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Hopkins-Bey v. Eads

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

November 17, 2017

RYAN E. EADS, et. al., Defendants



         This cause is before the Court for merit review of the Plaintiff's complaint. The Court is required by 28 U.S.C. §1915A to “screen” the Plaintiff's complaint, and through such process to identify and dismiss any legally insufficient claim, or the entire action if warranted. A claim is legally insufficient if it “(1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §1915A.

         Plaintiff, a pro se prisoner, claims Correctional Officer Ryan Eads, Officer Gresham, and Adjustment Committee Members Stephany Anguiano and Shannon Richno violated his constitutional rights at Lincoln Correctional Center. Plaintiff says on December 20, 2016, Defendant Eads shook down his cell. Initially, the resulting shakedown slip did not list any contraband. However, Defendant Gresham called Plaintiff to the Internal Affairs Office later in the day.

         Defendant Gresham questioned Plaintiff about personal information the Plaintiff had in his cell concerning a female chaplain including her home address. Plaintiff claimed it was the address for her church and he was given the information as part of a prison outreach program to help inmates after their release. Nonetheless, Plaintiff received a disciplinary report based on his possession of the information.

         An attached Adjustment Committee report indicates Plaintiff was found guilty of the offense. The report notes the basis for the finding was conflicting statements from Plaintiff and the address did not match the location Plaintiff gave to the officer. Consequently, Plaintiff lost six months of good time credits and was transferred to another facility. (Comp., 12/20/16 Report). Plaintiff says the hearing and discipline rendered violated his due process rights.

         Prison disciplinary hearings satisfy procedural due process requirements when an inmate is provided: (1) advanced written notice of the charge; (2) the right to appear in person before an impartial body; (3) a qualified right to call witnesses and to present evidence; and (4) a written statement of the reasons for the action taken. See Wolff v. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539, 563-69 (1974)(hearing must meet four requirements, but no “investigation” requirement). Plaintiff has not articulated a due process violation.

         In addition, Plaintiff lost good time credits as a result of the hearing. In order to bring a civil rights lawsuit for damages based on a false disciplinary ticket, Plaintiff was first demonstrate the discipline was expunged. See Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. (1994); Edwards v. Balisok, 520 U.S. 641, 648, 117 S.Ct. 1584, 137 L.Ed.2d 906 (1997); see also Clayton-El v Fisher, 96 F.3d 236, 242-45 (7th 1996)(a prisoners claim that he was denied procedural due process rights in disciplinary proceeding was Heck-barred); Collins v Franks, 2004 WL 882155 at 6 (W.D.Wis. April 22, 2004)(plaintiff's claim that he was denied due process before his good time credits were taken may be pursued only in a habeas action); Miller v Indiana Dept. of Corrections, 75 F.3d 330, 331 (7th Cir. 1996) (holding that a state prisoners federal civil rights suit seeking damages for a denial of due process when the prisoner claimed he was not given a fair hearing is barred by Heck.)

         Plaintiff next alleges when he returned to his housing unit from the Internal Affairs Office, he asked Defendant Eads for a grievance form. Defendant Eads then told Plaintiff he was moving to the top bunk. Plaintiff protested noting Eads knew Plaintiff had knee and back problems and Plaintiff had a bottom bunk permit. Eads claimed he spoke with the Health Care Unit and they were unable to confirm Plaintiff had a bottom bunk permit.

         Plaintiff says when he tried to climb into the bunk later in the day, he fell aggravating his knee and back problems. Plaintiff was then examined by medical staff and “was immediately issued a bottom bunk permit, and medicated with strong pain medication to assist with the pain and complications.” (Comp., p. 4). In addition, the nurse confirmed Plaintiff's records clearly indicated he had ongoing back problems and “he was suppose to remain with a bottom bunk permit.” (Comp., p. 4).

         Plaintiff claims Eads was well aware of his disability, but forced him to the top bunk in retaliation for Plaintiff telling him he was going to write a grievance. In addition, Eads ignored a substantial risk of injury when he moved Plaintiff to a top bunk. Finally, Plaintiff says he reported Defendant Eads' retaliatory conduct to Defendants Gresham, Anguaino and Richno, but no action was taken.

         To establish a First Amendment claim, Plaintiff must be able to demonstrate:: (1) he engaged in a protected activity, (2) he suffered a deprivation likely to prevent future protected activities, and (3) there was a causal connection between the two. Watkins v. Kasper, 599 F.3d 791, 794 (7th Cir. 2010) citing Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009). For the purposes of notice pleading, Plaintiff has alleged Defendant Eads violated his First Amendment rights when he retaliated against him by forcing him to the top bunk. Plaintiff has also sufficiently alleged Defendant Eads violated his Eighth Amendment rights when he was deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of harm.

         However, Plaintiff has not articulated a claim against any other Defendant based on reporting Defendant Ead's conduct after the incident occurred. In order to hold an individual liable under Section 1983, Plaintiff must “show that the defendants were personally responsible for the deprivation of their rights.” Wilson v. Warren Cty., Illinois, 2016 WL 3878215, at *3 (7th Cir. 2016). “A defendant is personally responsible ‘if the conduct causing the constitutional deprivation occurs at his direction or with his knowledge and consent.'” Id. quoting Gentry v. Duckworth, 65 F.3d 555, 561 (7th Cir. 1995). A Defendant can not cause or participate in the violation if the alleged retaliation is reported after the incident had occurred and was corrected.


         1) Pursuant to its merit review of the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court finds the Plaintiff alleges Defendant Correctional Officer Eads retaliated against him in violation of his First Amendment rights and was deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of harm on December 20, 2016. The claim is stated the Defendant in his individual capacity only. Any additional claims shall not be included in the case, except at ...

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