United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
January 11, 2005.
BRIAN DUGAN, Plaintiff,
KENNETH BRILEY, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge
This matter is before the court on Defendants' motion for
summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, we grant the
motion for summary judgment in its entirety.
Dugan is currently incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center,
but was formerly incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center
("Stateville"). Dugan claims that Defendants, various officials
at Stateville, violated his constitutional rights by denying him
access to the same programs that were available to the general
prison population while Dugan was confined in protective custody
("PC") at Stateville. Dugan claims that he was denied access to
the prison law library, was not allowed to have a job at the prison, was denied access to the same religious
services, and the same recreational activities, and was denied
access to other programs offered by Stateville. Dugan has brought
this action alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section
Summary judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party, reveals that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c). In seeking a grant of summary judgment the moving party
must identify "those portions of `the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with
the affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)). This initial burden may be satisfied by presenting
specific evidence on a particular issue or by pointing out "an
absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case."
Id. at 325. Once the movant has met this burden, the non-moving
party cannot simply rest on the allegations in the pleadings,
but, "by affidavits or as otherwise provided for in [Rule 56],
must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). A "genuine issue" in the
context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a
"metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact
exists when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Insolia v. Philip
Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2000). The court must
consider the record as a whole, in a light most favorable to the
non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences that favor
the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Bay v.
Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th Cir. 2000).
I. Affidavits of Inmates
Dugan attempts to support his position with his own affidavit
and affidavits of several other inmates. Defendants have moved to
strike the affidavits. We agree that in regards to some of the
affidavits, they are not properly notarized and are not properly
executed. Also, the affidavits include broad generalizations that
are too vague to be of assistance to the trier of fact. The
affidavits fail to point to specific complaints or dates and the
trier of fact would therefore be required to speculate based upon
the generalized comments included within the affidavits. Also,
certain statements included in the affidavits would be
misleading, unduly prejudicial, and inadmissible for other evidentiary reasons as well. Therefore, we
grant Defendants' motion to strike the affidavits as improper.
II. Denial of Access to the Courts Claim
Dugan argues that he was denied access to the law library. A
plaintiff must show that he suffered an injury from the denial of
access to the court in order to maintain a Section 1983 claim for
denial of access. Nance v. Vieregge, 147 F.3d 589, 591 (7th
Cir. 1998). For a denial of access to the courts claim "a
prisoner must show that unjustified acts or conditions `hindered
his efforts to pursue a legal claim.'" Nance v. Vieregge,
147 F.3d 589, 591 (7th Cir. 1998) (quoting in part Lewis v.
Casey, 518 U.S. 343, 351 (1996)). Dugan claims that his box of
legal papers was in the library and that he was not able to go to
the law library during November of 2001, causing his appeal in
case 99 C 4382 to be dismissed. This claim is not borne out by
the undisputed evidence. According to the public record docket in
that case, which was dismissed by Judge Zagel on June 7, 2001,
Dugan's appeal was dismissed for failure to pay the filing fee.
On October 26, 2001, an order issued indicating that Dugan was
required to pay the filing fee by November 7, 2001. Dugan failed
to do so which resulted in the final dismissal of the appeal on
November 28, 2001. He has failed to show that he was prevented
from pursuing a meritorious claim, as his claim had already been
dismissed. The evidence thus is undisputed that his appeal was
dismissed due to his failure to pay his fling fee rather than his
inability to present adequate legal arguments. Neither has Dugan pointed to evidence
that shows that his efforts were hindered in regards to the
pursuit of any other legal claims. Also, the prison had to
institute a general lockdown for the entire prison population for
legitimate security reasons which prevented inmates from using
the prison library at times. Therefore, we grant Defendants'
motion for summary judgment on the denial of access to the court
III. Denial of Access to Recreation
Dugan claims that his recreational activities were restricted
as a result of being placed in PC. As the Seventh Circuit
recognized in Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422 (7th Cir.
1996), the "[l]ack of exercise may rise to a constitutional
violation in extreme and prolonged situations where movement is
denied to the point that the inmate's health is threatened."
Id. at 1432. In Thomas v. Ramos, 130 F. 3d 754 (7th Cir.
1997), the Seventh Circuit discussed the conditions of
confinement related to the sufficiency of exercise in prison.
Id. at 762-64. The court held that there is no Eighth Amendment
violation where a prisoner had room in his cell to do push-ups,
sit-ups, jogging in place and step-ups. Id.
In the instant action, Dugan had much more than that. He had
periodic yard access and gym access, even when in X house. Dugan
complains that he could not go to the weight room, (P. Dep. pp.
73-74), and complains that PC inmates were not allowed to use the
South Yard for exercise like the general population. However, Dugan was in a prison, not a health club. He had no right to
dictate access to his preferred workout facilities. It is not
genuinely disputed that the prison must accommodate more than
2,900 inmates and thus it clearly was not practicable to tie up
the South Yard for a select few PC inmates or to tie up prison
staff to escort the PC inmates to the opposite side of the
prison. Dugan has not shown that he suffered any injury due to
being unable to exercise in his preferred place and fashion.
Also, the evidence is clear that the lockdowns that limited
recreational activities at times were based on legitimate
security concerns. Therefore, we grant Defendants' motion for
summary judgment on the claim based upon the denial of access to
IV. Denial of Access to Religious Activities
Dugan claims that his religious activities were restricted as a
result of being placed in PC. An inmate must be allowed "to
practice his religion as long as doing so does not unduly burden
the institution." Hunafa v. Murphy, 907 F.2d 46, 47 (7th Cir.
