Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Littler v. Watkins

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

March 13, 2019

PHILLIP LITTLER, Plaintiff,
v.
JEANNE WATKINS,

          ORDER DISCUSSING INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY CLAIM AGAINST DEFENDANT WATKINS

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Senior Judge

         This case is about a single piece of correspondence that was destroyed pursuant to an inadvertently misapplied Indiana Department of Correction (IDOC) correspondence policy.

         A. Background:

         Mr. Littler filed a complaint in this action alleging that his First Amendment rights were violated when, on March 16, 2015, Jeanne Watkins confiscated and subsequently destroyed a letter Mr. Littler received from his cousin, Aaron Young. Young was serving probation in St. Joseph County, Indiana, at the time he mailed the letter. Dkt. 94-1, ¶ 11. Ms. Watkins confiscated the letter based on her application of IDOC Policy 02-01-103 (Policy) which restricts IDOC inmates from corresponding with certain individuals without prior approval. The Policy states in relevant part:

         An offender must obtain prior approval from the IDOC to receive or send correspondence to another person if the other person is:

• Held in a correctional facility (Federal, State, or local);
• On parole;
• Sentenced to a community corrections program;
• Held in a county jail;
• Released from an IDOC facility to county probation supervision;
• Participating in a Community Transition Program (CTP); or
• Participating in a work release program.

         Ms. Watkins confiscated the letter because it was her understanding that Young was a restricted individual under the portion of the Policy that restricts correspondence from an individual on probation. Dkt. 94-1, ¶ 11; dkt. 94-2 at 4; dkt. 119. She now acknowledges this was a mistake since the Policy does not apply to Young.[1] After the letter was confiscated, Mr. Littler filed a grievance. Upon the exhaustion of the grievance process, Ms. Watkins destroyed the letter. As a result, Mr. Littler filed this lawsuit.

         On October 9, 2018, the Court directed the parties to brief whether Ms. Watkins can be sued in her individual capacity for enforcing the mail policy and destroying the mail Mr. Littler received from his cousin. Currently, the case is only proceeding against Watkins in her official capacity. An official capacity suit is presumed only where the plaintiff challenges official policies or customs. Hill v. Shelander, 924 F.2d 1370, 1373 (7th Cir. 1991). Individual capacity suits may be presumed when a litigant challenges the individual actions of ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.