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Hoffmann v. Hertz

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 20, 2017

DAVID L. HOFFMANN, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT HERTZ, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          J. PHIL GILBERT DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the court on the Report and Recommendation (“R & R”) [Doc. 107] of Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams recommending that this Court deny defendants' motions for summary judgment. The defendants filed objections to the R & R [Docs. 108 & 109] in a timely manner.

         The Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations of the magistrate judge in a report and recommendation. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). The Court must review de novo the portions of the report to which objections are made. The Court has discretion to conduct a new hearing and may consider the record before the magistrate judge anew or receive any further evidence deemed necessary. Id. “If no objection or only partial objection is made, the district court judge reviews those unobjected portions for clear error.” Johnson v. Zema Sys. Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 739 (7th Cir. 1999). The defendants have filed objections, so this Court will review de novo those portions of the R & R to which objections have been filed.

         The Plaintiff filed his amended complaint and upon threshold review, was allowed to proceed on the following claims:

Count I: a conditions of confinement claim for exposure to raw sewage and deprivation of fresh water against Defendants Schmidt, Bost, Hertz, Sellers, Walker, Dover, McNaughton, Reichart, Beckley, and Hallenbeck for incidents that occurred on an unspecified day in mid-June 2014, August 16, 2014, September 6, 2014, September 17, 2014, December 27, 2014, and June 14, 2015;
Count II: a conditions of confinement claim regarding mold in the cellblock against Defendant Reichart;
Count III: a conditions of confinement claim regarding the plumbing issues in Plaintiff's individual cell from July 4 to July 14, 2015 against Defendants Beckley, Hallenbeck, Schmidt, Hill, Bost, and Dover; and
Count IV: a deliberate indifference claim to serious medical needs against Defendants Marty, Allysia, and Vallery.

[Doc. 62, pgs. 10 & 11].

         Defendant Robert Hertz filed a Motion [Doc. 76] to Dismiss or in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment and the remaining defendants also filed a Motion [Doc. 82] to Dismiss or in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment shortly thereafter. Since both motions attach materials outside of the pleadings, these motions must be treated as motions for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 56.

         Summary judgment must be granted “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Spath v. Hayes Wheels Int'l-Ind., Inc., 211 F.3d 392, 396 (7th Cir. 2000). The reviewing court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of that party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Chelios v. Heavener, 520 F.3d 678, 685 (7th Cir. 2008); Spath, 211 F.3d at 396.

         The initial summary judgment burden of production is on the moving party to show the Court that there is no reason to have a trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323; Modrowski v. Pigatto, 712 F.3d 1166, 1168 (7th Cir. 2013). Where the non-moving party carries the burden of proof at trial, the moving party may satisfy its burden of production in one of two ways. It may present evidence that affirmatively negates an essential element of the non-moving party's case, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A), or it may point to an absence of evidence to support an essential element of the non-moving party's case without actually submitting any evidence, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(B). Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-25; Modrowski, 712 F.3d at 1169. Where the moving party fails to meet its strict burden, a court cannot enter summary judgment for the moving party even if the opposing party fails to present relevant evidence in response to the motion. Cooper v. Lane, 969 F.2d 368, 371 (7th Cir. 1992).

         In responding to a summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party may not simply rest upon the allegations contained in the pleadings but must present specific facts to show that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-26; Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-57; Modrowski, 712 F.3d at 1168. A genuine issue of material fact is not demonstrated by the mere existence of “some alleged factual dispute between the parties, ” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247, or by “some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists only if “a fair-minded jury could return a verdict for the [nonmoving party] on the evidence presented.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. As the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has repeatedly stated, “summary judgment is the ‘put up or shut up' moment in the life of a case.” AA Sales & Assocs. v. Coni-Seal, Inc., 550 F.3d 605, 612 (7th Cir. 2008).

         With regard to the conditions of confinement, the defendants all argue that since they did not have the authority to obtain funds to repair the sewage system, they cannot be held to be deliberately indifferent to the conditions. However, the R & R found that summary judgment was not appropriate since the plaintiff was alleging specific incidents of being exposed to raw sewage and that the defendants ...


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