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Williams v. Corizon Correctional Medical Corp.

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

November 28, 2017

ANTHONY WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON CORRECTIONAL MEDICAL CORPORATION et al., GEO GROUP, Defendants.

          ENTRY GRANTING CORIZON'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE OF EXHAUSTION

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         Plaintiff Anthony Williams, a former offender incarcerated within the Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit on April 7, 2017, when he was still an inmate at New Castle Correctional Facility (“New Castle”). Mr. Williams sued GEO Group (“GEO”) (the corporation that runs New Castle) and Corizon Correctional Medical Corporation (“Corizon”) (the company contracted to provide medical care to inmates during the relevant time period). Mr. Williams alleged that Corizon and GEO have a practice of delaying medical care (including pain medication) for serious medical needs and as a result his broken knee bone went undiagnosed for an excessive amount of time and he was only provided an ace bandage, crutches and aspirin for pain. Mr. Williams first injured his knee on January 8, 2017, and reinjured it on January 11, 2017.

         Corizon seeks resolution of this action through summary judgment. Corizon asserts that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because Mr. Williams 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. Mr. Williams never responded to Corizon's dispositive motion, but instead filed a Cross Motion for Summary Judgment on October 19, 2017. (Doc. 38.)

         For the reasons explained below, Corizon's motion for summary judgment, Dkt. No. 28, is granted and Mr. Williams's cross-motion for summary judgment, Dkt. No. 38, is denied as to Corizon.

         I. Standard of Review

         Summary 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).

         Once 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).

         The 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).

         II. Undisputed Facts

         Applying the standard set forth above, the following facts are undisputed.

         A. Offender Grievance Process

         As an inmate incarcerated with the IDOC, the Offender Grievance Process has been available to Mr. Williams. The intent of the Offender Grievance Process is to provide administrative means by which inmates may resolve concerns and complaints related to their conditions of confinement. All offenders are made aware of the Offender Grievance Process during orientation to the IDOC and at the facilities. Further, copies of the Offender Grievance Process and its administrative procedures are placed in various locations in IDOC facilities for ready access by the offenders.

         The IDOC recognizes only one grievance process. The complete grievance process consists of three stages: (i) an informal attempt to solve a problem or address a concern, which can be followed by (ii) the submission of a written formal grievance outlining the problem or concern and other supporting information, and the response to that submission, which can be followed by (iii) a written appeal of the response to a higher authority and the response to that appeal.

         Under the grievance procedures, an offender is required to attempt to resolve a complaint informally before filing a formal grievance. If an inmate is unable to resolve his complaint informally, he may file a Formal Grievance form. Once an adequate grievance form is received, the Grievance Specialist logs the grievance into the Offender Grievance Response System (“OGRE”) which assigns it a case number and provides a receipt for the grievance to the offender. An offender must file a Level I formal grievance within ...


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