United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Civil Rights — prisoners
Where a prisoner failed to show that prison officials actually destroyed his legal documents or took his papers for retaliatory reasons, summary judgment was properly granted to the defendants on his First Amendment claim.
“Devbrow has not come forward with evidence that any materials were actually destroyed. Also, the district court properly found that Devbrow failed to offer evidence that would allow a finding that the officers confiscated Devbrow’s legal materials to retaliate against him for suing prison officials. Retaliation requires a showing that the plaintiff’s conduct was a motivating factor in defendants’ conduct. See Watkins v. Kasper, 599 F.3d 791, 794 (7th Cir. 2010); Bridges v. Gilbert, 557 F.3d 541, 552 (7th Cir. 2009). But the evidence here indicates only that Gallegos and Smiley removed Devbrow’s excessive legal materials to eliminate a fire hazard and to make it easier for officials to conduct searches and inventories of offenders’ property during prison searches, not to retaliate against him. Even though Devbrow’s verified complaint alleges retaliation, his speculation regarding the officers’ motive cannot overcome the contrary evidence that Gallegos and Smiley’s actions were benign. See Springer v. Durflinger, 518 F.3d 479, 484 (7th Cir. 2008) (speculation concerning retaliatory motives cannot create a genuine issue of material fact); Borcky v. Maytag Corp., 248 F.3d 691, 695 (7th Cir. 2001).”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Moody, J., Hamilton, J.