United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
STEPHEN C. WILLIAMS United States Magistrate Judge.
pro se, incarcerated inmate Christopher Neal filed
the present lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”), alleges that the Menard officials
named as defendants violated his First and Fourteenth
Amendment rights when he was sentenced to six months of
disciplinary segregation after a fight in the Menard
lunchroom. He alleges that, unbeknownst to him until after
the sentence, an additional offense was added to his
disciplinary ticket. This matter is now before the Court on
the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 34).
For the reasons articulated below, Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 34) is DENIED.
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure governs summary
judgment motions. The rule states that summary judgment is
appropriate only if the admissible evidence considered as a
whole shows there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Archdiocese of Milwaukee v. Doe, 743 F.3d 1101, 1105
(7th Cir. 2014) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)). The party
seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
demonstrating - based on the pleadings, affidavits and/or
information obtained via discovery - the lack of any genuine
issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact
remains “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). Accord Bunn v. Khoury Enterpr. Inc., 753
F.3d 676 (7th Cir. 2014).
assessing a summary judgment motion, the district court views
the facts in the light most favorable to, and draws all
reasonable inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party.
Anderson v. Donahoe, 699 F.3d 989, 994 (7th Cir.
2012); Righi v. SMC Corp. , 632 F.3d 404, 408 (7th
Cir. 2011); Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899
(7th Cir. 2011). As the Seventh Circuit has explained, as
required by Rule 56(a), “we set forth the facts by
examining the evidence in the light reasonably most favorable
to the non-moving party, giving [him] the benefit of
reasonable, favorable inferences and resolving conflicts in
the evidence in [his] favor.” Spaine v. Community
Contacts, Inc., 756 F.3d 542 (7th Cir. 2014).
and Procedural Background
events leading to this lawsuit began in June 2009. From May
23 to June 19 of that year Plaintiff was in segregation due
to an investigation relating to the healthcare unit at
Menard. (Doc. 35-1, p. 6). After being released from
segregation, Plaintiff made his way to the healthcare unit
where he was an inmate worker. (Id.). Before he
could arrive there, however, he was stopped by Defendant
Timothy Veath, who was a lieutenant and supervisor of the
Menard healthcare unit. (Id. at 4, 6). Veath would
not allow Plaintiff to return to work in the healthcare unit,
and told Plaintiff that he was responsible for sending
Plaintiff to segregation. (Id. at 7; Doc. 41, p. 4).
Veath then sent Plaintiff to the North 1 shower, and a few
days later Plaintiff was transferred to Stateville
Correctional Center (“Stateville”). (Doc. 35-1,
p. 7). After his encounter with Defendant Veath, and prior to
the transfer to Stateville, Plaintiff filed two grievances:
one for Veath's actions in preventing him from returning
to work, and the other for the investigation that placed
Plaintiff in segregation in the first place. (Id.).
Plaintiff filed the grievance in the ordinary course by
placing the grievances in the grievance box on his way to
chow. (Id. at 8). He was sent to Stateville only a
few days later, and he never received responses or heard
anything more regarding the two grievances. (Id.).
returned to Menard in January of 2013. (Id.). On
October 17, 2013, Plaintiff had an altercation with another
inmate in the chow hall that resulted in a warning shot being
fired by a guard. (Id. at 10). As a result of the
fight, Plaintiff was issued a disciplinary ticket.
(Id.). The ticket given to Plaintiff was prepared by
a C/O Anthony and charged Plaintiff with
“301-Fighting”. (Id. at 9, 22). On
October 23, 2013, Plaintiff was brought before the Menard
adjustment committee for a hearing on his charges.
(Id. at 11). Present at the hearing were Lt. Veath,
Jason Hart, and Rebecca Cowan. (Id.) While Plaintiff
“assumed” that all three of these individuals
were on the adjustment committee, the committee's Final
Summary Report indicates that only Veath and Hart were
members. (Id. at 12, 24).
Plaintiff entered the room where the committee had convened,
Lt. Veath said, “Mr. Neal, you're back with us,
huh? What are you here for?” (Id. at 12).
Cowan then indicated that she was looking for his ticket,
upon which Veath, presumably after looking at the ticket,
asked, “Oh, you had a fight?” (Id.).
then said, “Veath, you ain't even got to go through
that, man. I plead guilty, man.” (Id.). He
continued, “It's nothing, man. You ain't got to
read off of nothing.” (Id.). Plaintiff made
this statement because, from the ticket he had been given, he
already knew with what he had been charged, and because
“Veath was not trying to hear anything.”
(Id; Doc. 41, p. 1). Additionally, according to
Plaintiff, Defendant Cowan stated, “All he's got is
a fighting ticket.” (Doc. 35-1, p. 12).
Veath then told Plaintiff to stop fighting in the chow hall,
and Plaintiff apologized and left. (Id.). At no
point during the hearing did anyone read the ticket to
Plaintiff. (Id.). The encounter at the Adjustment
Committee hearing was the first time that Plaintiff had seen
or interacted with Defendant Veath since Plaintiff's
return to Menard. (Id. at 8).
was placed in segregation, but was not told the specific
results of the hearing. (Id. at 13). He assumed that
he would be in segregation for thirty days, but later, after
asking an officer to check what day he was to be released, he
found out that he had been sentenced to six months in
segregation. (Id.). While the ticket that was
provided to Plaintiff before the adjustment committee hearing
indicates that he was charged with only
“301-Fighting”, the summary report from the
committee indicates that Plaintiff was charged with and pled
guilty to “Fighting” and
“Dangerous Disturbances.” (Id. at 24).
The discipline recommended by the committee, and later