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Willis v. Tejeda

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

November 18, 2016

LAMONTA WILLIS, Plaintiff,
v.
RICARDO TEJEDA, RANDY PFISTER, STEPHEN DUNCAN, DOES 1 THROUGH 10 AS UNKNOWN OFFICIALS, OFFICERS, AND/OR EMPLOYEES AT LAWRENCE CORRECTIONAL CENTER, DOES 11 THROUGH 20 AS UNKNOWN OFFICIALS, OFFICERS, AND/OR EMPLOYEES AT ILLINOIS PRISONER REVIEW BOARD, and ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM ORDER AND OPINION

          Robert M. Dow, Jr. United States District Judge

         Plaintiff LaMonta Willis (“Plaintiff”) brings this § 1983 suit against Defendants Ricardo Tejeda (“Tejeda”), Randy Pfister (“Pfister”), Stephen Duncan (“Duncan”), the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), and unknown officials, officers, and employees of the Lawrence Correctional Center (“Lawrence”) and the Illinois Prisoner Review Board (“IPRB”) to seek redress for alleged violations of Plaintiff's constitutional right to due process and deprivation of his liberty under the Fourteenth Amendment. Before the Court is Defendant Tejeda's motion [45] to dismiss Plaintiff's second amended complaint [44]. For the reasons stated below, the motion [45] is denied.

         I. Background[1]

         Plaintiff was formerly an inmate at the Shawnee Correctional Center (“Shawnee”). His sentence included two years parole. He was released from Shawnee on parole on January 22, 2013. His sentence was to conclude on January 22, 2015.

         On January 2, 2014, a warrant was issued for Plaintiff's arrest and on January 22, 2014, Plaintiff was taken back into custody. On January 31, 2014, Plaintiff was transferred to the Stateville Correctional Center (“Stateville”) to await a hearing before the IPRB. Defendant Tejeda is a Warden at Stateville. Defendant Does 11 through 20 are unknown officials, officers, and/or employees of the IPRB. Tejeda and all of the other individual defendants are employed by Defendant IDOC. Plaintiff received a hearing before the IPRB on March 12, 2014. The IPRB determined that Plaintiff would be required to spend the remaining time of his parole in IDOC custody.

         On March 14, 2014, Plaintiff was transferred to Lawrence. Defendant Duncan is the Warden at Lawrence and Defendant Does 1 through 10 are unknown officials, officers, and/or employees at Lawrence. Plaintiff alleges that at Lawrence, “he received a false calculation for his remaining incarceration.” [44] at 3. Plaintiff specifically alleges that “Lawrence calculated that Plaintiff was to be released on October 2, 2014, ” but that this “was erroneous because it gave Plaintiff no credit for his time on parole from September 1, 2013 through January 2, 2014, ” when a warrant was issued for his arrest. Id. at 3-4. According to Plaintiff, January 2, 2014 was “the correct starting point to calculate his remaining time to serve” and if Lawrence “had calculated [his] release date correctly, the release date would have been set for July 22, 2014, rather than October 2, 2014.” [44] at 4.

         Between March and May 2014, Plaintiff filed multiple grievances challenging the calculation of his release date, “including one to Defendant Tejeda.” [44] at 4. Specifically, on March 28, 2014, Plaintiff filed a grievance with “Counselor Ray” at Lawrence. Id. Plaintiff received a response on May 27, 2014. According to Plaintiff, the denial did not “determine or even consider the miscalculation of time.” Id. On April 21, 2014, Plaintiff “communicated his concerns to Stateville, which wrongfully failed and refused to calculate Plaintiff's remaining incarceration time by giving him credit for time served before the warrant was issued.” Id. On May 11, 2014, Plaintiff filed a grievance addressed to the IPRB and the Administrative Review Board detailing the alleged sentence miscalculation. On May 13, 2014, Plaintiff filed another grievance with IDOC. IDOC responded on May 27, 2014. According to Plaintiff, IDOC's response was “woefully inadequate and deficient” and did not “address the substance of his grievance.” Id. Instead, IDOC “directed Plaintiff to file the grievance with the Administrative Review Board, which Plaintiff already had done” two weeks earlier. Id.

