United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendants' Partial Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 130). Plaintiff filed a response in
opposition. For the following reasons, the motion is
GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.
David Bentz, an inmate at Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”), brings this lawsuit pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, asserting that various Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) employees
violated his constitutional rights. On October 1, 2015, the
Court screened Bentz's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A (Doc. 12), finding that Bentz articulated the
following colorable claims:
Count 1: First Amendment retaliation claim
against Defendants Christopher McClure, Douglas Lyerla,
Richard Moore, “Cowan, ” Michael Baker, Brian Kulich,
and John Doe Badge #3835 for participating in and/or
condoning the issuance of a false disciplinary report against
Plaintiff on April 9, 2012; and against Defendant Nicholas
Bebout for denying Plaintiff access to the law library that
same day in response to Plaintiff filing lawsuits against
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment due process
claim against Defendants Robert Hughes and David Johnson for
refusing to hear evidence in Plaintiff's defense at his
disciplinary hearing on April 12, 2012 and finding Plaintiff
guilty in the absence of any evidence in support of that
Count 3: Eighth Amendment conditions of
confinement claim against Defendants Ryan Davis, Jesse Reid,
Jeff Miller, Jerry Witthoft, James Mallory, and Donald
Lindenberg for their deliberate indifference to the
conditions of Plaintiff's confinement (namely excessive
heat, unsanitary cell conditions, and lack of water) while he
was in segregation from April 9, 2012 until July 9, 2012.
Count 4: Eighth Amendment conditions of
confinement claim against Defendants Ryan Davis, Jesse Reid,
Jeff Miller, Justin Kempfer, James Mallory, Jerry Witthoft,
Donald Lindenberg, and Dilday for their deliberate indifference
to the conditions of Plaintiff's confinement while he was
in segregation from September 24, 2012 until September 28,
Count 5: Eighth Amendment conditions of
confinement claim against Defendants Ray Allen, Nicholas
Bebout, Kent Brookman, Chad Forsting, “Dilday, ”
Susan Easton, John Touville, Justin Snell, Greg Korando,
Vicki Wood Payne, and Richard Ransom for the conditions he
endured (namely unsanitary cell conditions) while housed
within the weapons violator housing unit from July 2012 until
May 7, 2013.
Count 6: Fourteenth Amendment due process
claim against Defendants Salvador Godinez, Michael Atchinson,
Richard Harrington, Sara Johnson, Debbie Knauer, and Lori
Crafton for designating Plaintiff a “weapons
violator” and imposing additional disciplinary
sanctions (beyond those recommended by the Adjustment
Committee) on him without a hearing.
Count 7: Eighth Amendment failure to protect
claim against Defendants Kent Brookman, Chad Forsting,
William Reese, Mike Atchinson, Debbie Knauer, and Vicki Wood
Payne for refusing to intervene to protect Plaintiff from his
cellmate from October 2012 until January 2013.
defendants now seek summary judgment as to all of Bentz's
claims except for the failure to protect claims against
Defendants Brookman, Forsting, Reese and Wood (Payne) in
following facts are taken from Bentz's deposition unless
otherwise noted. Bentz has been in IDOC custody since 2009.
He first arrived at Menard in late 2011 (Doc. 131-1, p. 23).
The events that form the basis of this lawsuit began on April
9, 2012 (Id. at pp. 24-25). On that date, Bentz
asked Correctional Officer Bebout if he could use the law
library because he had an impending deadline in another
lawsuit (Id. at p. 25). Bebout told Bentz that he
did not care about his deadline, and that he would not be
going to the law library due to the fact that he had filed
lawsuits against corrections staff (Id. at p. 25).
Bentz also asked Correctional Officer Brian Kulich if he
could use the law library, but Kulich also denied Bentz
permission (Id. at p. 27). According to Bentz, the
correctional officers working in the housing unit were
generally aware that he had filed previous lawsuits
(Id. at p. 25).
three hours after the discussion with Bebout, Correctional
Officers Christopher McClure and Brian Kulich performed a
shakedown of Bentz's cell (Id. at p. 25). While
the cell was being inspected, Bentz and his cellmate were
placed in the housing unit shower area (Id. at p.
