Munson v. Kink et al
ORDER. For the reasons discussed in the attached Memorandum & Order, Defendants' 67 76 motions for summary judgment are GRANTED, and this action is DISMISSED with prejudice. Defendants' 87 motion to strike is DENIED as moot. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to correct the names of the defendants in the docket as described in footnotes 1-4. The Clerk of Court is further DIRECTED to enter judgment accordingly. Signed by Judge David W. Dugan on 9/9/2021. (sth)
Case 3:19-cv-00088-DWD Document 100 Filed 09/09/21 Page 1 of 14 Page ID #1295
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
C. BROOKS, 1
MS. TRODDER, 2
DR. BOOSE, 4 and
WARDEN OF LAWRENCE
Case No. 19-cv-88-DWD
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
DUGAN, District Judge:
Plaintiff James Munson brings Eighth Amendment claims against Defendants,
alleging that the conditions he suffered and the lack of adequate medical attention he
received at Lawrence Correctio
his constitutional rights.
Additionally, Munson brings a First Amendment retaliation claim alleging that
Defendants placed him in segregation because he complained about pests and rodents at
Accordingly, the Clerk is DIRECTED
Accordingly, the Clerk is DIRECTED
Clerk is DIRECTED
ides her full, correctly spelled name. (Doc. 68-4)
Case 3:19-cv-00088-DWD Document 100 Filed 09/09/21 Page 2 of 14 Page ID #1296
to strike. (Docs. 67, 76 & 87) The motions are fully briefed and ripe for decision. (Docs. 68,
e motions for summary judgment are due
to be granted, and the motion to strike is due to be denied as moot. 5
I. FACTUAL & PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Munson filed his complaint on January 30, 2019. (Doc. 1) Afte
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Court permitted Munson to proceed on four
Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants for subjecting
Plaintiff to unconstitutional conditions of confinement at
Lawrence by exposing him to rodents, spiders, and bugs that
posed a serious risk of harm to his health.
Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants for exhibiting
deliberate indifference to Plai
that resulted from undiagnosed and untreated rodent, spider,
and/or bug bites and suspected infections at Lawrence.
Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants for exhibiting
deliberate indifference to Plainti
resulted from his exposure to rodents, spiders, and bugs at
First Amendment retaliation claim against Defendants for
placing Plaintiff in segregation because he complained about
the rodent, spider, and bug infestations at Lawrence and
requested rabies testing of a rodent.
(Doc. 8 at 3) The Court also ruled that Count 3 would proceed only against Defendants
In their motion to strike, Defendants object to
purporting to be the Illinois Department of Corrections Nursing Treatment Protocols. (See
103) Because the Court does not rely on this exhibit in granting summary judgment for Defendants, the
motion to strike is moot.
Case 3:19-cv-00088-DWD Document 100 Filed 09/09/21 Page 3 of 14 Page ID #1297
Boose and Trotter and that Count 4 would proceed only against Defendants Kink and
Brooks. (Doc. 8 at 6)
Munson has been incarcerated at Lawrence since February 2017. (Doc. 68-1 at 45)
He has seen rodents in multiple housing units, the kitchen, and the dining area at
bitten by a rodent on only one occasion:
July 25, 2018. (Doc. 68-1 at 62 & 108) At that time, Munson was living in housing unit 5 in
the general population. (Doc. 68-1 at 85) He was awakened on the morning of July 25 by
a prick on his hand. (Doc. 68-1 at 66) When he woke up, he saw a mouse near his leg and
quickly killed it. (Doc. 68-1 at 66) He pressed the panic button, and a guard came and
When Munson arrived at the healthcare unit, he was treated by Defendant
Christine Brooks, a nurse at Lawrence. (Doc. 68-1 at 61) Munson brought the mouse with
him hoping to have it tested for rabies, but Brooks told him that the healthcare unit does
not test animals for rabies. (Doc. 68-1 at
exchange of body fluids. (Doc. 68-2 at 1)
She noted that Munson was experiencing pain but no swelling, redness, or bleeding.
(Doc. 68-2 at 1) Munson claims that his finger was red and probably swollen. (Doc. 68-1
of the alleged bite, applied triple antibiotic ointment, and
ted that he had already been prescribed
naproxen, anti-inflammatory and pain medication. (Doc. 68-5 at 1) Brooks did not believe
a tetanus shot was necessary because Munson
exhibiting the signs of a tetanus infection: headaches, muscle stiffness, and lockjaw. (Doc.
