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Manuel v. Budz

October 20, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Robert W. Gentleman


Plaintiff William F. Manuel filed a first amended complaint*fn1 against employees of the Sexually Violent Persons ("SVP") Unit of the Sheridan Correctional Facility, alleging violations of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants filed a motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, the motion to dismiss is denied.


Plaintiff has been civilly committed to the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services ("DHS") pursuant to the Illinois Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, 725 ILCS 207/1 et seq. For the period referenced in his complaint, plaintiff was housed in the Sexually Violent Persons Treatment and Detention Facility ("TDF") of the Sheridan Correctional Center.

On the morning of October 23, 1999, approximately 63 TDF residents gathered in the exercise yard to discuss their dissatisfaction with their treatment plans, work assignments, and ability to move through the facility without restraints. Plaintiff did not participate in the discussions and "limited his involvement to listening." During this meeting, all residents were closely monitored by several Security Therapeutic Aides ("STAs"). According to plaintiff, the residents made no threat of imminent disruption or violence, and at no point did plaintiff voice his concerns. At the end of the meeting, plaintiff returned to his room and had no further discussions with other residents regarding the meeting. He did not participate in any future plans or meetings regarding the residents' concerns.

For the remainder of the day, the residents exhibited no riot- or strike-related conduct and showed no aggression toward facility officials. Later that evening, however, two residents fought in the dining hall. Plaintiff did not participate in the fight in any way. After the fight, defendants Budz, Hargis, and Wood placed all residents on Secure Management Status ("SMS"), or "lock-down."

On the morning of October 24, 1999, an STA came to plaintiff's room and removed plaintiff's personal electronic devices and revoked his commissary privileges. The STA told plaintiff he was taking these actions because plaintiff actively participated in plans to incite a riot and engaged in threatening behavior toward STA staff members. Plaintiff requested an opportunity to discuss this decision with members of the Behavioral Management team, including defendants Jumper and Farley, but the team denied his request.

On or about October 26, 1999, defendant Jumper prepared a Behavior Management Meeting report, which outlined plaintiff's alleged conduct at the October 23, 1999, meeting. This report recommended that plaintiff remain on SMS. Plaintiff did not receive a copy of this report until on or about November 12, 1999, after he had been on SMS for three weeks.

On October 28, 1999, defendants Budz, Hargis, and Wood ordered plaintiff to submit to an interview. Plaintiff was escorted to his interview in handcuffs, where an STA asked him about his role in the October 23, 1999, meeting and to provide names of the meeting's leaders. Plaintiff stated that he did not participate actively in the meeting and did not engage in any threatening or abusive behavior toward any staff on duty that day. He also stated that all residents acted peacefully during the meeting. Plaintiff asked the staff members present at his interview to consult with the STA who viewed his behavior during the October 23 meeting, but according to plaintiff, defendants never spoke with this STA.

On or about November 5, 1999, defendants Budz, Hargis, and Wood authorized staff to move plaintiff and ten other residents to "3-Hall," another area of the Sheridan facility. Staff members told plaintiff he was being moved because he was a leader at the October 23 meeting, he had tried to incite a riot, and other residents were afraid of him.

On or about November 16, 1999, defendant Farley, plaintiff's primary clinical therapist, visited plaintiff in his room. Plaintiff alleges that defendants Wood and Jumper instructed defendant Farley to visit plaintiff. During the visit, defendant Farley pressured plaintiff to provide information about the October 23 meeting. Plaintiff told defendant Farley that he was not an active participant in the meeting. On November 23, defendant Farley visited plaintiff again. She told plaintiff he would not be released from SMS until he signed a statement agreeing to the following conditions: 1) full acknowledgment that he engaged in the behavior that led to SMS; 2) acceptance of personal responsibility for the behavior that led to SMS; 3) acceptance of all sanctions the Behavioral Committee found appropriate; and 4) no significant behavioral problems during the time on SMS or during the past fourteen days. Plaintiff refused to sign the statement. Defendant Farley continued to visit plaintiff through December 13 and asked him to sign the statement, but plaintiff refused.

Plaintiff was released from SMS on December 14, 1999. At no time did he sign the statement presented to him by defendant Farley or admit to participation in conduct that led to SMS. While on SMS, plaintiff was: 1) not given access to his personal possessions; 2) given the choice of a daily five-minute shower, to and from which he would be escorted in handcuffs, or a daily 30-minute visit to the dayroom, during which he would be handcuffed; 3) not permitted to leave his room without handcuffs; and 4) required to eat all meals in his room. Plaintiff attempted to file numerous grievances protesting his SMS, including the denial of commissary privileges and access to his personal property, but according to plaintiff, no official reviewed his grievances.


The purpose of a motion to dismiss is to test the sufficiency of the complaint, not to decide the merits. Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990). Federal notice pleading requires only that the plaintiff "set out in her complaint a short and plain statement of the claim that will provide the defendant with fair notice of the claim." Scott v. City of Chicago, 195 F.3d 950, 951 (7th Cir. 1999). When ruling on a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as ...

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