United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
William T. Lawrence, Judge United States District Court.
John Fluellen Heard, Jr., alleges that the defendant, Acting
Director of the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”), denied
him placement into a halfway house, home confinement, or
residential reentry center to which he alleges he is
entitled, 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b), and that he has been
denied individual review in violation of 18 U.S.C. §
3624(c) (the “Second Chance Act”). He seeks
injunctive relief in the form of the Court ordering the BOP
to evaluate his circumstances in accordance with these
statutes and applicable guidelines and that he be granted the
maximum amount of time in this type of confinement. See
Richmond v. Scibana, 387 F.3d 602 (7th Cir. 2004)
(“challenges to rules that affect placement in
community confinement” are properly brought under the
APA after administrative remedies have been exhausted).
defendant seeks summary judgment arguing that Mr. Heard
failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies as
required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), before
filing this lawsuit. For the reasons explained below, the
motion for summary judgment, Dkt. No. 17, 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).
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 this motion for summary
judgment is the PLRA, which requires that “[n]o action
shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under
section 1983 . . . until such administrative remedies as are
available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e;
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). The requirement to exhaust provides
“that no one is entitled to judicial relief for a
supposed or threatened injury until the prescribed
administrative remedy has been exhausted.” Woodford
v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 88-89 (2006) (citation omitted).
of available administrative remedies “‘means
using all steps that the agency holds out, and doing so
properly (so that the agency addresses the issues on the
merits).'” Id. at 90 (quoting Pozo v.
McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1024 (7th Cir. 2002)). Proper
use of the facility's grievance system requires a
prisoner “to file complaints and appeals in the place,
and at the time [as] the prison's administrative rules
require.” Pozo, 286 F.3d at 1025; see also
Dole v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804, 809 (7th Cir. 2006).
exhaustion is an affirmative defense, “the burden of
proof is on the prison officials.” Kaba v.
Stepp, 458 F.3d 678, 680 (7th Cir. 2006). So here, the
defendants bear the burden of demonstrating that Mr. Heard
failed to exhaust all available administrative remedies
before he filed this suit. Id. at 681.
Heard is an inmate at the Federal Prison Camp (“the
Camp”) located in Terre Haute, Indiana. Mr. Heard has
been housed at the Camp since January 30, 2017, and has been
housed within the federal prison system since April 8, 2011.
Complaint filed on April 3, 2017, Mr. Heard purports to bring
a claim pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, 5
U.S.C. §§ 702, 706 based on a decision regarding
his “placement into a halfway house, home confinement,
and or RRC [Residential Reentry Center].” Dkt. 1 at 1.
Mr. Heard does not allege that the Federal Bureau of Prisons
has yet made any decision with respect to Mr. Heard's
halfway house, home detention, or RRC placement. Mr. Heard
was told, however, that he is eligible for a maximum of 6
months in a halfway house. Mr. Heard believes this statement,
which he describes as a verbal commitment is contrary to law.
has promulgated an administrative remedy system which appears
at 28 C.F.R. § 542.10, et seq., and BOP Program
Statement 1330.18, Administrative Remedy Program (“P.S.
1330.18”), which was in effect at FPC Terre Haute
during the entire time that Mr. Heard was housed there. The
BOP administrative remedy process is a method by which an
inmate may seek formal review of a complaint related to any
aspect of his imprisonment. 28 C.F.R. § 542.10.
exhaust his remedies, an inmate must typically first file an
informal remedy request through an appropriate institution
staff member via a BP-8 prior to filing a formal
administrative remedy. If the inmate is not satisfied with
the response to his informal remedy (BP-8), he is required to
first address his complaint with the Warden via a BP-9. If
the inmate is dissatisfied with the Warden's response, he
may appeal to the Regional Director via a BP-10. If he is
dissatisfied with the Regional Director's response, then
the inmate may appeal to the General Counsel via a BP-11. An
inmate who has filed administrative remedies at all required
levels and who has received a response to his appeal from the
General Counsel, is deemed to have exhausted ...