United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
CHRISTOPHER W. ODEN, RANDALL PETERSON, TIMOTHY LOGHRY, SR., EARNEST HALL, BRAD MONKMAN, BENJAMIN WATERS, JEFFREY BROTHERS, DAVID HOFFARTH, JAMES SAY, CORY CUNNINGHAM, ADAM TURNER, and MARTIN JONASSEN, Plaintiffs,
WILLIAM B. TRUE, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
narrowed by the Court at threshold review, Plaintiffs, all
inmates incarcerated at United States Penitentiary Marion,
allege they have been subjected to unconstitutional
conditions of confinement by the warden, Defendant William B.
True. Now before the Court are Defendant True’s motion
to dismiss Plaintiff Martin Jonassen’s claims (Doc.
221) and his motion for summary judgment on the issue of
exhaustion (Doc. 181). For the reasons delineated below, the
Court grants True’s motion to dismiss and grants in
part and denies in part his motion for summary judgment.
Motion to Dismiss
2, 2016, the Seventh Circuit sanctioned Plaintiff Martin
Jonassen and barred him from filing civil suits in the courts
of this circuit until he paid a fine of $500 in full.
See Doc. 221-1; United States v. Martin
Jonassen, 7th Cir. Nos. 15-1381, 16-1040, 16-1092,
16-1214. On April 9, 2018, Jonassen filed a brief regarding
required and permissive joinder, requesting that the Court
add him as a plaintiff in this action. The Court, without
referencing Jonassen’s status as a restricted filer,
granted his motion for joinder on April 19, 2018. By motion
dated July 24, 2019, Defendant True moves to dismiss
Jonassen’s claims from this action because Jonassen
remains a restricted filer in the Seventh Circuit, and True
argues that Jonassen’s motion for joinder was granted
is currently represented by counsel, who was directed to
respond to True’s motion on his behalf. But in a flurry
of pro se filings submitted by Jonassen and also in
a motion to withdraw filed by his counsel, it has become
clear that there has been a complete breakdown in their
attorney-client relationship, and the Court
GRANTS counsel’s motion to withdraw
the Court would allow Jonassen to respond pro se to
the motion to dismiss or seek out new counsel for him at this
time, but Jonassen has already filed a pro se
objection to the motion to dismiss (Doc. 230), in which he
argues that he did not file a civil suit. He
suggests that, instead, he has joined this action
through a motion for joinder and that joining a civil action
does not violate his bar from filing civil suits. This
distinction without a difference skirts the clear ban on new
civil actions by Jonassen until he has satisfied the sanction
imposed by the Seventh Circuit. In his objection, Jonassen
also suggests that the Seventh Circuit was incorrect in its
decision to sanction and restrict him, but this Court does
not have the authority to set aside or to ignore the 2016
order barring Jonassen from bringing new civil suits.
Accordingly, Defendant True’s motion to dismiss
Jonassen’s claims from this action is
GRANTED. Jonassen’s remaining pro
se motions (Docs. 226, 232, 234, 236) are DENIED
Motion for Summary Judgment for Failure to Exhaust
True also moves for summary judgment as to all Plaintiffs due
to their alleged failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
All Plaintiffs except Christopher Oden concede that they
failed to exhaust their remedies prior to filing suit. As
such, the Court will grant Defendant True’s motion as
to all Plaintiffs except Oden. Defendant’s motion
requires further consideration as to whether Oden exhausted
single count of the initial complaint in this action survived
threshold review. In it, Oden alleges True subjected him to
unconstitutional conditions of confinement in USP Marion by
overcrowding cells designed for single occupancy, which
prevented cell doors from closing properly, and by failing to
remedy black mold in the vents and extreme humidity in the
cells. True acknowledges Oden exhausted his remedies as to
his claims about triple-celling and issues with the doors in
Units X, L, Y, and N only. He argues, however, that Oden did
not exhaust his remedies as to his claims about mold and
humidity or about cell capacity and the cell doors as to the
cells in Marion’s Special Housing Unit. Oden maintains
he exhausted his remedies as to all claims and all cells.
Bureau of Prisons, inmate complaints are handled through the
remedy process. The parties agree that three remedy cases are
relevant to this action: 905967, 915386, and 918425. They
also agree that each remedy case involved a remedy that was
fully exhausted when Oden filed suit. They disagree as to
which claims are encompassed by the contents of the three
remedy 905967, Oden challenged the use of three-man cells and
mentioned that he had numerous medical issues including
“breathing issues in heat” to stress the impact
that triple-celling had on him. In his request for relief,
Oden asked that the prison remove one man from his cell and
remove “all” added third bunks in the facility.
(Doc. 181-13, p. 109). In a response, an official at Marion
characterized Oden’s claim as requesting that
“USP Marion … be prohibited from housing more
than two inmates per cell.” (Doc. 181-13, p. 111). Oden
appealed the denial of his remedy, and in response to his
remedy appeal, a regional director described the nature of
his complaint, noting, “You request immediate removal
of the third bunk bed from each cell at USP Marion.”
(Doc. 181-13, p. 114).
remedy 915386, Oden complained about not being able to be
open or close his cell door manually. He asked that the cell
doors be unlocked so that they could be opened and closed
manually by inmates at will. (Doc. 181-13, p. 119). The
response to his remedy noted that he asked that the general
population cell doors be modified so that inmates would be to
close them but that the doors are not designed to be opened
or closed by inmates at will. (Doc. 181-13, p. 120). In his
appeal, Oden referenced Units L, N, X, and Y specifically.
(Doc. 181-13, p. 123). Oden does not mention the Special
Housing Unit or clearly make a reference to all cells in his
remedy or his appeal.
remedy 918425, Oden again complained about cell overcrowding
and its impact on his mental health caused. (Doc. 181-3, p.
128). He also mentioned having issues with stairs and
excessive heat, which the response to his remedy
acknowledged. (Doc. 181-3, p. 131). Other than mentioning
these issues, he does not raise any other issues with his
cell specifically or by ...