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Wilson v. Morrow

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

November 17, 2017

ADAM MORROW, Defendant.



         Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, filed a Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging inhumane conditions of confinement at the Hill Correctional Center (“Hill”). Defendants IDOC, Warden Akpore, Berry Bankert, and Unknown Employee were DISMISSED at merit review, with Defendant Adam Morrow remaining. Defendant has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF 45], to which Plaintiff has responded. For the reasons indicated herein, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.


         Plaintiff alleges that on September 2, 2012, he was confined at Hill and placed in segregation cell #19 in which the light was not working, water was leaking onto the floor and a piece of metal protruded from the floor. Plaintiff walked with a cane which was taken when he was placed in segregation. Plaintiff allegedly had to hop about the cell. Plaintiff complained of the conditions to Defendant Morrow that same day. Plaintiff testified at his deposition that Defendant gave him a mop and told him he would put in a work order for the leak to be fixed. Plaintiff claims that later, he was given towels to soak up the water.

         Plaintiff asserts that he made daily complaints to Defendant Morrow. Plaintiff testified that Defendant told him he had “personally” placed the work order in the maintenance mail box on September 7, 2012. Defendant allegedly submitted another work order on September 12, 2012. On September 22, 2012, the conditions remained uncorrected and Plaintiff fell, allegedly after his pant leg became caught on the metal piece protruding from the floor. This caused further injury to Plaintiff's knee, requiring treatment in the Health Care Unit.

         Defendant Morrow asserts that the complained-of conditions are not serious enough to implicate constitutional protections. He asserts, further, that he was not deliberately indifferent as he filled out a work order to have the conditions corrected. Defendant explains that, as a corrections officer, he is not to fix such conditions himself. Rather, he is to fill out a work order and place it in the maintenance department mail box.

         Defendant has provided the sworn affidavit of Doug Sanford, Pontiac Chief Engineer. Mr. Sanford corroborates that officers are not allowed to make repairs in cells. They are to submit a work order and place it in the maintenance mail box. The work order is reviewed by the Supervisor of the area where the work is to occur. If approved by the Supervisor, it is forwarded to the Chief Engineer for review. If the Chief Engineer approves the request, the order is logged, numbered, prioritized and distributed. [ECF 46-1 p. 15]. The priority the Chief Engineer attaches to the request is then subject to review by the Chief Administrative Officer or the Assistant Warden or Assistant Supervisor of Operations. See Affidavit of Christopher McLaughlin, Assistant Warden of Operations. [ECF 46-1 p. 14].

         On September 22, 2012, Plaintiff filled out a grievance complaining that he fell due to water and the protruding metal piece. The matter was reviewed by Plaintiff's counselor who replied on September 25, 2012. The Counselor apparently spoke with Defendant Morrow who reiterated that he had personally placed the work order in the maintenance department mail box. [ECF 49 p. 15].

         The parties agree that the water leak and light were repaired on September 25, 2012. Chief Engineer Doug Sanford attests that the work orders are only kept for three years and they no longer have a copy of the orders Defendant submitted. Mr. Sanford has, however, provided a copy of the work order log. It documents that a work order for the water leak was logged on September 22, 2012, and a work order for the light was logged on September 24, 2012. The log corroborates that the repairs were made on September 25, 2012. [ECF 46-1 p.16].

         The parties do not discuss any work order slip regarding the protruding metal piece and Defendant denies that this condition existed. He points to the Injury Report which records Plaintiff giving a history of slipping on water, without mention of the metal piece.


         Summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant if entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 7477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The moving party has the burden of providing proper documentary evidence to show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. 323-24. Once the moving party has met its burden, the opposing party must come forward with specific evidence, not mere allegations or denials of the pleadings, which demonstrates that there is a genuine issue for trial. Gracia v. Volvo Europa Truck, N.V., 112 F.3d 291, 294 (7th Cir. 1997). “[A] party moving for summary judgment can prevail just by showing that the other party has no evidence on an issue on which that party has the burden of proof.” Brazinski v. Amoco Petroleum Additives Co., 6 F.3d 1176, 1183(7th Cir. 1993).

         Accordingly, the non-movant cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must designate specific facts in affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories or admissions that establish that there is a genuine triable issue; he “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256-57 (1986)(quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)); Hot Wax, Inc. v. Turtle Wax, Inc., 191 F.3d 813, 818 (7th Cir. 1999). Finally, a scintilla of evidence in support of the non-movant's position is not sufficient to oppose successfully a summary judgment motion; “there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-movant].” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.

         CONDITIONS OF ...

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