United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court for a merits review of Plaintiff
Daniel Hamilton's Fourth Amended Complaint (Doc. 20),
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Plaintiff was an inmate
at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”) when he
filed this action. He has since been released from
incarceration. (Doc. 18).
Court dismissed Plaintiff's original 92-page Complaint
(Doc. 1) because it contained multiple, overlapping
statements of claim, which made it impossible to discern
which of the many piecemeal statements should be evaluated as
the operative Complaint. Plaintiff was ordered to submit an
amended complaint. (Doc. 8).
response to that Order, Plaintiff filed a 134-page First
Amended Complaint (Doc. 9) which was accompanied by 136 pages
of exhibits. Before the Court could complete its § 1915A
review of that pleading, Plaintiff submitted a Second Amended
Complaint. (Doc. 12). It was followed by 2 piecemeal
“supplements.” (Docs. 13 & 14). While the
Second Amended Complaint was undergoing preliminary review,
Plaintiff submitted yet another pleading, which was filed as
the Third Amended Complaint on. (Doc. 15). It contained an
88-page statement of claim, 82 pages of exhibits, and named
18 individual Defendants. In the Third Amended Complaint,
Plaintiff raised claims including improper disciplinary
hearings and punishment in solitary confinement during 2015
and 2016; placement in a cell with a dangerous cellmate who
attacked him; deprivation of bedding, clothing, cleaning and
hygiene supplies; and denial of a religious diet and access
to worship services.
October 2, 2017, this Court dismissed the Third Amended
Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted. (Doc. 16). The undersigned noted that the
pleading's length and lack of coherency violated Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 8, and that Plaintiff's to
identify Defendants by name in the statement of claim made it
impossible to determine which claims were made against which
individuals. (Doc. 16, pp. 7-10).
was given one final opportunity to submit a properly drafted
amended complaint. He was warned that if his amended pleading
failed to state a claim or failed to comply with the
Court's directions, this case would be dismissed with
prejudice and he would be assessed a “strike”
pursuant to § 1915(g). (Doc. 16, pp. 10, 13-14).
Fourth Amended Complaint (Doc. 20)
Fourth Amended Complaint, at 75 pages, is no more concise
than Plaintiff's earlier attempts. That said, it is more
coherent and Plaintiff includes references to most of the 20
Defendants in his 57-page statement of claim. He asserts
forth 13 numbered claims for relief (although his 9th claim
was omitted, apparently by mistake). (Doc. 20, pp. 31-42;
59-70). Plaintiff begins his narrative by identifying himself
as a “Pro Black Hebrew Israelite Severely Mentally Ill.
inmate.” (Doc. 20, p. 14). On April 24, 2015, he was
moved to the “Menard CC Slave Plantation of the IDOC,
” where his religious affiliation was noted on the back
of his inmate ID card. He wrote a grievance about his housing
placement, noting that he had only a 20-month sentence.
Phoenix (counselor) responded that Plaintiff had previously
paroled from Pontiac Correctional Center
(“Pontiac”) maximum security in April 2010, but
after 6 months, he would be eligible for his requested
placement in minimum security as well as the drug and alcohol
treatment program. (Doc. 20, p. 15). Phoenix stated that he
submitted Plaintiff for a transfer to the minimum security
unit. Plaintiff was moved to the lower-security area in
September 2015. (Doc. 20, p. 16).
the September 2015 transfer, Plaintiff had been receiving
mental health treatment for severe depression and bi-polar
disorder. His Zoloft prescription had been increased to the
maximum dosage of 200 mg, and his doctor changed his Lithium
prescription. (Doc. 20, p. 16).
undisclosed date, Plaintiff had written a formal complaint to
the FBI about conspiracy to violate his civil rights during
his imprisonment at Menard and Pontiac between March 2003 and
April 2012. (Doc. 20, p. 17). He alleged he had been placed
in solitary confinement and was assaulted in prison. However,
the Fourth Amended Complaint provides no details as to where
or when these events occurred. On September 15, 2015,
Plaintiff was notified by the FBI that this complaint had
been forwarded to its Office of the Executive Secretary for
review. (Doc. 20, pp. 17-18; Doc. 20-1, p. 1). Plaintiff
believes that this FBI complaint triggered various acts of
retaliation against him, including his placement in
segregation with a violent gang-member inmate.
