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Goings v. Jones

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 25, 2019



          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL, Chief U.S. District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on several Reports and Recommendations entered by Magistrate Judge Gilbert C. Sison. Plaintiff Fredrick Goings, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections, brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deprivations of his constitutional rights and violations of Illinois state law that allegedly occurred while he was housed at Menard Correctional Center. Goings is proceeding on an Eighth Amendment excessive force claim, two Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claims related to Defendants’ alleged failure to provide medical care and necessary medication, a Fourth Amendment claim for excessive strip searches unrelated to any penological interest, a state law battery claim, and a state law assault claim (Doc. 79).

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts Judge Sison’s recommendations over the objections of Plaintiff Fredrick Goings.

         I. Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction

         On June 24, 2019, Judge Sison entered a Report and Recommendation (Doc. 209) regarding Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction (Doc. 167). Judge Sison noted that, within his motion, Goings attempted to state several new claims against numerous individuals who work at Menard, some were parties to this litigation, and some were not. All of the allegations in the request for injunctive relief pertain to incidents that allegedly occurred at Menard. On June 17, 2019, however, Goings informed the Court that he had been transferred to Pontiac Correctional Center (Doc. 202). As a result, his request for injunctive relief related to the conditions and individuals at Menard was rendered moot. Judge Sison therefore recommended that the undersigned deny the motion as moot.

         The Court granted Goings two extensions of time to object to the Report and Recommendation, ultimately ordering him to file his objection on or before September 12, 2019 (Docs. 214, 222). Goings was warned that, absent extraordinary circumstances, no further extensions would be granted (Doc. 222). On September 4, 2019, Goings filed a third motion for extension of time to object (Doc. 225). Goings asserts that he is in segregation, the law library has an inadequate resource reference list of materials, and the prison has not yet provided him with the requested case law, rules, and annotations.

         Goings’s third motion for extension of time is DENIED, as the Court has given him ample time to form a response. Moreover, the Court does not find the normal incidents of prison life, even in segregation, to constitute exceptional circumstances. Even if he did not have access to case law and other legal materials, Goings could have objected and made arguments as to why the Report and Recommendation was erroneous in order to preserve his right to de novo review. Because he did not, the Court reviews the Report and Recommendation only for clear error. Johnson v. Zema Systems Corp., 170 F.3d 734, 739 (7th Cir. 1999); 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(B), (C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). The Court may then “accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

         Here, the Court finds no clear error. When a prisoner who seeks injunctive relief for a condition specific to a particular prison is transferred out of that prison, the need for relief, and hence the prisoner’s claim, become moot. Higgason v. Farley, 83 F.3d 807 (7th Cir. 1995) (per curiam); Calhoun v. DeTella, 319 F.3d 936, 939 (7th Cir. 2003) (finding transfer from prison where inmate sought declaratory and injunctive relief concerning strip search practice mooted claim); Henderson v. Sheahan, 196 F.3d 839, 848 n. 3 (7th Cir. 2000) (finding transfer from Cook County Jail to state prison system mooted plaintiff’s claim for declaratory and injunctive relief against jail-specific practice). Because Goings seeks injunctive relief related to specific practices at Menard, his transfer to Pontiac moots his claims.

         Accordingly, the Court ADOPTS Judge Sison’s Report and Recommendation (Doc. 209) and DENIES as moot the Motion for Preliminary Injunction filed by Plaintiff Fredrick Goings (Doc. 167).

         II. Motions for Sanctions and Related Motions

          On January 8, 2019, Defendants filed a motion for sanctions related to Goings’s refusal to go forward with a scheduled deposition (Doc. 156). Defendants seek $209.10 (the scheduled court reporter fee) and dismissal of the case with prejudice. Alternatively, they seek the court reporter fee and an order requiring Goings to sit for his deposition after he pays the fee. Goings filed a response in opposition, arguing that he received the notice of deposition only 10 days prior to the deposition, when he should have had at least 14 days’ notice (Doc. 165).

         Goings also filed several motions for sanctions and supplements thereto alleging that “Defendants and agents” engaged in “misconduct and sabotage, ” destroyed his personal property, failed to provide thermal clothing, and gave him food with debris in it, among other things (Docs. 166, 170, 183, 184, 189).

         On July 8, 2019, Judge Sison entered the Report and Recommendation currently before the Court (Doc. 213). Judge Sison recommends denying Defendants’ motion for sanctions because the notice of deposition was not sent at least 14 days prior to the scheduled deposition, as required by the Amended Scheduling Order (Doc. 121). Judge Sison also recommends denying Goings’s various motions because they are an improper attempt to bring new claims and new defendants into this case.

         Objections to the Report and Recommendation were due July 25, 2019. The undersigned granted Goings an extension of time until August 26, 2019, to object to the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 216). The ...

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