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Moore v. Hughes

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

April 4, 2017

EDWARD MOORE, Plaintiff,


          MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge.

         Plaintiff Edward Moore is an inmate with the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Moore asserts in this lawsuit that his constitutional rights were violated at Menard because he was provided inadequate due process at a prison disciplinary hearing. As a result of that disciplinary hearing, Moore spent 90 days in the Menard segregation unit and he argues that the conditions in segregation violated his Eighth Amendment rights. The Defendants in this matter, Robert Hughes, Christopher Roth and Virgil Smith, now seek summary judgment. (Doc. 125). Plaintiff filed a three-page opposition to the summary judgment wherein he reiterated his request for counsel, and generally opposed summary judgment (Doc. 135). For the following reasons, summary judgment is GRANTED as to all Defendants.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On the morning of February 6, 2014, Moore was performing legal work in the Menard prison law library. (Doc. 93-3, p. 7, Doc. 126-1, p. 3). Moore testified at his deposition that he was reviewing legal documents for a case he was working on when he noticed that some of his exhibits were missing. (Doc. 126-1, p. 4). Moore had submitted the documents and attached case law exhibits to be copied by prisoner law clerks, but the case law exhibits were never returned. Id. Moore then stood up from his desk and walked over to the desk of Tonya Knust, the prison law librarian, to inquire as to the missing case law exhibits. Id. Knust told Moore that the case law exhibits were removed because they were not needed for his filing. Id. Moore then turned around and began to head back to his seat. Id. At that moment, correctional officer Travis Lindsey, the officer on duty in the law library, called out to Moore and told him to bring his Id. Id. Moore gave Lindsey his ID and asked him “what did I do?” Id. Lindsey did not respond and Moore sat back down. Id.

         Several minutes later, Lieutenant Robert Hughes arrived in the law library. (Doc. 126-1, p. 5). Hughes briefly spoke to Lindsey, and then Hughes asked Moore to explain what had happened. Id. Moore told Hughes that he did not know. Id. At that point Hughes placed Moore in handcuffs and escorted him to the segregation unit holding area. Id. It was soon discovered that the segregation unit was full, so Hughes was placed back in his normal cell. Id. Later that evening, Hughes received a disciplinary report for the events that occurred in the law library. (Doc. 126-1, p. 6). The disciplinary report is drafted and signed by Lindsey. (Doc. 93-3, p. 7). It essentially states that Lindsey told Moore to sit down after he approached Knust (a law library employee), and at that point Moore became belligerent. Id.[1] As a result, Moore was charged with “intimidation or threats, ” “unauthorized movement, ” and “disobeying a direct order.” Id. After receiving the disciplinary report, Moore sent a letter to the Adjustment Committee providing a “witness statement” and requesting that Knust be present at the disciplinary hearing. (Doc. 126-1, pp. 6-7).

         On February 10, 2014, the Menard Adjustment Committee held a hearing on Moore's disciplinary charge. (Doc. 126-1, p. 5). The Adjustment Committee consisted of Hughes and another Menard official named Jason Hart. (Doc. 93-7, p. 12). Moore was allowed to present his written witness statement but the Adjustment Committee did not allow Moore to call Knust as a witness. (Doc. 126-1, p. 6). At the conclusion of the hearing, Moore was found guilty of the three charges. (Doc. 93-7, p. 12). As punishment, Moore was given three months of “C Grade, ” three months of segregation and a three month commissary restriction. Id.

         After the hearing Moore was immediately escorted to the segregation unit by Defendant Christopher Roth. (Doc. 126-1, p. 11). Upon arriving at his new cell, Moore noticed that it was filthy. (Doc. 126-1, p. 12). The cell lacked sheets or a pillowcase; there was garbage on the cell floor; the toilet was caked with urine and feces; the mattress was stained brown and smelled of urine; the pillow was stained; and it appeared that someone had smeared feces on the walls. (Doc. 126-1, pp. 13-17). Moore also noticed that the sink did not provide cold water, and the hot water came out of the faucet at a very low pressure (described by Moore as a “dribbl[e]”). (Doc. 126-1, p. 17). As Roth removed Moore's handcuffs, Moore asked him if he could have some bed linens and cleaning supplies. (Doc. 126-1, p. 12). Roth told Moore that no cleaning supplies or linens were available. (Id.).[2] Roth also mentioned that there were no open cells in the segregation unit, and so Moore could not be moved to a different cell. (Doc. 7, p. 19). Moore spent the next 90 days in the segregation cell, and he had no further interactions with Roth while there. (Doc. 126-1, p. 12).

