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Lisle v. Goldman

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

August 13, 2019

STEVEN D. LISLE, Plaintiff,
v.
LISA GOLDMAN, JACQUELINE LASHBROOK, ANA SCHOTT, and CASSANDRA CHITTY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Steven D. Lisle is an inmate in the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of his Eighth Amendment rights. Lisle filed the complaint in this case in September 2018 (Doc. 1). He alleges he was placed on suicide watch while incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”) in February and August 2018, and Defendants failed to remove unsafe objects from his cell, which he used to cut himself and then swallowed (Id.). Lisle alleges he was taken to the healthcare unit, but Defendants ordered him to return to his cell before he received medical care (Id.).

         In November 2018, Lisle filed another case in this district court, making similar allegations. SDIL No. 18-cv-2052. There, Lisle states he was placed on suicide watch at Menard in October 2018, and Defendants failed to remove a metal object from his cell, which he used to injure himself. SDIL No. 18-cv-2052, Doc. 7). Defendant Cassandra Chitty allegedly watched Lisle cut himself but did nothing to stop him, and then refused to obtain medical care for him afterwards (Id.). Lisle alleges Defendant Jacqueline Lashbrook destroyed camera footage of the cell, even though he provided her with notice of the suicide attempt and requested that she preserve the footage (Id.).

         The two cases were consolidated in November 2018 (Doc. 28), and SDIL No. 18-cv-1736 was designated as the lead case (Id.). Lisle currently proceeds on the following counts:

Count 1: Goldman, Lashbrook, and Schott violated Lisle's Eighth Amendment rights in February and August 2018 by placing him in a crisis cell with unsafe conditions;
Count 2:Goldman, Lashbrook, and Schott violated Lisle's Eighth Amendment rights by ordering him to return to his cell without medical treatment for injuries he sustained during suicide attempts in February and August 2018;
Count 6:Lashbrook and Goldman violated Lisle's Eighth Amendment rights in October 2018 by placing him in a crisis cell with unsafe conditions;
Count 7:Chitty and Lashbrook were deliberately indifferent to Lisle's suicide attempt in October 2018, in violation of the Eighth Amendment; and
Count 8:Lashbrook violated Illinois state law by destroying the camera footage of the incident.

         On April 2, 2019, Defendants filed a motion for summary, arguing Lisle failed to exhaust his administrative remedies (Doc. 70). According to Defendants, Lisle's discovery disclosures state he wrote two relevant grievances on August 22 and 23, 2018, and submitted two emergency grievances to Lashbrook (Id.). There are no copies of these grievances in the record, and the grievance counselor's records only show Lisle filed one emergency grievance, which was returned as a non-emergency (Id.). Lisle does not make any allegations that he filed a grievance with the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”), and the ARB's records do not contain any written grievances regarding Lisle's placement on crisis watch during the relevant period (Id.). Lisle opposes the motion and argues he was unable to comply with the grievance process because Lashbrook refused to process his grievances (Doc. 78).

         A hearing was held on July 18, 2019, pursuant to Pavey v. Conley, 544 F.3d 739 (7th Cir. 2008) (Doc. 91). Defendants called Kelly Pierce as a witness; she testified via videoconferencing (Id.). Pierce is a grievance counselor at Menard, and she explained that inmates have access to lockboxes in their respective living units, in which they can submit grievances. The facility collects the grievances from the lockboxes on a daily basis, and documents who collects the grievances. The grievances are taken to the counselors, who assign each grievance a number and keep a log of all of an inmates' submissions. Pierce reviewed Lisle's grievance log, which indicates Lisle submitted an emergency grievance on October 25, 2018 (Def. Ex. C). Menard returned the grievance to Lisle on October 26, 2018, because the facility determined it was a non-emergency (Id.). The log does not reflect that Lisle filed any grievances in August 2018 (Id.).

         Lisle also testified at the hearing via videoconferencing. He said he filed four grievances in August 2018 and never received a response. Lisle followed up with his grievance counselor to inquire about the status of his grievances, and the counselor told him the office did not receive any of them. Lisle's counseling summary confirms that Lisle contacted his counselor on September 5, 2018, to ask about a grievance (Doc. 78, Ex. 1).

         Legal Standards

         Summary judgment is proper only where the moving party can demonstrate no genuine issue of material fact exists and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). All facts and reasonable inferences must be construed in favor of the non-moving party. Blow v. Bijora, Inc., 855 F.3d 793, 797 (7th Cir. 2017) (citing ...


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