United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
JAMES L. DORSEY, Plaintiff,
TARRY WILLIAMS, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MATTHEW F. KENNELLY, District Judge:
Lee Dorsey has filed a pro se lawsuit under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against several current and former
officials and officers at Stateville Correctional Center. He
alleges that they retaliated against him for filing
grievances and a lawsuit, in violation of his rights under
the First Amendment. Specifically, Dorsey contends that the
defendants shook down his cell and strip searched him on
September 11, 2014 and that they later falsely denied
grievances he submitted regarding these incidents. The
defendants have moved for summary judgment.
filed a series of grievances against Timothy Washington on
November 29, 2012, saying that Washington, a prison
counselor, had taken actions that put Dorsey's safety at
risk. The grievance were denied by Anna McBee, a grievance
officer, and by then warden Michael Lemke. Dorsey filed other
grievances against other Stateville officials and officers
during 2013. In April 2014, he filed a grievance against
Sergeant Boyce for conduct during execution of a court writ.
McBee and a designee of warden Tarry Williams responded. In
or about May 2014, Dorsey sent a letter to then Governor
Patrick Quinn complaining about Boyce's conduct; this
letter was forwarded to warden Williams. A designee of
Williams sent Dorsey letters in mid-June 2014 stating that
his complaint had been forwarded to assistant warden Lamb for
review. Later, in September 2014, Dorsey filed a lawsuit
against Washington for the conduct that was the subject of
his earlier grievances. That lawsuit is still pending and is
present case concerns, initially, events that took place on
September 11, 2014. Dorsey says that on September 10, 2014,
he handed counselor Jill Hosselton his complaint against
Washington for photocopying. On September 11, Dorsey was
housed in a cell in Delta House along with Andrew Long,
another inmate. He says that the Stateville tactical team,
commonly known as "orange crush, " "shook down
certain cells in Delta House." Dorsey Affid. ¶ 3.
Two African-American officers stood in front of his cell.
Officer Leroy Banks and another unknown officer directed
Dorsey and Long to remove their clothing, and a search of
their persons, including body cavities, was then performed.
Dorsey and Long then got dressed, were handcuffed, and were
taken to the stairway area by Banks and the other officer.
Banks and the other officer then returned to Dorsey and
Long's cell. Sergeant Russell Baker helped Dorsey (who
was walking with a crutch) down the stairs. Lieutenant Daniel
Artl, who was standing on the gallery, observed this along
with assistant warden Lamb. Dorsey says that, "along
with other inmates, " he was then escorted from Delta
House to the chow hall, where he was placed at a table.
Id. ¶¶ 8-9. He and "multiple other
inmates" were left there for several hours. Id.
¶ 10. Before returning to Delta House, Dorsey "and
other inmates were strip searched for a second time" in
the tunnel area of the chow hall by unknown officers.
Id. ¶ 11. When Dorsey returned to his cell, he
saw that his property had been thrown around; he testified
during his deposition that this is common in shakedowns.
See Dorsey Dep. 41-42. This, he says, was observed
by counselor Hosselton, who walked past his cell. Dorsey says
that he has been strip searched and his cell has been shaken
down on other occasions, and each time he was given a
"shake down slip, " but that did not happen on this
occasion. Dorsey filed a grievance regarding the shakedown on
September 15. The response to the grievance said that
according to the shakedown team, his cell was not shaken
down. See Dorsey Dep. 35-36.
his deposition, when Dorsey was asked whether other inmates
were strip searched on September 11, he testified, "They
hit certain cells. They went to 9 gallery, 7 gallery. . . . 5
gallery and some on 3 gallery. So it was a bunch. It was
many, over a hundred." Dorsey Dep. 32. When asked why he
thinks-seeing as how so many others were strip searched-that
he was being retaliated against, Dorsey said,
"Because I'm the only inmate that didn't get a
shake-down slip, and they denied strip searching me and
shaking me down at all." Id. Dorsey also says
that officer Banks appeared to him to be a friend of
counselor Washington and that he had seen them talking on
sustain a claim of retaliation for exercise of First
Amendment rights in the prison context, a plaintiff must show
that he engaged in activity protected by the First Amendment;
he suffered a deprivation that likely would deter protected
activity in the future; and his protected activity was at
least a motivating factor in the defendants' decision to
take the retaliatory action. See, e.g., Bridges v.
Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 546 (7th Cir. 2009). Dorsey's
filing of a lawsuit and grievances meet the first
requirement, but the defendants argue that he cannot
establish either of the other two.
Court, taking the evidence in the light most favorable to
Dorsey as required on a motion for summary judgment,
concludes that Dorsey cannot sustain his retaliation claims.
Based on the evidence Dorsey has submitted, no reasonable
jury could find that the shakedown or strip searches were
motivated by his filing of grievances or the lawsuit against
counselor Washington. Though the events of September 11 came
just one day after Dorsey says he handed his complaint to
counselor Hosselton for copying, Dorsey was not singled out
that day for a shakedown or strip search; he says the same
thing happened to "hundreds" of other inmates. No.
reasonable jury could infer from this that Dorsey
was being singled out for retaliation. The theory, one
assumes, would be that the defendants also searched hundreds
of others in order to conceal that they were singling him
out, but no jury could reasonably infer that this is
what happened. (Dorsey admits that what took place on
September 11 was similar to other shakedowns that had
occurred in the past.)
also contends that the shakedown team later falsely denied
searching his cell and that those who dealt with his
grievance did not investigate this denial adequately. But
this, too, is insufficient to sustain his retaliation claim.
Dorsey has no viable contention that the false denial caused
him any harm; he was harmed by the shakedown, not by the
denial that it occurred. And even if Dorsey could make a
viable contention that he was harmed by the false denial, no
reasonable jury could conclude that simply falsely denying a
grievance would deter any reasonable inmate from exercising
his rights to file grievances or lawsuit in the future.
reasons stated above, the Court grants defendants' motion
for summary judgment [dkt. no. 47] and directs the Clerk to
enter judgment in ...