United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Michael J. Reagan United States District Judge.
McGruder, currently confined at Pontiac Correctional Center
within the Illinois Department of Corrections, started this
lawsuit with a pro se complaint filed under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. McGruder alleges that his Fourteenth and Eighth
Amendment rights were violated when he was not allowed to
call a witness at a disciplinary proceeding and was placed in
segregation with another inmate he was accused of fighting.
The case comes before the Court on cross-motions for summary
judgment motions (Docs. 99, 105) filed by McGruder and the
five Defendants remaining in the suit - Timothy Veath, Tracy
Lee, Brett Meyerhoff, Joseph Cowan, and George
motions are fully briefed and ripe for disposition. As the
evidence in the record is not sufficient to allow McGruder to
recover on any of his claims, his motion for summary judgment
(Doc. 99) is DENIED, and Defendants'
motion for summary judgment (Doc. 105) is
Overview of Key Facts and Allegations
same facts govern both summary judgment motions. At the times
relevant to this suit, Tony McGruder (Plaintiff), who is
black (Doc. 99, p. 12), was incarcerated at Menard
Correctional Center (Menard) (Doc. 1, p. 5). On December 9,
2012, Plaintiff was taken to segregation for a fighting
incident that occurred in the meal hall that day (Doc. 116,
p. 2). As a result of the incident, Plaintiff was given a
disciplinary ticket (id. at 3).
to Plaintiff, after receiving the ticket, he wrote on the
bottom of it that he requested Correctional Officer Hormann
to be called as a witness on his behalf (id.).
Plaintiff believed that this testimony would acquit him of
the charges. Plaintiff tore off the bottom of the ticket and
placed it in the door of his cell to be picked up with the
rest of his mail (id.). He did this so that his
request for a witness would be delivered to the Adjustment
Committee (id.). On the same day, Plaintiff also
prepared a handwritten statement requesting a continuance of
the Adjustment Committee hearing in order to allow Hormann to
be called (id.).
December 14, 2012, Plaintiff received a second, re-written,
disciplinary ticket (id.). On December 17, 2012,
Plaintiff appeared before the Adjustment Committee for his
disciplinary hearing (id. at 4). The disciplinary
hearing was not continued, and according to Plaintiff, he was
not allowed to call any witnesses, including Hormann
(id.). Plaintiff was found guilty by the Adjustment
Committee and sentenced to six month in segregation,
inter alia (Doc. 99, p. 12). The Adjustment
Committee report indicates that Plaintiff did not request a
witness (id.). Defendants Timothy Veath and Tracy
Lee were the individuals making up the Adjustment Committee
was placed in segregation with an inmate named Antoine
Brantley (Doc. 116, p. 4). Inmate Brantley was among the
other inmates involved in the December 9th fight that led to
Plaintiff's segregation (id.). According to
Plaintiff, six other inmates involved in the fight were
double-celled in segregation (id.). Plaintiff was
celled with Inmate Brantley until June 6, 2013 (Doc. 99-2, p.
3). Brantley corroborates Plaintiff's statements
regarding cell placement in an affidavit (Doc. 99, p. 13).
According to Plaintiff's deposition testimony, prior to
being placed in the segregation cell on December 17, 2012,
Inmate Brantley had never made any threats or violent
gestures toward Plaintiff (Doc. 160-1, p. 15). Plaintiff had
never named Brantley as an enemy (id.). On December
17, 2012, Defendant Brett Meyerhoff was a correctional clerk
and supervisor/placement officer at Menard (Doc. 106-5, p.
2). On the same date, Defendant Joseph Cowan was working as a
shift supervisor, and Defendant George Holton was working as
the Lieutenant on North 2 (Doc. 106-3, p. 2; Doc. 106-4, p.
2012, Menard's segregation standards required that each
cell have a bed with clean bedding, running water, adequate
lighting for reading and observation, heat, and ventilation
(Doc. 106-2, p. 22 - 24). Under these standards, segregation
inmates are to be given access to cleaning materials, allowed
to shower and shave at least once a week, given state-issued
necessities, given clean laundry, and allowed certain
personal property items (id. at 23). Plaintiff has
provided no evidence as to the condition of his segregation
cell. Nor has he provided evidence that he was physically or
mentally harmed by Brantley while in the same cell, or that
the two inmates got into any physical or verbal altercations.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is proper only “if the admissible evidence
considered as a whole shows there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Dynegy Mktg. & Trade v. Multi
Corp., 648 F.3d 506, 517 (7th Cir. 2011)
(internal quotation marks omitted), citing Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(a). See also Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian
Info. Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607
party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
showing --based on the pleadings, affidavits, and/or
information obtained via discovery -- the lack of any genuine
issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). After a properly supported motion
for summary judgment is made, the adverse party “must
set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986), quoting
Fed R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2). A fact is material if it is outcome
determinative under applicable law. Anderson, 477
U.S. at 248; Ballance v. City of Springfield, Ill. Police
Department, 424 F.3d 614, 616 (7th Cir.
2005); Hottenroth v. Village of Slinger, 388 F.3d
1015, 1027 (7th Cir. 2004). A genuine issue of
material fact exists if “the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Accord
Bunn v. Khoury Enterpr. Inc., 753 F.3d 676 (7th Cir.
assessing a summary judgment motion, the district court views
the facts in the light most favorable to, and draws all
reasonable inferences in favor of, the nonmoving party.
Anderson v. Donahoe, 699 F.3d 989, 994 (7th Cir.
2012); Righi v. SMC Corp. , 632 F.3d 404, 408 (7th
Cir. 2011); Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899
(7th Cir. 2011). As the Seventh Circuit has explained, as
required by Rule 56(a), “we set forth the facts by
examining the evidence in the light reasonably most favorable
to the non-moving party, giving [him] the benefit of
reasonable, favorable inferences and resolving conflicts in
the evidence in [his] favor.” Spaine v. Community
Contacts, Inc., 756 F.3d 542 (7th Cir. 2014).