United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
TIMOTHY J. CUNNINGHAM, SR., Plaintiff,
MARCUS JENKINS, JANA CARRIE, JOSHUA SIMMS, NATHAN T. SANDERS, CHARLES TANNER, RONALD BRUNER, JONAVAN BRIDWELL, DEREK R. JOHNSON, MICHAEL DUNLAP, ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, and WARDEN OF LAWRENCE CORRECTIONAL CENTER, Defendants.
Reona J. Daly, United States Magistrate Judge
Timothy J. Cunningham, Sr., an inmate in the custody of the
Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), sets
forth claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans
with Disabilities Act, and the Rehabilitation Act.
Plaintiff's claims arise from his incarceration at
Pinckneyville Correctional Center and Lawrence Correctional
Center. Plaintiff is proceeding on the following claims (as
enumerated in the Court's threshold order):
Count 8: Rehabilitation Act claim against the Illinois
Department of Corrections for denying Plaintiff access to
telephone privileges on a comparable basis to non-disabled
inmates while he was incarcerated at Pinckneyville
Correctional Center and Lawrence Correctional Center.
Count 9: Rehabilitation Act claim against the Illinois
Department of Corrections and the Warden of Lawrence for
failing to provide Plaintiff with the same accommodations in
the ADA gym as was offered to inmates using the regular gym
in relation to excessive heat from March 11, 2016 through
September 16, 2016.
Count 10: Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Jenkins
for failing to accommodate Plaintiff's disability when he
transported him on February 10, 2015 and March 28, 2015,
causing Plaintiff to wet himself and suffer humiliation.
Claim under the ADA and Rehabilitation Act against the IDOC
for failing to accommodate Plaintiff's disability-related
needs during trips to the doctor's office.
Count 11: First Amendment retaliation claim against
Defendants Carie, Simms, Sanders, Tanner, Bruner, Jenkins,
Bridwell, Johnson, and Dunlap for denying Plaintiff ice
distribution between June 19, 2015 and October 22, 2015,
conducting compliance checks, and cutting short meal times in
response to Plaintiff filing grievances.
April 3, 2019, Defendants IDOC, the Warden of Lawrence
Correctional Center, Jana Carie, Ronald Bruner, Joshua Simms,
Nathan Sanders, and Charles Tanner filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment that is now before the Court (Doc. 55). Plaintiff filed
his response on June 4, 2019 (Doc. 64). For the reasons set
forth below, Defendants' Motion is GRANTED IN
PART AND DENIED IN PART.
Timothy J. Cunningham, Sr. is a wheelchair-bound inmate who
was incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”) and Lawrence Correctional
Center (“Lawrence”) at all times relevant (Doc.
56-1 at 27). While at Pinckneyville, and after his transfer
to Lawrence in September 2014, telephones were available on
the gallery based on a first-come, first-serve basis
(Id. at 27-28). Due to his handicap, Plaintiff was
unable to “compete” with able-bodied inmates to
secure a telephone (Id.). As a result, Plaintiff
would have to pay other inmates to secure a phone on his
behalf and was only able to make a phone call about once a
week (Id. at 31). Plaintiff's testimony was
reflective of complaints he had set forth in his grievances
attached to his summary judgment response (see Doc.
64 at 21-25).
at Lawrence, there were two gyms that were used
interchangeably for the ADA gym - neither gym was designated
as the “ADA” gym and use of a gym as the ADA gym
was based on scheduling (Doc. 56-1 at 33-34). The gyms were
not air conditioned and, during the warm months of 2016,
Plaintiff testified that the heaters were still on in both
gyms (Id. at 35-37). Plaintiff testified it was
extremely hot and estimated it was “120 degrees”
(Id. at 34-35). In response to Defendants'
motion, Plaintiff submitted a grievance in which he
complained that officers placed a large fan near the gym for
able-bodied inmates, but did not provide a fan for the ADA
gym (see Doc. 64 at 20). Plaintiff reiterates the
statements set forth in this grievance in his verified
response to Defendants' summary judgment motion.
