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Reed v. Bowen

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

June 8, 2018

ANTHONY W. REED, Plaintiff,
v.
MARK J. BOWEN, et al. Defendants.

          ENTRY GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Anthony W. Reed is currently incarcerated at the Putnamville Correctional Facility. He filed a civil rights complaint based on the conditions he experienced while he was incarcerated at the Hamilton County Jail (Jail) in Noblesville, Indiana. The Court screened his complaint and determined that Mr. Reed adequately stated an Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim against defendants Mark Bowen and Jason Sloderbeck and a retaliation claim against defendant J. Miller.

         Presently pending before the Court is the defendants' motion for summary judgment filed on October 30, 2017. Dkt. No. 57. This motion is now fully briefed. This Entry also resolves two other ancillary motions. Dkt. No. 85; Dkt. No. 87.

         The defendants' motion argues that Mr. Reed's constitutional claims are without merit. Mr. Reed's response argues that the defendants are not entitled to summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the defendants' motion for summary judgment, Dkt. No. 57, is granted.

         II. Summary Judgment Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment is appropriate “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.” In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the admissible evidence presented by the non-moving party must be believed and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in the non-movant's favor. Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (“We view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.”). “When a motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported, an opposing party may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading; rather, its response must-by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule-set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. If the opposing party does not so respond, summary judgment should, if appropriate, be entered against that party.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2). The nonmoving party bears the burden of demonstrating that such a genuine issue of material fact exists. Harney v. Speedway Super America, LLC., 526 F.3d 1099, 1104 (7th Cir. 2008). The non-moving party bears the burden of specifically identifying the relevant evidence of record, and “the court is not required to scour the record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment.” Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001).

         Local Rule 56-1(b) requires a non-movant to include a section labeled “Statement of Material Facts in Dispute” that identifies the potentially determinative facts and factual disputes that the party contends demonstrate a dispute of fact precluding summary judgment. While Mr. Reed included a section labeled “Statement of Material Facts in Dispute” that is the only way he complied with the Local Rule. His “Statement” does not include any potentially determinative facts. Rather, it is a three page document that restates each legal claim. For example, Mr. Reed includes the following paragraph as a “fact”:

2. Whether the plaintiff by informing defendant Miller and, other Hamilton County Jail officers present that he intended to file his legal action claim over the adverse confine, conditions imposed upon him, on the morning of January 23, 2015, as he (the plaintiff) was being booked out of the Hamilton County Jail, was sufficient enough, couple with the genuine issue of material fact alleged in paragraph 1 to also, placed the defendants on "Notice" of the plaintiff's intention to seek legal action against the defendants.

Dkt. No. 87.

         Further, the declaration under penalties of perjury that Mr. Reed provided as evidence contains primarily allegations or conclusory statements, but does not set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. Dkt. No. 86. Although pro se filings are construed liberally, pro se litigants such as Mr. Reed are not exempt from procedural rules. See Pearle Vision, Inc. v. Romm, 541 F.3d 751, 758 (7th Cir. 2008) (noting that “pro se litigants are not excused from compliance with procedural rules”); Members v. Paige, 140 F.3d 699, 702 (7th Cir. 1998) (stating that procedural rules “apply to uncounseled litigants and must be enforced”).

         III. Statement of Material Facts Not in Dispute

         The following statement of facts was evaluated pursuant to the standard set forth above. That is, this statement of facts is not necessarily objectively true, but as the summary judgment standard requires, the undisputed facts and the disputed evidence are presented in the light most favorable to Mr. Reed as the non-moving party with respect to the motion for summary judgment. Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

         A. Background

         Mr. Reed, as a pre-trial detainee, was incarcerated at the Jail in 2014 and 2015. In 2014, there were 256 general population beds at the Jail for males. Dkt. No. 58-2, p. 24. In 2015, there were 218 general population beds at the Jail for males. Dkt. No. 58-2, p. 42. During this time, the average daily male inmate population was 246 and 238, respectively. Dkt. No. 58-2, pp. 26, 44. Defendant Captain Sloderbeck has been the Jail Commander at the Jail for the last seven years. Dkt. No. 58-2, ¶ 1. Defendant Mark Bowen is the Hamilton County Sheriff.

         Mr. Reed filed a civil rights complaint that alleged Eighth Amendment violations based on being triple-bunked, being confined in his cell for 20 hours per day, and being exposed to inadequate cleaning supplies that caused an intense itching to his face. Mr. Reed also alleged that Officer Miller retaliated against him by throwing his legal papers away after he threatened to file a lawsuit about the conditions at the Jail. The defendants argue that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law because Mr. Reed's Eighth Amendment rights were not violated. Defendant Miller argues that Mr. Reed's First Amendment rights were not violated because he did not retaliate against him.

