United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ENTRY GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
Donald Stone filed this action on September 6, 2017,
contending that his constitutional rights were violated while
he was incarcerated in the Indiana Department of Correction
(IDOC). Specifically, Mr. Stone claims that Lieutenant Dustin
Fish slammed him to the ground with excessive force, injuring
his shoulder. Defendant Fish has moved for summary judgment,
arguing that Mr. Stone 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. Stone has not responded to the motion.
Summary Judgment Standard
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). The party seeking summary judgment
“bears the initial responsibility of informing the
district court of the basis for its motion, and
identifying” designated evidence which
“demonstrate[s] the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
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).
accordance with Local Rule 56-1(f), the Court assumes that
facts properly supported by the movant are admitted without
controversy unless the nonmovant specifically disputes them.
Therefore, a nonmovant who fails to respond to a motion for
summary judgment effectively concedes that the movant's
version of the facts is accurate. 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.”). This does not alter the standard for
assessing a Rule 56 motion, but it 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).
times relevant to his Complaint, Mr. Stone was confined by
the IDOC at Plainfield Correctional Facility (PCF). The IDOC
has an Offender Grievance Process that is intended to permit
inmates to resolve concerns and complaints relating to their
conditions of confinement prior to filing suit in court.
According to IDOC policy, an inmate is provided with
information about the Offender Grievance Process during
admission and orientation upon arrival at an IDOC facility.
Offender Grievance Process consists of three steps. It begins
with the offender contacting staff to discuss the matter or
incident subject to the grievance and seeking informal
resolution. This step must be completed within five (5)
business days from the date of the incident. If the offender
is unable to obtain a resolution of the grievance informally,
he may submit a formal grievance to the Offender Grievance
Specialist of the facility where the incident occurred. A
formal grievance must be filed within twenty (20) working
days from the date of the alleged incident. If the formal
written grievance is not resolved in a manner that satisfies
the offender, he may submit an appeal. Exhaustion of the
grievance procedure requires pursuing a grievance to the
IDOC maintains records of all informal grievances, formal
grievances, and appeals filed by offenders. The IDOC's
records reflect that Mr. Stone did not file any grievances
while incarcerated in the IDOC.
Fish argues that Mr. Stone failed to exhaust his available
administrative remedies as required by the PLRA. The PLRA
requires that a prisoner exhaust his available administrative
remedies before bringing a suit concerning prison conditions.
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Porter v. Nussle, 534
U.S. 516, 524-25 (2002). “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)). Strict compliance is
required with respect to exhaustion, and a prisoner must
properly follow the prescribed administrative procedures in
order to exhaust his remedies. Dole v. Chandler, 438
F.3d 804, 809 (7th Cir. 2006). The PLRA's ...