAREN, and OWELL, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE U.S. District Judge

         Plaintiff Cory Paige, an inmate who is currently incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”), brings this pro se action for alleged violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Doc. 1). In an initial threshold screening order, this Court severed a number of Paige's claims into a separate Complaint. The claims now before the Court for screening are Counts 1 through 8 of that initial Order.

         This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 1915A, the Court is required to promptly screen prisoner Complaints to filter out nonmeritorious claims. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). The Court is required to dismiss any portion of the Complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or asks for money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).

         The Complaint

         Plaintiff Paige alleges that from August 14, 2015 through September 5, 2015, he was housed in a cell at Menard that lacked hot or cold running water (Doc. 1 at 8-9). He notified Defendants Karen and Howell of the issue, but was not relocated to a functional cell (Id. at 9). Instead, they told him he would have to await maintenance (Id.). Paige alleges that he was housed in the cell during very hot weather and had no ability to wash himself or to use water to regulate his body temperature (Id.). Paige also lodged at least 3 written grievances with John Doe 3 (lieutenant) about the conditions of the cell, to which he received no response (Id. at 9-10; Doc. 1-1, 2-4).

         In addition to the written grievances to John Doe 3 (lieutenant), Paige personally spoke to John Doe 3 on multiple occasions while en route to chow (Doc. 1 at 10). John Doe 3 reiterated that plumbing issues were within the purview of maintenance (Id.). John Doe 3 denied requests for bottled water or daily showers-solutions Paige proposed while awaiting maintenance (Id.). Paige also attempted written and verbal correspondence with John Doe 4 (major) in an effort to address the water issue (Id. at 10-11; Doc 1-1 at 5-8). John Doe 4 also responded that water issues were a problem reserved for maintenance (Doc. 1 at 11).

         Paige decided to take his issue to Warden Butler via written grievances (Id.; Doc. 1-1 at 9-11). Butler never responded (Id.). Paige then lodged written grievances with John Doe 1 (medical director), Dr. Trost and health care administrator Gail Walls (Doc. 1 at 12; Doc. 1-1 at 12-17). In the letters, Paige stated his belief that IDOC and Wexford were responsible for providing him with sanitary living conditions, something that was not being done in his condemned cell (Doc. 1 at 12; Doc. 1-1 at 12-19).

         Paige generally alleges that the Defendants' failure to respond to his grievances constituted deliberate indifference because, as a result of the non-response, he was continually subject to inhumane living conditions (Doc. 1 at 13).

         On August 31, 2015, Paige resorted to submitting a grievance to his counselor (Mathis) via the traditional institutional grievance form (Id. at 13-15; Doc. 1-1 at 21-22). Responses to the grievance suggest that he was relocated by September 15, 2015 and that the institution concluded that a faster response by maintenance either was not required or was infeasible (Doc. 1 at 13-15; Doc. 1-1 at 20-22). Paige alleges that counselor Mathis's negative attitude tainted Defendant Pierce's response and lead her to pass over his grievances without taking action (Id. at 15).

         Paige claims that once he was finally moved out of his condemned cell (West cell house 1005), he found himself in another cell with no water or cable plug (East cell house 823) (Doc. 15). He believes the move was retaliatory (Id.). He aired the issues about the cell to the gallery officer, a sergeant and others, but was again told he would have to await maintenance (Id.). The condemned cell prolonged Paige's inability to maintain appropriate personal hygiene (Id. at 16). Paige raised his issues with cell 823 to Defendant Smolak via written grievance (Id. at 17; Doc. 1-1 at 23-24).

         Paige's hygiene issues also interfered with his ability to practice his religion because he was unable to wash himself daily before saying his call to prayer-as is typically required by the Muslim faith (Doc. 1 at 17). Paige alerted Defendants Karen, Howell, Mathis and Lt. Smolak to this problem and was told he should change his religion (Id. at 17-18).

         Paige also requested and was denied cleaning supplies he felt he needed to keep his cell sanitary (Id. at 18-19). Consequently, he was forced to utilize soap he bought at commissary and water from the toilet to wash himself or his cell (Id. at 19). Paige alleges that during this timeframe, several inmates and staff contracted MRSA-giving rise to the risk of contagion (Id. at 19-20). Paige himself contracted a rash and was called out for sick call (Id. at 20).

         While he was in the waiting area, Defendant Stephanie approached him and publicly stated “are you the one with the rash” in violation of inmate privacy (Id.). Paige protested such treatment which annoyed Stephanie and led to poor medical care (Id. at 20-21). Stephanie allegedly told Paige he had a skin irritation without examining him (Id. at 20-22). Paige alleges this was due in part to her attitude and in part due to her lack of adequate training or expertise (Id.). Records Paige appended to his Complaint suggest that he was prescribed antibiotics (Doc. 1-1 at 25-28).

         Paige generally alleges that the IDOC has a burden to provide inmates with the basic necessities of life (Id. at 23). He claims that IDOC and John Doe 1 (director) have known for some time that Menard is an insufficient facility, and yet they continually have failed take action (Id. at 24). Previous lawsuits as well as reports by organizations like the John Howard Association serve as evidence of the inadequacy of Menard (Id. at 24; Doc. 1-1 at 31-58).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations, the Court finds it convenient to divide the pro se Complaint into the following enumerated claims. The parties and the Court will use these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion regarding their merit.

Count 1:Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim against Defendants Karen and Howell for keeping Paige in a cell without running water from August 14, 2015, through September 5, 2015;
Count 2:Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim against John Does 3 and 4 for ignoring Paige's grievances about his lack of water;
Count 3:Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim against Warden Butler for failing to address his grievances regarding the lack of running water;
Count 4:Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim against Defendants Mathis and Pierce for their responses to Paige's grievances about his ...

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