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Thompsonn v. Illinois Department of Corrections

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 2, 2017

DENNIS THOMPSON, Plaintiff,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, RICHARD HARRINGTON, KIMBERLY BUTLER, JACQUELINE LASHBROOK, MICHAEL ATCHINSON, and C/O SMITH, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson (Doc. 105), which recommends that the Motion for Summary Judgment for Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies (Doc. 78) filed by Defendants be granted in part and denied in part. The Report and Recommendation was entered on December 29, 2016. Plaintiff Dennis Thompson filed a timely objection (Doc. 106).

         Background

         Thompson, an inmate at Menard Correctional Center, is grossly obese and suffers from degenerative joint and disc disease, causing him severe chronic pain and limited range of motion. To combat his conditions, Thompson claims that he has been instructed by prison medical staff to exercise as much as possible in his cell.

         On November 19, 2013, Thompson was moved from the South Lower Cell House to the North Two Cell House. Thompson claims that the cells in North Two Cell House are too small for him to do his exercises and, as a result, his weight has increased from 280 pounds to 350 pounds, his chronic pain has worsened, and he has developed sciatic nerve pain (Doc. 16, p. 7). He also asserts that the North Two Cell House contains inmates with higher aggression levels and that it offers fewer privileges than his former cell. Thompson claims that the decision to move him, and the subsequent refusal to move him back, was made by Defendants Harrington, Lashbrook, and Butler in retaliation for filing lawsuits.

         Thompson initiated this lawsuit on August 3, 2015. On December 29, 2015, Defendants Atchison, Butler, and Smith moved Thompson and other inmates to the prison gym for a period of five days due to the potential for flooding. Thompson claims that he was required to sleep on a wet and cold gym floor, that he had to share two toilets with thirty other inmates, one of which broke under his weight, and that females were allowed to see him use the toilet and shower, causing him humiliation. Thompson added these events to a Second Amended Complaint filed February 11, 2016 (Doc. 16).

         Following a screening of the Second Amended Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, Thompson was permitted to proceed on the following claims:

Count 3: Defendants Harrington, Lashbrook, and Butler retaliated against Plaintiff for filing lawsuits by moving him to and refusing to transfer him from the North Two Cell House, which has smaller cells, offers fewer privileges, and houses higher aggression inmates than other cell houses.
Count 4: Defendants IDOC Director and Butler's policy, custom, or practice of making housing decisions without input from the medical staff violates Plaintiff's rights under the Eighth Amendment.
Count 5: Defendant IDOC Director violated Plaintiff's rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and/or Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 794-94e, by denying him accommodations for his degenerative joint and disc disease and his obesity by placing him in a larger cell.
Count 6: Defendants Harrington, Lashbrook, and Butler subjected Plaintiff to unconstitutional conditions of confinement, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, when they assigned him to the North Two Cell House.
Count 7: Defendants Atchinson, Butler, and Smith subjected Plaintiff to unconstitutional conditions of confinement, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, when they housed him in the gym for five days in anticipation of a flood on December 29, 2015.

         On August 24, 2016, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of exhaustion of administrative remedies (Doc. 78). Thompson timely filed a response on September 7, 2016. Magistrate Judge Wilkerson subsequently held a hearing pursuant to Pavey v. Conley, 544 F.3d 739 (7th Cir. 2008), and issued the Report and Recommendation currently before the Court. Thompson filed a timely objection (Doc. 106); Defendants did not file a response.

         Conclusions of the Report ...


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