Antonelli v. Marquez et al
ORDER based on the evidence presented at the 146 Bench Trial. Plaintiff's complaint against deft Depoorter is dismissed with prejudice. Signed by Judge James M. Moody on 7/27/11. (kpr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
CASE NO. 2:08-CV-00003-JMM/JJV
MARTHA DEPOORTER, ET AL.
Plaintiff, formerly an inmate at the Federal Correctional Complex (“FCC”) in Forrest City
filed a pro se action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403
U.S. 388 (1971). The case began in 2006 with 27 known defendants and 10 Doe defendants.
Through the grant of several motions for summary judgment, it had been reduced to a retaliation
claim against two defendants - Martha Depoorter and Billy Phillips who are both employees of
A bench trial was held on July 26, 2011 before United States District Judge James M.
Moody. At the close of Plaintiff’s case in chief, all claims against Billy Phillips were dismissed.1
Plaintiff’s remaining claim was that he was subjected to retaliatory discipline on June 16, 2005,
by Defendant Depoorter for exercising his constitutional right to submit grievances, assist other
inmates in the preparation of grievance forms and for requesting investigations of official
wrongdoing. Defendant Depoorter contended that on June 16, 2005 she filed an incident report
stating that Plaintiff had refused her order and had been insolent toward her during a meeting
held in her office.
Plaintiff’s oral motion to dismiss his claims against Billy Phillips was granted by written
order on July 26, 2011.
Findings of Fact
1. Plaintiff was a federal inmate incarcerated at the Federal
Correctional Institution, Forrest City, Arkansas from February 3, 2005 through May 15, 2006.
2. On May 16, 2005, Defendant DePoorter was employed as a counselor at the FCC.
3. Plaintiff was assigned to the unit where Defendant DePoorter was a counselor.
4. As a part of Defendant DePoorter’s regular duties she prepared for a team docket review for
5. In preparation for the review Defendant DePoorter reviewed the amount of funds which had
passed through Plaintiff’s inmate account during the prior six months.
6. Applying the formula supplied by the Bureau of Prisons, Defendant DePoorter discovered that
Plaintiff would be required to make significantly higher payments in order to be in compliance
with the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program.
7. Under this program inmates must enter into a contractual agreement with the Bureau of
Prisons to permit an amount certain to be removed from their inmate account, either monthly or
quarterly, or face sanctions.
8. On June 16, 2005 Defendant DePoorter called the Plaintiff into her office to discuss the
required increase in payments.
9. When Defendant DePoorter advised Plaintiff of the required increase in payment, Plaintiff
screamed at Defendant DePoorter, waved his arms, called Defendant DePoorter names and
refused to terminate his tirade.
10. Plaintiff eventually left Defendant DePoorter’s office but continued to walk around the unit
loudly calling Defendant Depoorter names and yelling.
11. Defendant DePoorter called the Lieutenant’s office for assistance.
12. Defendant DePoorter ordered Plaintiff to report to the Lieutenant’s office.
13. Plaintiff walked toward his cell shouting “I’m getting my fucking shirt; you’ll wait a
14. Plaintiff then walked toward his cell continuing to yell loudly.
15. Corrections officers escorted Plaintiff to the Lieutenant’s office.
16. Plaintiff was then placed in the Special Housing Unit.
17. On June 16, 2005, Defendant DePoorter filed an incident report which stated, in
On 06-16-2005 at approximately 2:15p.m. Upon my explaining to inmate
Antonelli, Michael #04053-164 how his financial responsibility contract was
being re-formulated based on his deposits for the last six months, he immediately
started yelling. “I ain’t signing nothing” I explained that I was not asking him to
sign anything right now, I just needed to know if he preferred monthly or quarterly
payments to be made. He again started yelling with arm flailing stating “my
money goes for legal expenses and if you had put me on the Unicor waiting
list I’d have more money, I ain’t making no FRP payments.” I directed inmate
Antonelli to stop yelling at which time I informed him that I would have to place
him on FRP Refuse. He again started yelling saying “I don’t care what you do, I
only make 3.00 a month and it’s your fault I don’t make any money” and walked
out of the office. I immediately called Lt. Bell informing him of inmate
Antonelli’s actions to which he replied to send him to the Lieutenant’s office. I
stepped out my office and ordered inmate Antonelli who was in the common area
at this time to go to the Lieutenants’s office. He returned to my office started
waving his arms and yelling at me again. By this time several inmates had
gathered outside my door and were watching. I looked up and ordered inmate
Antonelli once again to go to the Lieutenant’s office. He kept yelling in my
direction something about Unicor. I ordered him a third time to go to the
18. Following the filing of the incident report Defendant DePoorter had no involvement in
any issue related to the June 16, 2005 incident.
19. As a result of the filing of the incident report and compliance with Bureau of Prisons
that Plaintiff had violated Bureau Prisons code provisions 307, and 314, refused an order of any
staff member and was insolent toward staff.
20. The Unit Disciplinary Committee at the June 20, 2005 hearing found that Plaintiff’s
punishment should be suspension of commissary and telephone privileges for 120
21. Based upon the evidence at trial, and independent of the June 20, 2005 Unit Disciplinary
Committee’s finding, this Court finds that on June 16, 2005, Plaintiff violated Bureau of Prisons
code provisions 307 and 314 by disobeying Defendant DePoorter’s order and by being insolent
toward Defendant DePoorter.
Conclusions of Law
A prisoner claiming that prison officials have retaliated against him for exercising his
constitutional rights must prove that (1) the conduct in which he was engaged was
constitutionally protected; (2) he suffered an adverse action at the hands of the defendant prison
officials; and (3) his constitutionally protected conduct was the motivating factor in the decision
of the defendant. See Haynes v. Stephenson, 588 F.3d 1152, 1155 (8th Cir. 2009).
The prison official “may successfully defend a retaliatory discipline claim by submitting
‘some evidence’ establishing that the prisoner actually committed a rule violation.” Williams v.
Perry” 2011 WL 1533425 (E.D. Ark. 2011) (citing Bandy–Bey v. Crist, 578 F.3d 763, 766 (8th
Cir.2009); Hartsfield v. Nichols, 511 F.3d 826, 829 (8th Cir.2008)).
The Court finds that Plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case that he was retaliated
against because he failed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that (1) his filing of
grievances on his own behalf; (2) his helping other inmates file grievances on their own behalf;
and (3) his request for investigations were the motivating factors in Defendant Depoorter’s
decision to file an incident report which led to Plaintiff’s loss of privileges.
Defendant Depoorter has come forward with sufficient evidence to establish by either the
preponderance of the evidence or by “some evidence” that she filed the June 16, 2005 incident
report based upon Plaintiff’s violation of prison rules. The Court found Defendant Depoorter to
be a credible witness.
This finding is based on the evidence presented at trial and the Court has not taken into
consideration the decision of the Unit Disciplinary Committee hearing held on June 20, 2005.
The Court finds in favor of the Defendant and against the Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s complaint
against Defendant Depoorter is dismissed with prejudice. Judgment will be entered accordingly.
IT IS SO ORDERED THIS
day of July, 2011.
James M. Moody
United States District Judge
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