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Henderson v. Corizon Correctional Medical Corp.

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

November 30, 2017

ROBERT HENDERSON, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
CORIZON CORRECTIONAL MEDICAL CORPORATION, GEO GROUP, INC., KEITH BUTTS, Superintendent, Defendants.

          ENTRY GRANTING CORIZON'S UNOPPOSED MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON EXHAUSTION

          SARAH EVANS BARKER, JUDGE

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Robert Henderson, Jr. (“Mr. Henderson”) is a state prisoner currently confined at the New Castle Correctional Facility (“NCF”). Mr. Henderson filed his complaint on April 27, 2017, alleging in relevant part that Corizon, LLC (“Corizon”) has a widespread custom of failing to provide proper care for his serious medical needs, as evidenced by his failure to receive a prescribed surgery over a period of weeks and months. In the Court's screening Entry, it allowed the claim of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, under the Eighth Amendment, to proceed against Corizon. Other claims are also proceeding against defendants GEO Group, Inc. and Superintendent Butts, but they do not join in the motion for summary judgment.

         Defendant Corizon moved for summary judgment seeking resolution of the claim against it on the basis that Mr. Henderson failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies. Mr. Henderson has not opposed the motion for summary judgment.

         For the reasons explained in this Entry, Corizon's unopposed motion for summary judgment, dkt. [18], must be granted.

         II. Legal Standards

         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). A dispute is genuine only if a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party. Id. If no reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, then there is no “genuine” dispute. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007). 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).

         “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 substantive law applicable to the motion for summary judgment is the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA'”), which requires that a prisoner exhaust his available administrative remedies before bringing a suit concerning prison conditions. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); 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).

         “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)). “In order to exhaust administrative remedies, a prisoner must take all steps prescribed by the prison's grievance system.” Ford v. Johnson, 362 F.3d 395, 397 (7th Cir. 2004).

         Because exhaustion of administrative remedies is an affirmative defense, the burden of proof is on the defendant to demonstrate that Mr. Henderson failed to exhaust all available administrative remedies before he filed this suit. Kaba v. Stepp, 458 F.3d 678, 681 (7th Cir. 2006). Corizon's motion for summary judgment, brief in support, and Rule 56 notice were served on Mr. Henderson on or about August 18, 2017. As noted, no response has been filed, and the deadline for doing so has passed.

         The consequence of Mr. Henderson's failure to respond is that he has conceded the defendant's version of the facts. Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) (“[F]ailure to respond by the nonmovant as mandated by the local rules results in an admission.”); see S.D. Ind. Local Rule 56-1 (“A party opposing a summary judgment motion must . . . file and serve a response brief and any evidence . . . that the party relies on to oppose the motion. The response must . . . identif[y] the potentially determinative facts and factual disputes that the party contends demonstrate a dispute of fact precluding summary judgment.”). This does not alter the standard for assessing a Rule 56(a) motion, but does “reduc[e] the pool” from which the facts and inferences relative to such a motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997).

         III. Discussion

         A. Undisputed Facts

         Accordingly, the following facts, unopposed by Mr. Henderson and supported by ...


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