United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, JUDGE.
Brian Froschauer, an inmate of the New Castle Correctional
Facility, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 alleging that his right to adequate mental health care
has been violated. Arguing that Froschauer failed to exhaust
his available administrative remedies as required by the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), the
defendants move for summary judgment and Froschauer has
responded. For the following reasons, the
defendants' motion for summary judgment [dkt 86] is
Standard of Review
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).
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).
alleges that, while he was incarcerated at the New Castle
Correctional Facility, the defendants violated his
constitutional rights by failing to provide him with mental
health treatment and medications, specifically anti-psychotic
medications. He alleges that the failure to provide mental
health treatment and medications was deliberately indifferent
to his mental health needs.
Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”) has
developed Policy and Procedure 00-02-301, Offender Grievance
Process, which is intended to permit inmates to
“resolve concerns and complaints relating to their
conditions of confinement” prior to filing suit in
court. Issues or complaints regarding staff and conditions of
confinement that affect the inmate personally are matters
that can be grieved through the Grievance Process. This
includes, among other things, complaints regarding medical or
mental healthcare. The Grievance Process consists of three
steps, including an attempt to resolve the complaint or
concern informally, the filing of a formal grievance, and an
appeal of the response to the formal grievance to the
Executive Assistant. Exhaustion of the Grievance Process
requires pursuing a grievance to the appeal step. Exhaustion
of the Grievance Process also requires the inmate to comply
with the timing requirements for submitted Formal Grievances
has been confined at New Castle from July 16, 2013, to the
present. Froschauer submitted a number of informal grievances
regarding his health care, but IDOC records contain no record
that Froschauer filed any formal grievances between August 1,
2013 and the present date related to any denial of mental
health treatment or medications, specifically anti-psychotic
defendants argue that because he did not file any grievances,
Froschauer has failed to exhaust his available administrative
remedies as required by the PLRA with respect to his claims.
Froschauer responds that he did exhaust his administrative
remedies. He submits a number of informal grievances
and formal grievances to purportedly support this argument.
He also argues that the Grievance Process is inapplicable to
his claims and that Jennifer Smith, the Grievance Coordinator
who submitted testimony in support of the motion for summary
judgment, is biased against him.
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 requirement is not subject to either
waiver by a court or futility or inadequacy exceptions.
Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741, n.6 (2001);
McCarthy v. Madigan, 503 U.S. 140, 112 S.Ct. 1081
(1992) (“Where Congress specifically mandates,
exhaustion is required.”).
defendants have shown that there is no record that Froschauer
filed formal grievances or grievance appeals related to his
claims that he received inadequate mental health treatment.
Froschauer's responses to the motion for summary judgment
do not rebut this conclusion. First, the informal grievances
he submits appear to be related to the provision of his
seizure medication or his requests for outside recreation
time and a cell with a window. They do not appear to be
related to medical care and medication he has received for
his mental health issues, which form the basis on his claims
in this case. Further, Froschauer provides no evidence that
he pursued his complaints in these informal grievances
through to the final appeal. His formal grievances are dated
October 5, 2015, October 18, 2013, and September 29, 2013.
The October 5, 2015, grievance appears to be related to his
seizure medication, while the other two do appear to be
related to mental health complaints, generally. Even if
Froschauer properly filed those two formal grievances,
however, he has not provided any evidence to show that he
filed an appeal to those grievances, as required by the
Grievance Process. His conclusory statements that he
“did exhaust all administrative remedies” (dkt
82) are insufficient to demonstrate a genuine issue of
material fact. See Albiero v. City of Kankakee, 246
F.3d 927, 933-34 (7th Cir. 2001) (noting that conclusory
statements are insufficient to survive summary judgment).
Froschauer has not shown that he properly filed the formal
grievances he submits or that he filed a formal appeal to any
of his grievances. Froschauer therefore has failed to show
that he exhausted his available administrative remedies with
respect to any of his claims. Woodford, 548 U.S. at
90-91; Dale v. Lappin, 376 F.3d 652, 655 (7th Cir.
Froschauer argues that the Grievance Process is inapplicable
to his claims because his claims are based on the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments (dkt 82) and because his claims are
against GEO, which is privately owned (dkt 98). But there are
no such limitations in the PLRA. Instead, the PLRA requires
exhaustion of administrative remedies before any lawsuit
regarding any prison condition. See Porter v.
Nussle,534 U.S. 516, 532 (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.”). Further the Grievance
Process provides that inmates ...