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Collierr v. Godinez

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 16, 2018

SALVADOR GODINEZ, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Gregory Collier, 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 Pickneyville Correctional Center (“Pickneyville”). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he was denied due process when he was wrongly confined for one year in punitive segregation on a disciplinary charge that has since been expunged. He proceeds on one Count: a Fourteenth Amendment claim against Defendants Furlow and Spiller for depriving Plaintiff of a liberty interest without due process by confining him in segregation for one year based on an unsubstantiated disciplinary charge.

         This matter is currently before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 53). Plaintiff filed a Response (Doc. 57). For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is GRANTED.

         Factual Background

         Plaintiff Gregory Collier was an inmate at Pinckneyville on August 18, 2013 (Plaintiff's Deposition, Doc. 56 at 4). On that day, Collier was on the yard when a fight began (Plaintiff's Complaint, Doc. 1 at 5). Collier was told to get up against the fence; the guards checked his fists and hands and then let him go back to his cell (Doc. 56 at 4). Approximately one hour after he returned to his cell, internal affairs came to his cell and transferred him to segregation (Id. at 4, 6). The internal affairs officer did not ask him any questions regarding the fight or provide an explanation as to why he was being taken to segregation (Id. at 6).

         On September 17, 2013, an Offender Disciplinary Report was issued by C/O Furlow (Doc. 56-3). The Report indicated that an investigation revealed Collier was directly involved in the altercation on Yard #1 on August 18, 2013, and charged Collier with four offenses: 105 - Dangerous Disturbance, 205 - STG or Unauthorized Organizational Activity, 301 - Fighting, and 403 - Disobeying a Direct Order (Id. at 20).

         The Report describes an altercation between members of multiple Security Threat Groups, including the Latin Kings, Satan's Disciples, Ganster Disciples, and Black Disciples (Id. at 20-21). It notes that Collier was positively identified by his ID card and by witnesses who were not identified in the Report for safety and security reasons (Id. at 21). The Report is signed, indicating that it was served on Collier by Employee Hoff on September 18, 2013 at 7:05 a.m. (Id. at 20). Hoff noted that Collier refused to sign the report (Id.). The Report advises that the offender has the right to appear and present a written or oral statement or explanation concerning the charges at a hearing (Id.). It further states that the offender may ask that witnesses be interviewed and, if necessary and relevant, that they may be called to testify during the hearing (Id.). Collier testified in his deposition that he received the Report on September 18, 2013, 30 days after being placed in segregation (Doc. 56 at 10).

         Collier also alleges he did not receive advance notice of when the adjustment committee hearing would take place (Id. at 7). On September 25, 2013, he was taken from his cell to the adjustment committee hearing to provide testimony (Id.). He provided a verbal statement but did not submit a written statement or call any witnesses (Id.). He told the adjustment committee that he was not guilty and that he had nothing to do with the fight (Id.). He testified that at the time of the fight, he was on the far side of the yard doing pull-ups (Id. at 5). There were other inmates around when he was doing pull-ups but he did not recall any of their names (Id.). Collier was previously affiliated with the Black Disciples, but he was no longer affiliated with the STG (Doc. 56 at 6). Following the adjustment committee hearing, a final summary report was issued - Collier was found guilty of all four charges and sentenced to one year segregation, one year revocation of good conduct credits, and his contact visits were restricted for six months (Doc. 56-3 at 22-23).

         At his deposition, Collier testified that during his time in segregation, he was subjected to feces thrown by other inmates, excessive noise, and anxiety from being in a cell with an inmate with no out-date (Doc. 56 at 7-9). He suffered anxiety and depression from being in segregation (Id. at 9). He currently takes medication for both anxiety and depression (Id. at 10). While in segregation, he had access to the yard approximately five hours per week (Id. at 8).

         Collier filed a grievance regarding his sentence to segregation, and the Prisoner Review Board issued a Disciplinary Reduction Notification on March 17, 2014, reducing the good conduct credit reduction from one year to three months (Doc. 1 at 9). On August 1, 2014, the Administrative Review Board recommended that Collier's Discipline Report be expunged, that he be released from segregation, and that a request for restoration of the three months good conduct credit be forwarded to the Prisoner Review Board (Id. at 11). The IDOC Director concurred with the recommendation on August 18, 2014 (Id.).

         The original ticket was returned to Pinckneyville to be expunged by the Adjustment Committee on September 5, 2014 (Id.). On October 9, 2014, the Prisoner Review Board fully restored the three months of good conduct credits (Id. at 12).

         Legal Standards

         Summary judgment is appropriate only if the moving party can demonstrate “that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322(1986); see also Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005). The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party “must set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). A genuine issue of material fact exists when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Estate of Simpson v. Gorbett, 863 F.3d 740, 745 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). When deciding a ...

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