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Deffenbaugh v. Kane

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

December 1, 2017

THOMAS R. KANE, ACTING DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF PRISONS, in his official capacity, Defendant.



         I. Background

         Plaintiff Larry Deffenbaugh (“Mr. Deffenbaugh”) is a federal prisoner who at all relevant times has been confined at the Federal Prison Camp (“FPC”) in Terre Haute, Indiana. Mr. Deffenbaugh filed his complaint on April 3, 2017, against the Director of the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”), in his official capacity. Mr. Deffenbaugh brings this action under the Administrative Procedures Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. §§ 702, 706. As recited in the Court's screening Entry, dkt. 3, Mr. Deffenbaugh alleges that the BOP has denied him placement into a halfway house, home confinement, or Residential Reentry Center (“RRC”) 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”).

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

         For the reasons explained in this Entry, the defendant'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. Deffenbaugh failed to exhaust all available administrative remedies before he filed this suit. Kaba v. Stepp, 458 F.3d 678, 681 (7th Cir. 2006). The defendant's motion for summary judgment, brief in support, and Rule 56 notice were served on Mr. Deffenbaugh on or about September 26, 2017. As noted, no response has been filed, and the deadline for doing so has passed.

         The consequence of Mr. Deffenbaugh'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. Deffenbaugh and supported by ...

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