November 4, 2015, Plaintiff was issued an allegedly false
disciplinary report by Cowell and Horn after he had attended
his Alcoholics Anonymous class. (Doc. 20, pp. 18-19; Doc. 20-1,
pp. 5-7). Cowell, Horn, shift supervisor Jones, and reviewing
officer Pharrell allegedly disobeyed administrative
policies/procedures in handling the disciplinary report, in
that Plaintiff was not given 24 hours' notice before his
disciplinary hearing and was not offered assistance to
prepare his defense while he was in solitary confinement.
(Doc. 20, p. 19).
was found guilty and punished with 1 month in segregation for
Horn's report and another month for Cowell's
disciplinary charge. (Doc. 20, p. 29; Doc. 20-1, pp. 11-12).
He was moved from the lower security area to the
maximum-security segregation wing. (Doc. 20, p. 18). He
alleges that Butler (Warden), Bebout, Baldwin (IDOC
Director), and the Board Members of the Illinois Department
of Corrections failed to implement or follow administrative
code provisions requiring a review of medical and mental
health concerns, differences in age, size, security level,
and other issues with reference to potential cellmates,
before he was double-celled in segregation with inmate Adams.
(Doc. 20, pp. 19-23). On November 9, 2015, when Plaintiff was
assigned to the segregation cell, Bebout and Butler allegedly
did not comply with the referenced administrative
rules/directives when they assigned him to a double cell with
inmate Adams. (Doc. 20, pp. 23-24).
alleges that Defendants knew that he is a Pro Black Hebrew
Israelite and that he had been diagnosed with a severe mental
illness. Adams was incarcerated for murder and was a Gangster
Disciple member. On November 15, 2016, Adams attacked and
beat Plaintiff. Plaintiff maintains that he did not fight
back. (Doc. 20, p. 24). Plaintiff yelled for help and Hoffman
arrived, but walked away while Plaintiff was bleeding. (Doc.
20, p. 25). Plaintiff told Hoffman he was attacked, but
Bebout said that “It looks like a fight to me.”
Id. Hoffman, on orders from Bebout, wrote Plaintiff
a disciplinary report for fighting. (Doc. 20-1, p. 8).
Plaintiff was treated for his injuries and given 4 sutures.
He filed a grievance to Oakley, but she affirmed the
“wrongful imprisonments.” Id. Plaintiff
received an additional 30-day punishment in segregation for
Hoffman's fighting charge. (Doc. 20, pp. 25-26, 29; Doc.
20-1, p. 13). After completing the segregation term, he was
sent back to general population, where he remained for 3
months. (Doc. 20, pp. 25-26).
28, 2016, Basten wrote a “4th” false
disciplinary report with no evidence, and Powell and Mich.
disobeyed administrative procedures related to the report and
Plaintiff's temporary confinement. (Doc. 20, pp. 26-28;
Doc. 20-1, pp. 9-10). Plaintiff had been scheduled for
release on August 12, 2016, but Basten's report led to
the revocation of 1 month of Plaintiff's good conduct
credits as well as 3 more months in segregation. (Doc. 20,
pp. 27, 29; Doc. 20-1, pp. 14-15). On the day the
disciplinary hearing was held, Pharrell issued Plaintiff
the “5th” false disciplinary report, allegedly
without relevant evidence to substantiate it. (Doc. 20, p.
27; Doc. 20-1, pp. 16-17). Brookman revoked 2 more months of
Plaintiff's good time based on Pharrell's report, and
Plaintiff got 3 more months in segregation. (Doc. 20, pp. 27,
subsequently wrote a “6th” false disciplinary
report (on January 5, 2017), and Plaintiff received 14 days
in segregation. (Doc. 20, pp. 27, 30; Doc. 20-1, p. 4).
Pharrell did not follow administrative policy because he did
not sign the disciplinary report, which instead had
Powell's signature. (Doc. 20, p. 28). Butler approved all
the disciplinary actions and disobeyed administrative policy
regarding final summary reports. (Doc. 20, p. 30).
raises two First Amendment retaliation claims. He asserts
that the disciplinary reports were issued against him in
retaliation for his 2015 FBI complaint. (Doc. 20, p. 31). He
also asserts that the cell placement with the “Chicago
Black Gangster Disciple, and an African American Christian
inmate” was also done in retaliation for his FBI
complaint. (Doc. 20, p. 32).
second retaliation claim is that “in response to
[Plaintiff's] exercise of protected religious worship to
peaceably assemble, ” Defendants deprived him of that
right, by issuing false disciplinary reports, “because
of [Plaintiff's] complaint about human rights violation
and civil rights violation . . . and his institutional
offender grievances.” (Doc. 20, pp. 33-34). He further
alleges that his religious practice was a motivating factor
for Defendants in housing him with the aggressive cellmate.