         On September 10, 2014, Plaintiff received a response from the Administrative Review Board. The response, which was dated July 12, 2014, “failed and refused to address the substance of Plaintiff's concerns and incarceration miscalculation, ” and instead “instructed Plaintiff [to] direct his concerns and complaints to the [IPRB].” [44] at 5.

         Plaintiff alleges that, as a result of “the delays” and “deficient responses” of the IPRB, the Administrative Review Board, Stateville, and IDOC, he was “denied any remedy for the miscalculation of his remaining sentence.” [24] at 4. Plaintiff was released from Lawrence on October 2, 2014.

         On November 13, 2014, Plaintiff filed a pro se complaint [1] against Salvador Godinez, the then-director of IDOC; the IDOC Administrative Review Board; the IDOC Prison Review Board; and Tejeda. Upon its initial review of the complaint, the Court dismissed all defendants except Tejeda [5]. The Court subsequently recruited an attorney to represent Plaintiff [13] and Plaintiff's counsel filed a first amended complaint on June 25, 2015 [24]. The first amended complaint was brought against Tejeda and Gladyse C. Taylor, (“Taylor”) a former acting director of IDOC. Tejeda's moved to dismiss the amended complaint. See [26]. The Court granted in part and denied part the motion. See [43]. The Court denied Tejeda's motion to dismiss Counts I and II of the first amended complaint but struck Plaintiff's requests for injunctive relief on those counts, on the ground of mootness. The Court also dismissed Taylor as a defendant due to Plaintiff's failure to serve her with the amended complaint. The Court granted Plaintiff until February 22, 2016 to file a second amended complaint consistent with its opinion.

         Plaintiff filed his second amended complaint [44] on February 22, 2016. The second amended complaint contains two claims. Count I alleges a “violation of due process for unconstitutional processes.” [44] at 6. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his due process rights by “refusing to respond [to], ignoring, [and] misdirecting” him and “interfering with [his] ability to obtain a fair, constitutional grievance process.” Id. Plaintiff also alleges that “Defendants' internal grievance processes are fundamentally flawed and unconstitutional in the manner by which they: (a) purport to calculate remaining incarceration time to be served following an arrest for parole violations; and/or (b) purport to provide remedies to inmates who seek to appeal or challenge the calculation of remaining incarceration time to be served.” Id. Plaintiff further alleges that he “could not have obtained a writ of habeas corpus due to the delays and deficient responses by Defendants.” Id. As a result, Plaintiff alleges, he was “deprived of his liberty and incarcerated for months beyond his correct release date.” Id.

         Count II alleges a “violation of due process for miscalculation of incarceration time.” [44] at 7. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants “miscalculated Plaintiff's remaining incarceration time and then failed and refused to address the miscalculation despite multiple grievances filed by Plaintiff.” Id. Plaintiff further alleges that there were “no procedures to remedy Defendants' delays” and that he “could not have obtained a writ of habeas corpus due to the delays and deficient responses by Defendants.” Id. As a result, Plaintiff alleges, he was deprived of his liberty and incarcerated for months beyond his correct release date. Id. Plaintiff requests compensatory damages on Count I and compensatory damages, costs, and fees on Count II, in addition to any further relief the Court deems just and appropriate. Plaintiff has removed his request for injunctive relief, as directed by the Court in its order granting in part and denying in part Tejeda's motion to dismiss the first amended complaint.

         II. Legal Standard

         Defendant Tejeda moves to dismiss the second amended complaint under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). “To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), plaintiff's complaint must allege facts which, when taken as true, ‘plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a speculative level.'” Cochran v. Illinois State Toll Highway Auth., 828 F.3d 597, 599 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007)). The Court “accept[s] all well-pleaded facts as true and draw all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's favor.” Id. at 600 (citing Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 52 ...


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