Wiggins v. Lake County Sheriff's Dept. et al
MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order: For the reasons stated in this opinion, plaintiff is to provide this Court with copies of his grievance, his appeal and the responses he received to both. Any failure to do so on or before March 24, 2017 will result in the dismissal of this action. Signed by the Honorable Milton I. Shadur on 3/2/2017:Mailed notice(clw, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
LAKE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPT., et al.,
Case No. 17 C 1352
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Pro se prisoner plaintiff Calvin Wiggins ("Wiggins") has utilized the Clerk's-Officesupplied form of "Complaint Under the Civil Rights Act, Title 42 Section 1983" to sue the Lake
County Sheriff's Department and three of its officers, asserting that he was subjected to an
adverse condition of confinement while he was in custody at the Lake County Jail (he is now
confined at the Vandalia Correctional Center. Wiggins alleges that he was forced to sleep on the
floor in a holding cell near a hole that was used as a toilet. Wiggins further states that he has a
back condition that was aggravated by sleeping on the floor.
But Wiggins must address a threshold issue before it can be determined whether this
action can proceed: 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) ("Section 1997e(a)") forbids the institution of prisoner
litigation until exhaustion of a facility's administrative remedies has been completed. Although
failure to exhaust is an affirmative defense (Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215-16 (2007)), the
inevitability of its assertion by every governmental defense counsel confirms the common sense
of a District Court's up-front inquiry into the subject.
Here Wiggins asserts that he has exhausted administrative remedies by submitting a
grievance on December 24, 2016 and then filing an appeal after receiving a response on
January 12, 2017. But that bang-bang description, coupled with this Court's knowledge that
administrative review in prison systems entails more than a one-level consideration, 1 raises a
serious question as to whether Wiggins has fully exhausted administrative remedies so as to
satisfy Section 1997e(a). That question may easily be resolved by his providing this Court with
copies of his grievance, his appeal and the responses he received to both. Any failure to do so on
or before March 24, 2017 will result in the dismissal of this action.
Finally, this Court does not now address Wiggins' other Clerk's-Office-suppled forms: In
Forma Pauperis Application and Motion for Attorney Representation. It is however
contemporaneously requesting from prison authorities the additional information about Wiggins'
trust fund account transactions to cover the entire six-month period ending with the date of
"filing" his Complaint as defined by the Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266 (1988) "mailbox rule" -information called for by 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2).
Milton I. Shadur
Senior United States District Judge
Date: March 2, 2017
Under Lake County Jail's grievance procedures, an inmate must file a grievance,
receive a response, then file an appeal and receive a response. That responsive decision by the
jail's Chief of Corrections (or his or her designee) addressing an inmate's appeal is final and ends
the grievance process.
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