Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 12th Judicial Circuit, Will County, Illinois No. 99-MR-79 Honorable Kathleen J. Kallan, Judge, Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Breslin
MODIFIED UPON DENIAL OF PETITION FOR REHEARING
The plaintiff, Willie B. Hadley, Jr., brought a federal civil rights action (42 U.S.C.A. §1983 (1998)) against six named Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) officials. The trial court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment (735 ILCS 5/2--1005 (West 2000)). On appeal, Hadley contends that the court erred by (1) failing to compel the defendants to produce certain documents and to answer one set of interrogatories; and (2) granting summary judgment to the defendants. The defendants argue that Hadley failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. We rule that (1) Hadley exhausted his administrative remedies; (2) the court's failure to compel production of documents and answers to interrogatories was harmless; and (3) summary judgment against Hadley was appropriate because his section 1983 claim did not present a genuine issue of material fact.
Hadley is a prisoner in the custody of the DOC. He requested to be placed in protective custody while in prison.
Protective custody is available to a prisoner when he fears for his safety or when the warden believes that the prisoner's safety may be in jeopardy. Protective custody inmates are housed by the DOC according to four categories. Category 1 and 2 inmates have been granted protective custody. Category 1 prisoners are smaller, less aggressive, and less institutionally sophisticated, while Category 2 inmates are larger, more aggressive, and more institutionally sophisticated. Category 3 inmates have been granted protective custody, but have not been classified as either Category 1 or Category 2 prisoners. Category 4 prisoners are those who have been denied protective custody and are awaiting administrative review of that denial. Category 4 is also called "kickout status."
All four categories of protective custody inmates are segregated from the general prison populace. Category 3 and 4 prisoners must be segregated from the Category 1 and 2 prisoners.
Hadley's request for protective custody was denied. He filed a grievance challenging the denial of his request. While waiting for his grievance to be reviewed, Hadley was placed in Category 4.
On February 26, 1999, Hadley filed a pro se section 1983 complaint against Donald N. Snyder, Jr., Michael O'Leary, Dwayne A. Clark, Jerome Springborn, Vernette Covin-Russell, and George E. Detella, who were DOC officials. In his complaint, Hadley alleged that while in kickout status, he was denied access to a variety of programs and services available to the general prison populace. He complained that he did not have access to the same exercise yard, gym, dining room, religious services, counseling, educational classes, jobs, library services, and barber services as the general populace.
Hadley alleged that because of these deprivations, the defendants had violated his first amendment right to free exercise of religion and his fourteenth amendment rights to due process and equal protection. He also contended that the DOC officials had violated a remedial order issued by the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois regarding the treatment of protective custody prisoners.
Both Hadley and the defendants moved for summary judgment. The trial court denied Hadley's motion and granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants. Hadley appealed.
Additional facts will be introduced as they relate to individual issues.
I. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
Hadley was required to exhaust his administrative remedies before filing a section 1983 complaint. 42 U.S.C.A. §1997e(a) (1998). The defendants claim the record does not show that Hadley exhausted his administrative remedies. We disagree.
Hadley wrote a letter to the director of the DOC complaining about limited access to the law library. That letter was received by the Office of Inmate Services on July 10, 1998. A memo from the DOC to Hadley, dated August 11, 1998, refers to Hadley's letter and indicates that he should use the proper grievance report form. The defendants' brief cites this DOC memo for the proposition that the Administrative Review Board (ARB) found that Hadley failed to follow the proper procedure to present his section 1983 grievances.
Hadley, however, filed a grievance on July 13, 1998, using the proper grievance report form. On July 16, 1998, the ARB denied Hadley's first grievance.
On October 16, 1998, Hadley filed a second grievance also using the proper grievance form. This grievance was received by the Office of Inmate Services on October 26, 1998. In this grievance, Hadley raised the same contentions that he raised in his section 1983 complaint. The DOC issued a memo to Hadley, dated December 9, 1998, regarding Hadley's second grievance. The memo stated, "ARB reviewed and denied 7-16-98," apparently in reference to the denial of Hadley's first grievance on July 16, 1998. The memo said that there was "[n]o justification for further consideration" of Hadley's second grievance. Hadley then filed his section 1983 complaint on February 26, 1999.
Based on the above documents, we conclude that Hadley exhausted his administrative remedies before filing his section 1983 complaint.
II. Discovery Documents and Interrogatories
Hadley contends that the trial court erred by failing to compel (1) production of discovery documents, and (2) answers to interrogatories propounded by ...