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Bailey v. Robbins

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

June 17, 2015




I. Background

Plaintiff Christopher Bailey (“Mr. Bailey”) is an Indiana prisoner incarcerated at all relevant times at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility (“Wabash Valley”). This civil rights complaint is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his complaint, Mr. Bailey alleged that Officer Robbins failed to protect him when the officer allowed another inmate out of his cell who assaulted Mr. Bailey. His claim asserts a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. He seeks compensatory damages.

The defendant has filed a motion for summary judgment seeking resolution of the claim against him based on the affirmative defense that Mr. Bailey failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies prior to filing this action. Mr. Bailey has opposed the motion for summary judgment and the defendant has replied.

For the reasons explained in this Entry, the defendant’s motion for summary judgment [dkt. 29] must be 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. § 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)).

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. Bailey as the non-movant, are undisputed for purposes of the motion for summary judgment:

The Indiana Department Correction’s (“IDOC’s”) grievance policy consists of three steps: an informal complaint, a formal, written Level I grievance, and a written appeal. All offenders are informed about the grievance procedure during offender orientation at Wabash Valley. The orientation includes informing offenders about what issues are and are not grievable, how to obtain a grievance form, the informal resolution process, the chain of custody of the documents, and the appeal process. Offenders are also given copies of a grievance and an appeal and are advised that the grievance procedure is explained in policy 00-02-301. Offenders are able to access policy 00-02-301 in the prison library. All issues concerning actions of staff may be grieved.

Each step in the grievance procedure must be timely completed in order for an offender to properly exhaust his administrative remedies. More specifically, an offender must appeal a Level I Grievance response in ...

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