1990). A prison regulation that affects an inmate's First
Amendment rights "is valid only `if it is reasonably related to
legitimate penological interests.'" Alston v. DeBruyn,
13 F.3d 1036, 1039 (7th Cir. 1994) (Turner v. Safley, 482 U.S. 78,
89 (1987)). In order for a prisoner to succeed on his claim that
a prison has violated his First Amendment right to the free
exercise of religion, the prisoner must establish: "(1) that he
espouses a bona fide religion, (2) that his beliefs are
sincerely held, and (3) that the activity he wishes to perform is essential to the
practice of his religion." Saunders-El v. Tsoulos,
1 F.Supp.2d 845, 847 (N.D. Ill. 1998).
In the instant action, Dugan now claims in his affidavit that
he is both a Christian and a Catholic. However, in April of 2000
he submitted a written request to the prison chaplain to change
his faith from Catholic to Agnostic and the request was approved
on April 6, 2000. Also, even if Dugan had shown that he was a
practicing Catholic, Defendants submit undisputed evidence that
indicates that in PC the prison still provided some services by
having chaplains and volunteer clergy go to the living unit.
Dugan has failed to point to sufficient evidence to dispute these
material facts. In addition, the evidence is undisputed that
religious activities for all inmates were inhibited at times
during general lockdowns that were instituted for legitimate
security reasons. Therefore, we grant Defendants' motion for
summary judgment on the denial of access to religious activities
IV. Denial of Access to Prison Job and Classes
Dugan also claims that he was denied the opportunity to
participate in a prison job and to attend educational or
rehabilitative classes. However, the evidence clearly shows that
after the move to X-House, due to the small number of PC inmates
that were temporarily held in the X-House, there was no practical
way for the prison to provide the services to those inmates. The
evidence is clear that only two jobs were available to PC inmates
because PC inmates cannot work in shifts where they will have contact with the general population. Both
positions were filled by PC inmates. In regards to the classes
the evidence is also clear that it was not practical for the
prison to offer classes to only a select few inmates at a time
and in particular to an inmate who would likely be unable to
complete the classes because of a imminent transfer.
Also, to the extent that Dugan asserts due process claims based
on his denial of access to a prison job or classes, Dugan fails
to point to sufficient evidence to support the claims. The
limitations of procedural due process "allow? the government to
deprive a citizen of `life, liberty, or property' only in
accordance with certain procedural protections." Doe v. City of
Lafayette, Ind., 377 F.3d 757, 768 (7th Cir. 2004). In order
to succeed on a procedural due process claim, a plaintiff must
establish that there is: "(1) a cognizable property interest; (2)
a deprivation of that property interest; and (3) a denial of due
process." Hudson v. City of Chicago, 374 F.3d 554, 559 (7th
Cir. 2004) (quoting Buttitta v. City of Chicago, 9 F.3d 1198,
1201 (7th Cir. 1993)). Dugan fails to point to evidence that
would show that he had a liberty or property interest in
obtaining a prison job or attending prison rehabilitation or
educational classes. Therefore, we grant Defendants' motion for
summary judgment on the claims based upon the denial of a prison
job and the denial of access to educational and rehabilitative
IV. Lack of Personal Involvement Several of the Defendants argue that Dugan has failed to
present evidence to show that they had personal involvement in
the alleged misconduct. The Seventh Circuit has made it clear
that "[t]he doctrine of respondeat superior does not apply to §
1983 actions. . . ." Sanville v. McCaughtry, 266 F.3d 724, 740
(7th Cir. 2001). Thus, an individual cannot be held liable
under Section 1983 in his individual capacity unless he
"participated directly in the constitutional violation."
Hildebrandt v. Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources,
347 F.3d 1014, 1039 (7th Cir. 2003) (stating that "Section 1983
creates a cause of action based on personal liability and
predicated upon fault; thus, liability does not attach unless the
individual defendant caused or participated in a constitutional
deprivation."). For a supervisor to be held liable under Section
1983 for acting in his supervisory role, a plaintiff must show
that the supervisor directed the constitutional deprivation or
that it occurred with his "knowledge and consent." Id.
(indicating that a plaintiff must show that the supervisor knew
"about the conduct and facilitate it, approve it, condone it, or
turn a blind eye."). Dugan has failed to point to any evidence
that indicates that Defendants Stephen Mote, Jerome Springborn,
John Thomas, Donald Snyder, or George Adamson had any personal
involvement in the alleged misconduct either directly or
indirectly. Therefore, we grant Defendants' motion for summary
judgment on all claims brought against the above mentioned
Defendants. V. Equal Protection Claim
Defendants also seek summary judgment on the equal protection
claim. The Equal Protection Clause provides "to all Americans the
right to be free from invidious discrimination in statutory
classifications and other governmental activity." Nabozny v.
Podlesny, 92 F. 3d 446, 453 (7th Cir. 1996) (quoting Harris
v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297, 322 (1980)). Under the traditional equal
protection analysis, if the alleged class is not a suspect class,
the court "will address [the plaintiff's] equal protection claim
under the familiar rational basis test, . . . [and rule for the
defendant] if `there is any reasonably conceivable state of facts
that could provide a rational basis for the classification.'"
Zambrano v. Reinert, 291 F.3d 964, 970 (7th Cir. 2002)
(quoting in part FCC v. Beach Communications, Inc.,
508 U.S. 307, 313 (1993)).
Dugan claims that the class of PC inmates were discriminated
against and treated differently than the general population.
However, as explained above Dugan has failed to point to evidence
that would indicate that there were any significant differences
in the treatment of PC inmates. The undisputed evidence clearly
shows that all the measures taken in regards to PC inmates were
taken for valid security reasons in order to promote the welfare
and protection of the inmates. Therefore, we grant Defendants'
motion for summary judgment on the equal protection claims. CONCLUSION
Based on the foregoing analysis, we grant Defendants' motion
for summary judgment in its entirety on all claims.
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