Case 3:19-cv-00088-DWD Document 100 Filed 09/09/21 Page 4 of 14 Page ID #1298
68-5 at 2) But she did tell Munson to come back to the healthcare unit if his finger hurt or
aled, and he does not know
if he ever developed a tetanus
Brooks reported the incident
to the shift commander as she was required to do. (Doc. 68-1 at 97)
On July 31, 2018, Munson was moved to segregated housing for 28 days, where he
first met Defendant Lyndsey Trotter. (Doc. 68-1 at 82, 89 & 122) Trotter is a qualified
mental health professional but is not allowed to prescribe medication. (Doc. 68-4 at 1)
Complaining of having nightmares about rodents, Munson asked Trotter for something
to help him sleep, and she gave him a sleep hygiene kit. (Doc
never reported sleep problems to Trotter after she gave him the sleep hygiene kit. (Doc.
68-4 at 2)
Munson also reports sending a letter on November 9, 2018, to Defendant Teresa
Boose, the Mental Health Authority for Lawrence, seeking mental health treatment. (Doc.
68-1 at 164) Boose never received a letter from Munson and did not become aware of his
mental health needs until June 2019. (Doc. 77-5
counseling and/or psychiatric se
ferred Munson for a
nson had no contacts with
mental health staff at Lawr
On August 8 and 22, 2018, Munson reported seeing bugs in his cell in segregation.
s, bugs, and spiders were a problem for
Munson only while he was in segregation, not in general population housing. (Doc. 68-1
at 117) Pests would enter through the window that Munson left open because he did not
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have a fan in his cell. (Doc. 68-1 at 115) Trotter testified that she did not observe any
egation or housing unit 5. (Doc. 68-4 at 2)
Trotter also noted that there was no mental decompensation from his time in segregation.
Munson reported a bug bite on August 17, 2018, and a nurse noted a small, raised
area on the right side of his neck. (Doc. 68-2 at 7) Munson was seen by a nurse again on
August 23 for his bug bites, but the nurse did not observe any bites. (Doc. 68-2 at 11) On
both occasions, Munson was given hydrocortisone cream to treat his bites. (Doc. 68-2 at
7 & 11) Munson also obtained mineral oil from other inmates which he used to treat his
bites. (Doc. 68-1 at 119) When Munson filed a grievance in July 2018, he was told that the
prison pays an outside contractor to spray the cell houses regularly for pests, although
the individual cells are not sprayed for the safety of the inmates. (Docs. 68-1 at 120 & 686 at 1) He was told even more specifically in response to a grievance filed in August that
the contractor comes every month to spray for pests and check traps for rodents. (Doc.
68-6 at 8) Munson also saw an exterminator on July 24, 2018, who told him that he would
spray for pests if Munson put in a request. (Doc. 68-1 at
a request at that time. (Doc. 68-1 at 105)
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 governs motions for summary judgment.
Summary judgment is appropriate if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See
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Archdiocese of Milwaukee v. Doe, 743 F.3d 1101, 1105 (7th Cir. 2014) (citing Fed. R. Civ. Proc.
56(a)). Accord Anderson v. Donahoe, 699 F.3d 989, 994 (7th Cir. 2012). A genuine issue of
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Accord
Bunn v. Khoury Enterpr., Inc., 753 F.3d 676, 681-682 (7th Cir. 2014).
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. See Anderson, 699 F.3d at 994; Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011).
As the Seventh Circuit has explained, and as required by Rule 56(
facts by examining the evidence in the light reasonably most favorable to the non-moving
party, giving [him] the benefit of reasonable, favorable inferences and resolving conflicts
Spaine v. Community Contacts, Inc., 756 F.3d 542, 544 (7th
Munson brings Eighth Amendment claims alleging unconstitutional conditions of
confinement and deliberate indifference to his medical needs. He also brings a First
Amendment retaliation claim. The Court addresses each claim in turn.
Eighth Amendment: Conditions of Confinement
The Eighth Amendment prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment forbids the
unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain. See Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 346 (1981)
(citation omitted). To succeed on a claim related to conditions of confinement, a plaintiff
Case 3:19-cv-00088-DWD Document 100 Filed 09/09/21 Page 7 of 14 Page ID #1301
must establish both an objective and subjective element. See Grieveson v. Anderson, 538
F.3d 763, 775 (7th Cir. 2008). As to the objective element, a prisoner must establish that
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994).
