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Sillass v. Lorera

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

May 20, 2019

STANTON E. SILLAS, Plaintiff,
v.
JOE LORERA, MARK BURTON, and ROBERT MUELLER, Defendants.[1]

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Gilbert C. Sison United States Magistrate Judge

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Stanton Sillas, an inmate housed at the Vienna Correctional Center (“Vienna”) filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging deprivations of his constitutional rights that occurred while he was housed at Centralia Correctional Center (“Centralia”). In his complaint, Sillas claims that Defendants have discriminated against him and deprived him of his property without due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment (Doc. 1). On May 23, 2018, District Judge Michael J. Reagan screened his complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and the following claim survived review:

Count 2: Claim against Defendants Lorera, Burton and Mueller for violating Plaintiffs right to equal protection by implementing a rule that only applies to him that deprives him of his property, in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment.

(Doc. 8). Now before the Court is defendant Burton's and Mueller's motion for summary judgment on the basis that Sillas failed to exhaust his administrative remedies (Doc. 17).

         The case has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Gilbert C. Sison by District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(b)(1)(B) and (c), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b) and Local Rule 72.1(a).[2] The undersigned held a hearing on May 9, 2019 (Doc. 28). Based on the following, the undersigned recommends that Judge Rosenstengel grant the motion for summary judgment based on the failure to exhaust.

         II. Factual Background

         A. Background

         Stanton Sillas is an inmate currently housed at Vienna. Defendant Joe Lorera is a Correctional Sergeant employed at Centralia. Defendant Mark Burton is a Correctional Officer employed as the Chairperson of the Program Committee at Centralia. Defendant Robert Mueller was the Warden at Centralia.

         On April 22, 2017, Sillas, while housed at Centralia, was written a disciplinary ticket for unauthorized property by Defendant Lorera. On April 26, 2017, after a hearing on the ticket, Sillas was found guilty for the violation of unauthorized property and was given a verbal reprimand. On May 1, 2017, Sillas filed a grievance complaining about Lorera's search of his cell and confiscating his food items. On August 23, 2017, the ARB denied the grievance.

         On April 26, 2018, Sillas filed his complaint (Doc. 1). In his complaint, Sillas contends that Defendants imposed a rule on him, “not commonly enforced in the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), requiring Plaintiff to consume food items purchased from the commissary within two months of purchase.” (Doc. 1, p. 4). If items violate this rule, they are confiscated as contraband. Id. On April 22, 2017, Defendant Lorera conducted a shakedown of Sillas's cell and confiscated various food items. In the disciplinary ticket, Lorera noted the reason for the taking was “to determine if [Plaintiff] had purchased those items through the commissary in the past 2 months.” Id.

         On April 26, 2017, Sillas admitted to Defendant Burton, the Program Committee Chairperson, that the items were his and he presented receipts to prove he purchased them. Id. Defendant Burton found him guilty of an infraction and did not return his food. Id. Defendant Warden Mueller approved the decision. Sillas filed a grievance, which was ultimately denied by the ARB.

         B. Testimony

         On May 9, 2018, the undersigned held a hearing on the motion for summary judgment. The Court heard testimony from Sillas and arguments from the parties. Sillas testified that Lorera wrongfully took his food items and that Burton and Mueller approved the verbal reprimand even though Sillas had proof he bought the food ...


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