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Jobes v. Godinez

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

July 19, 2018

ADAM RYAN JOBES, Plaintiff,
v.
SALVADOR GODINEZ et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN ROBERT BLAKEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Adam Ryan Jobes, an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center, sued seven officers at Stateville under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the lack of drinking water in his cell for 86 days. [23]. Plaintiff also sued Officer Bidwell for allegedly retaliating against him after Plaintiff filed this suit. Id. Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights by demonstrating deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's access to drinking water in his cell. Id. Defendants moved for summary judgment on the grounds that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and cannot show that his claims meet the objective prong of an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim. [76]. For the reasons explained below, this Court denies Defendants' motion.

         I. Background

         A. Local Rule 56.1

         The following facts come primarily from Defendants' Local Rule 56.1 statement of undisputed material facts. [78]. Plaintiff initially did not file a statement of additional facts or directly respond to Defendants' statement, though he did file a response brief to Defendants' motion, [86], to which he attached various exhibits. Defendants thus asked this Court to deem all the facts in their Local Rule 56.1 statement admitted based upon Plaintiff's failure to respond. [94] at 2-3. But in open court on July 17, 2018, this Court granted Plaintiff's unopposed motion to amend his previous submissions, [96]. Thus, this Court now considers Plaintiff's amended response to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, [96-1], although this corrected version still presents significant deficiencies under Local Rule 56.1.

         This Court has “broad discretion” to enforce the local rules governing summary judgment motions. Judson Atkinson Candies, Inc. v. Latini-Hohberger Dhimantec, 529 F.3d 371, 382 n.2 (7th Cir. 2008); see also Petty v. City of Chicago, 754 F.3d 416, 420 (7th Cir. 2014). Those rules demand that the non-moving party respond to the moving party's statements of fact with “specific references” to record evidence to justify any denial. Local R. 56.1(b)(3); see also Malec v. Sanford, 191 F.R.D. 581, 584 (N.D. Ill. 2000). Where a party fails to properly respond to the moving party's statement, courts deem admitted the “uncontroverted” portions of the moving party's statements of fact. Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 608 (7th Cir. 2006); see also Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003).

         That said, the local rules serve to assist courts “in determining whether a trial is necessary.” Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011). Accordingly, and in the interests of justice and efficiency, courts may exercise their discretion “in the direction of leniency.” Aberman v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chi., 242 F.Supp.3d 672, 677 (N.D. Ill. 2017) (citing Modrowski v. Pigatto, 712 F.3d 1166, 1169 (7th Cir. 2013)). Nor must a court faced with inadequate responses “turn a blind eye” to facts available elsewhere in the record. Farmer v. DirectSat USA, LLC, No. 08-c-3962, 2010 WL 3927640, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 3, 2010) (quoting Little v. Cox's Supermarkets, 71 F.3d 637, 641 (7th Cir. 1995)).

         Here, Plaintiff's amended response, [96-1], appears respond to the numbered paragraphs in Defendants' motion for summary judgment, [76], rather than to the numbered paragraphs in Defendants' Local 56.1 statement of undisputed material facts, [78]. Thus, Plaintiff still fails to respond to Defendants' statement of facts in compliance with Local Rule 56.1. Plaintiff's amended response also contains four paragraphs offering statements of additional fact, all of which were available in the record prior to July 17, 2018 through the exhibits that Plaintiff attached to his original memorandum of law. Id.

         In light of the above, this Court deems all of Defendants' statements of fact admitted except for paragraphs 13, 35, and 36. With respect to those paragraphs, Plaintiff's exhibits provide admissible evidence that contradicts Defendants' statements of fact, regardless of the formal deficiencies of Plaintiff's Local Rule 56.1 statements. Specifically, Plaintiff's deposition testimony conflicts with the Stateville Dietary Manager's testimony that inmates received a beverage with each of their three daily meals. Compare [78-2] at 17-18, with [78] ¶ 13. And Plaintiff's affidavit and deposition contradict Defendants' statements that Plaintiff did not file any grievances regarding his lack of drinking water or Bidwell's alleged retaliation. Compare [86-1] and [78-2] at 40, with [78] ¶¶ 35, 36. At this stage, this Court exercises its discretion to consider Plaintiff's testimony. See Aberman, 242 F.Supp.3d at 677; Farmer, 2010 WL 3927640, at *2.

         B. Access to Running Water

         For the period relevant to his claim, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, Illinois. [78] ¶ 1. On August 18, 2014, Plaintiff was assigned to a new cell that lacked running water. Id. ¶ 6. Stateville did not fix the water in Plaintiff's cell until November 11, 2014. Id. ¶ 7.

         Quentin Tanner, the Dietary Manager at Stateville, testified that during that period Plaintiff had access to beverages such as milk, juice, or water at each of the three meals a day served to inmates in their cells. [78-4]. Plaintiff testified that he never skipped a meal while at Stateville but also stated that he did not receive a beverage with his meals during this period. [78-2] at 17-18.

         At all relevant times, Plaintiff could purchase water from the prison commissary. [78] ¶ 16. Plaintiff did this at least once during the 86 days he lacked running water in his cell. Id. ¶ 18. On some occasions, Plaintiff also received water from the inmate in the cell next to him. Id. ¶ 17. Plaintiff alleges that the longest he went without any type of beverage during the time he lacked running water in his cell was four days. Id. ¶ 8.

         C. Bidwell's Alleged Retaliation

         Plaintiff claims that Bidwell, a Stateville corrections officer, retaliated against him after he filed this suit in May 2015. See [1]; [23] ¶¶ 40-47. In support of that claim, Plaintiff points to a grievance he filed on October 29, 2015 in which he alleged that correctional officers denied him access to the law library by claiming that the law librarian had quit and no one could fill in for her. [86-2].[1] Plaintiff did not expressly name Bidwell in this grievance. See id.

         Plaintiff also testified that Bidwell would open the windows in Plaintiff's area to let in freezing air, and would tell the other inmates that he was doing it because of Plaintiff's lawsuit. See [78-2] at 53-54. Plaintiff filed a grievance on November 28, 2015 about Bidwell's conduct, which he stated began around mid-November. [86-3]. In the grievance form, Plaintiff claimed that he asked other officers to shut the windows because of the cold weather and they said they could not because they had direct orders from Bidwell to leave them open. [86-3] at 2. Plaintiff claimed that the cold air from the open windows made him ill and he refused to visit the nurse so as to avoid seeing Bidwell. Id. at 3. He wrote that he feared he would be placed with gang members who had previously threatened to kill and rape him in further retaliation. Id.

         Plaintiff further testified in his deposition that in 2015 or 2016, while he was in protective custody as a result of threats made by Gangster Disciple (GD) gang members, he ended up in a cell with a GD member. [78-2] at 54. He did not state that Bidwell was personally responsible for this incident. See id. Plaintiff also testified that in September 2015 another gang member attempted to sexually assault him and said that Bidwell had ordered him to do so. Id. Plaintiff filed a third grievance on December 1, 2015 in which he wrote that inmate gang members had been threatening him. [86-4]. He claimed that he ...


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