United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
DECISION AND ORDER GRANTING THE DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DKT. NO. 20) AND DISMISSING
PAMELA PEPPER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff, who is representing himself, filed this case under
42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging that the defendants violated
his constitutional rights. Specifically, he states that the
defendants violated his right to equal protection under the
Fourteenth Amendment by firing him from his kitchen job
because he is Latino. The plaintiff further alleges that this
firing violated his First Amendment rights, because it was in
retaliation for his not telling the defendants what they
thought he knew about a prison gang altercation when the
plaintiff allegedly knew nothing.
23, 2017, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment.
Dkt. No. 20. The court will grant the defendants' motion
and dismiss the case.
listed as a white male in the Wisconsin Department of
Corrections' centralized computer system, the plaintiff
is a self-identified Latino. Dkt. Nos. 22 at ¶19; 32 at
¶19. His mother and father are from Puerto Rico and are
Latino, and he points out that his name (Jose Luis Santos) is
Latino. Dkt. No. 34 at ¶¶14, 15. He also asserts
that he looks Latino. Id. at ¶21. During the
relevant time, the plaintiff was an inmate at the Wisconsin
Secure Program Facility (WSPF), where he had been assigned to
work in the kitchen. Dkt. No. 22 at ¶¶1, 11.
defendants were employed at WSPF: defendant Mark Kartman was
the security director and defendant Lorie Iverson was the
food service administrator. Id. at ¶¶3-4.
21, 2016, the plaintiff and the other kitchen staff members
were placed in temporary lock up status pending an
investigation of a series of gang-related assaults in
WSPF's kitchen, barbering area and units. Id. at
¶¶5-6, 20. The gang-related assaults involved two
gangs: the Latin Folks (mostly Latinos) and the Vice Lords
(mostly African Americans). Dkt. No. 34 at ¶¶5, 22.
of the investigation, the WSPF staff conducted numerous
confidential interviews with the inmates. Dkt. No. 22 at
¶7. The plaintiff was one of the inmates interviewed.
Id. at ¶10. When asked whether he had any
information about the fight that occurred in the kitchen, the
plaintiff denied knowing anything. Id. at
an interview with another inmate, however, that inmate
indicated that the plaintiff “was supposed to have been
involved” in the kitchen altercation. Id. at
¶8. The other inmate's statements indicated that the
plaintiff might be at risk of retaliation from other inmates,
because he failed to actually participate in the altercation.
Id. at ¶9. No other kitchen staff members were
identified either as being security risks or being at risk;
only the plaintiff “appeared to present a risk based on
the investigation.” Id. at ¶20.
the other inmate had connected the plaintiff to the kitchen
altercation, Kartman believed that the plaintiff might have
lied about being involved. Id. at ¶14. He also
believed that the plaintiff would present a security threat
if allowed to continue working in the kitchen, because the
other inmate had reported that the plaintiff was involved in
activity that threatened security and because the plaintiff
was at risk of being attacked by other inmates in retaliation
for “staying out of” the altercation.
Id. at ¶15. So on June 14, 2016, Kartman issued
the plaintiff a memorandum informing him that he was being
removed from his kitchen work assignment. Id. at
¶16. The memo stated that the removal was a result of a
completed investigation, which showed “that although
[the plaintiff] was not directly involved in the kitchen
altercation, evidence showed that [the plaintiff]
‘played a role in and had significant information
regarding the altercation.'” Id. at
¶17; Dkt. No. 34 at ¶12. The plaintiff was the only
inmate placed in temporary lock up status who did not
eventually get his job back. Dkt. No. 22 at ¶20.
plaintiff never received a conduct report for the kitchen
incident. Dkt. No. 34 at ¶4. He says that no one told
him that he was either a security threat or at risk for
retaliation, and no one moved him to a safer place or placed
him in protective custody. Id. at ¶20.
plaintiff asserts that Kartman took his job. Id. at
¶7. The plaintiff says that Iverson “filled out a
firing [the plaintiff] from his job, ” but that she had
no right to do so. Dkt. No. 34 at ¶6. The defendants
agree that Kartman, not Iverson, made the decision to remove
the plaintiff from the job in the kitchen. Dkt. No. 22 at
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986); Ames v. Home
Depot U.S.A., Inc., 629 F.3d 665, 668 (7th Cir. 2011).
“Material facts” are those under the applicable
substantive law that “might affect the outcome of the
suit.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute
over a “material fact” is “genuine”
if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.
asserting that a fact is or isn't disputed must support
the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
(including those made for purposes of the motion only),
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the
absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse
party cannot produce ...