United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Plaintiff Charles Randle's Motion to
Reconsider Order Referring Case. (Doc. 22). Plaintiff seeks
reinstatement of Count 5, a Fourteenth Amendment claim for
the deprivation of a protected liberty interest without due
process of law against five officials at Menard. (Doc. 6, pp.
15-19; Doc. 13, p. 11). This claim was dismissed without
prejudice at screening because the allegations in the First
Amended Complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted against the defendants. (Doc. 13, pp. 20-22,
26). Plaintiff asks the Court to reinstate Count 5 based on
additional allegations he presents in his Motion. (Doc. 13).
For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Reconsider is
filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (Doc. 1). In his First Amended Complaint, he brought
six claims against fifteen officials who allegedly violated
his rights at Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”) in 2015-16. (Doc. 6). Four claims
(i.e., Counts 1, 2, 4, and 6) survived preliminary
review, and two claims (i.e., Counts 3 and 5) did
not. (Doc. 13). Plaintiff seeks reinstatement of Count 5,
which is a Fourteenth Amendment claim for deprivation of a
protected liberty interest without due process of law against
C/O Mezzo, C/O John Doe, C/O Vasquez, C/O Brookman, and
Warden Butler (Count 5).
First Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he was issued
a false disciplinary ticket for theft and possession of
contraband on October 27, 2015. (Doc. 6, pp. 15-19). On that
date, an officer searched Plaintiff and found two bottles of
liquid tied to his waist. (Doc. 6, p. 15). He received a
ticket for possessing what “appeared to be”
bottles filled with bleach and dishwasher soap, even though
the officer did not open the bottles, smell them, or test the
contents. Id. Plaintiff attended an adjustment
committee hearing before Officers Vasquez and Brookman around
November 4, 2015. (Doc. 6, pp. 15-16). He was found guilty of
both rule violations based on the officer's statement.
(Doc. 6, p. 16). He received one month of segregation, a one
month demotion to C grade, and a one month commissary
restriction. (Doc. 6, p. 16; Doc. 6-1, p. 4).
Mezzo and C/O John Doe placed Plaintiff in segregation with a
cellmate who had recently been quarantined for chicken pox.
(Doc. 6, pp. 18-19). The officers disregarded the rules for
double-celling contagious and non-contagious inmates. (Doc.
6, p. 19). In addition, the cell was filthy, and Plaintiff
was given no cleaning supplies. Id.
Court screened Count 5 and found no protected liberty
interest and no due process violation. (Doc. 13, pp. 20-22,
26). The Court explained that due process protections are not
triggered in the first place, unless a protected liberty
interest is at stake. A protected liberty interest may arise
when confinement in segregation “impose[s] an
‘atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in
relation to the ordinary incidents of prison
life.'” Hardaway v. Meyerhoff, 734 F.3d
740, 743 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing Sandin v. Conner,
515 U.S. 472, 484 (1995)). Courts consider two factors when
analyzing this issue: “the combined import of the
duration of segregative confinement and the
conditions endured.” Hardaway, 734 F.3d at 743
(citing Marion v. Columbia Corr. Inst., 559 F.3d
693, 697-98 (7th Cir. 2009) (emphasis in original)).
Plaintiff was in segregation for only one month and did not
describe conditions that were atypical or unusually harsh.
Given this, the Court found that no protected liberty
interest was at stake. Therefore, Plaintiff had no right to
due process of law, and the First Amended Complaint pointed
to no due process violation. On this basis, Count 5 was
dismissed without prejudice.
Motion to Reconsider, Plaintiff asks the Court to reinstate
Count 5 based on additional factual allegations he sets forth
against the defendants and others. Plaintiff claims that his
due process rights were violated by Officer Kern on the date
he issued Plaintiff a false disciplinary ticket. (Doc. 22, p.
2). Plaintiff informed the officer that the bottles contained
spring water, which he purchased from Menard's
commissary. Id. Officer Kern told Plaintiff that it
was his “unlucky day” and issued him a ticket for
theft. Id. Plaintiff later learned that the officer
also cited him for possession of contraband. Id. The
Adjustment Committee, including Officers Brookman and
Vasquez, relied on Officer Kern's statement, and no other
evidence, when finding Plaintiff guilty of theft and
possession of contraband. (Doc. 22, pp. 3-4).
offers additional details about the conditions in
segregation. C/O Mezzo and C/O Doe (whom he now identifies as
C/O Dunbar) escorted him to a cell with a foul odor on
November 4, 2015. (Doc. 22, p. 5). Human feces and toilet
tissue were caked around the rim of the toilet. Id.
The entire cell was dirty, and Plaintiff was denied access to
cleaning supplies. Id. His request for a different
cell was denied, even after Plaintiff stated that he suffered
from a mental illness. Id. He endured these
conditions for five days before being moved to another cell.
November 9, 2015, C/O Mezzo and C/O Dunbar moved Plaintiff
into a cell with a mentally ill cellmate who was suffering
from chicken pox. (Doc. 22, p. 8). He still had sores all
over his body “that looked like scabies, ” and he
smelled of “rotting flesh.” Id. The
cellmate informed Plaintiff that his condition was
contagious. Id. Exposure to this inmate caused
Plaintiff to become delusional and paranoid, although he
never contracted chicken pox or any other skin condition.
Id. Plaintiff's cellmate was released from
segregation on November 12, 2015. (Doc. 1, p. 9). When
Plaintiff asked to speak with a mental health professional
about his deteriorating mental health, C/O Dunbar threatened
to spray him with pepper spray. Id.
was transferred into a cell with a different inmate for the
remainder of the 30-day punishment period. (Doc. 22, p. 9).
Although this inmate had a history of fighting, he was
“cool with” Plaintiff. Id. The two
inmates lived together without incident. Id. Based
on these additional facts, Plaintiff seeks reinstatement of
Count 5. (Doc. 22).
motion challenging the merits of a district court order will
automatically be considered as having been filed pursuant to
either Rule 59(e) or Rule 60(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. See, e.g., Mares v. Busby, 34 F.3d 533,