To do so, he must show that the conditions resulted in an unquestioned and serious
deprivation of basic human needs such as food, medical care, sanitation, or physical
safety. See Rhodes, 452 U.S. at 347. The Eighth Amendm
provide prisoners with more salubrious air, healthier food, or cleaner water than are
Carroll v. DeTella, 255 F.3d 470, 472
are required to make out a conditions-ofTurner v. Miller, 301 F.3d 599, 603 (7th Cir. 2002) (citations and
Johnson v. Pelker,
891 F.2d 136, 138 (7th Cir. 1989).
The subjective component of a claim for unconstitutional conditions of
confinement requires demonstrating that a defendant had a culpable state of mind, that
is that a defendant acted with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of serious harm
to the prisoner. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837, 842. While mere negligence does not amount
to a constitutional violation, a plaintiff satisfies the deliberate indifference standard by
substantial risk of serious harm from the alleged unconstitutional conditions. See Farmer,
511 U.S. at 842; Davidson v. Cannon, 474 U.S. 344, 347-348 (1986). That is, prison officials
Case 3:19-cv-00088-DWD Document 100 Filed 09/09/21 Page 8 of 14 Page ID #1302
Anderson v. Morrison, 835 F.3d 681,
683 (7th Cir. 2016).
Munson claims that his exposure to rodents, spiders, and bugs at Lawrence
created unconstitutional conditions of confinement. An infestation of pests and rodents
may provide a claim for unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Antonelli v. Sheehan,
81 F.3d 1422, 1431 (7th Cir. 1996) (holding that plaintiff stated an Eighth Amendment
claim by alleging that despite two pest-control sprayings in a 16-month period,
cockroaches and mice were everywhere, crawling on his body, constantly awakening
him, and causing significant physical harm). However, an infestation must be prolonged
and cause significant physical harm to amount to a constitutional deprivation. See Sain v.
Wood, 512 F.3d 886, 894 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing Antonelli, 81 F.3d at 1431). For example, a
several cockroaches were present in a cell during a six-year period and the plaintiff was
bitten by a cockroach twice but an exterminator visited the cell monthly and would come
The evidence does not establish that Munson suffered significant harm from a
prolonged exposure to pests and rodents. He testified to seeing rodents in multiple
housing units at Lawrence as well as in the kitchen and dining area. However, he was
bitten on only one occasion: July 25, 2018. Further, he concedes that Lawrence hired an
exterminator to set traps for rodents on a monthly basis. As to bugs and spiders, Munson
testified that they were only a problem in the segregation unit, where he was housed for
Case 3:19-cv-00088-DWD Document 100 Filed 09/09/21 Page 9 of 14 Page ID #1303
only 28 days, and that they entered through the window he opened. Further, Lawrence
hires an exterminator to spray for pests monthly, although the exterminator does not
would spray on request. Finally, as discussed in Part III.B., there is no evidence that
Munson suffered significant physical harm from the rodents, spiders, or bugs. On this
objectively serious enough to violate the Eighth Amendment.
Eighth Amendment: Deliberate Indifference to Medical Needs
Munson also brings Eighth Amendment claims for deliberate indifference to his
medical and mental health needs caused by rodents, bugs, and spiders. To establish an
that a physician has diagnosed as mandating treatment, or one that is so obvious that
untreated could result in further significant injury or unnecessary pain, and that
es or features chronic
Id. (quoting Wilson v. Vannatta
Thomas v. Walton, 461 F. Supp. 2d 786, 794 (S.D. Ill. 2006); see also Gibson v. McEvers, 631
F.2d 95, 98 (7th Cir. 1980).
Munson brings a deliberate-indifference claim based on his allegations that he
Case 3:19-cv-00088-DWD Document 100 Filed 09/09/21 Page 10 of 14 Page ID #1304
suffered untreated pain and infection from the rodent bite on July 25, 2018. Specifically,
Munson claims that he should have received a tetanus shot to treat what he believes
might have been a tetanus infection resulting from the bite. The record shows that Brooks
Munson has provided no evidence that he developed a tetanus infection or that his bite
should have been treated with a tetanus shot. In fact, he admitted that his finger is now
fully healed and in good condition. Thus, no reasonable jury could find that the rodent
bite caused a serious medical need that a physician failed to treat and that resulted in
He has also not shown deliberate indifference as to his alleged bug and spider
17, 2018. Munson was seen for bug bites again on August 23, but the medical records
indicate no bug bites were observed. Nevertheless, Munson received hydrocortisone
cream on both occasions. Even assuming that Munson was bitten as often as he claimed,
there is no evidence that the bites constituted a serious medical need or caused him
substantial harm. Further, the medical staff at Lawrence provided hydrocortisone to treat
serious medical need to which prison officials were deliberately indifferent.
