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Hanrahan v. Lane

*fn*: October 30, 1984.


Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 82 C 3400 -- J. Sam Perry, Judge.

Before BAUER, CUDAHY and FLAUM, Circuit Judges. PER CURIAM. Pro se plaintiff, Michael Hanrahan, appeals the dismissal of his ยง 1983 action challenging prison disciplinary actions taken against him. The plaintiff is suing three prison guards, the members of the Adjustment Committee who sanctioned him, the Warden and the Commissioner of Corrections. These disciplinary actions, plaintiff alleges, were taken against him in retaliation for his refusal to succumb to the extortion demands of the defendant prison guards.

The district court dismissed petitioner's claims.*fn1 For the reasons which follow, we reverse the dismissal and remand the case for a determination of certain of plaintiff's claims on the merits.


In determining the propriety of a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6),*fn2 we must take all the allegations of the complaint to be true. Jenkins v. McKeithen, 395 U.S. 411, 23 L. Ed. 2d 404, 89 S. Ct. 1843 (1969); National Van Lines v. United States, 326 F.2d 362 (7th Cir. 1964). Petitioner states that on November 20, 1980, at approximately 4:00 P.M., defendant Langdon, a Corrections Officer, approached plaintiff's cell and stated that all drugs and liquor in the institution came through him and quoted the plaintiff his prices. Plaintiff and his cellmate indicated that they were not interested.

On November 23, 1980, defendant Langdon, and defendant Gordon, another Corrections Officer, approached the plaintiff's cell and stated that they would "shake down" the cell. Defendant Gordon stated that he would not "shake down" the cell if he were given money. When plaintiff and his cellmate refused to pay any money, Officers Langdon and Gordon searched the cell. After the search, another Corrections Officer, defendant Lieutenant Austin, approached the cell to inquire why the prisoners were ordered to leave and Lieutenant Austin left. Officer Gordon continued the search and inspected a gold crucifix and chain belonging to plaintiff's cellmate. In their search of plaintiff's cell the officers found no contraband or money. Officer Gordon then produced two or three small rolled cigarettes which appeared to be marijuana. Officer Gordon turned the cigarettes over to Lieutenant Austin, who had returned to the cell area, and then stated to plaintiff that no disciplinary report would be written if plaintiff paid them $100. When plaintiff refused, disciplinary tickets were served on him an hour later.

Plaintiff reported the incident to James Foster who was in charge of the Bureau of Identification. Foster indicated that the Internal Affairs department at the prison would be notified.

Plaintiff appeared before an Adjustment Committee consisting of defendants Martin, Steinberg and Randell. The Committee found plaintiff guilty, sentenced him to loss of fifteen days of good conduct credit and demotion to "C" grade, and then recommended that the matter be turned over to Internal Affairs for investigation. Plaintiff asserts that he never received a statement of evidence relied upon or the reasons for the sanctions.

Subsequently, Foster told plaintiff that he was instructed to keep out of the investigation upon threat of bodily injury. Foster reported this threat to defendant Bosse, Warden, and defendant Cartwright, Chief of Security.

Thereafter, plaintiff filed a grievance with the Inquiry Board challenging his disciplinary proceeding. The Board indicated an investigation was underway; recommended upholding the punishment imposed by the Adjustment Committee; and ordered plaintiff to take a polygraph exam. Plaintiff then filed a grievance with the Administrative Review Board at the Department of Corrections challenging the disciplinary proceedings and the actions of the officers. The Administrative Review Board recommended a polygraph test and ordered that the results be sent to defendant Lane, Director of the Department of Corrections, for review.

Several months later, plaintiff submitted to a polygraph test concerning the incident. It was the examiner's opinion that the results were not favorable to the plaintiff. Defendant Lane denied plaintiff's grievance on this basis.


The issue presented for review is whether plaintiff's pleadings, with all the allegations contained in them taken as true, state a claim upon which relief can be granted. We turn to this issue bearing in mind that we must construe the pleadings liberally, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 30 L. Ed. 2d 652, 92 S. Ct. 594 (1972), and that "a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-56, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957); Hayes v. Walker, 555 F.2d 625 (7th Cir.) (Hayes I), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 959, 54 L. Ed. 2d 320, 98 S. Ct. 491 (1977).

Plaintiff-appellant challenges the district court's dismissal of his complaint and points to three claims which, if proved, would entitle him to relief. The claims are (1) that plaintiff's right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure was violated when the defendant prison guards searched his cell in retaliation for failure to pay an extortion demand; (2) that plaintiff's due process rights were violated when the defendant prison guards planted false evidence and issued a disciplinary ticket in retaliation for failure to pay an extortion demand; and (3) that plaintiff's due process rights were violated when defendant Adjustment Committee members adjudged plaintiff guilty, failed to give him a statement of the evidence ...

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