United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
JARRON PRICE, No. M16872, Plaintiff,
MICHAEL SANDERS, VENTURES JACKSON, JASON GARNETT, and KENNETH FINNEY, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MICHAEL J. REAGAN Chief Judge
Jarron Price, currently an inmate in Hill Correctional
Center, brings this action for deprivations of his
constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff's claims pertain to his former incarceration at
Big Muddy River Correctional Center (“Big Muddy”)
and a false disciplinary report allegedly filed against the
Plaintiff as an act of retaliation. In connection with his
claims, Plaintiff seeks damages from Michael Sanders
(adjustment committee chairperson), Ventures Jackson
(lieutenant), Jason Garnett (Big Muddy warden), and Kenneth
Finney (correctional officer). This case is now before the
Court for a preliminary review of the Complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A, which provides:
(a) 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.
(b) 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
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 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.
10, 2015, Plaintiff was confined to isolation and under
suicide watch. (Doc. 10, p. 4). Plaintiff directed a question
to Finney, a corrections officer, and Finney responded with
racially charged remarks. Id. Specifically, Finney
stated “you niggers disgust me, always claiming to want
to kill yourself but when it's time to die you beg for
forgiveness. Just die already and do yourself a favor.”
Id. Plaintiff immediately told Finney that he
intended to file a grievance regarding Finney's comments.
Id. Finney threatened Plaintiff, stating he would
show Plaintiff how to play “the paper game” if
Plaintiff filed a grievance. (Doc. 10, pp. 4-5). The
following day, Finney filed a disciplinary report claiming
Plaintiff threatened to sexually assault another inmate
(inmate Jones M-48532). (Doc. 10, p. 5; Doc. 10-1, p. 1).
Plaintiff alleges the charges were false and that Finney was
retaliating against Plaintiff for threatening to file a
grievance. (Doc. 10, p. 5).
19, 2015, Plaintiff was called to a disciplinary hearing
regarding Finney's disciplinary report. Id.
Sanders, the adjustment committee chairperson, and Jackson, a
lieutenant, conducted the hearing. Id. Plaintiff
pleaded not guilty. Id. Sanders and Jackson entered
a finding of guilty and, in entering the finding of guilty,
told Plaintiff they “protect their own.”
Id. Plaintiff was disciplined with segregation (3
months), demotion to c-grade (3 months), commissary
restriction (3 months), gym/yard restriction (3 months), day
room restriction (3 months), and transfer to a “higher
level” prison. Id. When Plaintiff received a
summary report, he realized Sanders and Jackson signed the
report prior to the hearing - on June 18, 2015. Id.
filed a grievance. Id. It appears that the grievance
complained about the signature date on Plaintiff's
summary report. ((Doc. 10-1, p. 3) (“Offender Price
grieves the date of the Adjustment Committee hearing was June
19th and the Adjustment Committee chairman signed
the hearing summary on June 18th.”)). The
grievance was initially denied and Plaintiff appealed. (Doc.
10, p. 5; Doc. 10-1, p. 3). After 6 months, the
Administrative Review Board issued a decision in favor of
Plaintiff and expunged the disciplinary action. (Doc. 10-1,
p. 3). Id. Plaintiff has attached a copy of the
Administrative Review Board's letter, which provides, in
relevant part, as follows:
This office has reviewed the disciplinary report, 201500996,
written by K. Finney, citing you for the offenses of 206 -
Intimidation or Threats. A review of the Adjustment Committee
summary indicates you were found guilty of 206. Recommended
discipline was: 3 months C-grade, 3 months Segregation, 3
months Day Room Restriction, 3 months Commissary Restriction,
Transfer, 3 months gym/yard restriction. The Chief
Administrative Officer concurred with the recommendation on
June 20, 2015.
Based on a total review of all available information and a
compliance check of the procedural due process safeguards
outlined in DR504, this office recommends the disciplinary
report be expunged due to non-compliance with DR504.80. The
original hearing was not continued due to the facility being
on lockdown. In addition, the second summary included
additional discipline not indicated in the first served
summary. The Big Muddy Rive Adjustment Committee is to
expunge the disciplinary report (201500996).
(Doc. 10-1, p. 3).
Plaintiff was in segregation, because of the gym/yard
restriction, he was subjected to a complete bar on all
exercise outside of his cell. Id. Therefore,
considering the other disciplinary restrictions imposed on
Plaintiff, it appears he was restricted to his cell for 24
hours a day for 90 days. Plaintiff does not specify whether
he was able to exercise within his cell or otherwise describe
the conditions of his confinement while in segregation.
contends that, prior to being subjected to disciplinary
segregation, Plaintiff was labeled “Seriously Mentally
Ill” or “SMI.” (Doc. 10, p. 5). Plaintiff
alleges Defendants failed to consider his status as an SMI
inmate prior to imposing disciplinary action. Id.
Plaintiff further contends that he attempted suicide and
self-harm while in segregation. (Doc. 10, p. 6).
respect to Garnett, Plaintiff merely alleges he “denied
my claim.” (Doc. 10, p. 5).
on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it
convenient to divide the pro se action into
the following counts. The parties and the Court will use
these designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless
otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion
regarding their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in
the Complaint but not addressed in this Order should be
considered dismissed without prejudice as inadequately pled
under the Twombly pleading standard.
Count 1-Fourteenth Amendment claim for
deprivation of a liberty interest without due process against
Finney for writing a false disciplinary report.
Count 2-Fourteenth Amendment claim for
deprivation of a liberty interest without due process against
Sanders and Jackson for finding Plaintiff guilty of the false
Count 3-Eighth Amendment claim for cruel and
unusual punishment against Finney for verbally harassing
Plaintiff while he was on suicide watch.
Count 4-Eighth Amendment claim for cruel and
unusual punishment against Sanders and Jackson for imposing
90 days disciplinary segregation on Plaintiff in conjunction
with a 90 day restriction on outside exercise in relation to
a false disciplinary ticket.
Count 5-First Amendment Retaliation Claim
against Finney for filing a false disciplinary report after
Plaintiff threatened ...