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HADLEY v. PETERS

January 26, 1994

WILLIE B. HADLEY, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
HOWARD PETERS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge:

  OPINION

Willie Hadley, a state prisoner, has brought this civil rights action pro se.

Summary judgment is granted in favor of the defendants.

The plaintiff claims that the defendants, various Graham Correctional Center officials, violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights by conspiring to: deny him due process in prison disciplinary proceedings, retaliate against him for his litigation, discriminate against him because of his race, subject him to cruel and unusual conditions of confinement, and interfere with his access to the courts. This matter is before the court for consideration of the defendants' motion to dismiss, which the court construes as a motion for summary judgment.*fn1 For the reasons stated in this order, the motion will be allowed.

Summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Herman v. National Broadcasting Co., Inc., 744 F.2d 604, 607 (7th Cir. 1984), cert. denied, 470 U.S. 1028, 105 S.Ct. 1393, 84 L.Ed.2d 782 (1985). In determining whether factual issues exist, the court must view all the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Beraha v. Baxter Health Corp., 956 F.2d 1436, 1440 (7th Cir. 1992).

However, Rule 56(c) "mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322, 106 S.Ct. at 2552. "Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party there is no 'genuine' issue for trial." Mechnig v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 864 F.2d 1359 (7th Cir. 1988). A "metaphysical doubt" will not suffice. Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1356, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). Disputed facts are material only if they might affect the outcome of the suit. First Ind. Bank v. Baker, 957 F.2d 506, 507-08 (7th Cir. 1992).

FACTS

The plaintiff is a state prisoner, confined at the Graham Correctional Center at all times relevant to this action. The defendants include D.O.C. Director Howard Peters and eighteen Graham Correctional Center officials.*fn2

The following facts are undisputed for purposes of this motion: On April 26, 1992, the plaintiff was employed as a janitor in the health care unit. On that date, the plaintiff made a request of the defendant Nurse Sanders to call two inmates over to the health care unit so that they could discuss "some legal matters." The following day, Sanders issued the plaintiff a disciplinary report charging him with having violated prison rule 103 (Bribery and Extortion). Sanders is white; the plaintiff is black. The defendant Branhan served the plaintiff with the disciplinary report.

On April 29, 1992, the plaintiff was interviewed by the defendant Vunetich, a hearing investigator. After their discussion, Vunetich reportedly told the plaintiff that it was his conclusion there had been no rule violation.*fn3

On April 30, 1992, the plaintiff appeared before the institutional Adjustment Committee to contest the charges. The Committee (comprised of the defendants Stiff and Tribble) recommended that further investigation be conducted and that additional information be added to the report.

On May 4, 1992, the plaintiff approached the defendant Fox to inquire why the disciplinary ticket had not been expunged. Fox allegedly became irate, made racially derogatory remarks, and told the plaintiff that he would not be allowed to get away with disrespecting a white woman.

On May 5, 1992, the defendant Gabean, another internal affairs investigator, interrogated the plaintiff. The plaintiff asserted that the ticket had been written in retaliation for the plaintiff's lawsuit against Graham officials, and that a conspiracy was afoot. Despite the plaintiff's protests of innocence, Gabean issued a revised disciplinary report on May 12, 1992, confirming the charges of bribery and extortion. The plaintiff made a fruitless, renewed effort the next day to convince the hearing investigator that the charges were false, causing the plaintiff stress and exacerbating his medical complaints.

Prior to the initiation of disciplinary action, the plaintiff had been given a medical "lay-in" due to a burst hemorrhoid. When the plaintiff returned to work on an unspecified date, the defendant Cearlock, the health care unit administrator, dismissed the plaintiff from his job as a porter. Cearlock explained, "You were way out of line, Hadley, talking to Diana like that so I'm gonna have to let you go."

The plaintiff wrote letters to the defendants Peters (Director of the Department of Corrections), Dobucki (Graham Warden), Baker and Sassatelli (Assistant Wardens) complaining of his "retaliatory" treatment; however, those individuals took no action on the plaintiff's correspondences.

On May 15, 1992, the plaintiff again appeared before the Adjustment Committee. The matter was referred once again back to Internal Affairs because the report inaccurately stated that the plaintiff already had been found guilty of bribery.

On May 18, 1992, the plaintiff received the third re-written disciplinary report. The defendant Gabean wrote the report although he had not been present in the Medical Unit at the time of the events giving rise to the disciplinary action. The defendant Randolph reviewed and signed the purportedly deficient report.

On May 21, 1992, the plaintiff was summoned before the Adjustment Committee (composed of the defendants Stiff and Reid) for hearing on the charges. A "Jane "Doe" also was present in the hearing room. Rejecting the plaintiff's arguments, the Committee found him guilty of bribery and imposed a punishment of fifteen days in segregation and thirty days demotion to "C" grade. The Committee further recommended that the plaintiff be transferred to a maximum security prison.

The plaintiff was placed in segregation on May 21, 1992, at 1:15 p.m. The segregation cell was dirty and dusty, had a torn mattress and lacked heat. Cold air blew from the vents. The plaintiff's daily requests for gloves were denied. The plaintiff had no bedding until 10:30 that evening and was completely denied a pillow.*fn4 In addition, the shower was "filthy," with mildew, clumps of hair, and cigarette butts on the floor. The plaintiff was not permitted to make telephone calls to his family while in the segregation unit.

According to the plaintiff, the defendants repeatedly denied his requests for law books, typewriters, assistance and legal forms while the plaintiff was in segregation, necessitating his filing of a motion for an extension of time so that an appeal would not be dismissed.*fn5 Additionally, in Hadley v. Peters (Case Number, 90-1207), Peoria Division Chief Judge Mihm ruled the plaintiff to show cause why judgment should not be entered against the plaintiff for failure to respond to a pending motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff subsequently submitted opposing materials, and the case was decided on its substantive merits.

On May 22, 1992, the defendant Baker advised the plaintiff that he was not going to concur in the recommendation to transfer the plaintiff to a maximum security institution; however, he informed the plaintiff that he intended to recommend job reassignment and continued placement in segregation. The plaintiff was granted an early release from segregation on June 1, 1992.

On October 25, 1992, the plaintiff was attacked by his cellmate (Byman) for calling him a "bum" after having tolerated Byman's purported lack of personal hygiene for months. The plaintiff required hospitalization for his injuries. The prison staff failed to prevent the altercation although they allegedly knew that the plaintiff had a history of conflict "with just about all his prior cellmates."

Despite the fact that the plaintiff was the only inmate harmed, he, too, received a disciplinary report from the defendant Fox for fighting. The Adjustment Committee, comprised of the defendants Stiff and Davison, found the plaintiff guilty of the charge and imposed eight days in segregation [or ...


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