955 F.2d 21 (7th Cir. 1992), 91-1355, Jackson v. Duckworth

Docket Nº:91-1355.
Citation:955 F.2d 21
Party Name:Marshall JACKSON, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Jack DUCKWORTH, Warden; H. Abbott, Investigator; C. Adkins, Assistant Warden; et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:January 27, 1992
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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955 F.2d 21 (7th Cir. 1992)

Marshall JACKSON, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

Jack DUCKWORTH, Warden; H. Abbott, Investigator; C.

Adkins, Assistant Warden; et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 91-1355.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

January 27, 1992

Submitted Oct. 2, 1991.

Marshall Jackson, pro se.

David A. Nowak, Deputy Atty. Gen., Federal Litigation, Indianapolis, Ind., for defendants-appellees.

Before POSNER, COFFEY, and RIPPLE, Circuit Judges.

POSNER, Circuit Judge.

This is a prisoner's civil rights suit against officials of the Indiana prison system. The district judge granted summary judgment for the defendants. Only one of the many issues pressed by the prisoner on appeal merits discussion in a published opinion; the others are decided in an unpublished order issued today. The issue we discuss is whether the claim of

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cruel and unusual punishment presents a genuine issue of material fact. Both parties treat this as a "subhuman conditions" case, and focus on the objective inhumanity of the conditions. The prisoner's affidavit states that he was forced to live with "filth, leaking and inadequate plumbing, roaches, rodents, the constant smell of human waste, poor lighting, inadequate heating, unfit water to drink, dirty and unclean bedding, without toilet paper, rusted out toilets, broken windows, [and] ... drinking water contain[ing] small black worms which would eventually turn into small black flies." The defendants have presented sworn denials of these conditions, but summary judgment is not a procedure for resolving a swearing contest. Chandler v. Baird, 926 F.2d 1057 (11th Cir.1991); Lewis v. Lane, 816 F.2d 1165, 1171 (7th Cir.1987). The district judge said that "Mr. Jackson has failed to come forth with evidence to show a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the conditions of confinement which he has endured violated the Eighth Amendment." But an affidavit is evidence for purposes of determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). And while the judge seems to have been displeased with what he called the "general" character of Jackson's allegations, in fact the affidavit sets forth the allegedly barbarous conditions of his confinement in rather excruciating detail.

But, we emphasize, there is more to a subhuman-conditions case than subhuman conditions. "Punishment," for...

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