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Morgan v. Wallace

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division

July 18, 2014

IAN WALLACE, et al., Defendants.


STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, Jr., District Judge.

Plaintiff is currently a prisoner at Southeast Correctional Center ("SECC"). He filed this 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 action against defendants Ian Wallace (the warden of SECC) and Cheryl Thompson (function unit manager of SECC's administrative segregation) alleging that his Constitutional right to due process was violated when he was placed in administrative segregation for an extended period of time. Defendants have moved for summary judgment (#41). The matter is fully briefed and is ready for disposition.

I. Background

The following facts are undisputed except where indicated. On February 28, 2012, while incarcerated at Crossroads Correctional Center ("CRCC"), plaintiff was issued a conduct violation for conspiring with his mother to smuggle narcotics into the institution. This was in violation of Missouri Department of Corrections ("MDOC") Rule 11.2. Rule 11.2 is considered a Level 1 violation, the highest in the MDOC grading of violations. As a consequence of that Rule 11.2 violation, plaintiff was assigned to CRCC's administrative segregation. Assignment to MDOC administrative segregation is based on safety and security needs of the institution, and the risk each offender represents to the institution, staff, and other offenders.

On May 15, 2012, plaintiff was transferred from CRCC to SECC. Upon his arrival at SECC, plaintiff was assigned to SECC's administrative segregation. Thereafter, plaintiff received periodic "classification hearings" regarding his continued assignment to administrative segregation. At those hearings, plaintiff was provided an opportunity to make a statement and read a summary of the committee's findings. He also received copies of the hearing forms, which stated the supposed reasons for the assignment to administrative segregation and well as the committee's "recommendation" for the future. Classification hearings took place while plaintiff was in administrative segregation on June 14, July 12, October 3, November 29, and December 18 in 2012, and on January 15, February 7, and March 7 in 2013. During that time, plaintiff received conduct violations for disobeying orders (June 8, September 3, and December 1, 2012) and for having an unauthorized article or substance (May 27 and July 17, 2012).

At the November 29 and December 18 hearings, for which defendant Thompson was the chairperson, plaintiff was advised that he would continue to be assigned to administrative segregation "due to the nature of [Rule] 11.2 [violation]." The December 18 hearing form also indicated that the prison officials would "submit [a request for a] 12 month extension" of his administrative segregation assignment.

The institution made that request for a 12-month extension on December 21, 2012. But on January 8, 2013, the deputy division director approved an extension of only 90 days, noting that "violation information in extension request is inconsistent with CDV log which does not reflect [Rule] 11.2 [violation]. No major or aggressive violations in last year."

Then, at a March 7, 2013 hearing, for which defendant Thompson was again the chairperson, plaintiff was advised he would be released into the general population. He was so released on March 8, which was within the 90-day extension window. But on March 11, 2013, Morgan was again assigned to SECC administrative segregation pending the outcome of an "investigation."

Plaintiff received a classification hearing on March 14, 2013 regarding his reassignment to SECC administrative segregation. Defendant Thompson was the chairperson. The hearing form states that the reason for the hearing was "initial adseg hearing /s/ was placed on TASC pending an investigation." The recommendation was "assign adseg pending completion of investigation."

On March 20, 2013, plaintiff was issued a conduct violation that shed little light on the nature of the "investigation" for which plaintiff was confined to administrative segregation. That conduct violation was for violations of Rule 11.2, conspiracy to introduce narcotics into a MDOC facility, and Rule 37.1, having an unauthorized relationship with an employee.

Notably, the March 20 conduct violation does not include the date, time, and location of the incident, which is required of conduct violation reports under MDOC's policy and procedure manual. The conduct violation states:

On [December 21, 2012] Investigator Rardon concluded an investigation involving [plaintiff]. The investigation produced sufficient evidence to show [plaintiff] conspired with a staff member and others to introduce a narcotic into CRCC. [Plaintiff's] actions placed him in violation of rule 11.2 (Conspiracy) being involved in any way with an agreement, scheme, or plan to introduce a controlled substance or intoxicant into a departmental facility.
These actions also place [plaintiff] inviolation of rule 37.1 Unauthorized relationships - having unnecessary personal ...

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