United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Lazerek Austin, an inmate in Pontiac Correctional Center,
brings this action for deprivations of his constitutional
rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for events that
occurred at Menard and Pontiac Correctional Centers.
Plaintiff seeks damages, declarative relief, and injunctive
relief. This case is now before the Court for a preliminary
review of the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A.
review of Plaintiff's Complaint reveals that he has
attempted to improperly join certain claims. Thus, prior to
proceeding with review of this case pursuant to § 1915A,
the Court will sever certain claims into a separate case
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 21 and George v. Smith, 507
F.3d 605 (7th Cir. 2007).
was an inmate at Menard in the spring of 2017. (Doc. 1, p.
4). In April 2017, inmates Henderson, Smith, and Davis
attacked several guards, allegedly because the sergeant was
frequently drunk and excessively punitive. Id.
Plaintiff alleges that prior to January 2018, he had never
spoken to Henderson or Smith in his life. (Doc. 1, p. 5).
subsequent investigation, Plaintiff was interviewed by Does #
1 and 2. (Doc. 1, p. 5). Does #1 and 2 asked Plaintiff what
gang he was in, and when Plaintiff denied being in a gang,
told Plaintiff that other inmates had reported that Plaintiff
had approved the assault prior to its occurrence. (Doc. 1,
pp. 5-6). Plaintiff stated that he had no information about
the incident, he did not know the inmates involved, and that
it seemed to him that the incident was not gang-related.
(Doc. 1, p. 6). Plaintiff repeatedly asked to end the
interview because he had no information, but he was
repeatedly pressured into making false statements.
next day on April 26, 2017, Spiller, Doe #3, and Doe #4
interviewed Plaintiff. (Doc. 1, p. 7). The investigators
repeatedly asserted that Plaintiff had something to do with
the assault, and Plaintiff repeatedly denied knowing anything
about it. (Doc. 1, pp. 7-9). The investigators ultimately
threatened Plaintiff, telling him that they could do whatever
they wanted to a person in custody, that his grievances would
be denied, and that Plaintiff would regret not cooperating.
(Doc. 1, p. 9). Spiller told Plaintiff he would be getting a
new cell. Id. Gee signed the paperwork placing
Plaintiff on investigative status. (Doc. 1-1, p. 5).
was transferred to the North 2 segregation unit. Id.
Plaintiff alleges the conditions in that cell were
unconstitutional and that he was deprived of his property.
(Doc. 1, p. 10). Plaintiff received an investigative report,
but alleges that the report was insufficient to put him on
notice of the reason for the investigation. (Doc. 1, pp.
11-12). Plaintiff also alleges that he did not receive an
interview in order to respond to the investigative report, as
required by Illinois Administrative Code 504.50(c). (Doc. 1,
received an allegedly bogus disciplinary report on May 9,
2017 signed by Spiller alleging that he participated in a
security threat group and/or unauthorized leadership
activity. Id. Plaintiff alleges that the report
failed to detail any prohibited conduct, as required by
Illinois Administrative Code 504.30(c)(2)(4)(5). (Doc. 1, pp.
alleges that Spiller conspired with the 5 confidential
sources to write the disciplinary report out of retaliation
because Plaintiff refused to cooperate with his
investigation. (Doc. 1, p. 13). Plaintiff was placed in
administrative detention on May 10, 2017, prior to the
disciplinary hearing. (Doc. 1, p. 24). When he complained
about it to Lashbrook, she told him to file a grievance.
(Doc. 1, pp. 24-25). Plaintiff alleges that he was placed in
administrative segregation in violation of the Illinois
Administrative Code. (Doc. 1, p. 25). Plaintiff alleges that
he was improperly placed in administrative segregation when
he was on segregation status, and that Hill and Oakley
refused to address his grievances regarding his placement.
(Doc. 1, pp. 25-26). He further alleges that he was never
given a hearing regarding his administrative segregation
placement. (Doc. 1, p. 26).
16, 2017, Plaintiff went before the adjustment committee,
chaired by Lt. Brookman. (Doc. 1, p. 15). Brookman told
Plaintiff he had to find him guilty because it involved a
staff assault and the other officers would be “down his
back” if he did not. Id. But Brookman said he
would only give Plaintiff 6 months of discipline. (Doc. 1, p.
16). Plaintiff alleges that the adjustment committee quoted
Spiller's report verbatim and did not independently
determine the reliability of the confidential sources.
the hearing, Plaintiff did not get his adjustment committee
summary for a couple of weeks. Id. When he asked
Spiller why, Spiller told him it was because he was going to
receive more than 6 months. (Doc. 1, pp. 16-17). Plaintiff
received the summary on June 7, 2017, but in it was not
signed by the committee members or the warden in violation of
the Illinois administrative code. (Doc. 1, p. 17). As Spiller
promised, Plaintiff received 1 year across the board in
sanctions. Id. Plaintiff sent his counselor a
grievance about the summary; it was denied on June 26, 2017.
(Doc. 1, pp. 17-18). Plaintiff alleges that Spiller implied
that the grievance was denied because “officers were
assaulted.” (Doc. 1, p. 18). Lashbrook concurred in the
denial. Id. Plaintiff filed another grievance to
Hill on June 12, 2017, contesting the increased sanction from
6 months to 1 year. Id. Plaintiff alleges that the
second disciplinary report that Hill gave him in response to
his complaints was fraudulent; he filed a grievance regarding
that report on June 15, 2017. (Doc. 1, p. 19). The June 12
and June 15 grievances were denied as duplicates.
Id. Plaintiff also filed a grievance on June 13,
2017 regarding the investigative tactics, which he alleges
was improperly returned to him for failing to attempt to
resolve the issue with his counselor. (Doc. 1, p. 20).
Plaintiff also filed a grievance alleging the newly-enacted
regulation that he was punished for violating was
unconstitutionally vague. (Doc. 1, p. 21). That grievance was
also rejected. Id. Plaintiff alleges that all of his
grievances were rejected out of retaliation for the staff
assault. Id. He further allege that Lori Oakley
could not have “thoroughly reviewed” the
grievances because she did not respond to all of his issues.
(Doc. 1, pp. 21-22). Lashbrook also declined to address the
issues. (Doc. 1, pp. 22-23).
was transferred to Pontiac Correctional Center on November 5,
2017. (Doc. 1, p. 27). When he arrived at Pontiac, he was
told that he was on administrative segregation and assigned
to the administrative detention cell house. Id. Even
though Plaintiff alleges that he was originally placed on
administrative segregation at Menard, he did not receive an
official notice that he was in administrative detention until
April 10, 2018. Id. The notice alleged that he was
the highest ranking Vice Lord leader in the east cell house
at Menard, and had prior knowledge of a major staff assault.
Id. Plaintiff had a hearing before French, Horton,
Pierce, Forbes, Cox and Jane Doe on April 19, 2018. (Doc. 1