United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL, United States District Judge.
pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment
filed by Defendants Mike Geier and Stephen Duncan (Doc. 30). For
the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.
Tyrone Gabb, an inmate at Lawrence Correctional Center
(“Lawrence CC”), brings this civil rights action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Gabb asserts that
Defendants subjected him to unsanitary conditions in his cell
when his toilet stopped working and Defendants failed to fix
it for eleven days (Doc. 33-1, p. 17, Tr.
Gabb claims that the toilet in his cell stopped working on
the morning of June 26, 2015 (Doc. 33-1, p. 17, Tr. 21:1-4).
Gabb testified at his deposition that he informed gallery
Officer Boyer that day, and Officer Boyer responded that he
would put in a work order for the plumber (Doc. 33-1, p. 17,
Tr. 21:20-23). Subsequently, Gabb notified correctional staff
during each shift about the problem (Doc. 33-1, p. 17, Tr.
22:9-23) and was told multiple times that a work order had
been submitted (Doc. 33-1, p. 17, Tr. 23:10-16).
not until eleven days later that the toilet was fixed by
Defendant Geier, the plumber (Doc. 33-1, p. 18, Tr. 27:6-9).
Lawrence CC was on lockdown during this time, so Gabb and his
cellmate were unable to leave their cell to use a different
toilet (Doc. 33-1, p. 15, Tr. 14:22-15:1). Over the eleven
days, the toilet filled up with urine and feces (Doc. 33-1,
p. 15-16). Nonetheless, Gabb was forced to sleep and eat all
of his meals in his cell with the non-working toilet (Doc.
33-1, p. 15-16, Tr. 16:25-17:2).
states in his affidavit that he reviewed the log book and
could not find any work order relating to Gabb's toilet
until July 6, 2015 (the same day that he fixed the toilet)
(Doc. 33-1, p. 24). That work order was written by Geier
himself, and Geier explained that he would write up his own
work orders when he was contacted verbally correctional staff
(Doc. 33-1, p. 24).
further testified that, on July 1, 2015 (after going six days
without a working toilet), he filed an emergency grievance
(Doc. 33-1, p. 18, Tr. 25:3-20). The emergency grievance was
not returned to Gabb until a week later, on July 8, 2015
(Doc. 33-1, p. 18, Tr. 27:1-5; Doc. 33-1, p. 30). At this
point, the toilet was already fixed, so Defendant Duncan, the
warden, marked the grievance “emergency not
substantiated” (Doc. 33-1, p. 31). Duncan produced an
affidavit from Sharon Pierce, a Casework Supervisor at
Lawrence (Doc. 33-1). In the affidavit, Pierce states that
emergency grievances are typically forwarded on the same day
they are received (Doc. 33-1, p. 29). She further states in
her affidavit that Gabb's emergency grievance, dated July
1, 2015, was not logged as received until July 6, 2015 (Doc.
33-1, p. 29). No explanation for the delay is provided.
standard applied to summary judgment motions under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 is well-settled and has been
succinctly stated as follows:
judgment is appropriate where the admissible evidence shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law. A “material fact” is one identified by the
substantive law as affecting the outcome of the suit. A
“genuine issue” exists with respect to any such
material fact . . . when “the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” On the other hand, where the factual record
taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of
fact to find for the non-moving party, there is nothing for a
jury to do. In determining whether a genuine issue of
material fact exists, we view the record in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party.
Bunn v. Khoury Enterprises, Inc., 753 F.3d 676, 681
(7th Cir. 2014) (citations omitted).
sole claim in this case is that Geier and Duncan subjected
him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement when he was
forced to live in a cell with a toilet filled with urine and
feces for eleven days. Two elements are required to establish
a violation of the Eighth Amendment due to unconstitutional
conditions of confinement. First, the prisoner must show the
conditions deny the inmate “the minimal civilized
measure of life's necessities, ” creating an
excessive risk to the inmate's health or safety.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). This
first prong is objective. Id. Second, a plaintiff
must establish the defendants had a subjectively culpable
state of mind; specifically, that they were deliberately
indifferent to a substantial risk of serious harm to the
inmate from those conditions. Id. at 837, 842.
the first objective prong, prison officials have a duty to
provide the “basic necessities of civilized life,
” which include sanitation and utilities. See
Johnson v. Pelker, 891 F.2d 136, 139 (7th Cir. 1989);
see also Jackson v. Duckworth, 955 F.2d 21, 22
(1989) (objective prong may be met by evidence of inadequate
plumbing, vermin, smell of human waste, inadequate
heating/light, lack of clean water, and other issues);
see also Vinning-El v. Long, 482 F.3d 923, 924 (7th
Cir. 2007) (objective prong may be met with evidence ...