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Norfleet v. IDOC

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 5, 2018

MARC NORFLEET, Plaintiff,
v.
IDOC, PATRICK KEANE, GLADYSE TAYLOR, and SHERRY BENTON, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Defendants Benton, Keane, Taylor and the Illinois Department of Correction's (“IDOC”) Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 125). For the following reasons, the Motion is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

         Procedural and Background Facts

         Plaintiff Marc Norfleet is an inmate who uses a wheelchair for his mobility. On November 17, 2015, Norfleet filed the instant action, alleging violations of his constitutional and statutory rights while he was incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”) (Doc. 1). Norfleet's claims stem from being housed in a four-person cell with another wheelchair bound inmate and two non-disabled inmates. The Court reviewed Norfleet's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, and he was allowed to proceed on the following claims:

Count 1: Defendants Keane, Taylor and Benton subjected Norfleet to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment when they knowingly and with deliberate indifference forced Plaintiff to live in an overcrowded cell;
Count 2: Defendant IDOC violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 701, et seq., when it forced Norfleet to live in an overcrowded cell.

(Doc. 5, pp. 3, 12).

         Norfleet was incarcerated at Pinckneyville at all times relevant to this action (Doc. 125, ¶ 1). It is undisputed that IDOC's policies require placement of disabled inmates in ADA cells (Doc. 126, p. 10) and the ADA cells at Pinckneyville house four people (See Doc. 126, p. 14). It is also undisputed that the ADA cells are larger than other cells at Pinckneyville and contain grab rails near the toilets (Doc. 126-1, pp. 82-82).

         Norfleet testified in deposition, however, that the cells are not in fact ADA compliant because by including the bunkbeds, four people are forced to use space that was designed for two disabled individuals (Doc. 126-1, 67:14-22). Norfleet's cell contained two bunk beds, a desk, two chairs, a toilet, sink and shelves that protrude from the wall (Doc. 126-1, pp. 70, 71, 72, 79). As a result of the additional individuals in the cell, personal property could not be properly stored and was therefore left in the middle of the floor or under the desk or sink, making those spaces inaccessible (Doc. 126-1, 72:23-75:6). As a result, Norfleet had to ask other inmates to move their belongings in order to use the toilet and sink (Doc. 126-1, 41:9-13), or at times was simply unable to access the toilet and was forced to urinate into an “empty bottle” (Doc. 1, p. 12).

         On or about October 28, 2014, Norfleet was attacked by one of his non-disabled cellmates (Doc. 126-1, 48-21-49:12).[1] He alleges that this incident was a direct result of the overcrowding of the cell (Doc. 126-1, 40:7-42:23).

         Norfleet admits that he never spoke with Defendants Keane, Taylor or Benton directly about the overcrowding issue (Doc. 126-1, 113:5-7; 116:18-21; 110:8-21). It is undisputed, however, that the denial of Norfleet's appeal regarding the overcrowded cell was signed by both Taylor and Benton (Doc. 153-2, p. 120). Further, Defendant Keane admitted in deposition that as the statewide ADA Compliance Officer for IDOC, he takes an active consulting role whenever an offender files a grievance stating he has an ADA issue (Doc. 153-2, 33:15-17).

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         Summary judgment is proper only if the moving party can demonstrate “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). See also Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005); Black Agents & Brokers Agency, Inc. v. Near North Ins. Brokerage, Inc., 409 F.3d 833, 836 (7th Cir. 2005). The moving party bears the burden of establishing that no material facts are in genuine dispute; any doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue must be resolved against the moving party. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 160 (1970); See also Lawrence v. Kenosha County, 391 F.3d 837, 841 (7th Cir. 2004). A moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law where the non-moving party “has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.

         Eighth Amendment Conditions of Confinement

         Conditions of confinement do not violate the Eighth Amendment unless they constitute in effect the “unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.” Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981); Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 297 (1991). Two elements are required to establish a violation of the Eighth Amendment due to conditions of confinement. First, the plaintiff must show that 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). Second, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant had a subjectively culpable state of mind; specifically, ...


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