United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON
DEFENDANTS' AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE OF EXHAUSTION
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE
Leonard Thomas, an offender incarcerated within the Indiana
Department of Correction (“IDOC”), filed this
lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The amended
complaint alleges that the defendants were deliberately
indifferent to Mr. Thomas's serious medical condition in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. See dkt 27 (amended
complaint). Mr. Thomas has a longstanding diagnosis of mental
illness, specifically, “chronic anxiety, paranoid type
schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder.” Dk.
66 at ¶ 2. Mr. Thomas alleges that between December 2013
through June 5, 2015, Defendants denied him anti-psychotic
medications and other mental health care while he was an
inmate at the Pendleton Correctional Facility. See dkt 28
Scott Levine, M.D., Roger Perry, Ph.D, Douglas Jones, MHP,
Michael Person, M.D., David R. Richardson MHP, Barbara
Eichman, M.D., Charles Dalrymple, ARS, Eddie Taylor Ph.D.,
Nicholas Wardell, MHP, and Nancy Gemmer, Ph.D, (collectively
“Defendants”), seek resolution of this action
through summary judgment. Defendants assert that they are
entitled to judgment as a matter of law because Mr. Thomas
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.
was recruited by this Court to assist Mr. Thomas in both
drafting an amended complaint and opposing this
motion. Mr. Thomas argues in response to the
motion for summary judgment that he exhausted the
administrative remedies that were available to him prior to
filing this suit, that his administrative remedies were not
available to him, and that Defendants lack sufficient
evidence to prove that Mr. Thomas did not fully exhaust his
reasons explained below, Defendants' motion for summary
judgment, dkt. 49, is granted.
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). A “material fact”
is one that “might affect the outcome of the
suit.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “The 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 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).
Court views the facts in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and all reasonable inferences are drawn in
the non-movant's favor. Ault v. Speicher, 634
F.3d 942, 945 (7th Cir. 2011).
the standard set forth above, the following facts are
Offender Grievance Process
all times relevant to his complaint, Mr. Thomas was an inmate
incarcerated with the IDOC at Pendleton Correctional
Facility. The IDOC has an Offender Grievance Process. The
purpose of the Offender Grievance Process is to provide
administrative means by which inmates may resolve concerns
and complaints related to their conditions of confinement.
Offenders are made aware of the Offender Grievance Process
during orientation and a copy of the Offender Grievance
Process is available in various locations within the prisons,
including the law library.
Offender Grievance Process consists of three stages. First,
an offender must attempt to resolve the grievance informally
through officials at the facility by filing a Step 1 informal
complaint form. The informal grievance complaint must be
filed within five days of the incident at issue. The informal
resolution step is interactive, and requires the offender to
communicate with prison staff through open and courteous
discussion before turning to the grievance process. ...