25). During this period Correctional Officer Michael Baker
and another unknown correctional officer commented on the
fact that Bentz had filed lawsuits against IDOC employees,
and proceeded to make threatening remarks towards Bentz
(Id. at p. 25). Sometime shortly thereafter, Bentz
and his cellmate were escorted to another holding area and
were informed by Defendant Richard Moore that contraband had
been found in their cell (Id.). McClure and Kulich
found a makeshift weapon consisting of a five inch piece of
metal inside a property box belonging to Bentz's cellmate
received a disciplinary ticket for having dangerous
contraband in his cell. The disciplinary ticket was drafted
by McClure and Kulich (Doc. 131-1, p. 25). It was then
approved by Defendants Moore and Douglas Lyerla
April 10, 2012, Bentz was interviewed by Menard Internal
Affairs employee “Cowan.” Cowan asked Bentz about
the makeshift weapon found in his cell (Id. at p.
27). Bentz denied ownership of the weapon and told Cowan that
it belonged to his cellmate (Id. at p. 27). The two
then discussed some of Bentz's other litigation and Bentz
returned to his cell (Id. at p. 27).
April 12, 2012, the Menard Adjustment Committee held a
hearing on Bentz's dangerous contraband disciplinary
ticket (Id. at p. 33). The committee was comprised
of Defendants Robert Hughes and David Johnson (Id.).
During the hearing, Hughes and Johnson asked if Bentz would
like to plead guilty or not guilty to the dangerous
contraband disciplinary report (Id. at p. 33). Bentz
pleaded not guilty (Id.). Hughes and Johnson then
questioned Bentz as to whether he was affiliated with any
gangs (Id.). Bentz told them “no.”
(Id.). At that point, Hughes and Johnson concluded
the hearing and told Bentz that he was free to leave.
(Id.). Bentz was not permitted to make a statement
at the hearing nor was he allowed to introduce documents in
his defense (Id.).
the hearing, the Adjustment Committee found Bentz guilty and
issued a punishment consisting of six months of “C
Grade, ” six months of segregation, a revocation of six
months of good time credit, and a six month commissary
restriction (Adjustment Committee Final Summary Report, Doc.
1-1, p. 13). Bentz appealed the disciplinary action to the
IDOC Administrative Review Board (“ARB”), and on
June 1, 2012, the ARB reduced the disciplinary period from
six months to three months (ARB Ruling, Doc. 1-1, p. 23).
Bentz again appealed the ruling. On January 15, 2013, the ARB
completely expunged the disciplinary ticket (ARB Ruling, Doc.
1-2, p. 8). However, by that time, Bentz had already served
the three months in segregation (from April 9, 2012 through
July 9, 2012).
claims that during his three months in segregation, the cell
conditions were filthy and unfit for human habitation (Doc.
131-1, p. 48). When Bentz first arrived in segregation, he
was placed in cell 754 in the North 2 cell house
(Id. at p. 49). At some point during the three month
period, he was transferred to cell 852 in the same cell house
(Id.). While in cell 754, Bentz slept on a soiled
cloth mattress, did not have a pillow, he was not provided
cleaning supplies, the cell was generally filthy, and the
toilet was broken and leaked out onto the floor.
(Id.). The cell also smelled of urine and mildew
(Id.). The conditions in cell 852 were essentially
the same as those in cell 754 (Id. at p. 53). The
only differences were that the toilet functioned properly in
cell 852 and that cell 852 became unbearably warm on multiple
occasions (reaching 110 degree) (Id. at p. 52).
While in segregation, Bentz notified Defendants Ryan Davis,
Jesse Reid, Jeff Miller, Jerry Witthoft, James Mallory and
Donald Lindenberg of the issues with the cells (Id.
at p. 53). However, the defendants failed to correct the
Bentz was released from segregation in July 2012, he was
placed on “black striper” status (Doc. 131-1, p.
43). An inmate may be designated as a black striper if a
weapon is found in his possession or if he has assaulted a
staff member. Black striper inmates wear black and white
striped uniforms, are kept in special housing units, are
provided with unique identification cards, and are generally
kept separate from the inmates in general population
(Id.) Bentz received black striper designation due
to his April 9, 2012 disciplinary ticket, but did not receive
a separate hearing prior to receiving the designation
(Id. at p. 41).
the ARB expunged the disciplinary ticket in January 2013,
Bentz remained on black striper status for another three
months (Id.). He filed grievances and sent letters
to Defendant IDOC Director Salvador Godinez protesting his
black striper status, but Godinez declined to intervene
(Id. at p. 41). Bentz also discussed the issue with
Warden Richard Harrington in early 2013, but Warden
Harrington failed to provide any assistance with the issue
(Id. at p. 42). Additionally, Bentz sent letters
addressing the disciplinary issue to Sara Johnson and Debbie
Knauer, both ...