United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
LOZANO, Judge United States District Court
matter is before the Court on Defendants' Dr. Vickie
Burdine, Ann Ivers, and Margaret Dawson's Motion for
Summary Judgment Due to Plaintiff's Failure to Exhaust
Administrative Remedies, filed by the Defendants on August
19, 2016 (DE #30). For the reasons set forth below, this
motion is GRANTED and the case is DISMISSED without
case, Scroggin alleges that psychiatrists Peggy Dawson and
Victoria Burdine denied him adequate medical care by
administering crushed time-released Wellbutrin, even though
they were told it made his condition worse. He also asserts
that Nursing Director Lee Ann Ivers ignored his requests to
be seen by medical professionals for his injured taste buds
suffered as a result of taking crushed Wellbutrin. Brandon
Lee Scroggin was granted leave to proceed on Eighth Amendment
claims against Peggy Dawson, Victoria Burdine and Lee Ann
Ivers. These defendants move for summary judgment, arguing
that Scroggin failed to properly exhaust his administrative
remedies, as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).
was provided with a “Notice of Summary-Judgment
Motion” as required by N.D. Ind. L.R. 56-1 and a copy
of both Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and Local Rule
56-1. (DE #32.) That notice clearly informed him that unless
he disputed the facts presented by the defendant, the court
could accept those facts as true. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)
(“If a party . . . fails to properly address another
party's assertion of fact . . . the court may . . .
consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the
motion.”). It also told him that unless he submitted
evidence creating a factual dispute, he could lose this case.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) (“The court shall grant summary
judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute
as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.”). Despite being given
proper notice of the motion for summary judgment, Scroggin
has not responded.
judgment must be granted when “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A
genuine dispute of material fact exists when “the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Not every
dispute between the parties makes summary judgment
inappropriate; “[o]nly disputes over facts that might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will
properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.”
Id. In determining whether summary judgment is
appropriate, the deciding court must construe all facts in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Ogden v.
Atterholt, 606 F.3d 355, 358 (7th Cir. 2010).
“However, our favor toward the nonmoving party does not
extend to drawing inferences that are supported by only
speculation or conjecture.” Fitzgerald v.
Santoro, 707 F.3d 725, 730 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing
Harper v. C.R. Eng., Inc., 687 F.3d 297, 306 (7th
Scroggin Failed to Exhaust His Administrative Remedies
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”),
prisoners are prohibited from bringing an action in federal
court with respect to prison conditions until “such
administrative remedies as are available are
exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The failure to
exhaust is an affirmative defense on which the defendant
bears the burden of proof. Dole v. Chandler, 438
F.3d 804, 809 (7th Cir. 2006). The United States Court of
Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has taken a “strict
compliance approach to exhaustion.” Id.
Therefore, “[t]o exhaust remedies, a prisoner must file
complaints and appeals in the place, and at the time, the
prison's administrative rules require.” Pozo v.
McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1025 (7th Cir. 2002).
“[U]nless the prisoner completes the administrative
process by following the rules the state has established for
that process, exhaustion has not occurred.”
Id. at 1023.
there was an inmate grievance process in place while Scroggin
was housed at the Miami Correctional Facility
(“Miami”). (Ex. A, Decl. Sgt. Bowman ¶ 7;
Ex. B, IDOC Offender Grievance Process.) All inmates go
through an orientation and are provided with a copy of the
Department's Orientation Handbook, which details the
grievance process. (Ex. A ¶ 7.) The grievance process
has three steps: (1) an informal attempt to solve a problem;
(2) submission of a written grievance; and (3) a written
appeal. (Id. at ¶ 8.) The process begins with
the inmate attempting to resolve the matter informally with
staff. (Id. at ¶ 9.) If the issue cannot be
resolved informally, the inmate must file a formal grievance
within 20 working days of the underlying incident.
(Id. at ¶ 10.) If the grievance is not resolved
to the inmate's satisfaction, he must file an appeal of
the grievance response. (Id. at ¶ 11.) If the
inmate does not receive any response to his grievance within
20 days of being investigated, the grievance is deemed denied
and he may proceed to the next step. (Id. at ¶
housed at Miami, Scroggin submitted three (3) formal
grievances. (Id. at ¶ 15; Ex. C, Scroggin's
Inmate Grievance History log.) Thus, Scroggin clearly
understood the grievance process and it was available to him.
Two of those grievances involved complaints regarding
submitted Formal Grievance 89588 on October 29, 2015. (Ex. A
at ¶ 16; Ex. D, Grievance 89588.) That grievance was
denied on December 1, 2015. (Ex. A at ¶ 16.) Scroggin
never notified Sergeant Brenda Bowman, the Offender Grievance
Specialist at Miami, that he wished to appeal the denial of
that grievance. (Id. at ¶ 17.) Nor did Scroggin
ever submit a written appeal. (Id.)
submitted Formal Grievance 89686 on November 4, 2015.
(Id. at ¶ 19; Ex. F, Grievance 89686.) That
grievance was denied on January 12, 2016. (Ex. A at¶
¶ 19.) Scroggin never notified Sergeant Bowman of his
desire to appeal the denial of that grievance. (Id.