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Henz v. Heck

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

August 18, 2013

CORYELL S. HENZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CHARLES HECK, SEAN FURLOW, RONALD WILLIAMS, HIRAM SLOAN, LARRIE WERTZ, CECIL RUNYON, KENNETH PORTER, RYAN HAMMOND, PAUL SLOAN, KENT FISHER, and RANDY DAVIS, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

I. Introduction and Procedural Background

This is a prisoner civil rights lawsuit filed under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging deprivations of federally secured constitutional rights. Claims against eleven Defendants survived threshold review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1915A (see Doc. 11). Now before the Court is a motion for partial summary judgment (Doc. 49) filed on January 17, 2013 by those eleven Defendants - Cecil Runyon, Paul Sloan, Larrie Wertz, Charles Heck, Hiram Sloan, Ronald Williams, Kenneth Porter, Kent Fisher, Sean Furlow, Randy Davis, and Ryan Hammond.

Defendants argue that they are entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff's retaliation claim relating to failure to rehire, because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies by not naming or sufficiently describing them in his grievance regarding not being rehired after he was released from segregation. Defendant Hiram Sloan also argues that he is entitled to summary judgment as Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies against Sloan by failing to name or describe him in any grievance regarding retaliation.[1] The motion ripened with the filing of Plaintiff's response on March 27, 2013 (Doc. 62). For the reasons stated below, the Court denies Defendants' motion.

II. Summary of Key Facts and Allegations

Plaintiff - then confined in Pinckneyville Correctional Center (PCC) - filed his pro se complaint in this Court on November 2, 2011, alleging claims of retaliation and conditions of confinement (Doc. 1). More specifically, Plaintiff alleges as follows. On January 6, 2010, PCC's tactical team, the "Orange Crush, " came to Plaintiff's housing unit and ordered everyone, including Plaintiff, to strip naked and put on blue short-sleeved shirts, pants, and shower shoes (sandals) with no clothes underneath. Plaintiff was handcuffed. He and other inmates were lined against a wall and then ordered outside into below-freezing temperatures. The inmates were marched to the gym, stopping and going, for 10 to 15 minutes.

In the gym, the blowers were turned on high, which was cold and intolerable. Plaintiff and other inmates were lined up against a wall in the gym. After about an hour, the inmates were ordered back outside into the cold and were forced to stop and stand several times. It took them 10 to 15 minutes to make it back to the housing unit, where they discovered that their cells had been ransacked.

Plaintiff indicates that he submitted a grievance about the Orange Crush on January 26, 2010. The next day, Plaintiff was put in segregation (Doc. 11 at p. 3). He was given a disciplinary report saying he was under investigation, without further information. Plaintiff sent several requests to Internal Affairs to find out why he was put in segregation. Officer Furlow, an Internal Affairs (IA) officer, came to Plaintiff's cell and allegedly told Plaintiff that he was in segregation for the grievance he wrote (Doc. 1 at p. 15). Furlow said that another IA officer, Officer Heck, was in charge of Plaintiff's investigation (Doc. 11 at p. 3). Plaintiff was released from segregation on February 20, 2010 without talking to Internal Affairs ( id. ).

After Plaintiff was released from segregation, he learned he had lost his job and could not be rehired. Plaintiff alleges that in March 2010, Officer Wertz twice locked Plaintiff's cell door when all the other inmates were let out for recreation (Doc. 11 at p. 3). Plaintiff asked Wertz why he wasn't letting Plaintiff out and Wertz told him, "You're not complying with Pinckneyville rules, " which Plaintiff believes referred to his having filed grievances (Doc. 1 at p. 18). Plaintiff then obtained a new position in maintenance and moved to R-5 housing (Doc. 11 at p. 4).

When Plaintiff went to work on March 22, 2010, however, an officer told Plaintiff to go back, as "apparently you have an issue with Lt. Williams and he doesn't want you living in his building" (Doc. 1 at p. 18). Lieutenant Williams ran R-5 housing unit. When Plaintiff returned to his cell, Williams informed him to "go pack your shit. You're going back to 4-house. You won't get another chance to write a grievance on us over here" ( id. ). Williams also told Plaintiff not to put in for any job that would put him in R-5 housing as he would not let Plaintiff live there (Doc. 11 at p. 4).

Plaintiff was later given a new job as a teacher's assistant and was moved back to R-5 while Williams was on medical leave (Doc. 11 at p. 4). However, when Williams returned he allegedly came to Plaintiff's cell and stated: "didn't I tell you last time you were over here that you couldn't live over here unless you're living seg? Now pack your shit and get out of my building" ( id. ).

Plaintiff also alleges that on June 15, 2010, the light in his cell went out, and it remained out for over three weeks (Doc. 11 at p. 4). When Plaintiff informed officers Hammond and Fisher about his light, they ignored him. Plaintiff tried to ask Lieutenant Runyon about the light, but Runyon replied: "don't address me with that issue right now. I'm busy." Plaintiff noted that Runyon was talking to someone about sports at the time ( id. ).

Plaintiff asked Runyon again about the light later that day but was told if he had a problem with the lights, Runyon could arrange for Plaintiff to be somewhere else with lots of light. He allegedly told Plaintiff, "seg always has room. Write a grievance like you always do. I'd like to see you do that in the dark. You're going to get enough of writing grievances" (Doc. 1-1 at p. 3). Plaintiff also asked Lieutenant Sloan for help getting the light fixed, but Sloan ignored him (Doc. 11 at pp. 4-5). He also asked Officer Porter to fill out a work order for the light, but Porter allegedly told him to file a grievance. Plaintiff believes that his requests were ignored due to his writing grievances about officer misconduct ( id. ).

In conducting its review under 28 U.S.C. 1915A, the Court organized Plaintiff's allegations into two counts (Doc. 11 at pp. 6-11). The first count contains conditions of confinement claims, including exposure to cold weather (against Porter) and inadequate lighting (against officers Hammond, Porter, Fisher, Runyon, Lieutenant Sloan, and Warden Davis). Count two contains retaliation claims against Furlow, Heck, placement officer Sloan, Williams, Lt. Sloan, Runyon, Hammond, Fisher, Porter, and Werz.

Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment in which they argue that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Specifically, Defendant Hiram Sloan argues that he is entitled to summary judgment, because Plaintiff's grievance dealing with being removed from his teaching assistant job does not mention or describe Sloan. Furthermore, all of the Defendants argue that they are entitled to summary judgment on the retaliation claim, because Plaintiff's March 1, 2010 grievance does not mention or describe any of them. Plaintiff responded in opposition to the motion.

III. Applicable Legal ...


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