Willis v. State of Illinois et al
OPINION entered by Judge Sue E. Myerscough on 2/7/2018. Defendants' motion to strike Plaintiff's sur-reply to Defendants' reply is GRANTED, d/e 136 . The motion for summary judgment by Defendants Caraway and Reid on Plaintiff's procedural due process claim is GRANTED, d/e 131 . Defendant Reid is terminated from the case. A status conference is set by video conference for 2/27/2018, at 10:00 a.m. (SEE WRITTEN OPINION)(MAS, ilcd)
Wednesday, 07 February, 2018 11:32:09 AM
Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
MACEO WILLIS, JR.,
GREG SCOTT, et al.,
SUE E. MYERSCOUGH, U.S. District Judge.
Plaintiff proceeds pro se from his detention in the Rushville
Treatment and Detention Center pursuant to the Illinois Sexually
Violent Persons Act. He pursues claims arising from an alleged
assault against him by his roommate, Mr. Williamson; the
punishment Plaintiff received for fighting Mr. Williamson; and, a
delay in medical care for the injuries Plaintiff suffered from the
On February 22, 2017, the Court granted summary judgment
to Defendants on Plaintiff’s medical care claim. Summary judgment
was denied on Plaintiff’s failure to protect claim as to Defendants
Hankins, Scott, Caraway, and Kunkel. Summary judgment was
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denied with leave to renew on Plaintiff’s procedural due process
claim that Plaintiff was punished for fighting without procedural
The Court understands the procedural due process claim to be
against Defendants Hankins, Caraway, and Reid, who comprised
the disciplinary committee which punished Plaintiff for fighting.
Defendants Caraway and Reid have renewed their motion for
summary judgment on this claim, but Defendant Hankins has not.1
The Court’s order denying summary judgment on the
procedural due process claim noted that the claim appeared to be
foreclosed by Miller v. Dobier, 634 F.3d 412, 415 (7th Cir. 2011).
The Defendants in this case imposed 30 days of close status on
Plaintiff and 90 days of black box restraints during transports
outside the facility. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held in
Miller that “close status” at the Rushville Treatment and Detention
Center is not a significant enough deprivation to trigger procedural
due process protections. The plaintiff on close status in Miller was
“free to leave his cell for most of the day, to receive visitors, and in
Defendants Caraway and Reid are employed by Liberty Healthcare, which contracts with the
Illinois Department of Human Service to provide mental health treatment for the Rushville
residents. Defendant Hankins is employed by the Illinois Department of Human Services.
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this and other respects to avoid extremes of close confinement such
as are encountered in segregation units.” Id. Miller also held there
is no constitutionally protected liberty interest in avoiding the
"black box" restraints or other restraints during transport, even for
civil detainees. Id. at 414-15.
However, whether the conditions of Plaintiff’s close status in
this case were the same as the conditions of close status in Miller
was unclear. The Court therefore denied summary judgment with
leave to renew and directed Plaintiff to submit an affidavit
describing what close status was for him.
Plaintiff’s affidavit states that he was placed in a room with a
bed, mattress, a ceiling light, toilet, desk, two yellow jumpsuits, and
shower shoes. He was given toothpaste, a toothbrush, soap,
shampoo, his eyeglasses, and a pen, but no other property. He was
effectively denied phone calls and visits, could not purchase from
the commissary, and there were no electrical outlets. He was
allowed out of his room to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for an
hour at each meal. He was also allowed to watch television in the
dayroom for two hours before being locked in his room for the
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These restrictions are looser than the segregation restrictions
in prison, but the norm for prison life is obviously different than the
norm for life in a mental health treatment facility. Whether Miller is
distinguishable in these particular circumstances is subject to
reasonable debate. The Court is not going to decide this issue now,
particularly since Defendants do not argue that the restrictions
described by Plaintiff are not significant enough to trigger
procedural due process protections.
However, summary judgment is still warranted to Defendants
on Plaintiff’s procedural due process claim. An inference does arise
in Plaintiff’s favor that he did not receive written notice of the
charge because he could not read the charge. He did not have his
eyeglasses. He clearly had some idea of what the charge was since
he says he submitted a sworn statement at the disciplinary hearing,
and the charge was read to him at the hearing. Still, a juror could
find that Plaintiff did not receive advance written notice or an
opportunity to marshal evidence other than his own testimony.
However, the evidence Plaintiff wanted to present would
not have made a difference in the outcome of the hearing.
Plaintiff wanted to present his medical records at the
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disciplinary hearing to show that Plaintiff had not used his
fists to hit Mr. Williamson and also to show that Plaintiff’s
injuries were consistent with Mr. Williamson being the
aggressor. Plaintiff explained to the disciplinary committee
that Mr. Williamson had initiated the attack, forcing Plaintiff
to try to defend himself with a pen. Plaintiff admitted in his
deposition that he told the committee that he “started to stick
that clown with a pen.” (Pl.’s Dep. p. 99; 12/17/14 Behavior
Committee Meeting.)2 Defendant Caraway avers that the
committee considered Plaintiff’s use of the pen as an
escalation of the incident and that the committee understood
that Plaintiff had not struck Mr. Williamson with Plaintiff’s
fists. (Caraway Aff. ¶¶ 28-29, d/e 65-3; Hankins Aff. ¶ 12, d/e
77-2.) Thus, the medical records or testimony about Plaintiff’s
injuries would not have changed the committee’s decision.
Piggie v. Cotton, 344 F.3d 674, 678 (7th Cir. 2003)(applying
harmless error analysis to refusal to call witnesses in
the extent Plaintiff tries to avoid this admission with his affidavit, he cannot do so. See
Harmon v. Gordon, 712 F.3d 1044, 1051-52 (7th Cir. 2013)("'the law of this circuit does not
permit a party to create an issue of fact by submitting an affidavit whose conclusions
contradict prior deposition or other sworn testimony.'")(quoted cite omitted).
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disciplinary hearings). Plaintiff may view the committee’s
decision as unfair because he was not the aggressor, but that
is not enough for a constitutional violation.
IT IS ORDERED:
Defendants’ motion to strike Plaintiff’s sur-reply to
Defendants’ reply is granted. (d/e 136.) Briefing on a summary
judgment motion ends with the movant’s reply. See CDIL-LR
The motion for summary judgment by Defendants
Caraway and Reid on Plaintiff’s procedural due process claim is
granted. (d/e 131.) The procedural due process claim is dismissed
as to all Defendants. Defendant Hankins did not renew his motion
for summary judgment on this claim, but the claim is not viable as
to any Defendant given the Court’s ruling.
The federal claim surviving for trial is Plaintiff’s claim
against Defendants Hankins, Scott, Kunkel, and Caraway for the
failure to protect Plaintiff from Mr. Williamson’s assault. Also
remaining is a supplemental state law claim against Mr.
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Williamson. The Court will need to determine whether default
against Mr. Williamson is warranted.
A status conference is set for by video conference for
February 27, 2018, at 10:00 a.m.
(4) The clerk is directed to terminate Defendant Reid, who is
implicated only in the procedural due process claim.
(5) The clerk is directed to issue a video writ to secure
Plaintiff’s presence at the status conference on February 27, 2018.
(6) The clerk is directed to issue a telephone writ to resident
Antonio Williamson for Mr. Williamson’s appearance at the status
conference on February 27, 2018. Mr. Williamson is by phone in
case the facility wishes to keep Mr. Williamson and Plaintiff
February 7, 2018
s/Sue E. Myerscough
SUE E. MYERSCOUGH
U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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