United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Reona J. Daly United States Magistrate Judge
Antrell Teen, a former inmate at the St. Clair County Jail
(“the Jail”), brings this action for deprivations
of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Plaintiff proceeds in this case on the following claim:
Count 8: First Amendment retaliation claim
against Smith for bringing a false disciplinary charge on
January 26, 2018, and against Strubberg for refusing to
investigate the false charge and imposing excessive
discipline after Plaintiff sued Smith.
Smith and Strubberg filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
31) arguing the record is devoid of any circumstantial or
direct evidence of a retaliatory motive, that the actions
taken by Jail officials were for legitimate governmental
objectives, and that the claimed deprivations were not of
such magnitude as to deter a person of ordinary firmness from
exercising their rights. Plaintiff filed a Response (Doc. 34)
arguing he was improperly disciplined by Defendants because
he filed numerous Captain's complaints and lawsuits
regarding his treatment at the Jail.
was incarcerated at the St. Clair County Jail beginning on
December 15, 2015 (Doc. 31-2). On January 26, 2018, Officer
Michael Ripperda was dispatched to AB Block regarding a
complaint by inmate Byron Hudson (Doc. 31-3, Officer
Rippera's Incident Report). Hudson reported that another
inmate, J.B., had walked into his cell and took his
commissary and that the two were on Keep Separate status
(Id.). Ripperda went to the cell of J.B. and was met
there by CO Rick Smith (Id.). Ripperda and Smith
found a small bag of commissary with a receipt belonging to
Hudson in the cell (Id.). Smith took the bag of
commissary to Hudson and Hudson pointed out what he was
Smith's Incident Report states that during the theft
investigation, Smith stepped into Hudson's cell and
discovered Detainee Antrell Teen talking to Hudson (Doc.
31-4). Smith overheard Plaintiff say, “You don't
have to do that” and believed Plaintiff was attempting
to convince Hudson not to talk with responding officers
(Id.). Plaintiff agreed that he was talking with
Hudson when Officer Smith entered the cell and recalls that
he had been telling Hudson that he should want to stay on the
block (Doc. 31-1 at 5-7, Plaintiff's Deposition).
According to Plaintiff, he told Hudson, “[w]e have a
good system going on in AB Block, ” “that he
shouldn't feel threatened by the guys who took his
belongings, ” and “[d]on't worry about it,
I'll get your stuff back for you” (Id. at
6). Plaintiff testified that his statement “You
don't have to do that, ” meant Hudson did not have
to leave the cell block (Id. at 7).
and Hudson engaged in conversation regarding the theft
investigation (Doc. 31-1 at 8). Smith reported he observed an
unidentified detainee hand Hudson's commissary receipt to
Plaintiff, and Plaintiff placed it behind his back as if to
conceal it (Doc. 31-4). Smith requested Plaintiff hand him
the receipt (Id.). Rather than immediately turning
over the paper, Plaintiff read the receipt (Id.).
Smith questioned Plaintiff's involvement in the
investigation that required him to read the receipt
(Id.). After approximately 45 seconds, Plaintiff
handed the paper to Officer Smith, stating he had his own
investigation he needed to complete, and a job to do in his
block (Id.). Smith informed Plaintiff that he was
actually in charge of handling issues in the facility and
Plaintiff called Smith a “bitch ass security
guard” (Id.). Smith then left to assist
Ripperda in escorting the theft suspect out of the block and
advised Plaintiff he would return to finish their talk
(Id.). Plaintiff responded, “You can find me
in Cell Number 6” (Doc. 31-1 at 14).
testified inmate Steve Tiller did hand him Hudson's
commissary receipt, but he disputes that he attempted to hide
it from anyone (Doc. 31-1 at 8). Plaintiff testified that
Smith requested he hand him the receipt, but Plaintiff took
the time to read the receipt so that he would know what items
were missing in order to get them back for Hudson
(Id. at 9). It took him “maybe 60
seconds” to read the receipt before he turned it over
(Id. at 10). Plaintiff testified there was no
further conversation between him and Smith after he handed
him the receipt and that he did not use the
“bitch-ass” language (Id. at 12).
Plaintiff testified he could have called him a security guard
at one point during the incident (Id.). Plaintiff
testified he did hear someone call Smith a “bitch-ass
security guard” when Smith was walking away, but he
does not know who said it (Id. at 13). Shortly after
Smith left the block, Plaintiff obtained and returned the
commissary items to Hudson (Id. at 14).
removing the alleged suspect from the block, Smith returned
to AB block, along with Lt. Pannier and Officer Ripperda, and
requested Plaintiff exit the block for questioning (Doc.
31-4). Plaintiff stated he had no memory of the conversation
and if he made any disrespectful comments, it was only in
response to disrespect from Smith (Id.). Plaintiff
was moved to Recovery 1 pending a housing review
(Id.). Plaintiff was cited for disrespectful
comments (B27) and interfering with the investigation (B24)
and a privileges review was requested (Id., Doc.
January 29, 2018, the Disciplinary and Adjustment Committee
interview was held for the B24 and B27 citations issued on
January 26, 2018 (Doc. 31-6 at 2). Sgt. Strubberg went to
Plaintiff's cell, identified himself, stated the purpose
of the interview, and explained to Plaintiff that it was his
opportunity to explain his side of the story (Doc. 31-1 at
21). Plaintiff testified the interview took place through the
door of his cell and he remained “stretched out on the
mat” during the interview (Id. at 22).
Chairman Strubberg and Member Walter signed the committee
hearing report (Id.). Officer's Strubberg's
Detainee Teen stated, “His (Officer Smith) actions were
retaliatory in nature, I did not interfere with his duties.
He's just mad because I wrote him up. If I would have
called him a name, it would have been something more creative
than that. I have a degree in verbal linguistics; I
wouldn't resort to calling someone a bitch. I don't
remember what I said to him, but it wasn't that.”
(Id. at 3). To the question of whether the detainee
requested witnesses, the report indicated “No”
(Id. at 2). Plaintiff disputes this and testifies
that he requested Strubberg speak to the witnesses that heard
the conversation between him and Smith (Doc. 31-1 at 21).
Plaintiff testified he provided at least three names of
inmates Strubberg could interview (Id.). Plaintiff
also disputes he received advanced notice of the hearing
(Id.). Plaintiff was found guilty of both violations
and lost partial privileges of commissary and recreation for
20 days (Doc. 31-6).
was reassigned to L Block, a non-segregation block (Doc. 31-1
at 23). Plaintiff testified that L Block is a smaller block
and more confined (Id.). L block had only one kiosk,
fewer tables, less desk space, and more violent inmates
(Id.). Plaintiff was housed in L block from January
29, 2018 until March 15, 2018. Lt. Strubberg attested
Plaintiff was moved from the AB block where the incident of
January 26, ...