Bilka v. Farrey, 112211 FED7, 11-2590

Docket Nº:11-2590
Party Name:SUSAN BILKA, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. CATHERINE J. FARREY, et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Judge Panel:Before RICHARD A. POSNER, Circuit Judge ILANA DIAMOND ROVNER, Circuit Judge DAVID F. HAMILTON, Circuit Judge
Case Date:November 22, 2011
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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SUSAN BILKA, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

CATHERINE J. FARREY, et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 11-2590

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

November 22, 2011

NONPRECEDENTIAL DISPOSITION

Submitted November 22, 2011 [*]

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin., No. 11-C-430, William C. Griesbach, Judge.

Before RICHARD A. POSNER, Circuit Judge ILANA DIAMOND ROVNER, Circuit Judge DAVID F. HAMILTON, Circuit Judge

ORDER

Susan Bilka, while working in food services for the New Lisbon Correctional Institution, befriended an inmate, Mackenzie Burse. She began smuggling him contraband, including cocaine, marijuana, and alcohol. The prison discovered Bilka's misconduct, and she resigned from her position. She pleaded guilty to delivering illegal articles to an inmate, see Wis. Stat. § 302.095(2), and she was sentenced to 45 days in jail followed by probation. Once Bilka's probation ended, she asked the prison to place her on Burse's visitor list. The prison denied her request and explained that she posed a threat to the safety and security of the facility. See Wis. Admin. Code DOC § 309.08(4)(d). Bilka continued to apply for visitation with Burse, but the prison "refused to process" her requests for two years before informing her once more that, as a security threat, she could not visit Burse.

Bilka sued several prison administrators under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, asserting that they had violated her rights to equal protection (under a "class of one" theory) and intimate association by refusing to place her on Burse's visitor list. The district court dismissed her complaint for failure to state a claim. Bilka had no constitutional right to visit Burse in prison, the court reasoned, and in any event the prison's decision to deny visitation was rationally related to the legitimate penological interest of security. The court also denied Bilka's subsequent motion for reconsideration under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e).

On appeal Bilka maintains her equal protection claim, contending that prison staff denied her requests to visit Burse "out of spite" for her misconduct, thereby treating her "differently from all other persons" barred from visiting prisoners. Under prison regulations, the prison may bar any person with a state conviction from visiting a prisoner. See Wis. Admin. Code DOC §§ 309.08(4)(d)...

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