United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY DISCUSSING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
William T. Lawrence, United States District Judge.
civil action, plaintiff John Naylor (“Mr.
Naylor”), an Indiana prisoner incarcerated at the
Pendleton Correctional Facility (“Pendleton”),
alleges that he was subjected to harassment by defendant
Williams. He further alleges that the defendant encouraged
others to harass him, leading to him being assaulted.
pending before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment
filed by the defendant on December 7, 2017. Dkt. No. 19. The
defendant's motion argues that the claims alleged against
him are barred under the exhaustion provision of the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. §
1997e, that requires a prisoner to first exhaust his
available administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit in
Naylor filed a motion to dismiss the defendant's motion
for summary judgment on December 13, 2017. Dkt. No. 22. That
filing was docketed as a motion to dismiss but is construed
by the Court as a motion for summary judgment on the issue of
exhaustion. Because the filing was actually a response to the
pending motion for summary judgment, the clerk is
directed to terminate the motion to dismiss at Dkt.
No. 22. Mr. Naylor argues in his response that he exhausted
his administrative remedies by filing a timely appeal.
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 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).
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 this motion for summary
judgment is the PLRA, which requires that “[n]o action
shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under
section 1983 . . . until such administrative remedies as are
available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e;
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). The requirement to exhaust provides
“that no one is entitled to judicial relief for a
supposed or threatened injury until the prescribed
administrative remedy has been exhausted.” Woodford
v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 88-89 (2006) (citation omitted).
Exhaustion of available administrative remedies
“‘means using all steps that the agency holds
out, and doing so properly (so that the agency addresses the
issues on the merits).'” Id. at 90
(quoting Pozo v. McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1024
(7th Cir. 2002)). Proper use of the facility's grievance
system requires a prisoner “to file complaints and
appeals in the place, and at the time [as] the prison's
administrative rules require.” Pozo, 286 F.3d
at 1025; see also Dole v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804,
809 (7th Cir. 2006).
exhaustion is an affirmative defense, “the burden of
proof is on the prison officials.” Kaba v.
Stepp, 458 F.3d 678, 680 (7th Cir. 2006). So here, the
defendants bear the burden of demonstrating that Mr. Naylor
failed to exhaust all available administrative remedies
before he filed this suit. Id. at 681.
times relevant to his claims, Mr. Naylor was incarcerated at
Pendleton. Pendleton maintained a grievance policy regarding
complaints about prison conditions. The grievance process
requires an inmate to attempt to resolve the grievance
informally through officials at the facility by contacting
staff to discuss the matter or incident subject to the
grievance and seeking informal resolution. If the inmate is
unable to obtain a resolution of the grievance informally, he
may submit a formal written complaint (Level I grievance) to
the Grievance Specialist of the facility where the incident
occurred. If the formal written complaint is not resolved in
a manner that satisfies the inmate, he may submit an appeal
(Level II) within ten (10) working days from the date of
receipt of the Level I grievance response. If the inmate
receives no grievance response within 25 working days of the
day he submitted the grievance, he may appeal as though the
grievance had been denied. In that event, the time to appeal
begins on the 26th working day after the grievance was
submitted and ends 10 working days later.
Naylor's claim is that Mr. Williams harassed him and
caused others to harass and assault him. There is a material
dispute of fact as to whether Mr. Naylor filed a grievance
about the alleged harassment. The defendant asserts in his
motion for summary judgment that Mr. Naylor only filed one
grievance naming Mr. Williams and that grievance was about
Naylor, on the other hand, submits an affidavit attesting to
having filed grievances regarding the harassment and to
having exhausted those grievances. He provides further detail
in his unsworn response brief, asserting that he placed
grievance appeals either in the chow hall grievance box or to
staff in G-house as he was directed when he received no
response to his initial grievances. He states that he did so
because institution policy treats non-responses to grievances
defendant argues that Mr. Naylor failed to file a grievance
relating to Mr. Williams' alleged harassment. Mr. Naylor,
however, has provided testimony which supports his claim that
he did ...