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Anderson v. Stanley

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

September 28, 2016




         Entry Discussing Motion for Summary Judgment

         Plaintiff Antaeus Anderson brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that he was subjected to unconstitutional conditions of confinement while he was incarcerated at the Pendleton Correctional Facility (“Pendleton”). Specifically, Anderson claims that on September 17, 2015, and September 24, 2015, Defendants Smith and Henderson did not properly execute an extermination order during dormitory visits and that Defendant Stanley did not properly oversee them. Arguing that Anderson failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), the defendants move for summary judgment on Anderson's claims. Anderson has responded and the defendants have replied. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment [Dkt. 46] is granted.

         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). The party seeking summary judgment “bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying” designated evidence which “demonstrate[s] the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

         Once the moving party has met its burden, the non-movant may not rest upon mere allegations. Instead, “[t]o successfully oppose a motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must come forward with specific facts demonstrating that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Trask-Morton v. Motel 6 Operating L.P., 534 F.3d 672, 677 (7th Cir. 2008). “The non-movant will successfully oppose summary judgment only when it presents definite, competent evidence to rebut the motion.” Vukadinovich v. Bd. of Sch. Trs., 278 F.3d 693, 699 (7th Cir. 2002) (internal quotation and citation omitted).

         II. Undisputed Facts

         Anderson was incarcerated at Pendleton during the dates of the alleged incidents, September 17-24, 2015. Anderson is no longer incarcerated there.

         There is a grievance program in place at Pendleton that was in place during the time that Anderson alleges that his rights were violated. Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”) Policy and Administrative Procedure 00-02-301, Offender Grievance Process, is the policy governing the grievance procedure and details how an offender must exhaust his administrative remedies using that procedure. The Offender Grievance Process was amended on April 5, 2015. This amendment altered the grievance forms, among other parts of the process. Copies of the Offender Grievance Process and Grievance Forms are readily available to offenders from his assigned Counselor, Case Manager, or Unit Team.

         Under the Offender Grievance Process, inmates can submit grievances over the actions of individual correctional officers and other staff, the manner in which those persons apply DOC's policies, procedures, or rules, and any other concerns or issues that relate to the conditions of care or supervision. The Grievance Process includes an attempt to resolve the complaint informally, as well as two formal steps: a formal written grievance, and then an appeal of the response to the level one grievance. Exhaustion of the Grievance Process requires the submission of a formal grievance and the filing of an appeal to the final step of the Grievance Process. If an inmate does not receive a response from staff in accordance with the established time frames, he is entitled to move to the next stage of the process.

         Anderson alleges in his Complaint that on September 17, 2015, and September 24, 2015, his cell was excessively infested with insects and defendants Smith and Henderson failed to properly exterminate those insects. He further alleges that Defendant Stanley failed to properly oversee these individuals.

         Prior to the incidents alleged in the Complaint, Anderson submitted a formal grievance form dated September 7, 2015, and received on September 15, 2015. However, this grievance was returned to him unfiled because: (1) he provided an incident date of “June 2015 and prior” which meant that the grievance was submitted too late without showing good reason for the delay, (2) he did not provide the required form demonstrating that he tried to resolve the complaint informally, and (3) he did not provide a specific enough incident date as he indicated the incident occurred on “June 2015 and prior.”

         On October 15, 2015, Anderson filed his complaint. As of March 31, 2016, Anderson has failed to submit a grievance, formal or otherwise, nor pursue the grievance process through appeal, regarding the alleged incidents in his Complaint on September 17 and 24, 2015. The computer records and hard copy files kept by IDOC would indicate when an offender has filed a grievance, the responses he received, how far through the Grievance Process he pursued his claims, and the ultimate resolution of the grievance. There are no records showing that Anderson properly filed any grievances relating to the incidents alleged in his Complaint.

         III. ...

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