United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
HERNDON, DISTRICT JUDGE:
Sam Wells, an inmate in Hill Correctional Center, brings this
action for deprivations of his constitutional rights pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that happened at Menard
Correctional Center and Pontiac Correctional Center.
Plaintiff requests monetary damages. This case is now before
the Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
Screening - The court shall review, before docketing, if
feasible or, in any event, as soon as practicable after
docketing, a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner
seeks redress from a governmental entity or officer or
employee of a governmental entity.
Grounds for Dismissal - On review, the court shall identify
cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of
the complaint, if the complaint-
(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted; or
(2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from
An action or claim is frivolous if “it lacks an
arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke
v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Frivolousness is
an objective standard that refers to a claim that any
reasonable person would find meritless. Lee v.
Clinton, 209 F.3d 1025, 1026-27 (7th Cir. 2000). An
action fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007). The claim of entitlement to relief must cross
“the line between possibility and plausibility.”
Id. at 557. At this juncture, the factual
allegations of the pro se complaint are to be
liberally construed. See Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance
Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).
careful review of the complaint and any supporting exhibits,
the Court finds it appropriate to exercise its authority
under § 1915A; this action is subject to summary
incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center, plaintiff was
placed on investigative status on March 28, 2014. (Doc. 1-1,
p. 3). On April 22, 2014 plaintiff was served with an inmate
disciplinary report for participation in a security threat
group (“STG”). (Doc. 1, p. 8) (Doc. 1-1, pp 5-6).
Plaintiff was put on temporary confinement, and his
adjustment committee hearing was delayed until May 8, 2014.
(Doc. 1, p. 8). At that time, plaintiff was served with
another disciplinary report dated May 8, 2014, although that
report referenced the same subject as the April 22, 2014
report. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 8-9). The second disciplinary report
was written at the behest of the Chief Administrative
Officer, Kimberly Butler. (Doc. 1, p. 8). She directed that
the report be revised in order to include additional
information to substantiate the charge against plaintiff.
(Doc. 1-1, p. 16). She also directed the adjustment committee
to impose discipline of 1 year segregation, 1 year C-grade,
and LOC. Id. Plaintiff alleges that this instruction
violated the Illinois Administrative Code, specifically the
section that prohibits the CAO from influencing an adjustment
committee decision. (Doc. 1, p. 8). Plaintiff also alleges
that Butler improperly increased his sanction,
although the Complaint explicitly states that he was denied a
hearing until after Butler remanded the initial disciplinary
report and the exhibits submitted in support of the complaint
do not show that an initial disciplinary hearing was
performed or that discipline was imposed prior to the 1 year
punishment. (Doc. 1, pp. 8-10).
Scott and Rebecca Cowan imposed the sanction recommended by
Butler in violation of the Illinois Administrative Code.
(Doc. 1, p. 9). Plaintiff filed grievances contesting the
alleged arbitrary acts by Butler, Scott, and Cowan.
Id. On October 20, 2014, the Administrative Review
Board (“ARB”), specifically McCarty and Godinez,
remanded the ticket back to Menard so that the reporting
officer could provide additional information to substantiate
the charge and directed Pontiac to rehear the ticket.
Id. However, the remand order failed to address the
allegedly improper 9 month sanction increase recommended by
Butler. Plaintiff alleges that Godinez and McCarty violated
the Illinois Administrative Code by failing to address this
point. (Doc. 1, p. 10). Plaintiff further alleges that
Godinez and McCarty were deliberately indifferent to the 4
months that plaintiff had already spent in segregation past
the 3 months he should have received. Id.
was not reissued a new disciplinary ticket until
approximately 3 months after the remand from the ARB. (Doc.
1-1, p. 21). The January 20, 2015 report was substantially
the same as the April 22, 2014 and the May 8, 2014 reports.
(Doc. 1, p. 11). On January 22, 2015, plaintiff appeared
before the Pontiac Correctional Center Adjustment Committee,
composed of Chad Brown and Aberarado Salinas. Id.
The Pontiac Committee again found plaintiff guilty and
sanctioned him to 1 year of segregation, despite the fact
that plaintiff explained how Butler had violated the
administrative code. Id. Plaintiff alleges that
Brown, Salinas, and Pfister also violated the Illinois
Administrative Code when they failed to act to reverse
Butler's wrongful act. Id. Plaintiff alleges
that Brown, Salinas, and Pfister retaliated against him
because of letters, request slips, and grievance that
plaintiff had filed. Id.
was released from segregation on March 27, 2015. (Doc. 1, p.
12). On April 27, 2015, the ARB issued a decision that the
sanction increase from 3 months to 1 year violated the
Illinois Administrative Code, and directed prison
administrators to reduce Plaintiff's punishment to 3
months. Id. However, by this time, plaintiff had
already served the full year at Pontiac Correctional Center.
Id. Plaintiff alleges that the extra 273 days he had
to spend in segregation posed an atypical and significant
hardship in relation to prison life in general population.
Id. Specifically he alleges that while in general
population, he had a job assignment and access to vocational
classes, religious services, school, recreation, activities,
and other support programs. Id. He also received 5
contact visits per month, daily telephone access, 3 showers
per week, and 8 hours of recreation per week. Id. In
contrast, in disciplinary segregation, plaintiff was confined
to his cell 24 hours a day. Id. He received no
telephone privileges, only 2 non-contact visits per month, 1
shower per week, 4 hours of recreation per week, and no
support or recreational programing. Id. Plaintiff
was also subject to restrictions on what property he could
keep in his cell or purchase at the commissary. Id.
on the allegations of the complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into 5 counts. The
parties and the Court will use these designations in all
future pleadings and orders, unless otherwise directed by a