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Anderson v. Colstock

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

September 29, 2016

ANTAEUS ANDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
R. COLSTOCK (Robert),

          ANTAEUS ANDERSON, MIAMI CORRECTIONAL FACILITY Counsel

          ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE

         Plaintiff Antaeus Anderson brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that he was subjected to excessive force while he was incarcerated at the Pendleton Correctional Facility (“Pendleton”) in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. Specifically, Mr. Anderson claims that on March 6, 2015, Officer Robert Colstock used a cuff port locking mechanism as a weapon against him. Arguing that Mr. Anderson failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), Officer Colstock moves for summary judgment on Mr. Anderson's claims. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment [dkt 39] 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

         Mr. Anderson was incarcerated at Pendleton, an Indiana State prison, on March 6, 2015. There is a Indiana Department of Correction (“DOC”) Policy and Administrative Procedure 00-02-301, Offender Grievance Process, was the grievance program in place at Pendleton during the time Mr. Anderson alleges that his rights were violated. Policy and Administrative Procedure 00-02-301 was the policy governing the grievance procedure and it detailed how an offender must exhaust his administrative remedies using that procedure. The Offender Grievance Process was revised on April 5, 2015, but the incident alleged in this case was subject to the policy in place on March 6, 2015, when the incident occurred.

         Under the Offender Grievance Process, inmates can submit grievances about the actions of individual correctional officers and other staff. The Grievance Process includes an attempt to resolve the complaint informally, as well as two formal steps: a formal written grievance, and 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. 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.

         Mr. Anderson alleges in his Complaint that on March 6, 2015, Officer Colstock used a cuff port locking mechanism as a weapon against him. DOC's records indicate that Mr. Anderson did not file a grievance regarding the incident this incident. Moreover, Pendleton's Grievance Specialist at the time of the alleged incident in March of 2015, does not recall receiving a grievance from Mr. Anderson involving an alleged assault with a cuff port locking mechanism by Officer Colstock.

         Mr. Anderson was aware of the proper process for filing a grievance at Pendleton, as demonstrated by the grievance filed on January 8, 2015, as Case Log # 86130. Despite this knowledge, Mr. Anderson failed to submit any grievances regarding this incident as required by DOC policy.

         On August 31, 2015, Mr. Anderson filed his complaint in this civil action. As of April 7, 2016, Mr. Anderson had failed to submit a grievance, formal or otherwise, nor pursue the grievance process through appeal, regarding the March 6, 2015, incident.

         III. Discussion

         The PLRA requires that a prisoner exhaust his available administrative remedies before bringing a suit concerning prison conditions. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Porter v. Nussle,534 U.S. 516, 524-25 (2002). “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)). Strict compliance is required with respect to exhaustion, and a prisoner must properly follow the prescribed administrative procedures in order to exhaust his remedies. Dole v. Chandler,438 F.3d 804, 809 (7th Cir. 2006). The PLRA's exhaustion ...


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