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Bell v. Fredrickson

October 3, 2006

RICKY BELL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MATTHEW FREDRICKSON, JEFFREY K. MCCUE, LYLE HAWKINSON, ROGER E. WALKER, JR., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harold A. Baker United States District Judge

ORDER

There is one claim remaining in this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 prisoner civil rights case: retaliation for filing grievances. Before the Court is the defendants' motion for summary judgment (d/e 34).

The court concludes that disputed issues of fact exist on the retaliation claims against Frederickson, McCue, and Hawkinson, but not against Walker. Walker will therefore be dismissed, and the case set for trial against the remaining defendants.

Summary Judgment Standard

A party moving for summary judgment must show, from the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, . . ." that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the "moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Outlaw v. Newkirk, 259 F.3d 833, 837 (7th Cir. 2001), citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986);Fed. R. Civ. P.56(c). This burden can be satisfied by "'showing'--that is, pointing out to the district court--that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. If such a showing is made, the burden shifts to the non-movant to "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Outlaw, 259 F.3d at 837. A nonmoving party cannot rest on its pleadings, but must demonstrate that there is admissible evidence that will support its position. Tolle v. Carroll Touch, Inc., 23 F.3d 174, 178 (7th Cir. 1994). Credibility questions "defeat summary judgment '[w]here an issue as to a material fact cannot be resolved without observation of the demeanor of witnesses in order to evaluate their credibility.'" Outlaw, 259 F.3d at 838, citing Advisory Committee Notes, 1963 Amendment to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(other citations omitted). 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).

Facts

These facts are set forth for purposes of this order only and are set forth in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Beraha v. Baxter Health Corp., 956 F.2d 1436, 1440 (7th Cir. 1992). Many are taken verbatim from the defendants' undisputed facts, to the extent not dispute by the plaintiff. Where a dispute exists, the plaintiff's version is set forth as fact, to the extent his affidavit is based on personal knowledge and he is competent to testify to the matters stated therein. Beraha v. Baxter Health Corp., 956 F.2d 1436, 1440 (7th Cir. 1992).

1. The plaintiff is an Illinois Department of Corrections inmate currently incarcerated at Illinois River Correctional Center. The events in this case occurred at Hill Correctional Center.

2. At all times relevant, Defendant Matthew Fredrickson was a Correctional Officer at Hill Correctional Center.

3. Defendant Jeffrey K. McCue is a Correctional Lieutenant at Hill Correctional Center.

4. Defendant Lyle Hawkinson is a Grievance Officer at Hill Correctional Center.

5. Defendant Roger E. Walker is the Director of Illinois Department of Corrections.

6. On February 14, 2003, the plaintiff submitted a grievance complaining that Defendant Fredrickson had wrongfully kept the plaintiff from going to the commissary. The grievance recounts that, on February 13, 2003, the plaintiff had been shopping in commissary and had spoken to some inmates in response to their questions. According to the grievance, Defendant Fredrickson revoked the plaintiff's commissary privileges for one week for talking while in commissary, which is against the rules. The grievance complained the Frederickson did not have the authority on his own to impose punishment for the violation of a prison rule. The plaintiff stated in his grievance that, under IDOC rules, Frederickson could have either orally reprimanded the plaintiff or written up a disciplinary report, but not revoked commissary privileges unilaterally. Attachment to Complaint, d/e 13, p. 15 of scanned attachment #1. Defendant Hawkinson denied the grievance, for the stated reason that the prison's policies and procedures had been followed.

8. The plaintiff avers that, on March 5, 2003, defendant Fredrickson approached the plaintiff's cell, while in the process of collecting commissary slips. According to the plaintiff Frederickson loudly questioned the plaintiff about his February grievance in front of other inmates on the wing, and also stated loudly that, "because of the plaintiff's grievance [Fredrickson] would have to write disciplinary reports on all inmates." Plaintiff's Aff. ¶ 4.

9. On March 5, 2003, Frederickson escorted the plaintiff and other inmates on the wing to commissary. Frederickson gave his traditional speech about the rule against talking in the commissary. After the speech, Defendant Frederickson looked at the plaintiff and asked if the plaintiff wanted ...


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