United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY GRANTING DEFENDANT DR. CHAVEZ'S MOTION FOR
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
Dr. Mary Ann Chavez seeks summary judgment on her assertion
that plaintiff Curt Lowder did not exhaust his administrative
remedies as to her prior to filing this action. For the
reasons explained below, Dr. Chavez's motion, dkt. ,
Lowder is an Indiana prison inmate. Dr. Chavez is a medical
provider in one of the prisons. Mr. Lowder asserts that on
September 15 and December 15, 2016, Dr. Chavez was
deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs when
she halved his pain medication, changed the timing of pain
medication doses, and refused to increase his Neurontin pain
medication. He brought this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil
rights action against Dr. Chavez, in addition to other claims
against other defendants, in March 2017.
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).
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).
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).
the defendant's burden to establish that the
administrative process was available to Mr. Lowder. See
Thomas v. Reese, 787 F.3d 845, 847 (7th Cir. 2015)
(“Because exhaustion is an affirmative defense, the
defendants must establish that an administrative remedy was
available and that [the plaintiff] failed to pursue
it.”). “[T]he ordinary meaning of the word
‘available' is ‘capable of use for the
accomplishment of a purpose, ' and that which ‘is
accessible or may be obtained.'” Ross v.
Blake, 136 S.Ct. 1850, 1858 (2016) (internal quotation
omitted). “[A]n inmate is required to exhaust those,
but only those, grievance procedures that are capable of use
to obtain some relief for the action complained of.”
Id. at 1859 (internal quotation omitted).
times relevant to the issues in this lawsuit Curt Lowder was
an Indiana prison inmate incarcerated at the Wabash Valley
Correctional Facility (WVCF). Dr. Chavez was a medical
provider at the ...