United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. ROWLAND UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Motion for Ruling on Exhaustion Issue  is granted in part
and denied in part. Because Plaintiff did not file any
grievances relating to conditions in Division 2,
Plaintiff's claim that he was subjected to
unconstitutional conditions in that Division is dismissed
without prejudice. However, as to Plaintiff's claim that
he was subjected to unconstitutional conditions in Division
6, the record shows that Plaintiff exhausted his
administrative remedies by following the procedures provided
in the Inmate Handbook for grieving unsafe or unclean living
conditions. Therefore, Plaintiff's claims as to Division
6 will proceed.
Miguel Camacho, an inmate confined at the Cook County Jail,
brings this pro se civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he was subjected to
unconstitutional conditions of confinement in the Jail. Now
before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Ruling on
Exhaustion Issue, in which Sheriff Dart argues that this case
should be dismissed for Plaintiff's failure to exhaust
his administrative remedies.
Complaint alleges that while he was housed in Division 2 of
the Jail, from October 23 through December 26, 2014, he was
subjected to conditions including a lack of heat, the
presence of mice, spiders, and water bugs, spots of mold on
the walls, and water leaks in the dorm and bathroom. (Dkt. 10
(Compl.) at 4). He further alleges that sometimes the faucets
did not work, so inmates had to get their water from the slop
sink, where workers dumped used mop water. (Id.).
alleges that similar unconstitutional conditions existed in
Division 6 from December 26, 2014, to the time of the filing
of this Complaint, approximately April 9, 2015. (Compl. 5-6).
Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that mice came into his cell
from the day room. (Id. 5). He states that the hot
water in the shower was so hot that inmates could not stand
under the water, that no cleaning supplies were provided for
cells, and that there was mold and a foul smell coming from
the vents. (Id. 5-6).
moves to dismiss this lawsuit on the basis that Plaintiff did
not file any grievances over the conditions in Division 2,
and did not fully exhaust grievances he filed as to the
conditions in Division 6.
attached several grievance forms to his Complaint. (Compl.
8-14). Three of the grievance forms are dated February 6,
2015 (when Plaintiff was housed in Division 6, Unit 1-H). In
these grievances, Plaintiff complains about the presence of
mice and other pests in the day room and his cell, extremely
hot water in the shower and missing tiles in his cell, and a
lack of heat in his cell. (Id. 8-10). These
grievances were received by a correctional rehabilitation
worker (CRW) on February 9, 2015. (Id.).
also attached a second set of grievances, dated March 19,
2015, and marked as received by a CRW on March 27, 2015,
reiterating the issues raised in his February 6, 2015
grievances. (Compl. 12-14). Plaintiff states in the
grievances that he is resubmitting his complaints because he
did not receive a response to the first set of
grievances. (Id.) .
time of the filing of this Complaint, the Jail had an
administrative grievance process available to detainees and
outlined in the Inmate Handbook. The Handbook states, in
relevant part, that Inmate Request Forms should be submitted
for items like basic supplies, law library services, or
pre-stamped envelopes containing papers and pens.
(See Dkt. 32-2, Cook County Department of
Corrections (CCDOC) Inmate Information Handbook, at 20). An
inmate grievance is described as a “formalized written
complaint” that an inmate may file if, among other
things, he believes his constitutional rights have been
violated or his living area is “unsafe or
unclean.” (Id. 20-21).
Inmate Handbook outlines the process of filing a grievance,
including that an inmate must file a grievance within 15 days
of the occurrence of the incident or problem about which he
is grieving. (Inmate Handbook 21). The CCDOC then has 15
business days to respond to the grievance. (Id.).
The inmate will receive a written decision, and is required
to sign the grievance form acknowledging receipt.
(Id.). If the inmate does not agree with the
decision, he may file an appeal within 14 calendar days from
receipt of the decision. (Id. 22).
to the affidavit of John Mueller, CCDOC deputy director of
inmate services, each grievance that a CRW receives may be
processed either as a “non-grievance (request)”
or as a “grievance.” (Dkt. 32-2, Mueller Aff. at
¶ 9). If the inmate's complaint is processed as a
nongrievance request and the inmate is unhappy with the
result, he may file a second complaint that will
automatically be classified and handled as a grievance.
(Id.). Sheriff's Office General Order 126.96.36.199
provides, in relevant part, that “[i]nmate complaints
documented on grievance forms may be classified as
‘non-grievance requests' and are not assigned a
control number, based on the nature of the issue, length of
time since the issue occurred, except for allegations of
sexual abuse, and the level of effort taken to resolve the
issue. The determination will be made by an Inmate Services
staff member.” (Dkt. 32-2, Sheriff's Office General
Order 188.8.131.52 § VII(E); see Mueller Aff.
¶ 5). Information about the grievance procedure is
provided to inmates through the Inmate Handbook and the
instructions on the grievance form itself. (Mueller Aff.
¶ 6). However, the Inmate Handbook does not contain any
information about what inmates should do when they submit a
grievance about a grievable issue, and it is processed as a
non-grievance request. (See Inmate Handbook 20-22).
to Mueller, when a CRW processes a complaint as a grievance,
it is assigned a tracking number and recorded in the
CCDOC's Master Grievance Log Book or the grievance
database. (Mueller Aff. ¶¶ 10-11). Those records
are kept in the ordinary course of business. (Id.
may obtain grievance forms in the day rooms of their living
units or from CRWs when the workers make their rounds.
(Mueller Aff. ¶ 13). CRWs collect grievances once a day,
five days a week. (Id. ¶ 14). According to
Mueller, an inmate's location at the jail has no impact
on the grievance process, and an inmate can file a grievance