(Doc. 20, p. 35).
asserts several Eighth Amendment claims, including the
failure to protect him from the cellmate who attacked him.
(Doc. 20, pp. 35-37). He alleges Defendants knew that Pro
Black Hebrew Israelite inmates with a severe mental
disability would be at risk if placed in a segregation cell
with general population cellmates who have a maximum security
classification. Therefore, Defendants were deliberately
indifferent to the risk of harm to Plaintiff from being
housed in segregation with Adams, and they failed to properly
screen and assign Plaintiff to a segregation cell where he
would not face that risk.
also claims that Brookman and Pharrell subjected him to cruel
and unusual punishment when they failed to obey
administrative policy procedures for his disciplinary
hearings, and punished him with solitary/segregation
confinement. (Doc. 20, p. 38-39).
Plaintiff asserts that his segregation cell conditions during
the dates of November 4, 2015-February 4, 2016; July
6-November 10, 2016; and January 5-19, 2017 violated the
Eighth Amendment. He presents a lengthy list of alleged
violations, including the initial placement with cellmate
Adams; the failure to then place Plaintiff in a single cell
or with another inmate who shares his religious affiliation;
lack of sufficient bedding, clothing, soap, pens, a mirror,
and cleaning supplies; deprivation of access to the law
library or religious services; denial of religious diet and
condiments; a 14-day delay in obtaining his personal
property; deprivation of commissary and other items not
permitted in segregation; having to sleep on a dirty mattress
and pillow; being housed in a too-small cell; exposure to
temperature extremes in winter without sufficient warm
clothing and in summer without a fan; deprivation of mental
health treatment for 3 months; exposure to other inmates
verbally abusing each other; and many other complaints. (Doc.
20, pp. 40-59).
claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to the
risk he would be tortured. (Doc. 20, pp. 59-60); that they
conspired to retaliate against him (Doc. 20, pp. 60-61,
63-64); and that they intentionally inflicted emotional
distress upon him. (Doc. 20, pp. 61-62).
Plaintiff asserts Fourteenth Amendment claims that he was
deprived of his personal property and of his liberty without
due process, and that he was denied equal protection of the
laws “like Pro White Hebrew Israelite Severely Mentally
disabled Petitioners-inmates.” (Doc. 20, pp. 65-70).
seeks monetary damages and an order requiring Defendants to
obey their administrative policies and procedures. (Doc. 20,
pp. 71, 75).
on the allegations of the Fourth Amended Complaint, the Court
finds it appropriate to divide the pro se action into the
following Counts. The parties and the Court will use these
designations in all future pleadings and orders, unless
otherwise directed by a judicial officer of this Court. The
designation of these counts does not constitute an opinion as
to their merit. Any other claim that is mentioned in the
Fourth Amended Complaint but not addressed in this Order
should be considered dismissed without prejudice.
Count 1: Fourteenth Amendment claim for deprivation of a
liberty interest without due process against Cowell, Horn,
Jones, Pharrell, Butler, Hoffman, Bebout, Oakley, and
Roberts, for filing false disciplinary reports against
Plaintiff in November 2015 and January 2017, and punishing
him with segregation;
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment claim for deprivation of a
liberty interest without due process against Basten, Powell,
Mich, Pharrell, Brookman, and Butler, for filing false
disciplinary reports against Plaintiff in June and July 2016,
and punishing him with segregation and the revocation of
Count 3: Eighth Amendment failure to protect claim against
Butler, Bebout, Baldwin, and the Board Members of the IDOC,
for failing to implement or follow screening procedures
pursuant to the Illinois Administrative code before placing
Plaintiff in a double cell with an aggressive cellmate in
Count 4: First Amendment retaliation claim against Cowell,
Horn, Jones, Pharrell, Butler, Hoffman, Bebout, Oakley,
Basten, Powell, Mich, Brookman, and Roberts, for filing false
disciplinary reports against Plaintiff and housing him with a
dangerous cellmate, because he submitted a complaint to the
FBI and/or because he filed grievances, and/or because of his
Count 5: Eighth Amendment claims against all Defendants for
housing Plaintiff under unconstitutional conditions of
confinement while he was in segregation, and for ...