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White-Bey v. Cockrell

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

April 22, 2015

DR. DALE K. COCKRELL, et al., Defendants.


LARRY J. McKINNEY, District Judge.

I. Background

Plaintiff Donyall E. White-Bey ("Mr. White-Bey") is a prisoner who has been confined at all relevant times at the Correctional Industrial Facility ("CIF"). In his complaint, Mr. White-Bey alleges that defendants Dr. Cockrell and nurse Gina Huse violated his Eighth Amendment rights by being deliberately indifferent to his pain. He seeks injunctive relief and compensatory damages.

Defendant Dr. Cockrell filed a motion for summary judgment seeking resolution of the claim against him based on the affirmative defense that Mr. White-Bey failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies prior to filing this action. Mr. White-Bey has opposed the motion for summary judgment and Dr. Cockrell replied.

For the reasons explained in this Entry, defendant Dr. Cockrell's motion for summary judgment [dkt. 22] is granted.

II. Discussion

A. Legal Standards

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. If no reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, then there is no "genuine" dispute. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007). 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). The substantive law applicable to the motion for summary judgment is the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA'"), which requires that a prisoner exhaust his available administrative remedies before bringing a suit concerning prison conditions. 42 U.S.C. ยง 1997e(a); see 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 (citation omitted).

"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)). "In order to exhaust administrative remedies, a prisoner must take all steps prescribed by the prison's grievance system." Ford v. Johnson, 362 F.3d 395, 397 (7th Cir. 2004).

B. Undisputed Facts

On the basis of the pleadings and the expanded record, and specifically on the portions of that record which comply with the requirements of Rule 56(c), the following facts, construed in the manner most favorable to Mr. White-Bey as the non-movant, are undisputed for purposes of the motion for summary judgment:

In his complaint, with respect to the claim against Dr. Cockrell, Mr. White-Bey alleged that on September 4, 2013, he fell while coming down off the top bunk because of some medical conditions he has with his feet. He injured his ankles, right knee, hip, and back. He alleged that on September 12, 2013, he went to see Dr. Cockrell explaining that he had fallen while coming off of the top bunk and that he had hit his knee on the metal desk and fallen on a property box hitting his hip. Mr. White-Bey told Dr. Cockrell that his feet, knees, hip, and back were hurting very badly. Dr. Cockrell allegedly told Mr. White-Bey that the pain he was feeling was caused by his flat feet, and that there was nothing he could do about it. Dr. Cockrell then put him out of his office because Mr. White-Bey was asking too many questions. (Complaint, dkt. 1, pg. 3).

Mr. White-Bey further alleged that after the doctor visit he still had major pain in his legs, hip, and back and his feet had swollen and stayed like that for a month. He slept in the corner with his mattress on top of his property box since September 4, 2013, because of "some ...

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