         Ten or eleven days after being placed in the segregation cell, an inmate worker delivered a bag containing Moore's personal property. (Doc. 126-1, p. 13). Typically, personal property was delivered to an inmate in segregation within 24 hours. (Id. at 12). The bag included sheets, a pillowcase, half a bar of soap, shampoo, rags and legal papers. Id. Moore used an extra wash rag to clean up the cell, but much of it remained dirty. (Doc. 126-1, p. 14). On at least a couple of occasions Moore complained of the conditions in the cell to his gallery officer, Defendant Virgil Smith. (Doc. 126-1, p. 21). However, Smith told him that he was unable to provide cleaning supplies or move him to a new cell. (Doc. 126-1, pp. 15-16).

         In addition to the cleanliness issue, the overall conditions in segregation were harsher than those in general population. (Doc. 126-1, p. 9). Moore was locked in his cell for almost 24 hours a day. Id. Inmates in segregation do not eat in the chow hall; all of their meals are delivered to their cells. Id. Moore was also unable to take a shower until ten or eleven days after he entered segregation. (Doc. 126-1, p. 18). He was then allowed to take a shower twice a week. Id. He was also able to do minimal washing up with the water from his faucet. (Id.). As a result of the unsanitary conditions, Moore testified at his deposition that he developed a rash. (Doc. 126-1, p. 19). The rash was red bumps mainly on his arms and legs. (Doc. 126-1, p. 20). The rash afflicted multiple areas of his body, including his legs, which never came into direct contact with the mattress due to his jumpsuit, and eventually his sheets. (Id.). The rash did not subside once he got his sheets. (Id.). He was able to see a doctor for his rash, though there was no discussion of the treatment he received or any physician's recommendations. (Doc. 126-1 at 21).

         Moore served the full 90 days in segregation and was then transferred to general population. (Doc. 126-1, p. 9). On January 29, 2015, Moore filed this lawsuit. (Doc. 1). Shortly thereafter, Moore was granted leave to file an amended complaint (Doc. 7) and Judge Gilbert screened the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. (Doc. 9). Judge Gilbert held in the screening order that the failure to call Moore's witness at the disciplinary hearing alone was not sufficient to establish a due process violation, but that if the conditions of confinement were sufficiently more severe than general population, the situation may amount to a due process violation. Moore also articulated a potential Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Smith based on the conditions of confinement in the segregation cell. Defendant Roth was added to the Eighth Amendment claim in Moore's second amended complaint. (Doc. 93). The three Defendants now seek summary judgment. (Doc. 125).

         At Moore's deposition, his testimony was largely consistent with the allegations in his written filings. Of note, he testified that he did not believe Defendants Roth or Smith intended to harm him by failing to adequately respond to his complaints about cell cleanliness. (Doc. 126-1 at 24). Moore's deposition is the only evidentiary deposition or affidavit in this case.

         II. ANALYSIS

         Summary judgment is appropriate when there is no genuine dispute of material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Carroll v. Lynch, 698 F.3d 561, 564 (7th Cir. 2012). When presented with a motion for summary judgment the facts must be viewed in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party and all reasonable inferences are to be drawn in their favor. Miller v. Gonzalez, 761 F.3d 822, 826 (7th Cir. 2014) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)). Summary judgment is appropriate if “on the evidence provided, no reasonable juror could return a verdict in favor of the [nonmovant].” Ball v. Kotter, 723 F.3d 813, 821 (7th Cir. 2013). In sum, “the court has one task and one task only: to decide, based on the evidence of record, whether there is any material dispute of fact that requires a trial.” Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 920 (7th Cir. 1994).

         Moore proceeds on two claims in this lawsuit: that he was provided inadequate due process at the February 10, 2014 disciplinary hearing and that the conditions in the segregation cell violated his Eighth Amendment rights. Starting with Moore's due process claim, the Fourteenth Amendment states in part, “[n]o State shall … deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law[.]” The Supreme Court has held that prisoners are entitled to due process protections in certain situations, such as when good time credits are revoked, see Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 556-57 (1974), or the prisoner is subjected to an “atypical and significant hardship, ” Sandin v. Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995). The violation of prison procedures or the lack of due process in assigning an inmate to segregation does not constitute a freestanding constitutional violation. See Sandin, 515 U.S. at 485-86. Instead, a constitutional violation depends on the combination of these problems with enhanced conditions in segregation. Id. The “atypical and significant hardship” liberty interest often arises when an inmate is placed in segregation, or another similarly strict prison environment, for an extended period of time. See, e.g., Marion v. Columbia Correction Inst., 559 F.3d 693, 698 (7th Cir. ...

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