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Webb v. Budz

March 27, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Virginia M. Kendall


Plaintiffs Richard Webb, Dothan Rogers and Sebron Floyd ("Plaintiffs") have brought suit against Timothy Budz, Robert Glotz, Raymond Wood, Travis Hinze, Richard Travis, Tom Eisfelder, and Shan Jumper ("Defendants") for discrimination on the basis of race in violation of the Equal Protection Clause.*fn1

Defendants move for summary judgment as to all three Plaintiffs. Because Plaintiffs have not presented a genuine issue of material fact as to whether similarly situated non-protected individuals were treated differently than Plaintiffs, or presented admissible evidence that Defendants intended to discriminate on the basis of race, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is granted.

Statement of Facts

At the time of the events forming the basis for this action, Plaintiffs, all African-American, were civil detainees at the Illinois Department of Human Services Treatment and Detention Facility for Sexually Violent Persons (the "TDF") in Sheridan, Illinois. Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Facts ("Def. 56.1 Facts") at ¶ 1, 2.*fn2 Each of Plaintiffs had been civilly detained pursuant to the Sexually Violent Persons Commitment Act, 725 ILCS 207/1 et seq. (the "Act"). Def. 56.1 Facts at ¶ 2. Under the Act, persons who have finished their period of incarceration with the Illinois Department of Corrections ("DOC") may be transferred to the TDF for civil detainment if they are determined to be a continuing threat to themselves or to the community into which they would be released. See 725 ILCS 207/15, 207/40.At the time of the events, Defendant Budz was the TDF facility director, Defendant Glotz was the TDF security director, Defendant Wood was the TDF clinical director, Defendant Hinze was the TDF associate clinical director, and Defendants Speaker, Travis, Eisfelder, and Jumper were TDF clinical therapists. Def. 56.1 Facts at ¶¶ 3-10.

Within the treatment program at the TDF, individuals are placed as general residents of the facility Def. 56.1 Facts at ¶ 11. If a resident poses an imminent threat to himself or to another, TDF staff place the individual on temporary special/secure management status ("SMS"). Def. 56.1 Facts at ¶ 12. At the Sheridan TDF, SMS is a separate area from the rest of the general unit. Def. 56.1 Facts at ¶ 13. The SMS policy has eight levels of confinement within SMS, each of which corresponded to different amounts of privileges. Id. at ¶ 14.

After a behavioral incident leads to initial placement on SMS, the Behavior Management Committee ("BMC") assesses the dangerousness of the individual on SMS to determine whether that person should remain on SMS and at what level. Id. at ¶ 12. The BMC also periodically reviews residents on SMS to determine when an individual should move levels. Id. at ¶ 12, 15. In deciding whether an individual should move levels, the BMC considers several factors, including: (I) level of dangerousness; (ii) the individual's willingness to meet and discuss the incident that led to the placement on SMS; (iii) the individual's acceptance of responsibility; (iv) the individual's agreement to development of plan to prevent further such incidents; (v) the mental status of the individual; (vi) the resident's behavior history in the TDF program and in the Department of Corrections ("DOC"); (vii) the individual's behavior while in SMS; and (viii) whether there are criminal charges pending against the individual. Id. at ¶ 17. The BMC places considerable weight on its review and assessment of the resident's behavior while in SMS in deciding whether to adjust the SMS level. Id. at ¶ 19.

While on SMS, the BMC could determine that an individual might pose a danger to himself or others with certain personal items, such as a toothbrush. If the BMC makes such a determination, made on an individual basis, the personal items posing a danger would be removed from the resident's room. Id. at ¶ 19. The TDF staff keep some personal hygiene items out of the rooms of all persons on SMS because those items could be used as weapons. Id. at ¶ 20.

As part of policy at the TDF, the facility director and security director make decisions whether to refer to the Illinois State Police (the "State Police") any credible evidence of a potential felony committed within the TDF facility. Once referred, the State Police bear sole responsibility for the decision whether to press criminal charges. Id. at ¶¶ 21. Whenever possible criminal charges are pending against an individual, the individual remains on SMS as a safety precaution. Id. at ¶ 22.

Facts Specific to Plaintiffs Rogers and Floyd

On December 25, 1999, security staff at the TDF noticed that as Plaintiff Rogers left breakfast he took cereal from the dietary and placed it in his sock. Def. 56.1 Facts at ¶ 23. When the security staff attempted to confiscate the cereal, Rogers resisted and struck a staff member in the head. Id. at ¶¶ 23-24. Rogers denies that he struck the security staff member more than once, but admits that the security staff member had abrasions to his face and head, fell to the ground as a result of the strike, and admits that he hit the officer hard enough that the officer could not focus his eyes and was unsteady on his feet. Id. at ¶¶ 24-25.

When Rogers struck the security staff member, the employees in the area called a "fight in progress" and summoned other security officers. Id. at ¶ 25. Plaintiff Floyd attempted to hold the gate to the room shut in order to prevent security officers from entering and responding to the fight between Rogers and the security officer. Id. Once the additional security officers broke through the gate, Floyd pushed and shoved another officer. Id. at ¶ 26; Floyd Dep. at Pg. 9-12. After the fight had been brought under control, the entire facility was placed on lockdown status, Floyd and Rogers were placed on SMS, and the State Police were notified of the batteries committed by Rogers and Floyd. Id. at ¶ 28. Plaintiffs Rogers and Floyd do not dispute any of these events.

On December 27, 1999, the BMC reviewed the incident and placed Rogers and Floyd on SMS level 0, the most restrictive level. Id. at ¶ 29. In January 2000, security found a shank in Rogers' room, and Rogers made threats to hurt staff members. Id. at ¶ 46. In March 2000, staff found contraband in Rogers' room. Id. Rogers remained on SMS until March 31, 2000, when he was returned to the DOC. Id. at ¶ 47. Floyd threatened to have a female security officer killed and threatened to throw feces and urine in March 2000, and used a shampoo bottle to squirt what was purported to be urine at a security officer in April 2000. Id. at ¶ 44. Floyd remained on SMS until May 19, 2000 when he was returned to the DOC. Both Rogers and Floyd plead guilty to charges of aggravated battery as a result of the incident on December 25, 1999. Id. at ¶¶ 30-32.

Facts Specific to Plaintiff Webb

On December 25, 1999, after the facility had been placed on lockdown as a result of the assault involving Rogers and Floyd, security went to Plaintiff Webb's room in order to collect trash. Id. at ¶ 33. When the security staff entered the room, an altercation occurred. Id. at ¶ 34, Webb Dep. at 35-38. Records of the incident state that Plaintiff Webb threatened to kill staff, although Plaintiff Webb does not recall whether he threatened violence. Def. Ex. E-1; Webb Dep. at 38. After completing the standoff, in which officers claim Webb brandished pens as ...

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