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Widmer v. Dillman

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 28, 2014

MICHAEL WIDMER, Plaintiff,
v.
UNKNOWN PARTY, SARA DILLMAN, and JOHN DOES, Defendants.

ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, District Judge.

A. Introduction and Procedural Overview

Plaintiff originally filed a ยง 1983 case alleging interference with his mail at Menard Correctional Center in Case No. 13-cv-0663. That case was set for a hearing on injunctive relief. Ultimately, the Court determined that Plaintiff's claims were not all related to each other, and split the mail claims off into this case (Doc. 1).

United States Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Williams then held a hearing on Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief in this case on October 9, 2013. Judge Williams ultimately recommended that the undersigned District Judge deny (at that time) the request for injunctive relief ( see Docs. 14 & 17). The undersigned followed that recommendation, adopting Judge Williams' findings and conclusions via Order dated November 8, 2013 (Doc. 25). The case comes now before the Court on three motions filed by Plaintiff (Docs. 15, 30, 33).

In these motions, Plaintiff renews his requests for injunctive relief. As an aside, Plaintiff originally asserted the claims against unknown "John Doe" defendants. While the Illinois Attorney General's office provided representation to these unknown defendants at the October 9, 2013 hearing, and for the limited purpose of that hearing, Plaintiff has still not identified those Defendants. He has named Sara Dillman, the mailroom services supervisor, although she has neither appeared nor answered the complaint at this time. The named Defendants have therefore not responded to any of the pending motions. Because it is apparent to the Court on the existing record that Plaintiff is not entitled to the relief he seeks, the Court will take up these motions at this time in the interests of judicial economy.

B. Factual Background

Plaintiff filed a motion styled "Part 2 of Pending Emergency Motion for Injunctive Relief" (hereinafter "First Motion") on December 9, 2013 (Doc. 15). Plaintiff's First Motion appears to be directed at Corrections Officers Davis, Lindberg, and Kempfer (Doc. 15). The allegations in the motion relate not to the instant case but to another case which Plaintiff has filed: Widmer v. Kempfer (13-cv1131-MJR-DGW, Doc. 1). Because Plaintiff initially asserted his claims against only John Doe employees in this case, he was instructed to file an amended complaint (Doc. 21). When he did so, he asserted claims against Lts. Kempfer and Lawless, which the district court found unrelated to Plaintiff's mail claims, and severed them into separate cases (Docs. 24, 28). The instant case continues to include only Plaintiff's allegations against mailroom employees for repeatedly delaying and opening his privileged legal correspondence (Doc. 1).

In his First Motion, Plaintiff requests that the Court "set a hearing as soon as possible, " apparently to "enjoin the defendants from a continued course of conduct to intentionally inflict harm and serious injury to [him]" (Doc. 15). Plaintiff alleges that on October 8, 2013, Corrections Officer Lindberg placed Plaintiff in handcuffs "as tight as he could get them" (Doc. 15). Plaintiff further alleges that he "was violently assaulted by c/o Kempfer and c/o Lindberg on 10-8-13 without any provocation, " and that Corrections Officers Davis, Kempfer, and Lindberg promised "future assaults" against Plaintiff if he continued to file grievances, or put their names in his paperwork (Doc. 15).

Plaintiff attached a "Statement to the Court" to his First Motion in which he alleges that "deft Korando" told Plaintiff that Korando "had a place for snitches, " and also told the inmates celled near Plaintiff that he was a snitch (Doc. 15). Plaintiff further alleges that Corrections Officers Kempfer, Davis, and Lindberg have repeatedly kicked the door of his cell and "scream[ed] snitch in 645..." (Doc. 15). Plaintiff states that he was "held without [his] legal mail and property" until the day before a court hearing on October 9, 2013, and that after taking Plaintiff to retrieve his legal documents, "c/o Lindberg back handed [him] with a closed fist in [his] face chipping [his] tooth" (Doc. 15). Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that "[a]t least 8 officers and Sgt. Shurtz were in the immediate area watching, " and that Lindberg threatened Plaintiff with further retaliation if he kept "snitching" (Doc. 15). Plaintiff also attached an "Emergency Grievance" containing the same allegations (Doc. 15, p. 6).

