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Paul v. Marberry

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

March 13, 2014

JEFFERY WILLIAM PAUL, Plaintiff,
v.
H.J. MARBERRY, Warden, et al., Defendants.

ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.

For the reasons explained in this Entry, the defendants' alternative motion for summary judgment must be granted.

I. Background

Jeffery William Paul is confined at the USP-TH, a prison operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"). In the present action, Paul sues the former Warden of the Terre Haute institution and several other BOP employees pursuant to the theory recognized in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). The operative pleading setting forth Paul's claims is the amended complaint filed on January 30, 2012. Paul seeks declaratory relief and compensatory and punitive damages. The defendants are each sued in their individual capacities.

Paul's claims are that (1) he was subjected to excessive force during a forced cell extraction on the morning and afternoon of April 27, 2010, (2) the conditions of his confinement following the cell extraction violated the Eighth Amendment, and (3) certain defendants entered into a conspiracy regarding the Eighth Amendment claims.

The defendants have appeared in the action and seek resolution of Paul's claims through dismissal of the action or, in the alternative, through the entry of summary judgment.

Materials outside the pleadings are relied on by the defendants and it is their alternative motion for summary judgment which will be considered. Paul was properly notified of the nature of the defendants' alternative motion for summary judgment, of the proper manner in which to respond, and of the consequences of failing to properly respond. He has responded, but not with any evidentiary materials and not with a statement of material facts in dispute. Paul contends that the information provided to him was inadequate, but the court disagrees.

II. Summary Judgment Standard

A motion for summary judgment asks that the court find that a trial based on the uncontroverted and admissible evidence is unnecessary because, as a matter of law, it would conclude in the moving party's favor. See Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56. To survive a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must set forth specific, admissible evidence showing that there is a material issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

As the current version of Rule 56 makes clear, whether a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing to particular parts of the record, including depositions, documents, or affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party can also support a fact by showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant is competent to testify on matters stated. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). Failure to properly support a fact in opposition to a movant's factual assertion can result in the movant's fact being considered undisputed, and potentially the grant of summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The court need only consider the cited materials, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3), and the Seventh Circuit has "repeatedly assured the district courts that they are not required to scour every inch of the record for evidence that is potentially relevant to the summary judgment motion before them, " Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., 325 F.3d 892, 898 (7th Cir. 2003). Furthermore, reliance on the pleadings or conclusory statements backed by inadmissible evidence is insufficient to create an issue of material fact on summary judgment. Id. at 901.

In applying the foregoing standards, the Court of Appeals has "repeatedly assured the district courts that they are not required to scour every inch of the record for evidence that is potentially relevant to the summary judgment motion before them." Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., 325 F.3d 892, 898 (7th Cir. 2003). Additionally, Paul's status as a pro se litigant does not excuse him from complying with Local Rule 56-(1). See McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993) ("we have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel"); Cady v. Sheahan, 467 F.3d 1057, 1061 (7th Cir. 2006) ("even pro se litigants must follow rules of civil procedure"). By not responding properly, Paul has conceded to the defendants' version of the facts. Brasic v. Heinemann's Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 286 (7th Cir. 1997). This does not alter the standard for assessing a Rule 56(c) motion, but does "reduc[e] the pool" from which the facts and inferences relative to such a motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997).

III. Discussion

The applicable substantive law dictates which facts are material. National Soffit & Escutcheons, Inc., v. Superior Systems, Inc., 98 F.3d 262, 265 (7th Cir. 1996) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 ("PLRA") requires that prisoners who bring suit in federal court must first exhaust their available administrative remedies. The exhaustion requirement of the PLRA was enacted "to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of prisoner suits" by "afford[ing] corrections officials time and opportunity to address complaints internally before allowing the initiation of a federal case." Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524-25 (2002). "[T]he PLRA's exhaustion requirement applies to all inmate suits about prison life, whether they involve general circumstances or particular episodes, and whether they allege excessive force or some other wrong." Id., at 532.

The BOP promulgated an administrative remedy system which is codified in 28 C.F.R. ยงยง 542.10, et seq., and BOP Program Statement 1330.16, Administrative Remedy Procedures for ...


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