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Kistner v. Brookhart

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 15, 2020

CHRISTIAN KISTNER, #Y26421, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. BROOKHART, REX FITCH, OFFICER JOHNSON, OFFICER WEST, OFFICER WILLIAMS, and LT. WILLIAMS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          NANCY J. ROSENSTENGEL, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Christian Kistner, an inmate of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is currently incarcerated at Lawrence Illinois Correctional Center (“Lawrence”), brings this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his constitutional rights arising from the issuance of false disciplinary tickets and a guilty verdict by the Adjustment Committing. He seeks monetary damages and injunctive relief.

         The Complaint is now before the Court for preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Under Section 1915A, any portion of a complaint that is legally frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or requests money damages from a defendant who by law is immune from such relief must be dismissed. 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). At this juncture, the factual allegations of the pro se Complaint are to be liberally construed. Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 821 (7th Cir. 2009).

         Complaint

         Kistner makes the following allegations: On November 16, 2018, he was strip searched by Corrections Officer Fitch prior to receiving a visitor. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Following the search, Kistner went into the visiting room and shortly embraced his visitor. Although Fitch was not even in the visiting room to view the interaction, Fitch wrote him a disciplinary ticket. (Id.).

         During the disciplinary hearing, Kistner's witness was not called, and Lieutenant Williams told him that he could not be seen committing the offense on the camera footage. (Id. at p. 8). Lieutenant Williams wrote on the ticket summary, however, that Kistner was found guilty “based on video footage.” Kistner was demoted to one month C-grade status and had his visiting privileges revoked for three months. (Id.). Kistner started filing grievances and had a meeting with Warden Brookhart, who told him that she “was going to justly take care of it, ” but later informed his mother that the discipline would stand. (Id.).

         On Christmas day, Kistner's television was confiscated for thirty days, and he was moved to segregation. During the move, Corrections Officer West wrote him a disciplinary ticket for disobeying a direct order, and he was again found guilty by the Adjustment Committee. (Id.). Corrections Officer Williams was a witness on the ticket, even though Williams was not in the wing during the alleged events. (Id. at p. 9). Kistner continued to be moved multiple times to different cells over the course of two months. (Id.).

         Preliminary Dismissals

         Kistner names Corrections Officer Johnson in the case caption and states in the Complaint that he and Johnson had been in multiple altercations, which contributed to tension between Kistner and Corrections Officer Fitch, because Fitch and Johnson worked together. (Doc. 1, p. 7). Kistner does not describe how Johnson violated his constitutional rights, and so Johnson will be dismissed without prejudice. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         Additionally, Kistner makes allegations regarding being placed in segregation for requesting a crisis team, never being provided a crisis team, being moved to multiple different cells, and retaliation by the administration, but these claims are not asserted against any named Defendant. “[I]ndividual liability under § 1983 requires ‘personal involvement in the alleged constitutional deprivation.'” Minix v. Canarecci, 597 F.3d 824, 833 (7th Cir. 2010) (quoting Palmer v. Marion Cty., 327 F.3d 588, 594 (7th Cir. 2003)). Because Kistner is required to associate specific defendants with specific claims, these claims will be dismissed without prejudice. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).

         Discussion

         Based on the allegations in the Complaint, the Court finds it convenient to designate the following five Counts:

Count 1: Fourteenth Amendment due process claim against Corrections Officer Fitch for issuing Kistner a false disciplinary ticket for violating visiting room rules on November 16, 2018.
Count 2: Fourteenth Amendment due process claim against Corrections Officer West and Corrections Officer Williams for issuing a false disciplinary ticket for disobeying a ...

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