Plaintiff filed an Amended Motion for Injunctive Relief (Second Motion) on December 17, 2013 (Doc. 30). Specifically, Plaintiff requests that the Court "enjoin the defendants from continuing to obstruct [his] outgoing U.S. legal and privilieged (sic) mail...." (Doc. 30). In this motion, Plaintiff alleges that his clearly marked, outgoing legal and privileged mail is "being obstructed and returned to [him] by the defendants, who are citing insufficient funds' in some instances" (Doc. 30). Plaintiff attached a "Request for Investigation, " which he sent to the FBI on September 28, 2013 (Doc. 30, pp.2-6). In this request, Plaintiff alleges that IDOC employees have "intentionally and knowingly" obstructed his legal and non-legal mail addressed to his "attorneys of record, " as well as mail addressed to the courts(Doc. 30 p. 2). Plaintiff alleges that Corrections Officer Joseph, an officer at Stateville Correctional Center, told him that "somebody is messing with [him], " and to send his legal mail out under someone else's name "or it wouldn't go out" (Doc. 30, p. 3). Plaintiff further notes his belief that Tracy Engelson, Warden Lemke, and Director Godinez are "conspiring to obstruct [his] mail" (Doc. 30, p. 3).

Plaintiff attached a "Timeline" to the FBI request, which details several events that occurred at Stateville (Doc. 30, pp. 4-5). Plaintiff alleges that his legal documents were taken from him, and as a result "at least in part, " he lost a hearing for parental rights (Doc. 30, p.4). Plaintiff also alleges that he was held without hygiene products, underwear, socks, or a pencil (Doc. 30, p. 4). He alleges that on August 14, 2013, Corrections Officer Joseph returned legal mail which Plaintiff had sent on July 31, August 7, and August 9, and that after Plaintiff requested to speak with a crisis team member, Lieutenant Shaw cursed at him and told him to kill himself, at which point Plaintiff began pounding his head on his cell door (Doc. 30, p. 5). Plaintiff also alleges that on August 19, 2013 and August 27, 2013, Corrections Officer Joseph returned all legal mail Plaintiff had sent out since July 31, 2013 (Doc. 30, p. 5).

Plaintiff also attached a letter from Warden Harrington, dated November 25, 2013, which explains that all privileged mail must be properly marked as "privileged" (Doc. 30, pp. 7-8). Plaintiff also attached a form titled "Offender Authorization for Payment, " which is dated December 12, 2013 and marked "INSUFFICIENT FUNDS" (Doc. 30, pp. 9-10). Plaintiff has attached the envelope which was returned, addressed to Southern District Deputy Director Don Gaetz (Doc. 30, p. 10). And Plaintiff has provided an Order from a case which he has filed in the Northern District of Illinois, Widmer v. Mail Room Employee (Doc. 30, pp. 11-13).

Finally, Plaintiff filed a "2nd Amended Motion for Injunctive Relief" (which this Court will refer to as "Third Motion")(Doc. 33). In this pleading, Plaintiff requests that the Court "enjoin the defendants from continuing to obstruct [his] outgoing U.S. legal and privileged mail which is correctly addressed and placed in the U.S. institutional mail at Menard Correctional Center."

Plaintiff again alleges that his "outgoing, Legal and Privileged mail clearly marked as such, is being obstructed and returned to [him] by the defendants, who are citing insufficient funds' in some instances" (Doc. 33). Plaintiff additionally contends that he has a daily subscription to the Bloomington Pantagraph Newspaper, and that his newspapers are withheld for 7 to 14 days before he receives them, while other prisoners receive newspapers in 2-3 days (Doc. 33). Plaintiff complains that his privileged mail addressed to "IDOC ARB, Elected Officials including Il. State Senators - Reps and the Governor of Illinois Pat Quinn" is not being mailed out "because [he is] indigent" (Doc. 33). Plaintiff notes that ...


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