United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
DEGUILIO JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Randy Lee Jent amended his section 1983 complaint, alleging
he was held in a cell without a toilet and forced to suffer
until he was unable to prevent himself from urinating on the
floor. Mr. Jent is incarcerated and not represented by an
document filed pro se is to be liberally construed
and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be
held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings
drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quotation marks and citations omitted).
Nevertheless, because Mr. Jent is incarcerated, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, this court must review the complaint
and dismiss it if the action “is frivolous, malicious,
or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted [
] or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief.” Id.
Jent alleges that within minutes after he awoke on August 17,
2018, Officer Anthony J. Watson took him to a holding cell
that did not have a toilet. After twenty minutes, Mr. Jent
began yelling that he needed to urinate. According to Mr.
Jent, despite knowing of his duress, Sgt. Kaitlyn Radats and
Lt. Pauline Williams did not respond. After nearly an hour of
yelling, he “had to urinate [on] the cell floor in
order to prevent urinating on [himself].” (Am. Compl.,
ECF 14 at 2.) Mr. Jent alleges Officer Watson, Sgt. Radats,
and Lt. Williams knew he had bladder problems. He alleges
they maliciously and sadistically forced him to suffer and
forced him to violate prison rules by urinating on the floor.
conditions violate the Eighth Amendment if “the prison
officials' act or omission . . . result[s] in the denial
of the minimal civilized measure of life's
necessities.” “Adequate . . . facilities to . . .
use the toilet are among the ‘minimal civilized measure
of life's necessities that must be afforded
prisoners.” See Jaros v. Illinois Dep't of
Corr., 684 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2012), citing
Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 347 (1981), and
Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 304 (1991); but
see Strominger v. Brock, 592 Fed.Appx. 508, 511 (7th
Cir. 2014) (finding no deprivation of life's necessities
where inmate “mobility and access to the toilet were
made a little more difficult on a very temporary
basis”), Dixon v. Godinez, 114 F.3d 640, 643
(7th Cir. 1997) (duration of deprivation must be considered
in determining whether condition of confinement is
unconstitutional), Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d
1422, 1431 (7th Cir.1996) (same); and Harris v.
Fleming, 839 F.2d 1232, 1234-36 (7th Cir. 1988)
(temporary neglect of prisoner's hygienic needs, which
included an eleven-hour delay in providing toilet paper, does
not establish an Eighth Amendment violation).
Jent's case presents a question of whether Officer
Watson, Sgt. Radats, and Lt. Williams inflicted upon Mr. Jent
unnecessary and wanton pain and suffering. The answer depends
on whether the decision to place and leave him in a cell
without a toilet was made in a “good faith effort to
maintain or restore discipline or maliciously and
sadistically for the very purpose of causing harm.”
Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 320- 21, (1986)
(quotation marks and citation omitted).
Jent is also suing Lt. K. St. Martin. Jent alleges Lt. St.
Martin was involved with the disciplinary proceeding related
to his urinating on the floor. However, Mr. Jent did urinate
on the floor, and Mr. Jent is not alleging that Lt. St.
Martin was involved with forcing him to do so. “Only
persons who cause or participate in the violations are
responsible.” George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605,
609 (7th Cir. 2007). “[P]ublic employees are
responsible for their own misdeeds but not for anyone
else's.” Burks v. Raemisch, 555 F.3d 592,
596 (7th Cir. 2009). Therefore he has not stated a claim
against Lt. St. Martin.
Mr. Jent asks that four conduct reports be vacated. Mr. Jent
was charged and found guilty of urinating on the floor on
August 17, 2018, but it's unclear what other conduct
reports he is referencing. In any case, “habeas corpus
is the exclusive remedy for a state prisoner who challenges
the fact or duration of his confinement . . ..”
Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 481 (1994). In fact,
Mr. Jent has already filed a habeas corpus petition
challenging the August 17, 2018, incident. See Jent v.
Warden, 3:19-CV-087 (N.D. Ind. filed February 11, 2019).
Therefore he may only proceed on a claim for monetary damages
in this case.
these reasons, the Court:
(1) GRANTS Randy Lee Jent leave to proceed against Officer
Anthony J. Watson, Sgt. Kaitlyn Radats, and Lt. Pauline
Williams on his Eight Amendment claim that, on August 17,
2019, they sadistically forced him to suffer while he was
attempting to hold his urine in order to avoid violating the
rule against urinating on the floor;
(2) DISMISSES all other claims;
(3) DISMISSES defendant Lt. K. St. Martin;
(4) DIRECTS the clerk to request Waiver of Service from (and
if necessary the United States Marshals Service to serve
process on) Officer Anthony J. Watson, Sgt. Kaitlyn Radats,
and Lt. Pauline Williams at the Indiana Department of
Correction with a copy of this order and the amended
complaint (ECF 14), pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(d);
(5) ORDERS the Indiana Department of Correction to provide
the United States Marshal Service with the full name, date of
birth, social security number, last employment date, work
location, and last known home address of any defendant ...