United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Castillo Chief Judge.
Santiago ("Plaintiff), a prisoner incarcerated at
Stateville Correctional Center ("Stateville"),
brings his second amended complaint against Karen Rabideau,
Leslie Turner, Mindi Pierce, Clarence D. Wright, Colleen M.
Franklin, Daniel Reed, Christopher Williams, Tarry Williams,
and John Does 1 through 10 (collectively,
"Defendants"), employees of the Illinois Department
of Corrections ("IDOC") at Stateville. (R. 28,
Second Am. Compl.) Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging deprivations of his rights
under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the
U.S. Constitution. (Id.) Presently before the Court
is Plaintiffs motion for summary judgment on his First
Amendment claim. (R. 60, Mot.) For the reasons stated below,
Plaintiffs motion is granted in part and denied in part.
following facts are undisputed. For the past ten years,
Plaintiff has been incarcerated at Stateville. (R. 67,
Defs.' Resp. to PL's Facts ¶ 2.) In July 2014,
an inmate who was classified as an "escape risk"
was transferred to Plaintiffs cell. (Id. ¶ 8.)
Because Plaintiffs cellmate was deemed an escape risk, their
cell was subject to more frequent searches. (Id.) In
August 2014, Plaintiff wrote a letter to then Illinois
Governor Patrick J. Quinn regarding his cellmate, the
frequent searches that he was being subjected to, and his
perceived lack of response by IDOC employees. (Id.
¶ 15; R. 61-3, Ex. C, 2014 Letter.) The letter reads, in
its entirety, as follows:
To: Mr. Patrick J. Quinn:
Listen to me you faggot motherfucker! I wrote your punk ass
almost a month ago notifying your office of these piece of
shit, corrupt prison officials deliberately having me placed
into a celling [sic] location with an [inmate] categorized as
an extremely high escape risk in order to justify having my
cell searched every several days, completely destroying my
cell, stealing my property & provoking physical
confrontations between myself, my cellmate & prison
guards. These are criminal acts of misconduct & your
fuckin racist & corrupt office is refusing to do anything
about these abuses.
I have already filed an emergency grievance dated: 8/3/14,
concerning these abuses & this punk ass warden has
refused to take correct action. I have every intention on
filing suit in federal court and your offices [sic] roll
[sic] in disregarding & concealing these abuses will be
stipulated. You have allowed a cess pool [sic] of corruption
& abuse against [inmates] to plague the IDOC &
haven't done shit to address these matters-I can only
hope you lose the election you fuckin asshole.
(R. 61-3, Ex. C, 2014 Letter.)
of Plaintiff s letter to Governor Quinn was forwarded to the
Stateville Investigation Unit. (R. 61-1, Ex. A, Offender
Disciplinary Report.) The Offender Disciplinary Report
documenting the letter listed Defendant Pierce as the
reporting employee and Defendant Turner as a witness. (R. 67,
Defs.' Resp. to PL's Facts ¶ 16.) The Offender
Disciplinary Report noted that the letter "was very
disrespectful, " constituted "insolence, " and
was a "major infraction." (R. 61-1, Ex. A, Offender
Disciplinary Report.) Insolence is defined in the prison
regulations as "[f]alking, touching, gesturing, or other
behavior that harasses, annoys or shows disrespect." II.
Admin. Code 20, § 504, Table A (2001). On September 8,
2014, Plaintiff was brought before IDOC's Adjustment
Committee, composed of Defendants Wright and Franklin, on the
insolence charge. (R. 67, Defs.' Resp. to PL's Facts
¶¶ 18-19.) Wright and Franklin found Plaintiff
guilty of insolence and recommended that he be transferred to
F-House, Stateville's disciplinary segregation unit, for
one month. (Id. ¶ 26.) As a result, Plaintiff
was subsequently incarcerated in F-House for one month.
February 27, 2015, Plaintiff filed apro se complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging numerous
violations of his constitutional rights by Stateville
officials. (R. 1, Compl.) After Plaintiffs initial complaint
was dismissed without prejudice, (R. 9, Order), the Court
granted Plaintiff leave to amend his subsequent complaint and
also appointed counsel for him, (R. 23, Order). Plaintiff
filed his second amended complaint, through counsel, on
August 17, 2015. (R. 28, Second Am. Compl.)
Count I, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his
rights under the First Amendment by charging him with
insolence and punishing him with disciplinary segregation in
connection with his letter to Governor Quinn. (Id.
¶¶ 36-47.) In Count II, Plaintiff alleges that
Defendants violated his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment
by failing to provide him with procedural due process during
the IDOC hearing on the insolence charge. (Id.
¶¶ 48-50.) In Count III, Plaintiff alleges that the
conditions he was incarcerated under during his time in
disciplinary segregation constitute a violation of his rights
under the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
(Id. ¶¶ 52-56.) Defendants Rabideau,
Turner, Pierce, Franklin, Reed, Tarry Williams, and
Christopher Williams answered the amended complaint on
December 18, 2015. (R. 47, Answer.) Defendant Wright filed a
separate answer on March 10, 2016. (R. 57, Wright's
now moves for summary judgment as to all Defendants on his
First Amendment claim. (R. 60, Mot. at 1.) On May 31, 2016,
Defendants filed their response, (R. 66, Resp.), and
Plaintiff filed his reply on June 13, 2016, (R. 70, Reply).
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that "[t]he court
shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "A dispute over a material fact is
genuine if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
non-moving party on the evidence presented." Life
Plan, Inc. v. Sec. Life of Denver Ins. Co., 800 F.3d
343, 349 (7th Cir. 2015). In deciding whether a dispute
exists, the Court must "construe all facts and
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to ...