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Booker v. McCarty

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 13, 2018

WILLIE BOOKER, Plaintiff,
v.
LESLIE MCCARTY, JOHN R. BALDWIN, KIMBERLY BUTLER, JEANETTE COWAN, WILLIAM SPILLER, and JOHN DOE 1, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STACI M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Willie Booker, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Specifically, Booker claims that Defendants, IDOC Director John Baldwin, Administrative Review Board Chairperson Leslie McCarty, Warden Kimberly Butler, Counselor Jeanette Cowan, Internal Affairs Officer William Spiller, and Officer John Doe #1 denied his request for protective custody in November 2015 without sufficient evidence and, as a result, exposed him to harm. Booker is proceeding on the following claims:

Count One: Defendants failed to protect Booker from a known risk of harm, in violation of the Eighth Amendment, when they denied his request for protective custody in November 2015.
Count Four[1]: Defendants' decision to deny Plaintiff's request for protective placement in November 2015 resulted in the intentional infliction of emotional distress in violation of Illinois state law.

         As an initial matter, Booker was advised that service would not be made on the unknown (John Doe) defendant until he identified him by name in a properly amended complaint (Doc. 13). On June 2, 2016, the Court entered a Scheduling and Discovery Order giving Booker until September 16, 2016 to seek leave to amend his complaint to name unknown parties (see Doc. 28). As of the date of this Order, Booker has failed to identify the unknown defendant. As such, Booker has failed to prosecute his case against John Doe #1, and this defendant is DISMISSED WITH PRJEUDICE pursuant to Rule 41(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil procedure.

         This case is now before the Court on the Motions for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Baldwin, Butler, Cowan, McCarty, and Spiller (Doc. 114) and Plaintiff Booker (Doc. 118). Booker filed a response to Defendants' Motion (Doc. 120), and Defendants filed a Motion to Strike Booker's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 128).[2] For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED and Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED.

         Factual Background

         Plaintiff Willie Booker was incarcerated at Menard from 2004 to February 2018 (Deposition of Willie Booker, Doc. 115-4 at 4). From November 2014 to November 2015, Booker submitted four requests to be placed in protective custody (see Doc. 115-2). Each request was ultimately denied (see id.).

         Booker's claims in this matter relate to his November 13, 2015 request (Id. at 3). In this request, Booker stated that his life was in danger (Id.). He explained that on October 20, 2015, he was attacked by an inmate he did not know, after having received a letter in December 2014 that he would be killed if he came out of protective custody (Id.; Doc. 115-4 at 7). Booker claimed that the “GDs” (Gangster Disciples) had a hit out on him because he refused to do their legal work (Doc. 115-2 at 3). He identified nine individuals as his enemies, and indicated that the Gangster Disciple organization, Black Peace Stone organization, and correctional officers wanted to kill him (Id.).

         In response to his request for protective custody, Booker was interviewed by Counselor Cowan and Internal Affairs (“IA”) Officer Spiller on November 17, 2015 (Doc. 115-4 at 12; see Doc. 115-2 at 2). During these interviews, Booker explained that he needed protective custody because he had been labeled a snitch and had severed ties with the GDs (Doc. 115-4 at 13). He also explained that he was attacked in October 2015 by an unknown inmate (Id. at 12). He told them he had received a letter in December 2014 threatening that if he “brought [his] sex offender ass out of PC, [he] would be killed” (Id.)[3].

         Cowan asked for the letter, but Booker had previously turned it in to another officer (Id.). She told Booker that she was not going to address the letter again (Id.). Cowan recommended that Booker's request for protective custody be denied (Doc. 115-2 at 2). She confirmed that Booker had been in a fight with another inmate, but indicated that the other inmate had a disciplinary history and there was no indication that it was related to security threat group (“STG”) activity (Id.). Cowan noted that in her interview with Booker, he was not able to provide any reasoning or verification as to why the offenders he listed on his request for protective custody were a threat to his safety (Doc. 115-3 at 2; Doc. 115-2 at 2). Cowan ultimately determined that Booker was attempting to manipulate the system in order to receive a transfer out of Menard or specific housing, as he indicated he would withdraw his request for protective custody if he was allowed to pick his cell location (Id.).

         Spiller also recommended that Booker's request for protective custody be denied (Doc. 115-2 at 2). In his written recommendation, he also indicated that Booker was attempting to manipulate the cell placement system because he was willing to sign out of protective custody if he could pick his cell location (Id.). Spiller noted that Booker was unable to identify anyone that had threatened him or any motivation for a threat (Id.).

         Warden Kimberly Butler ultimately denied Booker's request for placement in protective custody (Doc. 115-4 at 13; Doc. 115-2 at 2). Booker appealed this decision to the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) (Doc. 115-4 at 14). On December 10, 2015, Leslie McCarty, Chairperson for the ARB, held a hearing on Booker's appeal (Id.; Doc. 115-2 at 1). At the hearing, Booker explained that he needed protective custody because he believed he was attacked in October 2015 because he is a sex offender (Doc. 115-4 at 14). Booker told McCarty he had received a letter in December 2014 that stated he would be killed if he came out of protective custody (Id.). Booker also told McCarty about refusing to do the GD's legal work and explained that they labeled him a snitch (Id.). McCarty recommended that Booker's appeal of the protective custody decision be denied (Doc. 115-2 at 1). In her written recommendation, she found Booker had not provided sufficient verifiable information to warrant his retention in protective custody and noted that the fight in October 2015 was an isolated incident and not STG affiliated (Id.). She contacted Internal Affairs and confirmed that the letter referenced by Booker was one that had already been produced, considered, and denied by the ARB in a decision on a previous protective custody request (Id.).

         IDOC Director John Baldwin's designee, Terri Anderson, concurred with McCarty's recommendation and denied Booker's appeal of his protective custody request (Doc. 115-4 at 14; Doc. 115-12 at 2). Baldwin deligated his authority to respond to these appeals and, therefore, never reviewed the same (Id.). During his deposition, Booker indicated that he ...


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