United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Springfield Division
SUMMARY JUDGMENT OPINION
MYERSCOUGH UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
proceeding pro se and presently incarcerated at Lawrence
Correctional Center, brought the present lawsuit pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging retaliation, excessive force,
and related state law claims. Defendants Kleinlein and Goins
now move for summary judgment on Plaintiff's retaliation
claims against them. (Doc. 84). The motion is granted in part
and denied in part.
judgment should be granted “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). All facts must be construed in the light
most favorable to the non-moving party, and all reasonable
inferences must be drawn in his favor. Ogden v.
Atterholt, 606 F.3d 355, 358 (7th Cir. 2010).
The party moving for summary judgment must show the lack of a
genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In order to be a
“genuine” issue, there must be more than
“some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “Only disputes
over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under
the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary
judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
times relevant, Plaintiff was incarcerated at Western
Illinois Correctional Center (“Western”). Both
Defendants worked at the facility: Defendant Kleinlein was a
correctional sergeant, and Defendant Goins was the grievance
in 2011, Plaintiff testified in his deposition that, on four
(4) separate occasions, Defendant Kleinlein either prevented
him from going to get “chow” (a meal) or sent him
back from chow before he was able to eat. Pl.'s Dep.
21:1-10. Plaintiff testified that Defendant Kleinlein did not
provide any reasons for doing so. Id.
December 15, 2012, Defendant Kleinlein prevented Plaintiff
from going to chow, apparently because Plaintiff was not
appropriately dressed-his shirt was allegedly untucked and
his pants were unzipped. Id. 45:5-9. Plaintiff was
sprayed with chemical spray after refusing commands to
“cuff up.” During a physical altercation that
ensued, Plaintiff struck Defendant Kleinlein twice in the
face. Plaintiff does not deny striking Defendant Kleinlein,
he only disputes that it was intentional. Plaintiff lost
good-time credit in the disciplinary proceeding that
followed, and he later pleaded guilty to the resulting
relates to Defendant Goins, Plaintiff testified that he had
filed several grievances against prison officials.
E.g., id. 104:13-16. In her capacity as
grievance officer, Plaintiff testified that Defendant Goins
told the subjects of his grievances that Plaintiff had been
filing them, which in turn exposed Plaintiff to an increased
risk of retaliation. Plaintiff also testified that Defendant
Goins failed to respond to several of his grievances.
Id. 105:4-5 (Defendant Goins “would take [the
grievances] and get rid of them for some reason.”).
parties agree that a triable issue of fact exists as to the
excessive force claims against the other defendants.
prevail on a retaliation claim, the Plaintiff must show that
he engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment; he
suffered a deprivation that would likely deter First
Amendment activity in the future; and the First Amendment
activity motivated the decision to take retaliatory action.
Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 553
(7th Cir. 2009). If Plaintiff can make a prima
facie showing that his protected activity was a
“motivating factor” that caused the alleged harm,
then the burden shifts to the defendants to show that the
harm would have occurred anyway, despite the protected
activity. Greene v. Doruff, 660 F.3d 975, 979
(7th Cir. 2011).
do not argue that filing a grievance is a protected First
Amendment activity. At least with respect to Defendant
Kleinlein, Defendants also do not argue that Plaintiff has
failed to make a prima facie showing of retaliation.
Defendants Kleinlein and Goins argue that: (1)
Plaintiff's retaliation claims against Defendant
Kleinlein are barred pursuant to Heck v. Humphrey,
512 U.S. 477 (1994); (2) Plaintiff's First Amendment
activity was not the reason for Defendant Kleinlein's
actions; and (3) Plaintiff cannot provide evidence to support
his claims that Defendant Goins retaliated against him.
Defendants also assert a qualified immunity defense.