February 10, 2015 and March 27, 2015, Plaintiff was transported
by Defendant Jenkins and one other, unknown correctional
officer to doctor's appointments in Mt. Vernon, Illinois
(Doc. 56-1 at 37-38). During these trips, Plaintiff, who is
incontinent, was denied the use of a urinal and was not
provided an opportunity to change his Depends diaper, so he
wet himself (Id. at 39-40). Plaintiff approximated
these trips lasted approximately four to five hours
(Id. at 51). Plaintiff testified that other officers
were able to handle his incontinence without issue during
transport, but Defendant Jenkins handled it improperly
(Id. at 50). Plaintiff explained he believed the
IDOC should have taken corrective action with regard to
Defendant Jenkins after he filed a grievance concerning the
February 10, 2015 trip (Id. at 51). Plaintiff's
testimony was reflective of complaints he had set forth in
his grievances attached to his summary judgment response
(see Doc. 64-1 at 2-7).
the filing of several grievances, Defendants Bridwell,
Dunlap, and Johnson denied Plaintiff ice on various occasions
(Doc. 56-1 at 54-55, 70, and 76-77). Defendant Bridwell also
conducted two compliance checks while Plaintiff was in the
healthcare unit, and, at his deposition, Plaintiff testified
that Bridwell wrote two citations due to Plaintiff being out
of compliance (Id. at 56). Defendant Carie heard the
first ticket and found Plaintiff guilty, imposing 30 days of
C-grade or commissary denial (Id. at 61-63).
Plaintiff testified Carie did not listen to Plaintiff's
arguments (Id. at 61).
regard to Defendant Simms, Plaintiff testified he was a
correctional officer and heard a ticket issued to Plaintiff
regarding a coffee cup (Id. at 73). Plaintiff
testified that Simms found Plaintiff guilty of the infraction
based on testimony provided by Dunlap at the hearing and
imposed 30 days of commissary denial (Id. at 73-76).
Plaintiff testified that Simms violated his due process
rights by not sufficiently investigating the ticket
(Id. at 76).
regard to Defendants Bruner and Tanner, Plaintiff testified
these Defendants failed to provide Plaintiff with a mailing
that was directed to the law library for copying, but was
ultimately delayed in the control center of Lawrence
(Id. at 65, 79). More specifically, Plaintiff
testified that he handed a correctional officer a 200-page
document to be sent to the law library and copied
(Id. at 65-66). After the document was not returned
to Plaintiff, he asked Bruner about the document and was told
it was in the control center (Id. at 67-68). Bruner
did not retrieve or return the document to Plaintiff
(Id. at 69). Plaintiff also testified that Tanner
was aware that the mailing was in the control center and did
not return it to Plaintiff (Id. at 79). Plaintiff
went to the control center and Tanner handed Plaintiff the
deposition, Plaintiff was unable to provide any testimony
concerning Defendant Sanders or why he was named a defendant
in this lawsuit (Id. at 78). However, in
Plaintiff's response, he explains that Sanders retaliated
against Plaintiff by “ticketing him and punishing him
for pursuit of medication for an acute migraine
headache” (Doc. 64 at 8). Plaintiff writes that Sanders
(along with Carie) acted in concert with Bridwell, Johnson,
and Dunlap in retaliation for Plaintiff's filing of
judgment is appropriate only if the moving party can
demonstrate “that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact 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); see also
Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian Information Solutions,
Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The moving
party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the lack of
any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477
U.S. at 323. Once a properly supported motion for summary
judgment is made, the adverse party “must set forth
specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for
trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 250 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact exists
when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Estate
of Simpson v. Gorbett, 863 F.3d 740, 745 (7th Cir. 2017)
(quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). In assessing a
summary judgment motion, the district court views the facts
in the light most favorable to, and draws all reasonable
inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party. Apex
Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d 962,
965 (7th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted).