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Reyes v. Illinois Department of Corrections

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 26, 2016

JAIRO REYES, Plaintiff,
v.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, MICHAEL P. ATCHISON, SALVADOR GODINEZ, RICHARD HARRINGTON, KIMBERLY BUTLER, WATSON, JONES, HASEMEYER, COWAN, HUGHES, REICHERT, JOSHUA SHOENBECK, RANDY CLARK, REBECCA CREASON, BARBARA MUELLER, JONAH HILL, BRAD BRAMLET, OLSON, LORI OAKLEY, LINDA CARTER, MARVIN BOCHANTIN, JOHN DOE 1, JOHN DOE 2, JOHN DOE 3, and JOHN DOE 4, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Jairo Reyes, an inmate in Pontiac Correctional Center, brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that occurred at Menard Correctional Center. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:

(a) Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity.
(b) Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.

         An action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is an objective standard that refers to a claim that any reasonable person would find meritless. Lee v. Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross “the line between possibility and plausibility.” Id. at 557. At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se complaint are to be liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Upon careful review of the complaint and the supporting exhibits, the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority under § 1915A; portions of this action are subject to summary dismissal.

         The Complaint

         According to the allegations of the complaint, John Doe 1 placed Plaintiff in administrative detention on April 8, 2013. (Doc. 1, p. 3). John Doe 2 approved the placement. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Plaintiff did not receive any formal written or oral notice or a hearing prior to the placement. (Doc. 1, p. 3). The Illinois Administrative Code directs that Plaintiff should have received a hearing after 90 days. (Doc. 1, p. 3). See 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.660. But Warden Atchison allegedly implemented a policy of not giving hearings until an inmate had been in administrative detention for 270 days. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Specifically, he created a three-tiered system of administrative detention where a hearing was held to determine whether an inmate should be stepped down to a less restrictive level every 90 days. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Plaintiff was ultimately not released from administrative detention until December 2, 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 3).

         Plaintiff submitted grievances, including one dated August 18, 2013, regarding his placement to counselor Jonah Hill. (Doc. 1, p. 3). The Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) ultimately rejected Plaintiff's grievance, and Godinez signed off on the grievance. (Doc. 1, p. 5). On December 10, 2014, the grievance officer, Marvin Bochantin, refused to give Plaintiff more information about his placement. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Counselor Brad Bramlet denied a grievance that Plaintiff wrote on January 28, 2015, on the grounds that it was duplicative of Plaintiff's other grievances. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Lori Oakley and Butler affirmed the grievance. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         Plaintiff was so frustrated by his placement in administrative detention that he went on a hunger strike. (Doc. 1, p. 3). Finally, on June 25, 2014, Plaintiff was given an official notice regarding his placement. The notice was signed by Shoenbeck and stated that “information from a confidential informant was received that [Plaintiff] directed other Latin Folks affiliates to assault staff at Menard.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). This was the first time that Plaintiff was given any reason for his placement in administrative detention. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff denies that he ever ordered Latin Folks to assault staff. (Doc. 1, p. 4).

         A hearing was held on July 2, 2014, fifteen months after Plaintiff was placed in administrative detention. (Doc. 1, p. 4). The committee was comprised of Butler, Jones, Reichert, Hasemeyer, Shoenbeck, Creason, and John Doe 3. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff told the committee that he was innocent. (Doc. 1, p. 4). The committee decided to advance Plaintiff from phase 1 to phase 2. (Doc. 1, p. 4). On September 23, 2014, Plaintiff was informed that he would be advanced against from phase 2 to phase 3. (Doc. 1, p. 4). Plaintiff's placement was reviewed again on December 16, 2014, this time by Butler, Watson, and Clark, and they determined that Plaintiff should stay in phase 3. (Doc. 1, p. 5).

         While in administrative detention, Plaintiff was isolated away from the rest of the population in a steel-door fronted cell. (Doc. 1, p. 5). The cell lacked hot water for approximately ten months. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff filed grievances to Mueller and informed staff that he lacked hot water. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff's cell also lacked heat, and it had a three inch gap in the window that would not close. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff alleges that he became ill as a result of these conditions. (Doc.1, p. 6). In the summer, Plaintiff's cell was hot, and his wing did not have the same kind of industrial fans present on other wings. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Other prisoners were given ice water twice a day, but Plaintiff only received ice water three times over the course of the summer. (Doc. 1, p. 6). Water would also leak from the ...


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