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Osborne v. Goins

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

November 27, 2017

ALEXANDER OSBORNE, N64390, Plaintiff,
v.
RUSSELL GOINS, MARC G. HODGE, STEVE DUNCAN, NICHOLAS LAMB, MARTIN BUCHNER, JERRY HARPER, JASON ZOLLARS, MARCUS JENKINS, ANDY STOUT, BENJAMIN VAUGHN, JANA CARIE and JASON GINDER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Now before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 35). Plaintiff did not file a response. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is DENIED.

         Background

         Plaintiff Alexander Osborne is an Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) inmate and Defendants are IDOC employees. Osborne filed suit on May 6, 2016 (Doc. 1). Osborne asserts states in his Complaint that he is a Rastafarian and that it is against his religious beliefs to cut or comb his hair. He alleges that in late December 2013, Defendants violated his constitutional rights by subjecting him to excessive force, forcibly cutting off his dreadlocks and denying him medical treatment for his injuries.

         The Court screened Osborne's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and found that Osborne articulated the following colorable claims:

COUNT 1: Defendants Goins, Hodge, Lamb, Buchner, Harper, Zollars, Jenkins, Stout, Vaughn, Carie, and Ginder violated Plaintiff's First Amendment rights when they ordered him to cut his hair and then forcibly cut his hair, which is forbidden by Plaintiff's religious beliefs.
COUNT 2: Defendant Duncan violated Plaintiff's rights under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) when his staff forcibly cut Plaintiff's hair, which is forbidden by Plaintiff's religious beliefs.
COUNT 3: Defendants Harper, Ginder, Jenkins, Stout, Vaughn, and Carie used excessive force on Plaintiff, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, when they pepper sprayed him, jumped on him, hit him with their shields, pushed his face into the wall, and forcibly cut his hair and eyebrows.
COUNT 4: Defendants Harper, Ginder, Jenkins, Stout, Vaughn, and Carie were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment when they denied him medical care for his injuries after the December 31, 2013 incident. (Doc. 12).

         The events that give rise to this litigation occurred while Osborne was an inmate at Lawrence Correctional Center. He alleges the following in his Complaint. He has been a Rastafarian for more than 30 years and pursuant to his religious beliefs, does not cut or comb his hair (Doc. 1, p. 5). Osborne is also 61 years old and physically disabled. Id. at p. 4. He suffers from diabetes, neuropathy and has limited mobility. Id. at p. 4.

         In late 2013, Osborne was ordered by Lawrence staff to cut his hair. Id. at p. 8. He refused, and as a result, he was placed in the disciplinary segregation unit. Id. at p. 8. Lawrence staff again ordered Osborne to cut his hair and he refused to consent. Id. at p. 8. The prison administration then directed a tactical team to cut Osborne's hair. Id. at p. 8. The tactical team went into Osborne's cell, sprayed him with pepper spray, pushed him against a wall and cut his hair. Id. at p. 9. Defendants then refused to provide medical treatment for his resulting injuries. Id. at p. 9.

         According to Defendants' motion for summary judgment, Osborne filed two relevant prison grievances pertaining to the events in this lawsuit. First, Osborne drafted a grievance dated February 12, 2014 (Doc. 36-3, p. 2). Under “Nature of Grievance, ” Osborne marked “Staff Conduct.” Id. In the “Summary of Grievance” portion of the grievance form, Osborne wrote in part that the prison tactical unit “came to my cell, A-L-11, pepper sprayed me, chained me up and forcible [sic] cut my dreadlock.” Id. at p. 3. Osborne sent the grievance directly to the IDOC Administrative Review Board (“ARB”), thereby bypassing his prison counselor and the Lawrence grievance officer. Id. at p. 1. As a result, the ARB rejected the grievance on the basis that it was procedurally defaulted. Id. at p. 1.

         Osborne's second grievance also challenges staff conduct (Doc. 36-4, p. 3). In the “Summary of Grievance” portion of the form, Osborne wrote:

On 12-20-13 I was sent an emergency [illegible], 6 days later Major Goin [sic] told me that I had to cut my dreadlock or go to seg. I am a Rastafarian cutting my hair is against my religion, so I was taken to seg. From the cell house 4 C [illegible] which started the process of my dreadlocks being forcibly cut violating my 1 (First), 8th and 14th Amendment [sic]. I[n] total received ...

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