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Jordan v. Cowan

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

March 19, 2015

DONALD M. JORDAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CLINT MAYER, L.T. HUGHES RICHARD HARRINGTON, SALVADOR A. GODINEZ, JASON HART, and COWAN, Defendants.

ORDER

MICHAEL J. REAGAN, Chief District Judge.

INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Pro se Plaintiff Donald Jordan, a prisoner at Pontiac Correctional Center ("Pontiac"), filed this ยง 1983 civil rights lawsuit against multiple state actors at Menard Correctional Center ("Menard"), alleging deprivation of various constitutional rights. The case comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction.

Plaintiff's Complaint included a bare request for a preliminary injunction and a temporary restraining order. (Doc. 1, p. 19). The threshold order noted both that Plaintiff had failed to state what conduct he wished to enjoin, and that his transfer from Menard to Pontiac likely made any request for injunctive relief moot. (Doc. 6, p. 4). Although the threshold order found that Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief was too vague, it also added S.A. Godinez for the purposes of injunctive relief. (Doc. 6, p. 11).

Plaintiff filed his Motion for Preliminary Injunction on July 28, 2014. (Doc. 15). At that time, waivers of service had been sent to the Defendants, but Defendants had neither appeared nor answered. After the Court entered a Notice of Impending Dismissal on October 29, 2014, (Doc. 24), Defendants finally appeared via answer on October 30, 2014. (Doc. 28). On March 5, 2015, the Court ordered Defendants to file a Response to the pending request for a preliminary injunction. (Doc. 36). Defendants filed such a response on March 13, 2015. (Doc. 37).

In his Motion, Plaintiff requests that the court enjoin Defendants from continuing their course of conduct "of violating Plaintiff's constitutional rights by maintaining him in segregation." (Doc. 15, p. 2). Plaintiff requests immediate release from segregation, restoration to "A-grade" status, and to be placed in protective custody at Pontiac rather than at Menard. (Doc. 15, p. 2). He further requests not to be transferred back to Menard Correctional Center or to suffer retaliation by IDOC officials. (Doc. 15).

For the following reasons, the Court DENIES Plaintiff's Motion for a Preliminary Injunction. (Doc. 15).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

On or about March 5, 2014, Plaintiff was issued a disciplinary report and charged with Impeding or Interfering with an Investigation, Damage or Misuse of Property, and Giving False Information to an Employee. (Doc. 1-1, p. 2). Plaintiff was found guilty only of two charges: Impeding or Interfering with an Investigation and Giving False Information to an Employee. (Doc. 1-1, p. 8). Plaintiff was sentenced to one year in segregation, one year "C-grade, " and one year of a commissary restriction. (Doc. 1-1, p. 8).

Plaintiff alleges that the disciplinary report arises from a letter he sent to internal affairs. On or about February 22, 2014, Plaintiff had an argument with a Vice Lord gang member about the use of a telephone. (Doc. 16, p. 11). Subsequently, Plaintiff sent a letter to internal affairs stating that his cellmate, a member of the Vice Lord Gang, would be attacked by other members of the same gang. (Doc. 16, p. 11). The note detailed his observations of his cellmate being threatened and harassed by the gang members. (Doc. 16, p. 11).

The next day, Plaintiff was interviewed by Sergeant Mayer of Internal Affairs about the allegations contained in Plaintiff's letter. (Doc. 16, p. 11). Plaintiff asserts that during the interview he disclosed to Sergeant Mayer that he had been taking psychotropic medications which caused him to experience drowsiness. (Doc. 16, p. 11). Sergeant Mayer verbally assaulted him, saying "Your fucking crazy, your an nut job for taking all those medications." ( sic ) (Doc. 16, p. 11). Sergeant Mayer asked Plaintiff to drop his allegations. (Doc. 16, p. 11). When Plaintiff refused, Sergeant Mayer physically assaulted Plaintiff by grabbing his head and yanking his head to an upright position so they were standing face-to-face. Sergeant Mayer then informed Plaintiff that he would receive a year in segregation and falsified Plaintiff's disciplinary report. (Doc. 16, p. 11).

Sergeant Mayer conducted an investigation to confirm the validity of the statements contained in Plaintiff's note. (Doc. 1-1, p. 2). After interviewing five confidential sources, Sergeant Mayer concluded that Plaintiff's letter contained untruthful statements and issued a disciplinary report. (Doc. 1-1, p. 2). Plaintiff was charged with Impeding or Interfering with an Investigation, Damage or Misuse of Property, Giving False Information to an Employee. (Doc. 28.1, p. 2). As a result, Plaintiff was placed in temporary confinement. (Doc. 1-1, p. 2). On or about March 6, 2014, the reviewing officer cited Plaintiff's conduct as a "major infraction" and affirmed Plaintiff's confinement. (Doc. 1-1, p. 2). On or about March 10, 2014, Plaintiff appeared for a hearing before the Adjustment Committee Hearing Board. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Defendants Hughes, Hart and Cowan were members of that hearing committee. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff named his cellmate as witness for his hearing. (Doc. 1, p. 8).

Plaintiff's witness was not called to testify, and the committee members failed to read his written statement. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff pled not guilty to all charges and requested a continuance to prepare his witness. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff's request was promptly denied. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff was found guilty of all charges except damage or misuse of property. (Doc. 1-1, p. 8). Plaintiff was sentenced to one year in segregation, one year C-grade, and one year commissary restriction. (Doc. 1-1, p. 8).

In Defendants' response to Plaintiff's Motion, they submit the affidavit of Jason Hart, who served as the Chairperson of the Adjustment Committee hearing inmate disciplinary reports. (Doc. 37-1, p. 1). Hart affirmed that prisoners must request their witnesses prior to the hearing, and that had Plaintiff requested his witness prior to the hearing, that fact would have been noted on the disciplinary report. (Doc. 37-1, p. 1). The report contains no such notation. (Doc. ...


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