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Penick v. United States, Radaneata

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

October 24, 2014



WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.

Plaintiff James Edward Penick, a former inmate of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana ("USP-Terre Haute") brings this action pursuant to the theory recognized in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Penick alleges that defendants Ryan Drummy and Dr. Radaneata denied, delayed or hindered Penick's access to necessary medical care for his right eye after his transfer to the USP-Terre Haute and as a result he suffered significant vision loss. See dkt. 28 at 1.[1] Defendant Drummy seeks resolution of this action through dismissal or summary judgment, arguing that Penick failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies with respect to his claims as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997 ("PLRA"). Penick opposes the motion for summary judgment arguing that he properly exhausted "twice with respect to his optical issues." Pl.'s Reply at 1. Specifically, Penick asserts that he properly exhausted Administrative Remedy numbers 740779 and 533354. Id at 2.

Although one defendant, Dr. Radaneata, has not appeared in this action, the motion for summary judgment is applicable as to him as well as the moving defendant. See Malak v. Associated Physicians, Inc., 784 F.2d 277, 280 (7th Cir. 1986) ("[W]here one defendant files a motion for summary judgment which the court grants, the district court may sua sponte enter summary judgment in favor of additional non-moving defendants if the motion raised by the first defendant is equally effective in barring the claim against the other defendants and the plaintiff had an adequate opportunity to argue in opposition to the motion.").

For the reasons explained below, the motion for summary judgment [dkt. 56] is granted in favor of defendant Drummy and this action is action is dismissed without prejudice as to both defendants for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

I. Standard of Review

Summary judgment should be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). A "material fact" is one that "might affect the outcome of the suit." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is genuine only if a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party. Id. The court views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and all reasonable inferences are drawn in the non-movant's favor. Ault v. Speicher, 634 F.3d 942, 945 (7th Cir. 2011). The applicable substantive law will dictate 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).

II. Discussion

The PLRA requires that prisoners who bring suit in federal court must first exhaust their available administrative remedies. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524-25 (2002). The 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." Porter, 534 U.S. at 532. 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." Id. at 524-25. "Proper exhaustion demands compliance with an agency's deadlines and other critical procedural rules because no adjudicative system can function effectively without imposing some orderly structure on the course of its proceedings." Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 90-91 (2006) (footnote omitted); see also Dale v. Lappin, 376 F.3d 652, 655 (7th Cir. 2004) ("In order to properly exhaust, a prisoner must submit inmate complaints and appeals in the place, and at the time, the prison's administrative rules require.'") (quoting Pozo v. McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1025 (7th Cir. 2002)).

A. Undisputed Facts

Penick has responded to the defendants' motion, but has not provided the Statement of Material Facts in Dispute or any admissible evidence as required by Local Rule 56-1. 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). The Court did consider, however, the two exhibits attached to Penick's response brief. See dkt. 60-1.

The following statement of facts are presented in the light reasonably most favorable to Penick as the non-moving party with respect to the motion for summary judgment.

The BOP promulgated an administrative remedy system which is codified in 28 C.F.R. §§ 542.10, et seq., and BOP Program Statement 1330.17, Administrative Remedy Procedures for Inmates. The Administrative Remedy process is a method by which an inmate may seek formal review of a complaint related to any aspect of his imprisonment. To exhaust his remedies, an inmate must first file an informal remedy request through an appropriate institution staff member via a BP-8. If the inmate is not satisfied with the informal remedy response, he is required to first address his complaint with the Warden via a BP-9. If the inmate is dissatisfied with the Warden's response, he may appeal to the Regional Director via a BP-10. If dissatisfied with the Regional Director's response, the inmate may appeal to the General Counsel via a BP-11. Once an inmate receives a response to his appeal from the General Counsel, after filing administrative remedies at all required levels, his administrative remedies are deemed exhausted as to the specific issues properly raised therein.

All codified BOP Program Statements are available for inmate access via the institution law library, including BOP Program Statement 1330.17. Additionally, Administrative Remedy filing procedures are outlined in an Inmate Information Handbook, which is provided to all inmates upon initial intake at USP Terre Haute.

All administrative remedy requests filed by inmates are logged and tracked in the SENTRY computer database, an electronic record keeping system utilized by the BOP. That database shows the filings of administrative ...

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