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Love v. Godinez

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

May 7, 2018

REGINALD LOVE (#K-51286), Plaintiff,
v.
SALVADOR GODINEZ et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Amy J. St. Eve United States District Court Judge

         Plaintiff Reginald Love, an Illinois prisoner, brought this action pro se pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants subjected him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement at Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”) and retaliated against him when he filed grievances regarding the alleged conditions. Before the Court is Defendants' partial motion for summary judgment brought pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a). For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion.

         BACKGROUND

         I. Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1

         Northern District of Illinois Local Rule 56.1 “is designed, in part, to aid the district court, ‘which does not have the advantage of the parties' familiarity with the record and often cannot afford to spend the time combing the record to locate the relevant information, ' in determining whether a trial is necessary.” 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)). Specifically, Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the moving party 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.” L.R. 56.1(a)(3); Curtis v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 807 F.3d 215, 291 (7th Cir. 2015). The nonmoving party must 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.” L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(B); Petty v. Chicago, 754 F.3d 416, 420 (7th Cir. 2014). The nonmoving party also may submit a separate statement of additional facts that require the denial of summary judgment, including references to the affidavits, parts of the record, and other materials relied upon to support those facts. L.R. 56.1 (b)(3)(C); see also Ciomber v. Coop. Plus, Inc., 527 F.3d 635, 643-44 (7th Cir. 2008).

         The purpose of Rule 56.1 statements and responses is to identify the relevant admissible evidence supporting the material facts, not to make factual or legal arguments. Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1060 (7th Cir. 2006). Also, “[t]he non-moving party's failure to admit or deny facts as presented in the moving party's statement or to cite to any admissible evidence to support facts presented in response by the non-moving party render the facts presented by the moving party as undisputed.” Curtis, 807 F.3d at 218-19; see also Cracco v. Vitran Exp., Inc., 559 F.3d 625, 632 (7th Cir. 2009) (“When a responding party's statement fails to dispute the facts set forth in the moving party's statement in the manner dictated by the rule, those facts are deemed admitted for purposes of the motion.”). Love's status as a pro se litigant does not excuse him from complying with Local Rule 56.1. See McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993) (“[W]e have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel.”); Coleman v. Goodwill Indus. of Se. Wis., Inc., 423 Fed.Appx. 642, 643 (7th Cir. 2011) (“Though courts are solicitous of pro se litigants, they may nonetheless require strict compliance with local rules.”).

         Because Love is proceeding pro se, Defendants served him with a “Notice to Pro Se Litigant Opposing Motion for Summary Judgment” as required by Local Rule 56.2. (Dkt. 83.) The notice explained how to respond to Defendants' summary judgment motion and Rule 56.1 Statement and cautioned Love that the Court would deem Defendants' factual contentions admitted if he failed to follow the procedures delineated in Local Rule 56.1. Nonetheless, Love failed to respond to Defendants' undisputed facts. Instead, Love submitted two responses. The first contained his affidavit and the second contained additional declarations, which amount to the statements of three other inmate witnesses to the conditions they collectively endured at Stateville. (Dkt. 90 and 94.) The Court thus considers Defendants' statements of fact to which Love did not properly respond as admitted. Although Love's facts (affidavit) were not submitted in accordance with the Court's local rules and need not be considered, he may be able to testify about some of those facts and the Court acknowledges that he is proceeding pro se. To the extent Love's facts are supported by the record, the Court will consider them. Modrowski v. Pigatto, 712 F.3d 1166, 1169 (7th Cir. 2013). With these guidelines in mind, the following relevant facts are undisputed.

         II. Relevant Facts

         Love was incarcerated at Stateville during the time of the allegations. (Dkt. 82, ¶ 1.) Defendants Sievers and Donald Williams were F-House sergeants during the time of the allegations. (Id. at ¶¶ 2 and 3.) In addition, Defendants McGarvey and Hunter were majors during the time of the allegations. (Id. at ¶¶ 4 and 5.) Defendant Godinez was the Illinois Department of Corrections Director (“IDOC”) from May 2, 2011 through December 31, 2014, and acting Department Director from January 1, 2015 through March 1, 2015. (Id. at ¶ 6.) Defendant Knauer has worked as Administrative Review Board Member since December 2013. (Id. at ¶ 7.) Also, Defendant Lemke was the Warden at Stateville from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013. (Id. at ¶ 8.) Defendant Magana was the Acting Warden at Stateville from January 1, 2014 to January 16, 2014, and then the Warden from January 17, 2014 through March 31, 2014. (Id. at ¶ 9.) Further, Defendant McBee has served as a Grievance Officer at Stateville since July 2010. (Id. at ¶ 10.) Defendant Tarry Williams was the Warden at Stateville from April 1, 2014 to July 1, 2015. (Id. at ¶ 11.)

