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Brown v. Godinz

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

July 5, 2017

EDWARD L. BROWN, Plaintiff,


          John Z. Lee United States District Judge

         Pro se Plaintiff Edward Brown, a prisoner at Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”), has brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants S.A. Godinez, Michael Lemke, Jon Luchsinger, and D. Coleman.[1] Plaintiff alleges that he has been subjected to a wide range of unconstitutional conditions of confinement at Stateville. Defendant Luchsinger has moved for summary judgment. For the reasons stated herein, Luchsinger's motion is granted.

         Local Rule 56.1

         Motions for summary judgment in the Northern District of Illinois are governed by Local Rule 56.1. “The obligation set forth in Local Rule 56.1 ‘is not a mere formality.' Rather, ‘[i]t follows from the obligation imposed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e) on the party opposing summary judgment to identify specific facts that establish a genuine issue for trial.'” Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011) (quoting Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 924 (7th Cir. 1994)). The Seventh Circuit has “routinely held that a district court may strictly enforce compliance with its local rules regarding summary judgment motions.” Yancick v. Hanna Steel Corp., 653 F.3d 532, 537 (7th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the party moving for summary judgment to provide “a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue and that entitle the moving party to a judgment as a matter of law.” LR 56.1(a)(3). In addition, where the nonmovant is pro se, Local Rule 56.2 requires the movant to provide a “Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment.” LR 56.2. The nonmovant, whether pro se or not, must then file “a response to each numbered paragraph in the moving party's statement, including, in the case of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon.” LR 56.1(b)(3)(B). In addition, the nonmovant must present a separate “statement, consisting of short numbered paragraphs, of any additional facts that require the denial of summary judgment.” LR 56.1(b)(3)(C).

         “When a responding party's statement fails to dispute the facts set forth in the moving party's statement in the manner dictated by [Local Rule 56.1], those facts are deemed admitted for purposes of the [summary judgment] motion.” Cracco v. Vitran Express, Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009); accord LR 56.1(b)(3)(C). Furthermore, district courts, in their discretion, may “choose[ ] to ignore and not consider the additional facts that a litigant has proposed” if the litigant has failed to comply with Local Rule 56.1. Cichon v. Exelon Generation Co., LLC, 401 F.3d 803, 809-10 (7th Cir. 2005). Although pro se plaintiffs are generally entitled to lenient standards, they are required to comply with local procedural rules governing motions for summary judgment. See, e.g., Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1061 (7th Cir. 2006).

         Upon moving for summary judgment, Luchsinger filed and served a “Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment” as required by Local Rule 56.2. See Notice Pursuant to Local Rule 56.2, ECF No. 94. The notice detailed the requirements of the local rules governing summary judgment, and it warned Plaintiff that his failure to controvert the facts set forth in Luchsinger's Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement would cause those facts to be deemed admitted. See Id. Despite these admonitions, Plaintiff failed to either respond to Luchsinger's Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement or submit his own statement of additional facts. Accordingly, the facts set forth in Luchsinger's Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) Statement are deemed admitted to the extent they are supported by evidence in the record. See Cracco, 559 F.3d at 632.

         Factual Background

         Plaintiff is an inmate who has been incarcerated at Stateville since October 2001. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶¶ 1, 4. Defendant Jon Luchsinger worked as the Chief Engineer at Stateville from June 2003 to December 2010. Id. ¶ 5. Luchsinger ended his employment at Stateville on December 15, 2010. Id. ¶ 7.

         In this lawsuit, Plaintiff asserts constitutional claims based on the conditions of his confinement at Stateville. Id. ¶ 19. In particular, he complains of contaminated water, poor sanitation and ventilation, a pest infestation, lead-based paint, excessive heat, lack of fire safety, and sleep deprivation. Id. ¶ 20. During his deposition, Plaintiff testified that his claims are based upon conditions from the time period from March 2011 to the present. Id. ¶ 21; Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt., Ex. A, Pl.'s Dep., at 11:6-10. In addition, he clarified that his only claim against Luchsinger is his claim regarding contaminated water. Pl.'s Dep. at 47:6-11, 85:1-86:2.

         On March 20, 2011, Plaintiff filed his first grievance regarding the conditions of his confinement. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 8; see also Pl.'s Dep. at 10:1-5. In this grievance, Plaintiff complained about contaminated water, inadequate cleaning supplies, poor ventilation, pests, toxic paint, cell-house lighting, and double-man cells. Id. ¶ 10. Plaintiff filed the grievance as an emergency grievance with the prison warden. Id. ¶ 11. After the warden determined that the grievance was not an emergency, Plaintiff sent the grievance to the Administrative Review Board (“the Board”). Id. ¶ 12. On April 20, 2011, the Board returned the grievance to Plaintiff along with a request for additional information. Id. ¶ 13. Specifically, the Board requested copies of Plaintiff's “Committed Person's Grievance” and “Committed Person's Grievance Report.” Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt., Ex. D, at 4. Plaintiff did not respond to this request. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 15.

         Over two years later, on April 21, 2013, and May 6, 2013, Plaintiff filed grievances regarding the same conditions described in his first grievance. Id.; see also Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt., Ex. B, at 28-34 (grievance of 4/21/13); id., Ex. D, at 16 (grievance of 5/6/13). The Board denied these grievances on April 21, 2014. See Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 17. Apart from his 2011 grievance and his two 2013 grievances, Plaintiff has filed no other grievances regarding the conditions at Stateville. Id. ¶ 18; see also Pl.'s Dep. at 102:12-19.[2]

         Plaintiff has never had any conversations or communications with Luchsinger. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt. ¶ 22; see also Pl.'s Dep. at 85:19-86:2. During his deposition, he explained that he named Luchsinger as a defendant only because he obtained Luchsinger's name from a bulletin posted within Stateville. Pl.'s Dep. at 47:6-18, 85:1-10. The bulletin, which is dated December 3, 2003, provided notice that radium in Stateville's water had exceeded certain limits in violation of regulations set by the Illinois Pollution Control Board. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) Stmt., Ex. B, at 77. The last sentence of the bulletin reads: “If you have any questions or comments in regards to this violation, please feel free to give Jon Luchsinger a call.” Id.

         Legal ...

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