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Donnie Fisher v. Michael P. Randle

April 28, 2011

DONNIE FISHER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL P. RANDLE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert United States District Judge

#B-70454,

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GILBERT District Judge:

Plaintiff, an inmate currently in the Pontiac Correctional Center, was at all times relevant to this action housed in the Pinckneyville Correctional Center. Plaintiff brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides, in pertinent part:

(a) Screening.-- The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.

(b) Grounds for Dismissal.-- On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint--

(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or

(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915A.

An action or claim is frivolous if "it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Upon careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits, the Court finds that some of the claims in the complaint may be dismissed at this point in the litigation.

Facts:

The following version of the facts of this case is gleaned from Plaintiff's amended complaint (Doc. 19). On August 12, 2009, Defendant Alvis wrote Plaintiff a disciplinary ticket for intimidation or threats, insolence, and disobeying a direct order.*fn1 However, that ticket failed to sufficiently identify Plaintiff; a time, place, and date; a specific behavior qualifying for the offenses listed; sufficient evidence, including a witness; and did not list Defendant Alvis as the reporting officer. This ticket was then given to Defendant Edwards, the shift supervisor. Defendant Edwards charged Plaintiff with the listed infractions, though a formal evaluation was not at that time conducted. Defendant Edwards then detained Plaintiff in segregation pending resolution of the charges. Defendants Schwartz and Harris allowed Plaintiff to remain in segregation, where Plaintiff did not have access to his possessions, bedding, toiletries, or cleaning supplies.

Defendant Pickery conducted an informal hearing regarding the ticket, and concluded that Plaintiff had been adequately charged and should remain in segregation pending the disciplinary hearing, even though the disciplinary ticket failed to adequately establish a basis for the charges that were determined to be major infractions. Plaintiff was then served notice by Defendant Hill of the disciplinary charges against him.

On August 14, 2009, the disciplinary hearing took place, wherein Defendants McBride and Klindworth ultimately found Plaintiff guilty of the specified offenses. However, Plaintiff was not provided a representative during the hearing, and was not given the chance to "speak freely" at the hearing (Doc. 19 p. 16). Defendant Klindworth prepared a written report finding Plaintiff guilty, and recommending two months segregation and c-grade demotion status. On August 20, 2009, Defendant Schwartz affirmed this decision.

On September 9, 2009, while Plaintiff was in segregation, he attempted to file a grievance concerning the above-mentioned hearing. However, Defendant Deen, a grievance officer, did not ensure that Plaintiff had access to complaint forms, that he had an opportunity to disclose all information he had regarding his complaints, or that Plaintiff had the ability to file his complaints while in segregation. On September 29, 2009, Defendant Deen failed to conduct an investigation into Plaintiff's grievance*fn2 within 7 days, as required by prison regulations.

On October 5, 2009, Defendant Schwartz subjected Plaintiff to two months of segregation and c-grade demotion status for intimidation or threats, insolence, and disobeying a direct order, without immediately informing Plaintiff, in writing, of the decision.*fn3 This decision was appealed to Defendant Randle, who affirmed the decision on October 14, 2009. The decision was further appealed on December ...


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