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Warren v. Kirkwood

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

June 19, 2015

JEROME WARREN, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER KIRKWOOD, et al., Defendants.

ENTRY DISCUSSING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, STRIKING PLAINTIFF'S EVIDENCE, AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.

I. Background

Plaintiff Jerome Warren ("Mr. Warren") is a former Indiana prisoner. This civil rights complaint is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his complaint, Mr. Warren alleges that on or about November 2, 2013, while he was incarcerated at the Correctional Industrial Facility ("CIF"), Correctional Officers Kirkwood ("Officer Kirkwood") and K. Wade ("Officer Wade") failed to protect him from an attack by another inmate. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages. Mr. Warren has since been released from confinement.

The defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment seeking resolution of the claims against them based on the affirmative defense that Mr. Warren failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies prior to filing this action. Mr. Warren has opposed the motion for summary judgment and the defendants have replied.

For the reasons explained in this Entry, the defendants' motion for summary judgment [dkt. 28] 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)). "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. Warren as the non-movant, are undisputed for purposes of the motion for summary judgment:

A grievance procedure was in place at CIF while Mr. Warren was incarcerated there. The purposes, rules, and procedures of this grievance program are set forth in the Offender Grievance Process, Policy and Administrative Procedure XX-XX-XXX ("Offender Grievance Process"), which was readily available to offenders at all times relevant to this matter. Offenders can grieve matters that involve actions of individual correction officers and issues relating to the conditions of confinement or supervision.

The three step grievance process at CIF includes an attempt to resolve the complaint informally. If the offender's complaints or concerns are not resolved informally, he may file a formal grievance. The formal grievance must identify the issue that the offender is trying to resolve. The grievance can be related to only one issue, however, offenders are permitted ...


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