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Johnson v. Layton

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

September 19, 2019

JOHN R. LAYTON, Defendant.



         Plaintiff Christopher Michael Johnson filed this civil rights action alleging that he was held for three days in a cell at the Marion County Jail without running water and with dried feces on the bars. Now before the Court is defendant John R. Layton’s motion for summary judgment. Dkt. 28. The motion is fully briefed. The Court construes Mr. Johnson’s “motion for summary judgment,” dkt. 33, as a response to Sheriff Layton’s motion.

         For the reasons below, Sheriff Layton’s motion for summary judgment, dkt. [28], is granted.

         To the extent Mr. Johnson intended to file a cross-motion for summary judgment, that motion, dkt. [33], is denied as untimely. The parties’ summary judgment motions were due August 6, 2019. Dkt. 23. Mr. Johnson did not file his “motion” until September 10, 2019. In any event, for the same reasons that Sheriff Layton is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, Mr. Johnson is not.

         I. Summary Judgment Standard

         A motion for summary judgment asks the Court to find that a trial is unnecessary because there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). Whether a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing to specific portions of the record, including depositions, documents, or affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party can also support a fact by showing that the materials cited by an adverse party do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant is competent to testify on matters stated. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). Failure to properly support a fact in opposition to a movant’s factual assertion can result in the movant’s fact being considered undisputed, and potentially in the grant of summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).

         In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court need only consider disputed facts that are material to the decision. A disputed fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law. Williams v. Brooks, 809 F.3d 936, 941-42 (7th Cir. 2016). “A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists ‘if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.’” Daugherty v. Page, 906 F.3d 606, 609-10 (7th Cir. 2018) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). The Court views the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that party’s favor. Skiba v. Illinois Cent. R.R. Co., 884 F.3d 708, 717 (7th Cir. 2018). It cannot weigh evidence or make credibility determinations on summary judgment because those tasks are left to the factfinder. Miller v. Gonzalez, 761 F.3d 822, 827 (7th Cir. 2014). The Court need only consider the cited materials, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3), and need not “scour the record” for potentially relevant evidence. Grant v. Trustees of Indiana University, 870 F.3d 562, 573-74 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting Harney v. Speedway SuperAmerica, LLC, 526 F.3d 1099, 1104 (7th Cir. 2008)). Any doubt as to the existence of a genuine issue for trial is resolved against the moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

         II. Factual Background

         John R. Layton is the Marion County Sheriff. The Marion County Sheriff manages the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, one division of which is the Marion County Jail. Dkt. 29-7 at 2. The Marion County Jails house a daily average of 2,500 inmates.

         Mr. Johnson was housed at the Marion County Jail from December 2017 to sometime in 2019. On July 27, 2018, he was moved to cell 2O5. Dkt. 29-1 at 2. Upon arrival, he noticed dried debris-which he believed to be fecal matter-on the bars of his cell. Dkt. 29-2 at 10-11. When he tried to clean his cell, he found that the cell’s sink did not work. Id. at 18-19. Mr. Johnson had another inmate press a call button and informed an officer over the intercom that there was fecal matter on the bars of his cell and that he had no water because the sink did not work. Id. at 18-19.

         On July 28, 2018, Mr. Johnson filed a grievance for the broken sink and cell conditions. Id. at 19-20; dkt. 29-3. Sergeant Moore-who is not a party in this action-acknowledged the grievance on July 30, 2018. Dkt. 29-3. That same day, Mr. Johnson was moved out of cell 2O5 to a different cell in the block. Dkt. 29-2 at 24.

         As an adherent of Islam, Mr. Johnson prays five times daily and is required to clean before each prayer session. Id. at 27. While he was housed in cell 2O5, he could not clean before prayer. Id. at 21.

         At no time from July 27 to July 30, 2018, did Mr. Johnson request water to be brought to his cell. Id. at 29.

         Sheriff Layton received no communication from Mr. Johnson between July 27 ...

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