United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
STEVEN D. LISLE, Plaintiff,
KIMBERLY BUTLER, LIEUTENANT WELBORN, C. MCCLURE, SUSAN HILL, HORMAN, JANA SOUTH, JORDANA REEVES, and CALE YOUNG, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Steven D. Lisle is an African American inmate in the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who filed this
suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged violations of
his constitutional rights.
First Amended Complaint, Lisle alleges that while he was
incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center
(“Menard”), he received a false disciplinary
ticket for contraband and was placed in segregation (Doc.
128). Lisle notes that his cellmate, who was white, took
responsibility for the contraband but was ultimately found
not guilty of the allegations. Lisle, however, was found
guilty. He overheard prison personnel make racist remarks
against him and he believes the disciplinary proceedings were
in segregation, Lisle made several suicide attempts.
Correctional officers and medical staff at Menard were aware
of Lisle’s mental health issues and history of suicide
attempts, but failed to take proper measures to ensure his
safety. Once Lisle was placed on suicide watch, Jana South, a
nurse at Menard, told Lisle that if he was going to kill
himself, he should do it right. Lisle was forced to sleep
naked on a cold steel bed without a mattress or bedding, and
was denied medical attention. Lisle alleges he asked for
medical attention but never received any treatment. He states
grievance counselors turned a blind eye to his numerous
grievances complaining of the false disciplinary ticket,
disparate racial treatment, suicide attempts, lack of medical
care, and inhumane conditions while on suicide watch.
States District Judge Michael J. Reagan presided over this
case until his retirement earlier this year. In December
2017, Judge Reagan granted partial summary judgment and
dismissed several of Lisle’s claims (Doc. 186). Judge
Reagan held, in part, that Lisle’s Eighth Amendment
claim against South for mocking his suicide attempts fails as
a matter of law. He concluded, “Defendant South’s
statement that if Plaintiff were to attempt to kill himself,
he should do it right, if truly said, is reprehensible. The
statement alone, however, is not sufficient to allow
Plaintiff to recover against South.” The following
claims survived summary judgment:
Count 3: Deliberate indifference for intentionally
disregarding a known risk of suicide against Jordana Reeves,
William Welborn, Jodi Hormann, Christopher McClure, and Cale
Count 4: Deliberate indifference against South for ignoring
Lisle’s request for a doctor; and
Count 10: Deliberate indifference against Susan Hill for
failure to respond to his grievances related to his suicide
Reagan presided over a jury trial on the remaining counts in
January 2018 (Docs. 252-55). After the jurors were selected,
but before they were sworn in, Lisle’s counsel raised
an objection under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79
(1986) “for Wexford’s exercise of its preemptory
strikes for racially motivated reasons and exercising two of
the three preemptory on black jurors” (Doc. 252, p.
62). Judge Reagan responded,
You should have made them while we were doing it. I think you
waived at this juncture. We can make a record. I know we do
have an African American on the jury. Without us going
backwards now and reinventing the wheel, I think it untimely
and I deny on that basis. I do note juror 10 is African
American and that juror was tendered to both Wexford and
IDOC. They both accepted that juror. Juror 9 was stricken by
IDOC. That was an African American. Juror 18 was stricken by
Wexford, African American. Juror 23 is stricken by [Wexford].
(Id. at p. 64). Although he rejected the challenge
as untimely, Judge Reagan gave defense counsel an opportunity
to offer a race-neutral response.
counsel stated that Juror 9 testified she had interactions
with individuals in Illinois prisons and county jails, had
discussed those individuals’ experiences with them, and
believes those conversations would impact her decision in
this case (Id. at pp. 64-65). Wexford’s
counsel stated Jurors 18 and 23 testified that members of
their families were incarcerated and appeared as if they
would be unable to treat Defendants in this case fairly
(Id. at p. 65). Judge Reagan found the reasons to be
race-neutral and the jury was sworn in (Id. at pp.
two-day trial, the jury found in favor of Lisle on his
deliberate indifference claims against Reeves, Welborn,
Hormann, and McClure and awarded him compensatory damages
only (Doc. 217). The jury found in favor of Young, South, and
Hill on the remaining counts (Id.).
appealed, and the Seventh Circuit found that Judge Regan
erred when he granted summary judgment for South on
Lisle’s claims against her for mocking his suicide
attempts (Doc. 261, Ex. 1). The Seventh Circuit noted that
“pain sufficient to constitute cruel punishment may be
physical or psychological” (Id. at p.
18) (quoting Beal v. Foster, 803 F.3d 356, 357-38
(7th Cir. 2015) (internal alterations omitted)). And,
“[w]ith the understanding that the Eighth Amendment
also protects psychologically vulnerable inmates against
psychological pain ...