Smith v. Baldwin et al
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART 38 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Kent Brookman, Byron Mitchell, Jacqueline Lashbrook, Jason Hart, Frank Lawrence, John Baldwin. Signed by Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly on 2/17/2021. (lmo)
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
TYRONE SMITH, N01634,
JOHN BALDWIN, et al.,
Case No. 19-cv-637-RJD
DALY, Magistrate Judge:
This matter comes before the Court on the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment filed by
Defendants Baldwin, Brookman, Hart, Lashbrook, and Mitchell1 (Docs. 38 and 39). Plaintiff
filed a Response (Doc. 40). As explained further, Defendants’ motion is GRANTED IN PART
and DENIED IN PART.
Plaintiff, an inmate within the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC), is currently
incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). He filed this suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§1983, alleging Defendants violated his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights at Menard.
Plaintiff alleges that in January 2018, he received three disciplinary tickets for the same incident
that occurred at Stateville Correctional Center. One officer issued the first two tickets; Defendant
Mitchell issued the third ticket. Plaintiff transferred to Menard after the incident but before the
Defendant Lawrence also joined this motion but was dismissed from this matter on January 11, 2021 (Doc. 47).
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Menard held a separate disciplinary hearing for each ticket. Defendants Brookman and
Hart (members of the committee at Menard that conducted the hearings) recommended expunging
the first two tickets and Defendant Lashbrook (former Warden at Menard) approved their
recommendations. After a hearing on the third re-issued ticket, Defendants Brookman, Hart, and
Lashbrook found Plaintiff guilty of Rule 203 and punished him with six months of segregation, Cgrade status, commissary restrictions, and visitation restrictions. Plaintiff sent grievances to
Defendants Baldwin and Lashbrook regarding the committee’s decision. While in segregation,
Plaintiff alleges that he endured filthy living conditions and was denied cleaning supplies, hygiene
items, and clothing. Once he returned to the general population in Menard North #2 cellhouse,
he faced dangerous and unsanitary living conditions. In both places, he only had access to dirty
drinking water, which made him ill. Following the Court’s threshold review conducted pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. §1915A, Plaintiff’s case proceeded on the following claims:
Fourteenth Amendment claim against Mitchell, Hart, Brookman and
Lashbrook for depriving Plaintiff of a protected liberty interest
without due process of law by punishing him for his third re-issued
ticket with six months of segregation in unusually harsh conditions
after expunging his first and second tickets for the same offense.
Eighth Amendment claim against Mitchell, Hart, Brookman,
Lashbrook, and Baldwin for subjecting Plaintiff to unconstitutional
conditions of confinement in segregation at Menard as punishment
for the third ticket.
Eighth Amendment claim against Lashbrook and Baldwin for their
deliberate indifference to Plaintiff’s complaints about unsanitary
drinking water and his related illness.
Eighth Amendment claim against Lashbrook for her deliberate
indifference to the conditions Plaintiff endured as a member of the
general population in the North #2 cellhouse.
Defendants move for summary judgment on Counts 3-5, contending that Plaintiff failed to
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exhaust his administrative remedies regarding these claims. Plaintiff responds that he submitted
emergency grievances on May 17, 2018 and August 4, 2018 regarding Counts 3 and 4 that were
never answered, and therefore administrative remedies was unavailable to him.2 Plaintiff further
contends that because he faced the same conditions in both segregation and general population, he
did not have to submit an additional grievance once he transferred to the North #2 cellhouse, and
therefore he exhausted his available administrative remedies pertaining to Count 5.
On February 16, 2021, the Court held a hearing pursuant to Pavey v. Conley, 544 F.3d 739
(7th Cir. 2008).
Plaintiff testified that he wrote “plenty” of grievances while he was in
He submitted an emergency grievance on May 18, 2018 regarding unsanitary
conditions in segregation; he never received any type of response to this grievance, and “everyone”
told him to re-submit it. He then submitted another emergency grievance on August 4, 2018
regarding these same conditions, but still did not receive a response.
He submitted both
emergency grievances by placing them in the bars of his cell so that he would know if the
correctional officer took them. An officer took both emergency grievances.
Summary Judgment Standard
Summary 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 RuffinThompkins v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The
These grievances were attached to Plaintiff’s sworn Complaint (Doc. 1, p. 37-40).
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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 considering 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).
