United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL DISTRICT JUDGE.
Anthony Wheeler is a former inmate with the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”). He filed this
pro se lawsuit on September 18, 2013, asserting
constitutional claims and related state law tort claims
arising out of his 28-day confinement at Menard Correctional
Center (“Menard”) (Doc. 1). Judge J. Phil Gilbert
screened Wheeler's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A and permitted Wheeler to proceed on the following
Count 1: Eighth Amendment claim against all
Defendants for unconstitutional conditions of confinement;
Count 2: Equal Protection claim against
Defendant Godinez for implementing a policy that resulted in
the confiscation of Plaintiff's fan because he was
transferred on a court writ, where other inmates housed in
the segregation wing were allowed to have fans;
Count 3: State law negligence claim against
Count 4: State law claim for intentional
infliction of mental and emotional injury against all
Count 5: State law claim for negligent
supervision or training resulting in injury, against
Defendants Godinez, Atchison, Richard Harrington, and Butler.
filed a motion for summary judgment on July 10, 2015 (Doc.
118). Wheeler filed a response in opposition to the motion
(Doc. 121), to which Defendant filed a reply (Doc. 122).
Before the motion was ruled on, this case was recently
reassigned from Judge Gilbert and Magistrate Judge Philip
Frazier to the undersigned and Magistrate Judge Reona Daly
(Docs. 124, 129).
reasons explained below, Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment is granted.
convictions for armed robbery and aggravated robbery,
Plaintiff Anthony Wheeler entered IDOC custody in early
2003. Wheeler was transferred through several
different IDOC prisons before arriving at Pinckneyville
Correctional Center in November 2005
(“Pinckneyville”) (Doc. 119-1, p. 5). After
almost six years at Pinckneyville, Wheeler was transferred in
June 2011 to Danville Correctional Center
(“Danville”) (Id.). Except for temporary
transfers, Wheeler stayed at Danville through at least May
2015 (Id.). He was then released from IDOC custody
and placed on mandatory supervised release (parole) on June
incidents that give rise to this litigation occurred when
Wheeler was temporarily transferred from Danville to Menard
Correctional Center (“Menard”) on a court writ
from August 29, 2012, to September 26, 2012 (Doc. 119-1, pp.
5, 6). Wheeler was the plaintiff in another civil rights
lawsuit that required him to be present at this
district's courthouse in East St. Louis, Illinois
(Id.). See Wheeler v. Merchant, Case No.
3:09-cv-00114-SCW (S.D. Ill.); Wheeler v. Wexford Health
Source Inc., Case No. 3:11-cv-00839-MJR-SCW (S.D. Ill.).
arrived at Menard via an IDOC prisoner transport bus on the
evening of August 29, 2012 (Doc. 119-1, p. 6). After getting
off the bus, Wheeler and the other recent arrivals were
escorted to the Menard prison chapel (Id.). The
inmates were separated into groups and strip searched by
teams of correctional officers (Doc. 119-1, p. 7). Wheeler
stated at his deposition that there were extra correctional
officers present (about ten to twenty in all) because Menard
was on lockdown at the time (Doc. 119-1, p. 6). Defendant
Sergeant Nathaniel Birkner oversaw the prisoner intake
process in the chapel (Id.). After Wheeler was strip
searched, Sergeant Birkner questioned Wheeler as to why he
had been transferred (Doc. 119-1, p. 8). Wheeler responded
that he was at Menard on a court writ so that he could be
present at the federal courthouse in East St. Louis
(Id.). After the encounter in the chapel, Sergeant
Birkner and Wheeler had no further interactions with each
other (Doc. 119-1, p. 14).
the initial intake and strip search, Correctional Officer
Phillip Shields escorted Wheeler from the chapel to his newly
assigned cell: number 742 in the “North 2 House”
(Doc. 119-1, pp. 8, 9). It was a one-man cell in a
segregation unit (Doc. 119-1, p. 17). The front of his cell
consisted of open bars, and across from his gallery there was
a wall with windows (Id.). Because he was
transferred from Danville (a medium security prison) to a
segregation unit at Menard (a ...