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Hardaway v. Meyerhoff

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

November 4, 2013

Maurice HARDAWAY, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
Brett MEYERHOFF, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

Argued Sept. 20, 2013.

Page 741

Nader R. Boulos, Matthew J. Martin, Attorneys, Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Chicago, IL, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Evan Siegel, Attorney, Office of the Attorney General, Chicago, IL, for Defendants-Appellees.

Before WOOD, Chief Judge, and BAUER and FLAUM, Circuit Judges.

BAUER, Circuit Judge.

In 2009, Menard Correctional Center inmate Maurice Hardaway (" Hardaway" ) was charged with altering official electronics contract forms and selling or trading the counterfeit contracts in exchange for money and/or commissary. Although the charge was later expunged, Hardaway spent six months in segregation as part of the recommended punishment. Hardaway brought suit against prison officials in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois alleging the 182-day term spent in segregation was a violation of 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 based on the denial of his liberty interests protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court granted' motion for summary judgment on the grounds of qualified immunity. We affirm.

Page 742

I. BACKGROUND

On September 16, 2009, Maurice Hardaway received a disciplinary report completed by prison official Brett Meyerhoff (" Meyerhoff" ) charging the inmate with damage or misuse of property, forgery, and trading or trafficking of official electronics contract forms. Two days later, the Correctional Center disciplinary committee held a hearing to consider the charges against Hardaway and found him guilty. Hardaway claims that committee member Charles Parnell (" Parnell" ) denied him the opportunity to argue any defense at the hearing or even view the forged contracts that were used as evidence against him. The disciplinary committee's sentence included six months of disciplinary segregation, demotion to C-grade status, and revocation of commissary rights. Hardaway was then removed from his holding cell and relocated to a " six gallery cell" secured by a solid metal door. Due to a childhood incident when he was raped and abused by his grandparents, an experience Hardaway associates with closed solid metal doors, Hardaway requested to be moved to a cell with metal bars. Prison officials denied this request and kept Hardaway in the six gallery cell.

On September 20, 2009, Hardaway initiated a grievance process contending (1) that he knew nothing about the sale of the electronics contracts, (2) the charge was based solely on information provided by a confidential informant, and (3) that the disciplinary report failed to state a specific time, place, or date of the alleged offenses. Additionally, Hardaway argued that Parnell denied him the opportunity to view the forged contracts or argue any defense during the disciplinary hearing. The grievance officer issued a summary report shortly thereafter finding Hardaway guilty of the charges and imposing the recommended disciplinary actions.

The next month, Hardaway filed a second grievance concerning the disciplinary report and proceedings that was considered by the Illinois Administrative Review Board (" ARB" ). In December, the ARB recommended that Hardaway's disciplinary report be remanded so that Meyerhoff, the reporting officer, could add more specific information to substantiate the charges cited. Meyerhoff, however, failed to make any revisions to the report, so the ARB affirmed Hardaway's grievance on March 18, 2010. The ARB further concluded that the charge should be expunged from Hardaway's record on the grounds that the disciplinary report did not comply with the Department of Corrections Rule 504.30, which outlines proper procedures for disciplinary reports and hearings. Hardaway had already served his sentence of 182 days in segregation by the time the ARB affirmed his grievance. Nevertheless, he complains that during the entirety of his six-month segregation, he experienced mental anguish as a result of the solid metal door; was physically attacked by his cell mate; and was only released from his cell once per week to shower and use the prison yard.

Several months after his release from disciplinary segregation, Hardaway filed suit against Defendants Meyerhoff and Parnell claiming their acts and omissions led to his placement in disciplinary segregation for 182 days constituting a violation of due process. Hardaway argued that these acts and omissions caused him to endure " significant and atypical hardship" and that he suffered a " mental health issue" because he spent an " unwarranted" six months in segregation behind a large metal door. In an amended complaint, Hardaway further contended that Meyerhoff failed to observe the safeguards of due process by violating administrative regulations and failing to comply with the

Page 743

ARB's order to amend the disciplinary report. Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment contending that Hardaway did not have any protected liberty interest under the Fourteenth Amendment ...


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