United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge.
Anthony Liddell, Jr. (“Liddell”), formerly an
inmate incarcerated at the Racine County Jail
(“RCJ”), brought this action against Officer
Chris Garcia (“Garcia”), Officer Brian Genike
(“Genike”), and Sergeant Anthony LaCombe
(“LaCombe”), alleging that the defendants imposed
conditions during his confinement at RCJ that violated his
civil rights. Specifically, Liddell alleges that he was
housed in a cell with cracked masonry bricks and, as a
result, the temperature in his cell dipped to 20 or 30
degrees and he suffered numbness and pain from the cold.
Liddell claims he advised the defendants of these conditions,
and that Genike conceded the jail's cells were in
disrepair, but that nothing was done to abate the issue.
1, 2017, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment.
(Docket #39). Liddell was required to respond to the
defendants' motion within twenty-one days, and he did
not. See (Docket #34). The motion will be addressed in
its unopposed form and, for the reasons explained below, it
will be granted and this action will be dismissed without
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that the court
“shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows 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); see Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d
910, 916 (7th Cir. 2016). A fact is “material” if
it “might affect the outcome of the suit” under
the applicable substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute of fact
is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that
a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Id. The court construes all facts and
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
non-movant. Bridge v. New Holland Logansport, Inc.,
815 F.3d 356, 360 (7th Cir. 2016). The court must not weigh
the evidence presented or determine credibility of witnesses;
the Seventh Circuit instructs that “we leave those
tasks to factfinders.” Berry v. Chicago Transit
Auth., 618 F.3d 688, 691 (7th Cir. 2010). The party
opposing summary judgment “need not match the movant
witness for witness, nor persuade the court that [his] case
is convincing, [he] need only come forward with appropriate
evidence demonstrating that there is a pending dispute of
material fact.” Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst
Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 921 (7th Cir. 1994).
Liddell failed to respond to the defendants' statement of
facts, the Court will consider them undisputed. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e). The relevant facts are as follows. At all times
relevant to this lawsuit, Liddell was an inmate at RCJ.
(Docket #40 ¶ 1). The defendants were, presumably,
employees of RCJ-Garcia and Genike correctional officers and
LaCombe a sergeant-though the defendants' filings in
support of their motion do not expressly indicate as much.
Inmate Handbook (“Handbook”) prescribes the
procedure an inmate must follow to bring complaints to the
jail's attention. Id. ¶ 2. The Handbook
provides that when an inmate has a basis for a complaint, and
informal resolution is not possible, the inmate is to submit
an Inmate Request form detailing his complaint to jail
supervisory staff. Id. A response or resolution is
provided for each legitimate complaint. Id. ¶
5. An inmate may appeal a grievance response by submitting a
written appeal to the Jail Administrator within fifteen days
using the same Inmate Request form. Id. ¶ 6.
filed numerous inmate requests and complaints during his
incarceration at RCJ from October 2015 to May 2016.
Id. ¶ 8. Many relate to his medical needs, and
others relate to requests for supplies or for copies of his
trust account statement. See (Docket #42-9). For
example, on April 4, 2016, Liddell filed an inmate complaint
referencing various medical needs, including numbness in his
fingers due to nerve damage from arthritis. (Docket #40
¶ 12). On April 8, 2016, Liddell filed an inmate
complaint again referencing his arthritis and indicating that
the “rain/snow/20-30 degree” temperatures of that
season were not good for his “old…bones.”
Id. ¶ 13; (Docket #42-9 at 38). In neither of
these grievances-or any of Liddell's grievances-did
Liddell mention deficiencies in the condition of his cell.
(Docket #40 ¶ 11-13). Although Liddell claims he
directed relevant inmate grievances regarding his cell
conditions to the “maintenance department, ” the
defendants deny the same and Liddell did not produce those
grievances in discovery. Id. ¶ 14-15. He also
lost his best opportunity to bring those to the Court's
attention-filing a response to the defendants' motion.
Liddell did not appeal any of the grievances he submitted at
RCJ. Id. ¶ 16.
defendants move for summary judgment on two grounds. First,
they argue that Liddell failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies before filing suit. (Docket #41 at 5-7). Second,
they argue that Liddell is not entitled to relief on his
claim related to the conditions of his confinement because he
did not suffer a sufficiently serious injury and, further,
the defendants did not know of and disregard an
injury-causing risk. Id. at 7-9. The Court must
address the question of exhaustion first, because “[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[.]”
Perez v. Wis. Dep't of Corr., 182 F.3d 532, 535
(7th Cir. 1999).
Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) establishes
that, prior to filing a lawsuit complaining about prison
conditions, a prisoner must exhaust “such
administrative remedies as are available[.]” 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(a). To do so, the prisoner must “file
complaints and appeals in the place, and at the time, the
prison's administrative rules require, ” and he
must do so precisely in accordance with those rules;
substantial compliance does not satisfy the PLRA. Pozo v.
McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1025 (7th Cir. 2002);
Smith v. Zachary, 255 F.3d 446, 452 (7th Cir. ...