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Hill v. Snyder

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

June 29, 2015

ASHER B. HILL, Plaintiff,
v.
JERRY SNYDER, et al., Defendants.

ENTRY DISCUSSING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

RICHARD L. YOUNG, District Judge.

I. Background

Plaintiff Asher Hill ("Mr. Hill") is an Indiana prisoner confined at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility ("Wabash Valley"). This civil rights complaint is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In his amended complaint, Mr. Hill alleges that Unit Team Manager Jerry Snyder and Correctional Lt. Brian Butler failed to protect him from offender Martin who allegedly threw feces on Mr. Hill on several different occasions. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages and injunctive and declaratory relief.

The defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment seeking resolution of the claims against them based on the affirmative defense that Mr. Hill failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies prior to filing the amended complaint. Mr. Hill 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. 39] 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. Hill as the non-movant, are undisputed for purposes of the motion for summary judgment:

Mr. Hill has been incarcerated at Wabash Valley since February 20, 2009. He is assigned to B-East of the Secure Confinement Unit. The cell doors in that unit are solid with automatic locks attached to the handcuff ports (food slots) and only prison staff can open them with a key. Mr. Hill alleges that prison officers failed to secure his handcuff port, allowing other inmates to throw feces into his cell. Mr. Hill alleges that defendants Snyder and Butler failed to protect him from another inmate throwing feces at him on February 24, 2011, May 3, 2011, June 24, 2012, June 25, 2012, and August 30, 2012.

Indiana Department of Correction ("IDOC") Policy and Administrative Procedure XX-XX-XXX, "Offender Grievance Process, " is the IDOC policy governing how an offender can exhaust his administrative remedies. Offenders can grieve matters that involve actions of individual staff under the grievance program at ...


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