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Clarkk v. Lind

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

February 22, 2018

RAMON CLARK, Plaintiff,
v.
BART LIND, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE, United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Ramon Clark, 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 Pinckneyville Correctional Center (“Pinckneyville”). Plaintiff alleges that he was retaliated against for filing lawsuits against prison officials. Following threshold review, Plaintiff proceeds on the following claims:

Count 1: Defendant Lind blocked Plaintiff's incoming and outgoing mail from Extended Hands in retaliation for Plaintiff's litigation activities, in violation of the First Amendment;
Count 2: Chalene Hale, Krista Piotrowski and Sean Furlow blocked Plaintiff's incoming and outgoing mail from Extended Hands in retaliation for Plaintiff's litigation activities, in violation of the First Amendment;
Count 3: Defendant Lind caused Plaintiff's cell to be searched, and allowed Plaintiff to be issued a disciplinary report, strip searched and taken to segregation, all in retaliation for Plaintiff's litigation activities, in violation of the First Amendment;
Count 4: Defendants Lashbrook and Benton failed to properly supervise others, thereby allowing Plaintiff's rights to be violated.

(Doc. 7).

         This matter is now before the Court on the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 80). Plaintiff filed a Response (Doc. 90). For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

         Factual Background

         At all relevant times, Plaintiff Ramon Clark was an inmate in IDOC. Clark hired Extended Hands Gift Shop, Incorporated (“Extended Hands”) to stay in touch with friends and family (Plaintiff's Deposition, Doc. 81-6 at 20-21). Extended Hands is a communication service provider that acts as a personal assistant to offenders (Id. at 20). It offers a number of services including, setting up dating sites for offenders, accessing offenders' Facebook accounts, ordering books, sending holiday and birthday cards, and sending gifts to friends and family (Id. at 20-21).

         Around early 2013, while incarcerated at Illinois River Correctional Center (“Illinois River”), Clark sent Extended Hands money from his account and they opened up an email account, a Facebook account, and set him up on multiple dating sites (Id. at 22-23). Clark's communication with Extended Hands was always through written correspondence (Id. at 24). If Clark wanted to become “friends” with someone on Facebook, he would provide the name and the school they attended to Extended Hands. The company would run a search and if they found the person, they would send a friend request (Id. at 26-27). If the friend request was accepted, Extended Hands would notify Clark and provide a picture to confirm it was the correct person. He would then send a message back to Extended Hands to post (Id. at 27). If someone posted on Clark's wall, or sent a message on one of the dating sites, Extended Hands would print the message or picture and mail it to Clark (Id. at 28). Clark told Extended Hands to accept any and all friend requests due to the time gap caused by the mail. If it was someone he did not know, he would have them deleted (Id. at 31). Clark corresponded weekly with Extended Hands to use Facebook (Id. at 33). He paid a flat fee plus a fee per message and transaction (Id. at 32).

         While at Illinois River, Clark used his Facebook page to post messages regarding alleged abuse by the tactical team (Id. at 37). He continued using Extended Hands when he was transferred to Pinckneyville in February of 2015 (Id. at 33, 43). Clark sent and received mail from Extended Hands for several months while at Pinckneyville (Id. at 38). Around April or May 2015, Clark noticed that he had stopped receiving mail from Extended Hands (Id. at 35, 43). He wrote several letters telling them he disapproved of the service they were providing (Id.).

         Clark received a letter from a friend, Keysha Marrow, on July 7, 2015, informing him that Extended Hands had posted a message to his Facebook page indicating Pinckneyville was returning all of the mail they attempted to send him (Id. at 38, 53). Clark attempted to send a letter to Extended Hands on July 7, 2015, to post the message, “I'm being harassed” with a description of what was going on (Id. at 38). The letter was returned and stamped, “Disapproved per IA” (Id.).

         Clark was a member of the Security Threat Group (“STG”), “Black P Stones, ” when he was a teenager (Id. at 94). He had not had any involvement with an STG for over 15-16 years (Id. at 93). Defendant Bart Lind, an officer in the Intelligence Unit at Pinckneyville, has as one of his duties to suppress gang activity, also known as STG (Declaration of Bart Lind, Doc. 81-1). Lind informed his superior officer, Defendant Furlow, that he had discovered STG materials on Clark's Facebook page and Furlow concurred with ...


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