         B. Eighth Amendment Claim

         1. Security Status

         The goal of the Jail's classification system is to provide for the safety and protection of all of the Jail's pretrial detainees and inmates. Dkt. No. 58-3, ¶ 3. The Jail seeks to accomplish this goal by housing like-kind offenders together, meaning that minimum security inmates are housed with other minimum security inmates, medium security inmates are housed with other medium security inmates, and maximum security inmates are housed with other maximum security inmates. Dkt. No. 58-3, ¶ 3. Jail officers do not have the discretion to place inmates outside of their known security status. Dkt. No. 58-3, ¶ 4. The security status of each inmate is determined by the Jail officers based on information known to them. Dkt. No. 58-3, ¶ 5. Such information includes information available to them on the Jail's New World Computer System and personal interactions Jail officers have with individual inmates. Dkt. No. 58-3, ¶ 5. The New World Computer System uses Northpointe, Inc. which is used by jails and correctional facilities throughout the country. Northpointe uses a “classification tree” system. Dkt. No. 58-3, p. 4. This classification tree system categorizes security placement based on an inmate's past and current charges, whether there are any current holds for an inmate, an inmate's disciplinary history, and an inmate's residency. Dkt. No. 58-3, ¶ ¶ 7, 8. Based on the answers to these questions, Northpointe determines the security status of an inmate.

         2. Triple-Cell

         An inmate may be placed in a cell with two other inmates (in a cell designed for two inmates), which is described by some as triple-celling. This occurs in two situations: 1) when there is no empty cell available for the inmate (which is generally the case given the Jail's inmate population); or 2) there is no open bunk available for the inmate with other inmates who have the same classification (i.e., inmates cannot be placed with other inmates with a higher or lower classification). Placing three inmates in a two person cell is done because it is less risky than placing the inmate with an inmate of a different classification level. Dkt. No. 58-3, ¶ 9. When inmates are triple-celled, two (2) of the inmates sleep in the bunks and the third inmate sleeps on a mattress on the floor. Dkt. No. 58-1, p. 74; Dkt. No. 86, p. 14.

         While Mr. Reed was incarcerated at the Jail, he was housed in cells 404, 425, 427, and 429. In cell 404, each inmate had 15.69 square feet of space. In cell 425, each inmate had 17.86 square feet of space. In cell 427, each inmate had 17.40 square feet of space. In cell 429, each inmate had 16.80 square feet of space.[1] Dkt. No. 58-2, pp. 114-120.

         From December of 2014 through April of 2015, Jail officers allowed inmates out of their cells for up to four hours per day. Dkt. No. 58-2, ¶ 14.

         During the relevant times at issues in this action, Mr. Reed was triple-celled on many occasions. In the early morning hours of December 18, 2014, Mr. Reed was triple-celled in cell 404 where he remained for eleven days until December 29, 2014. Dkt. No. 58-3, ¶ 11; Dkt. No. 58-3, p. 5.

         In the evening hours of December 29, 2014, Mr. Reed was moved to cell 427 and remained there until December 31, 2014. During this two day period, Mr. Reed was triple-celled. Dkt. No. 58-3, ¶ 12; Dkt. No. 58-3, p. 6.

         From January 6, 2015 to January 10, 2015, Mr. Reed was triple-celled in cell 425. From January 12, 2015, at 4:30 p.m. though January 14, 2015, at 12:11 a.m. (one day and eight hours) Mr. Reed was triple-celled in cell 425. Thereafter, for a week, from January 16, 2015, until January 23, 2015, Mr. Reed was also triple-celled. Dkt. No. 58-3, ¶ 13; Dkt. No. 58-3, p. 8.

         Mr. Reed returned to the Hamilton County Jail in mid-March of 2015.[2] He was again triple-celled in cell 425 through March 19, 2015. Dkt. No. 58-3, ¶ 14; Dkt. No. 58-3, p. 9.

         In the early morning hours of March 19, 2015, Mr. Reed was placed in cell 429. While Mr. Reed remained in this cell until April 17, 2015, he was only triple-celled for portions of this period of his incarceration. Specifically, Mr. Reed was triple-celled from March 20, 2015, to March 23, 2015, from March 27, 2015, to March 30, 2015, and from April 1, 2015 to April 15, 2015. Dkt. No. 58-3, ¶ 15; Dkt. No. 58-3, pp. 11-12.

         In summary, Mr. Reed was triple-celled at the Hamilton County Jail, in cells 404, 425, 427 and 429, for a total of approximately 51 days. Dkt. No. 58-3, ¶ 16.4. These days were not consecutive.

         3. Conditions at the Jail

         Indiana's State Jail Inspector performed an audit of the Jail in 2014 and 2015 and made the following determinations:

• the cubic feet per minute of air flow movement on the date of inspection was 256.5 to 443 c/f/m in 2014 and 256.5 to 443 c/f/m (on the date of inspection)
• the cell temperatures at the time of the inspection were 71-72 degrees Fahrenheit in 2014 and 73.3 ...

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