Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
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.

Cotton v. Watson

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 7, 2017

LEONARD C. COTTON, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF RICHARD WATSON, MAJOR PHILLIP MCLAURIN, and CAPTAIN THOMAS TRICE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Sheriff Richard Watson, Major Phillip McLaurin, and Captain Thomas Trice (Doc. 45). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is GRANTED.

         Introduction

         Plaintiff Leonard C. Cotton, Sr., an inmate currently in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging his constitutional rights were violated while he was detained at the St. Clair County Jail (“the Jail”). In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on February 5, 2015, he was injured when the bars to his cell closed on his arm. Plaintiff also alleges that the Jail was not providing toilet paper to inmates and, as he did not have money to purchase his own, he was going without and that the showers at the Jail were contaminated with black mold.

         Plaintiff's complaint was screened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915A and he was allowed to proceed on the following claims:

Count One: Excessive force claim against Defendant Walters for closing the cell bars on Plaintiff's arm and wrist, injuring him;
Count Two: Unconstitutional conditions of confinement claim against Defendant Sheriff Watson for adopting a policy that deprives Plaintiff of toilet paper, and against Defendants McLaurin and Trice for failing to provide Plaintiff with toilet paper; and
Count Three: Unconstitutional conditions of confinement claim against Defendants McLaurin and Trice for subjecting Plaintiff to health risks from the black-mold contamination in the showers.

(Doc. 1, p. 2). The Court, however, severed Counts Two and Three into a separate lawsuit, thereby instituting this action (id. at p. 7; see Cotton v. Walters, 3:15-cv-364-JPG-DGW). Accordingly, the claims pending in this lawsuit are Counts Two and Three, the unconstitutional conditions of confinement claims.

         On October 28, 2016, Defendants McLaurin, Trice, and Watson filed a motion for summary judgment asking the Court to enter judgment in their favor (Doc. 45). In conjunction with the filing of their motion for summary judgment, Defendants filed a Notice pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 informing Plaintiff of the contents of Rule 56 and notifying him of the perils of failing to respond within the proper timeframe of thirty days (see Doc. 46). Defendants' Notice also informed Plaintiff that his failure to file a response by the deadline may, in the Court's discretion, be considered an admission of the merits of the motion pursuant to Local Rule 7.1(c) (id.). Despite receiving adequate notice, Plaintiff failed to file a response by the December 1, 2016 deadline (and there is no response on file as of the date of this Order). The Court deems Plaintiff's failure to file a response to be an admission of the merits of the motion.

         Factual Background

         The undisputed evidence reflects that Plaintiff was detained at the St. Clair County Jail (“the Jail”) from January 27, 2015 to November 25, 2015 (Deposition of Plaintiff, Leonard C. Cotton, Sr., Doc. 45-2, p. 3; see Cell Assignment History and Sentencing Order, Doc. 45-1). During this time, Plaintiff was housed in several cell blocks, including H block, AA block, K block, C block, E block, and J block (Doc. 45-2, p. 4; see Doc. 45-1). While housed in blocks AA, J, and E, Plaintiff found that the showers were “really slimy” and there was black mold along the walls (Doc. 45-2, pp. 4-5). Plaintiff testified that the showers, particularly those in block AA, had an “irritating smell … like moldy clothes” (Id. at 5). Plaintiff attributes the condition of the showers to an itchy, red rash that developed while he was at the Jail (Id. at 12-13). Medical personnel have not been able to discern the cause of the rash, but Plaintiff testified that some nurses indicated it could have been caused by the showers at the Jail (Id. at 14). Plaintiff still develops a rash after he showers at his current institution, asserting that it also has moldy showers (Id. at 13). Plaintiff never complained about the shower conditions or informed Defendants McLaurin or Trice that said conditions were causing him to develop a rash (Id. at 12). Indeed, Plaintiff has never been “face to face with [Defendant McLaurin] at any time” (Id. at 20).

         Plaintiff also testified that in May, 2015, a sign was posted in each cellblock indicating that the Jail would no longer be providing toilet paper and detainees would need to buy it from the commissary (Id. at 15). Plaintiff believes that this policy was implemented sometime in June, 2015, likely June 6, 2015 (Id. at 16). Prior to the implementation of this policy, each detainee was provided with toilet paper from the Jail (Id. at 17). Plaintiff indicated that he was not able to purchase toilet paper from the commissary on any occasion because he could not afford it, but sometimes an officer would bring him some upon request (Id. at 17-18). Plaintiff testified that he wrote Defendant McLaurin about this issue, but never received a response (Id. at 20). Plaintiff never spoke with Defendants McLaurin, Trice, or Watson regarding his lack of toilet paper (Id. at 12, 20).

         Legal ...


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.