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Seal v. Richardson

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

November 28, 2017

ROBERT A SEAL, Plaintiff,
v.
RONALD RICHARDSON Sheriff, Madison County, ANDY WILLIAMS Jail Commander, Madison County, MICHELLE SUMPTER Supervisor, Madison County, MADISON COUNTY, Defendants.

          ENTRY DISCUSSING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         Plaintiff Robert Seal, an Indiana inmate, brings this civil rights action alleging that his civil rights were violated while he was incarcerated at the Madison County Jail. Specifically, he asserts that he was denied his right to a halal diet. The defendants have moved for summary judgment on the affirmative defense that Seal failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act. For the reasons that follow, the motion for summary judgment, Dkt. No. 32, is denied.

         I. Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment is appropriate “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.” In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the admissible evidence presented by the non-moving party must be believed and all reasonable inferences must be drawn in the non-movant's favor. Hemsworth v. Quotesmith.com, Inc., 476 F.3d 487, 490 (7th Cir. 2007); Zerante v. DeLuca, 555 F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (“We view the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.”). However, “[a] party who bears the burden of proof on a particular issue may not rest on its pleadings, but must affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations, that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires trial.” Hemsworth, 476 F.3d at 490. Finally, the non-moving party bears the burden of specifically identifying the relevant evidence of record, and “the court is not required to scour the record in search of evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment.” Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir. 2001).

         II. Facts

         The following statement of material facts was evaluated pursuant to the standards set forth above. That is, this statement of facts is not necessarily objectively true, but as the summary judgment standard requires, the undisputed facts and the disputed evidence are presented in the light reasonably most favorable to Seal as the non-moving party with respect to the motion for summary judgment. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

         Seal was incarcerated at the MCDC from February 25, 2014, through October 17, 2014. The MCDC had a written grievance procedure that was in effect during this time (“MCDC Grievance Procedure”). The MCDC Grievance Procedure gave all inmates the right to file grievances “concerning any incident or conditions of confinement in the Madison County Detention Center.” The MCDC Grievance Procedure applied to complaints concerning any condition of confinement and related matters of inmate treatment, including dietary concerns and actions of the jail staff.

         The MCDC Grievance Procedure was available for inmates to review on a daily basis in the following ways:

a. Broadcast on a jail television monitor for inmates to view during the book-in process;
b. Continuously broadcasted on Channel 7 of all televisions available for inmate use;
c. Available for inmate review during the inmate's use of the jail's electronic communication system (“Kiosk System”); and
d. Availability of jail staff to explain the MCDC Grievance Procedure upon inmate request.

         The MCDC Grievance Procedure rules states, in relevant part:

An inmate may file a grievance concerning any incident or conditions of confinement in the Madison County Detention Center. Grievances must be submitted on the Kiosk by the inmate in the approved grievance section… The grievance officer will then review the grievance and take the necessary action to resolve the grievance, if appropriate. A response should be received within 10 days of the receipt of the grievance. If no response is received within 10 days ...

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