         On or about July 24, 2013, Love was assigned to cell F-219. (Id. at ¶ 16.) Love stated on the record that he is not pursuing mental health damages. (Id. at ¶ 20.) In relation to cell F-219, the urine stained mattress did not cause Love any physical injuries nor did he receive treatment from a doctor regarding exposure to the urine stained mattress. (Id. at ¶¶ 21 and 22.) Love stated at his deposition that losing 3 to 4 hours of sleep per night while in cell F-219 did not cause him any physical injuries while he was housed there. (Id. at ¶ 23.) Love did not see a doctor for allegedly losing sleep 3 to 4 hours per night while in F-219. (Id. at ¶ 24.) Also, the cockroaches in F-219 did not cause him any physical injuries and he did not receive any medical treatment because of the cockroaches. (Id. at ¶¶ 25 and 26.) In addition, the cold air in cell F-219 did not cause him any physical injuries. (Id. at ¶ 27.)

         On November 11, 2013, Love was reassigned to cell F-224. (Id. at ¶ 17.) Once Love was moved to cell F-224, he visited Dr. Larry, a mental health professional at Stateville, due to a lack of sleep. (Id. at ¶ 29.) Love testified at his deposition that while housed in cell F-224 (from November 11, 2013, to July 2, 2014), he suffered from stress and sleep deprivation due in part to the conditions in his cell. (Dkt. 87, pp. 35-36.) The doctor offered him treatment in the form of sleep medication. (Id. and Dkt. 82, ¶ 33.) Further, Love alleges the toilet in cell F-224 did not function for five days, but this did not cause him any physical injuries and he received no medical treatment because of the non-functioning toilet. (Id. at ¶¶ 35 and 36.) The rain water that leaked into cell F-224 did not cause Love any physical injuries nor did he receive any medical treatment due to the water leaks. (Id. at ¶¶ 37 and 38.) Moreover, the mattress in cell F-224 did not cause Love any physical injuries. (Id. at ¶ 39.)

         On January 15, 2015, Love was moved to cell F-245. (Id. at ¶ 19.) As to cell F-245, Love experienced the same cockroach infestation and cold air conditions that he experienced in the other F-House cells. (Id. at ¶ 41.) The cockroaches and cold air did not cause Love any physical injuries. (Id. at ¶ 42.) Love did not receive any medical treatment for the cockroaches and cold air he experienced in F-245. (Id. at ¶ 43.)

         Love filed two grievances regarding his conditions of confinement - one on November 25, 2014 and the other on January 13, 2015. (Id. at ¶ 44.) The November 25, 2013 grievance was in regard to Love's conditions of confinement at Stateville in F-House and a disciplinary report. (Id. at ¶ 45.) On April 28, 2014, McBee reviewed the grievance and recommended the grievance be denied based on her investigation that the Department Rules were followed. (Id. at ¶ 46.) There were no other factors that contributed to McBee's recommendation. (Id.) When McBee made this recommendation, she did not have any personal knowledge as to Love, she did not have personal knowledge of Love's prior complaints, and she did not have personal knowledge that Love had filed grievances in the past. (Id. at ¶ 47.) On May 2, 2014, Tarry Williams' designee concurred with McBee's recommendation. (Id. at ¶ 48.) Williams did not review the grievance, he was not personally involved in reviewing or responding to it, and he does not have any personal knowledge of the reasons for the denial of the grievance. (Id. at ¶ 49.)

         On September 23, 2014, Knauer, as an Administrative Review Board Member, denied the grievance on the merits only and there were no other factors that contributed to Knauer's determination. (Id. at ¶ 50.) When Knauer reviewed the grievance, she did not have any personal knowledge of Love, whether Love complained about his living conditions to prison staff, or that he had filed grievances in the past regarding his living conditions. (Id. at ¶ 51.) Defendant Godinez's designee, Terri Anderson, concurred with Knauer's denial of Love's appeal of the grievance. (Id. at ΒΆ 52.) Godinez ...


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