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Hoskins v. Bowles

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 30, 2017

ROBERT HOSKINS, B02683, Plaintiff,


          Staci M. Yandle United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Robert Hoskins, an inmate in the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) prison system, filed this civil rights action on March 12, 2015 against various prison officials at Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”). (Doc. 1). According to the Complaint, on June 19, 2014, Hoskins was involved in a physical altercation with a fellow inmate in the Pinckneyville dietary unit (chow hall). After the altercation, Hoskins was in the process of being transferred to the segregation unit when he was assaulted by Defendants Chad Adams and Greg James. Shortly thereafter, Hoskins filed an emergency grievance detailing the assault. Over the next several days, Defendants Dustin Bowles, Scott Hill, Mark Hartman and Bart Lind conspired to violate his constitutional rights and to issue him falsified disciplinary charges. As a result, Hoskins was punished with the revocation of privileges and good time credits. He was also transferred from Pinckneyville, a medium security facility, to Menard Correctional Center, a maximum security facility.

         Hoskins' Complaint was screened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. (Doc. 7). In the Screening Order, he was found to have articulated three colorable claims. In Count 1, Hoskins stated an Eighth Amendment excessive force claim against Defendants James and Adams. In Count 5, Hoskins stated a claim that Defendants Bowles, Hill, Hartman and Lind conspired to deprive him of his constitutional rights under the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. In Count 6, Hoskins stated a First Amendment retaliation claim against Defendants Bowles, Hill, Hartman and Lind. The remaining counts (2, 3, 4 and 7) were dismissed for failure to state a claim.

         Defendants Bowles, Hill, Hartman and Lind now seek summary judgment as to Counts 5 and 6. (Doc. 77). The motion is opposed. (Doc. 80). For the following reasons, the motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.


         The following facts were obtained from plaintiff's deposition unless otherwise noted. Plaintiff Robert Hoskins has been incarcerated with the IDOC since 1991. (Hoskins deposition, Doc. 78-1, p. 8). The incidents that give rise to this litigation began on June 19, 2014 at Pinckneyville. Id. at p. 10. On that date, Hoskins was involved in a fight with a fellow inmate in the prison chow hall. Id. at p. 10. The fight occurred during the 3 P.M. to 11 P.M. shift. Id. at p. 10. After prison officials broke up the fight, Hoskins was handcuffed and taken to the Pinckneyville Health Care Unit by Defendant James. Id. at p. 10. James was the Internal Affairs Officer working that shift. Id. at p. 18. Hoskins declined medical assistance and James escorted him out of the Health Care Unit to the segregation unit. Id. at p. 20.

         As Hoskins and James left the Health Care Unit, they were stopped by Defendant Adams. Id. at p. 20. Adams asked Hoskins “What's your f*ckin' problem?” and asked him about his gang affiliations. Id. at p. 20. Hoskins refused to answer. Id. at p. 20. At that point, Adams and James began punching Hoskins. Id. at p. 24. Hoskins then fell to the ground, and Adams told James to “[g]et this little bitch out of my face.” Id. at p. 24. As Adams walked away, James picked Hoskins up. Id. at p. 27. The two then proceeded to walk towards the segregation unit. Id. at p. 27. At the segregation unit, James placed Hoskins in Cell 54 in the “C wing.” Id. at p. 33. Hoskins then filed an emergency grievance that described the assault by Adams and James. Id. at p. 34.

         The next morning, Defendant Hartman stopped by Hoskins' cell. Id. at p. 35. Hartman was the counselor for the Pinckneyville segregation unit. Id. at p. 38. Hartman told Hoskins that he should not file any more grievances against Pinckneyville staff members and that the grievances “don't work like that” in his cell house. Id. at p. 38. Hoskins' “Cumulative Counseling Summary, ” an IDOC form that lists inmates' interactions with counselors, states that on June 20, 2014, at 9:28 A.M., Correctional Counselor Mark L. Hartman spoke to Hoskins at his cell in the segregation unit. (Doc. 1, p. 9). Hartman's notes from the interaction state; “Seg. contact. DCA form initiated. States he fears staff will harm him. Internal Affairs notified. Given grievances.” Id.

