HCB Attorneys Win Summary Judgment in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois on Behalf of Rock Island County Sheriff

February 6, 2023

Rock Island County Sheriff, Gerald Bustos, was sued for a federal conditions of confinement claim in which the plaintiff alleged: he was denied sufficient time and space to exercise, that he slept on the floor because his living conditions were too uncomfortable, the exercise area he was afforded was insufficient, and the jail had mold and unclean air.

Sheriff Bustos was represented by Hervas, Condon & Bersani attorneys Yordana J. Wysocki and Christian E. Ketter. Wysocki and Ketter argued on summary judgment that the Sheriff was not personally involved in Plaintiff’s allegations. Furthermore, Plaintiff chose to sleep on the floor during the daytime, despite the fact that the jail prohibited it and despite the jail’s affordance of full amenities in his cell for proper sleeping arrangements, which included a mattress. The defense showed that the reason Plaintiff could not use certain exercise areas was based upon legitimate security reasons and that Plaintiff admitted he had meaningful exercise opportunities in his cell. The District Court reasoned that Plaintiff’s dayroom access was a reasonable alternative to gym access at the jail. The defense also showed that the jail was regularly cleaned and the purported uncleanliness was based only on Plaintiff’s assumptions and not upon any evidence. Ultimately, U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois Judge James E. Shadid ruled that for these reasons, the conditions alleged did not rise to a level that was objectively unreasonable.

Berry v. Bustos

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