directed only at Defendants Boose and Trotter. He alleges that during his time in
segregation, he had difficulty sleeping due to frequent nightmares and anxiety about
rodent and bug bites. He claims that he informed Trotter and sought mental health
Case 3:19-cv-00088-DWD Document 100 Filed 09/09/21 Page 11 of 14 Page ID #1305
treatment. He claims that she failed to adequately respond to his mental health needs. He
also claims that he wrote a letter to Boose seeking treatment for his mental health needs
but Boose never responded.
See Jenkins v. Frisch
diagnosed him with a mental health disorder in early 2020. (Doc. 68-1 at 24) And Boose,
the Mental Health Authority for Lawrence, testified that Munson had no contact with
mental health staff and no mental health referrals from August 2017 to June 2019. She
rred him for a mental health evaluation
for need of services-counseling and/or psychiatric
(Doc. 77-5 at 2) Thus, the record provides no evidence
of Munson having a diagnosed mental health condition until nearly a year after he was
placed in segregation for 28 days.
Even if there were evidence document
condition, there is no evidence of deliberate indifference. He provides no evidence that
Boose knew about his alleged symptoms prior to June 2019, when she testifies that she
inability to sleep by providing him with a sleep hygiene kit. She noted no mental
decompensation during her rounds and did
oc. 68-4 at 2) Munson never made additional complaints
regarding his sleep or mental health to Trotter after she provided the sleep hygiene kit.
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Thus, the Court finds that no reasonable jury could find that Munson suffered from a
serious medical need regarding his mental health to which Boose or Trotter were
First Amendment: Retaliation
Munson alleges that Kevin Kink, the Warden of Lawrence, and Brooks violated
his First Amendment rights by retaliating against him for complaining of rodent and pest
infestation and asking that a mouse be tested for rabies
retaliated against an inmate . . . , the inmate must demonstrate that (1) he or she engaged
in constitutionally-protected conduct and (2) such conduct was a substantial or
Thomas, 461 F. Supp. 2d at 795.
As to Kink, Munson points out that Kink signed all of his grievances and as
warden was ultimately responsible for his placement in segregation. (Doc. 68-1 at 187)
However, Munson has provided no evidence showing that his grievances were a
placed Munson in segregation shortly after he filed his grievance does not show
stage, [mere chronology] is not enough to show a genuine
reasonable jury could find that Kink placed Munson in segregation in retaliation for
assumptions. For starters, there is no documented evidence in the record showing that
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ement in segregation. The only evidence
with the officer for allowing Munson to bring a rodent into the healthcare unit and that
Brooks reported the incident to the shift commander. (Doc.
no evidence showing that she had any authority to place him in segregation or that her
report to the shift commander played any role in the ultimate decision to place him in
segregation. In fact, he ascribes the ultimate decision to Daniel Downen, the clinical
services supervisor at Lawrence, Defendant Russell Goins, Assistant Warden of
Operations at Lawrence, an
Further, Munson has not shown that Brooks reacted to any constitutionally
protected speech that he made. He concedes that he does not know if she had any
knowledge of the grievance he filed in June 2018. (Doc. 68-1 at 99) And when describing
68-1 at 95) Munson has made no showing that his action in taking the rodent to the
healthcare unit is constitutionally protected speech. For these reasons, no reasonable jury
could find that Brooks played a role in placing Munson in segregation in retaliation for
constitutionally protected speech.
for summary judgment (Docs. 67 & 76) are
GRANTED, and this action is DISMISSED WITH PREJDUICE
Case 3:19-cv-00088-DWD Document 100 Filed 09/09/21 Page 14 of 14 Page ID #1308
strike (Doc. 87) is DENIED AS MOOT. The Clerk of Court is DIRECTED to correct the
names of the defendants in the docket as
is further DIRECTED to enter judgment accordingly.
Entered this the 9th Day of September 2012
David W. Dugan
United State District Judge
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