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Love v. Harrington

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 5, 2018

RODNEY LOVE, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD HARRINGTON, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Rodney Love, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), brings this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he was denied due process when he was not allowed to call witnesses at a disciplinary hearing held on November 27, 2013 (Doc. 7). He proceeds on one count: Defendants Veath and Hart violated Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment right to due process in relation to the November 20, 2013 disciplinary report and subsequent administrative proceedings (Doc. 7).

         This matter is currently before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 68) and the Brief in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, construed by the Court as Plaintiff's Response to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 73).[1] For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.

         Factual Background

         Plaintiff Rodney Love was an inmate at Menard on November 20, 2013 (Plaintiff's Deposition, Doc. 69-1 at 14). On that day, an Incident Disciplinary Report was filed by Correctional Officer Shel Stillwell-Davis, citing Love for two offenses that occurred on the same Dated: 103. Bribery-Extortion; and 601. Aiding & Abetting, Attempt, Solicitation or Conspiracy (Disciplinary Report, Doc. 7 at 15-16). Love was provided a copy of the disciplinary ticket (Doc. 69-1 at 20). He did not detach and return the witness request slip portion of the Disciplinary Report (Id. at 25-26). Love alleges that he mailed an envelope to the Adjustment Committee on November 22, 2013, enclosing a request that his cellmate, Seith Williams, be a witness at his hearing (Id.).

         On November 27, 2013, the Adjustment Committee held a hearing concerning the November 20, 2013 ticket (Id. at 27). Love was questioned at the hearing, but no witnesses were interviewed (Id. at 28). Love alleges that he requested his witnesses be interviewed during the hearing (Id.). However, the Adjustment Committee Report notes, “No Witness Requested” (Adjustment Committee Final Summary Report, Doc. 7 at 17). The Adjustment Committee found Love guilty on both counts and disciplined Love with one year C Grade, one year segregation, and one year commissary restriction (Id.). Love served two months in segregation at Menard (Doc. 69-1 at 39). He was transferred to Pontiac Correctional Center (“Pontiac”) in February 2014 where he remained in segregation for nine months (Id.). Love served a total of eleven months in segregation (Id. at 85).

         Love asserts that the Pontiac Segregation Program in and of itself rises to the level of an atypical and significant hardship, thus triggering due process protections (Love's Complaint, Doc. 7 at 6). Specifically, he complains about the conditions at the prison such as excessive noise, excessive light, inmates throwing feces and urine, unsanitary conditions, verbally abusive inmates, limited interaction with other prisoners, and limited interaction with visitors (Doc. 7).

         During his deposition, Love testified to the following. The showers in segregation at Pontiac were not clean (Doc. 69-1 at 52) although they are cleaned by the “farm worker inmates” after everybody takes showers on the same day (Id. at 57). Love was allowed showers two or three times a week while in segregation at Pontiac (Id. at 53). He was provided an indigent bag of toiletry items, including shampoo, soap, toothbrush and toothpaste (Id. at 58). Love had shower shoes while at Pontiac (Id. at 59).

         Love was subjected to “verbal warfare” from other inmates, shouting contests, and inmates banging on doors and making noise all day (Id. at 59). The constant noise and light kept him from sleeping (Id. at 59, 69-70). He was aware of inmates getting tickets for creating excessive noise (Id. at 63).

         Love had access to laundry facilities to clean his clothing and bedspread (Id. at 76). He was provided food three times a day (Id. at 76-77) and had access to medical care (Id. at 83). Love had one visit from his son and visits from his mother once every month or two months while at Pontiac (Id.). Love was allowed five visits per month (Id. at 84).

         Love was allowed yard privileges for two hours a day (Id.). While in the yard, inmates were confined to one-man cells (Id. at 45). The cells were larger than the living cells and large enough to do exercises, such as push-ups, air squats, and jumping jacks (Id. at 46). Love was able to communicate with other inmates while in the cells in the yard (Id. at 47).

         Love was hit with feces thrown by an inmate while in the yard (Id. at 49). There were rules against urine throwing and feces throwing (Id. at 48) and Love was aware of inmates getting tickets for throwing feces (Id. at 63). Love had access to a television after his first month in segregation at Pontiac (Id. at 85).

         Discussion

         Summary judgment is appropriate only if the moving party can demonstrate “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322(1986); see also Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the ...


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