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Crawford v. Snyder

November 15, 2006

MARKUS CRAWFORD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DONALD SNYDER, ET. AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER

This cause is before the court for consideration of the defendant's motion for summary judgment. [d/e 78]

The plaintiff, Markus Crawford, originally brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 alleging that officials at the Pontiac Correctional Center violated his constitutional rights. On March 16, 2005, the court found that the plaintiff had one surviving claim: that Defendants Andrew Wilson, Jonathan Walls and Eva Moore retaliated against the plaintiff in violation of his First Amendment rights. The claim is against the defendants in their individual capacities only.

I. FACTS

The following facts are taken from the motion for summary judgment and the plaintiff's response. On May 29, 2002, the plaintiff received a disciplinary ticket based on the length of time he spent in the shower. The ticket accused the plaintiff of violating three rules: 1) #401, Violation of Rules; 2) #307, Unauthorized Movement; and 3) #403 Disobeying a Direct Order.

The plaintiff says he signed the ticket and listed his witnesses. On June 4, 2002, the plaintiff appeared before the Adjustment Committee. Defendant Andrew Wilson conducted the hearing. However, the hearing was continued so the plaintiff's witnesses could be interviewed.

The plaintiff claims Officer Wilson told the plaintiff that several other inmates had received the same ticket and had received one month of "c" grade status and a one month loss of commissary privileges. The plaintiff claims Wilson threatened the plaintiff and told him if the committee had to interview his witnesses, segregation time would be added to the plaintiff's punishment.

The hearing was continued and some witnesses were interviewed. The plaintiff filed a grievance on June 5, 2002 concerning both the disciplinary ticket and the Adjustment Committee hearing. (Plain. Memo, Ex A-3) The grievance claims that Officer Wilson threatened to impose segregation time if the plaintiff persisted in calling his witnesses. The plaintiff says he sent his emergency grievance to Defendant Walls and sent a letter to Defendant Moore. The plaintiff says he did not receive a response from either defendant.

Attached to the plaintiff's complaint is a June 13, 2002 memo from Defendant Warden Walls which states that the plaintiff's grievance does not qualify as an emergency and he should resubmit it to the grievance office. It is not clear, but it appears a designee may have signed the memo on behalf of the warden.

The plaintiff has also submitted a letter that he says he sent to Defendant Moore on June 5, 2002. The plaintiff never received a response.

On June 14, 2002, the second Adjustment Committee hearing was held. This time Officer Wilson was not involved in the hearing. Officers Robert Briggs and Robert Dixon conducted the hearing. The plaintiff was found guilty of Unauthorized Movement and Disobeying a Direct Order. He received three months of "c" grade status, three months of segregation and three months loss of commissary privileges.

Officer Wilson says he did not "communicate with or influence Biggs or Dixon regarding the discipline imposed on Plaintiff." (Def. Memo, Ex.1). Officers Biggs and Dixon confirm Wilson's claim and say there were not aware of any claimed threats made by Officer Wilson to the plaintiff. (Def. Memo, Ex 2, 3). The Adjustment Committee Final Summary Report states that the basis for the committee's decision was the plaintiff's partial admission that he was in the shower for 30 minutes, an officer's confirmation that the plaintiff was in shower for 40 minutes and the plaintiff's refusal to abide by the 15 minute deadline. (Def. Memo, Ex A)

The plaintiff has provided the Final Summary Reports for three other inmates who also received tickets based on staying in the shower too long. The disciplinary tickets were issued on May 29, 2002; May 30, 2002 and June 10, 2002. The subsequent Adjustment Committee hearings were held on June 4, 2002 and June 13, 2002. Officer Wilson sat on the two Adjustment Committee hearings held on June 4, 2002. In both of these cases, the inmate was found guilty and received one month "c"grade status and one month loss of commissary. No witnesses were requested by the ...


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