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Thomas v. Hahn

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division

March 6, 2014

DANIEL E. HAHN, et al., Defendants.


JOE BILLY MCDADE, District Judge.

This cause is before the Court on Defendants Salvador Godinez, Gerardo Acevedo, Daniel Hahn, Terri Anderson, and Gina Allen's Motion for Summary Judgment. As explained more fully infra, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted. Plaintiff Michael Thomas has failed to offer any evidence that Hahn or Acevedo retaliated against him for exercising a constitutionally protected right. Moreover, Thomas has failed to show that Godinez, Anderson, and Allen had the personal involvement necessary to be liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Accordingly, Defendants are entitled to the summary judgment that they seek.



Plaintiff Michael Thomas is an inmate within the Illinois Department of Corrections ("IDOC") and, at all relevant times, was housed at the Hill Correctional Center ("Hill"). Defendant Daniel Hahn, at all relevant times, was an internal affairs officer at Hill. Defendant Gerardo Acevedo was the Warden at Hill. Defendant Salvador Godinez was the head of the IDOC. Defendant Terri Anderson was an IDOC employee located in Springfield, Illinois. And, Defendant Gina Anderson was a member of the Administrative Review Board in Springfield.

Thomas alleges that, after he arrived at Hill in 2008 and until he was transferred to Stateville Correctional Center in 2011, Hahn, on his own and at the direction of Acevedo, retaliated against him because he had previously filed lawsuits against Acevedo and others within the IDOC. Thomas claims that Hahn retaliated against him in violation of his First Amendment rights by requiring Thomas to change cells every thirty days so that Hahn could not get comfortable at Hill, by verbally harassing him, and by issuing false disciplinary tickets against him.

After conducting a merit review of his Complaint required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court determined that Thomas had stated a claim against Defendants for violating his First Amendment rights. For damages, Thomas requested compensation for pain and suffering, for time that he lost in segregation for the false disciplinary tickets issued to him by Hahn, and for punitive damages. Defendants have now moved for summary judgment. Other facts will be included as necessary in the discussion below.



Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) provides that summary judgment "shall be rendered forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); see Ruiz-Rivera v. Moyer, 70 F.3d 498, 500-01 (7th Cir. 1995). The moving party has the burden of providing proper documentary evidence to show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). Once the moving party has met its burden, the opposing party must come forward with specific evidence, not mere allegations or denials of the pleadings, which demonstrates that there is a genuine issue for trial. Gracia v. Volvo Europa Truck, N.V., 112 F.3d 291, 294 (7th Cir. 1997). "[A] party moving for summary judgment can prevail just by showing that the other party has no evidence on an issue on which that party has the burden of proof." Brazinski v. Amoco Petroleum Additives Co., 6 F.3d 1176, 1183 (7th Cir. 1993).

Accordingly, the non-movant cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must designate specific facts in affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories or admissions that establish that there is a genuine triable issue; he "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material fact.'" Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256-57 (1986)(quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)); Hot Wax, Inc. v. Turtle Wax, Inc., 191 F.3d 813, 818 (7th Cir. 1999). Finally, a scintilla of evidence in support of the non-movant's position is not sufficient to oppose successfully a summary judgment motion; "there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-movant]." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.



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