         Later that day, Defendant Bowles stopped by Hoskins' cell. Id. at p. 39. Bowles worked in the Pinckneyville Internal Affairs Office. Id. at p. 39. Bowles told Hoskins that his grievance was a “game changer.” Id. The record is not quite clear as to what happened next, but Hoskins later received a disciplinary report for “#110 - Impeding or Interfering with an investigation” and “#403 - Disobeying a Direct Order.” (IDOC Offender Disciplinary Report, Doc. 1, p. 15). The report states that at approximately 12:30 P.M., the Internal Affairs Unit arrived at Hoskins' cell to interview him about the previous day's altercation in the chow hall. Id. The report goes on to state that the Wing Officer, Officer Wangler, gave Hoskins three direct orders to come to the front of the cell and cuff up, but Hoskins refused. Id. However, Hoskins testified at his deposition that this exchange with Officer Wangler never occurred. (Doc. 78-1, p. 40). On June 21, 2014, prison officials served Hoskins with the disciplinary report for the failure to cuff up incident from the previous day. Id. at p. 41.

         The following day, Defendant Hill stopped by Hoskins' cell. Id. at p. 41. Hill asked Hoskins “what was up” with the grievance that Hoskins filed. Id. at p. 41. Hoskins backed away from the cell door and refused to answer. Id. at p. 41. Hill then left. Id. at p. 41. Later that day, Hill issued Hoskins a disciplinary report for “403 Disobeying a Direct Order.” (Doc. 1, p. 16). The disciplinary report states that at approximately 1:00 P.M. on June 22, 2014, Hill told Hoskins to “pack his property” so that he could be transferred but that Hoskins told Hill, “I am not moving” and refused to move despite three direct orders. Id.

         On the morning of June 23, 2014, Hoskins found the previous day's disciplinary report from Hill under his cell door. (Doc. 78-1, p. 45). Later that day, Bowles arrived at Hoskins' cell to drop off two more disciplinary reports. Id. One of the disciplinary reports, authored by Bowles, charged Hoskins with “#100 - Violent Assault of any Person, #104 - Dangerous Contraband, [and] #307 Unauthorized Movement” for the incident in the chow hall. (Doc. 1, p. 17). The other disciplinary report, authored by Defendant Lind, charged Hoskins with “#205 Security Threat Group or Unauthorized Organizational Activity.” Id. at p. 19. This disciplinary report also involved the incident in the chow hall, but Hoskins received the additional charge because the fight was gang related. Id. at pp. 19-20.

         Hoskins signed the reports to acknowledge receipt. (Doc. 78-1, p. 45). Bowles then told Hoskins to “pack it up” and that he was being “shipped” out to a different facility. Id. After he packed his belongings, Hoskins was handcuffed and escorted to the “Bureau of Identification” office for processing. Id. Prison officials then placed Hoskins in an IDOC van and transferred him to Menard Correctional Center. Id. at p. 49.

         Hoskins received a total of four disciplinary reports for the incidents that occurred from June 19, 2014 through June 22, 2014. IDOC regulations mandate that an inmate receive an adjustment committee hearing after receiving a disciplinary report. Ill. Admin. Code tit. 20, § 504.80. During the hearing, the inmate is entitled to present evidence in his defense as to the disciplinary charge. Id. The adjustment committee then makes a finding as to guilt or innocence, and decides whether to impose disciplinary action. Id.

         Hoskins received adjustment committee “Final Summary Reports” for the four disciplinary reports, and was found guilty on all four. (See Summary Reports for June 19, 2014, incident at Doc.1, pp. 21-24; Summary Report for June 20, 2014, incident at Doc. 1, p. 12; Summary Report for June 22, 2014, incident at Doc. 1, p. 10). For the May 20 and May 22 incidents, Hoskins was penalized with three months of segregation and two months of segregation, respectively. (Doc. 1, pp. 12, 10). For the fight in the chow hall, he received one year of segregation, a one year loss of good time credit and a “Level 1 ...

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