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), prisoners are required to exhaust available administrative
remedies prior to filing lawsuits in federal court. “[A] prisoner who does not properly take each
step within the administrative process has failed to exhaust state remedies.” Pozo v. McCaughtry,
286 F.3d 1022, 1024 (7th Cir. 2002). “[A] suit filed by a prisoner before administrative remedies
have been exhausted must be dismissed; the district court lacks discretion to resolve the claim on
the merits, even if the prisoner exhausts intra-prison remedies before judgment.”
Wisconsin Dep’t of Corr., 182 F.3d 532, 535 (7th Cir. 1999). “[A]ll dismissals under § 1997e(a)
should be without prejudice.” Ford v. Johnson, 362 F.3d 395, 401 (7th Cir. 2004).
An inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections must first submit a
written grievance within 60 days after the discovery of the incident, occurrence or problem, to his
or her institutional counselor, unless certain discrete issues are being grieved. 20 ILL. ADMIN.
CODE § 504.810(a). The grievance must contain the following:
….factual details regarding each aspect of the offender's complaint, including what
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happened, when, where and the name of each person who is the subject of or who
is otherwise involved in the complaint. This provision does not preclude an offender
from filing a grievance when the names of individuals are not known, but the
offender must include as much descriptive information about the individual as
20 ILL. ADMIN. CODE § 504.870(b).
If the complaint is not resolved through a counselor, the grievance is considered by a
Grievance Officer who must render a written recommendation to the Chief Administrative Officer
— usually the Warden — within 2 months of receipt, “when reasonably feasible under the
The CAO then advises the inmate of a decision on the
An inmate may appeal the decision of the Chief Administrative Officer in writing within
30 days to the Administrative Review Board for a final decision. Id. §_504.850(a); see also Dole
v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804, 806–07 (7th Cir. 2006). The ARB will submit a written report of its
findings and recommendations to the Director who shall review the same and make a final
determination within 6 months of receipt of the appeal. 20 ILL. ADMIN. CODE § 504.850(d) and
(e). Inmates who intend to file suit are required to follow all steps and instructions in the
grievance process before filing with the Court in order to “[allow prisons] to address complaints
about the program [they administer] before being subjected to suit, [reduce] litigation to the extent
complaints are satisfactorily resolved, and [improve] litigation that does occur by leading to the
preparation of a useful record.” Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 219 (2007).
An inmate may request that a grievance be handled as an emergency by forwarding it
directly to the Chief Administrative Officer. Id. § 504.840. If it is determined that there exists a
substantial risk of imminent personal injury or other serious or irreparable harm, the grievance is
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handled on an emergency basis, which allows for expedited processing of the grievance by
responding directly to the offender. Id. Inmates may further submit certain types of grievances
directly to the Administrative Review Board, including grievances related to protective custody,
psychotropic medication, and certain issues relating to facilities other than the inmate’s currently
assigned facility. Id. at § 504.870.
Defendants did not meet their burden for summary judgment on Counts 3 and 4. An inmate
is only required to exhaust the administrative remedies that are available to him. Lewis v.
Washington, 300 F.3d 829, 833 (7th Cir. 2002). Administrative remedies are unavailable to an
inmate when prison officials do not respond to his grievance(s). Id.; see also Wyma v. Siddiqui,
18-cv-92-NJR, 2019 WL 570615, *3 (S.D. Ill. Feb. 11, 2019). While Defendants contend that
there is no record Plaintiff submitted the May 17, 2018 and August 4, 2018 emergency grievances,
Plaintiff testified to the contrary. As the non-movant, all doubts must be resolved in Plaintiff’s
Defendant Lashbrook is, however, entitled to summary judgment on Count 5. Plaintiff
contends that he did not have to submit a grievance regarding his conditions of confinement as a
member of the general population in North #2 cell house because he had already submitted
grievances regarding the conditions of confinement in segregation.
regarding the conditions in his segregation cell did not alert prison officials that his general
population cell was also unsanitary. His complaints regarding the conditions in segregation did
not give prison officials the opportunity to address conditions elsewhere in the prison.
For the above reasons, Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 38) is
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GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART. Defendants failed to meet their burden on
summary judgment for Counts 3 and 4, and therefore Plaintiff’s claims in Counts 3 and 4 shall
remain pending against Defendants Mitchell, Hart, Brookman, Lashbrook, and Baldwin.
5 shall be dismissed without prejudice; the Clerk of Court is directed to enter judgment accordingly
at the conclusion of this case.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: February 17, 2021
s/ Reona J. Daly
Hon. Reona J. Daly
United States Magistrate Judge
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