Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Camacho v. Dart

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

February 21, 2017

MIGUEL CAMACHO #2014-1023218, Plaintiff,
THOMAS J. DART, Defendant.



         Defendant's Motion for Ruling on Exhaustion Issue [32] 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.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff 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.

         Plaintiff's 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.).

         Plaintiff 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).

         Defendant 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.

         Plaintiff 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.).

         Plaintiff 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.[1] (Id.) .

         At the 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).

         The 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).

         According 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 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 § 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).

         According 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. ¶ 12).

         Inmates 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. ΒΆ 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 ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.