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Stinde v. Tarr

July 13, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: George W. Lindberg United States District Court Judge

Judge George W. Lindberg


Plaintiff, Raymond Stinde, an inmate at the Stateville Correctional Center, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against Stateville Correctional Center Internal Affairs and Grievance Officers Cheri Tarr, Joanne Franklin, Cynthia Harris, Anthony Ramos, and Shaun Bass. Plaintiff alleges that prison administrative procedures were not followed with his disciplinary proceedings; that the conditions in segregation, to which he was sentenced, were deplorable; and that officers acted with deliberate indifference to his medical and mental health needs while he was in segregation. The Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss. Plaintiff has responded. For the reasons stated below, the court grants the motion to dismiss, dismisses with prejudice Plaintiff's constitutional challenges to his disciplinary proceedings, and dismisses the claims pertaining to the segregation conditions and the lack of medical and mental health attention without prejudice to Plaintiff submitting an amended complaint.


The court draws the facts of this case from Plaintiff's complaint and the exhibits attached to the complaint, which include the prison's disciplinary decision, Plaintiff's grievances and responses, and copies of sections of the Illinois Administrative Code. The court may consider these exhibits along with the allegations in the complaint when addressing the motion to dismiss. See Reger Development, LLC v. National City Bank, 592 F.3d 759, 764 (7th Cir. 2010); Massey v. Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., 464 F.3d 642, 645 (7th Cir. 2006).

Plaintiff alleges that he was accused of fighting on May 29, 2009.*fn1 Cheri Tarr issued a disciplinary ticket against Plaintiff on June 14, 2009, and he was found guilty on June 24, 2009, following an Adjustment Committee Hearing. (R. 1, Complaint, 5-6; R. 1, Exh. B.) Plaintiff contends that the delay of more than eight days for the issuance of a disciplinary ticket and the delay of more than fourteen days for Plaintiff to testify at the disciplinary hearing violated prison procedural rules. (R. 1, Complaint, 6-7; see also Exh. C, 20-21.) At the disciplinary hearing, Plaintiff's objected to his counselor, Officer Harris, serving on the disciplinary hearing committee. The objection was overruled. (Id. at 7.) Plaintiff was found guilty and was sentenced to six months of no commissary or phone privileges, a six-month reduction of his class to C grade, and six months of segregation. (R. 1, Complaint, Exh. H, 33.)

According to Plaintiff, in segregation, he was confined to a small cell measuring four by nine feet; he was allowed out of his cell only one day a week; the cell was filthy and he was not given cleaning materials; he was provided a urine-stained mattress, no pillow, and torn sheets; he was fed less than usual, causing him to lose weight and feel weak; the cell was infested with roaches and Plaintiff had to keep the light on at night to prevent roaches from crawling on him; there were no hooks to hang clothes to dry and washed clothes would mildew; and electrical outlets were located too close to the sink, posing a safety hazard. (Id. at 9-11.) Plaintiff states that he developed a rash from the conditions in segregation, as well as neck pains from no pillow. He requested medical attention but never received any. He also requested to see a psychiatrist for depression. It is unclear from the complaint whether Plaintiff alleges that he received no mental health assistance. (Id. at 10-11; see also Exh. G.)

Plaintiff was released from segregation after 94 days. The release was ordered in response to Plaintiff's grievance. Plaintiff's grievance asserted that disciplinary procedures were not followed, i.e., that the disciplinary ticket was issued more than eight days after the incident and that more than fourteen days passed before he was brought before a disciplinary hearing committee and allowed to present his case. (R. 1, Complaint, Exh. E, 26-27.); see also 20 IL ADC § 504.30(f) and § 504.80(a). The Grievance Officer (Shaun Bass) recommended that "disciplinary sanctions be revoked due to the mental state of grievant at the time of the offense." (R. 1, Complaint, Exh. I, 35.)

Plaintiff seeks to be credited with the amount of good-conduct time lost by his reduction in class, compensatory and punitive damages, and to have Officers Harris, Franklin, and Bass removed from their positions. (Id. at 15-16.)


A. Motion to Dismiss

When considering a motion to dismiss, this court assumes to be true all well-pleaded allegations and views the alleged facts, as well as any inferences reasonably drawn therefrom, in a light most favorable to the plaintiff. Marshall-Mosby v. Corporate Receivables, Inc., 205 F.3d 323, 326 (7th Cir. 2000). Under the notice pleading requirement, a complaint need only state a federal claim and provide the defendants with sufficient notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). The allegations of a complaint, however, must at least "plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a 'speculative level.'" E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Services, Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 -77 (7th Cir. 2007). A complaint must do more than recite the elements of a cause of action, and a court need not accept mere labels and legal conclusions as factual allegations. Bell Atlantic, 550 U.S. at 555. Nor must a court presume facts not alleged. Id. Additionally, if a plaintiff pleads facts demonstrating that he has no claim, a court may dismiss the complaint. McCready v. eBay, Inc., 453 F.3d 882, 888 (7th Cir. 2006).

B. Procedural Due Process

To obtain § 1983 relief, a plaintiff must establish that the defendants deprived him of a constitutional or federal right. Lekas v. Briley, 405 F.3d 602, 606 (7th Cir. 2005). A prisoner is entitled to due process protections before being deprived of a liberty interest. Such protections include: advance written notice of the charges, the chance to present testimony and documentary evidence to an impartial decisionmaker, and a written explanation supported by at least "some evidence" in ...

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