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Doughty v. Dugger

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

August 7, 2018

ANTONIO DOUGHTY, Plaintiff,
v.
JODY DUGGER Sup., Aramark, et al. Defendants.

          ENTRY GRANTING SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DIRECTING FINAL JUDGMENT

          Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge

         Plaintiff Antonio Doughty was an Indiana prisoner who was at all relevant times confined at Plainfield Correctional Facility (“Plainfield”). The Court screened his complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and determined that Equal Protection claims, a retaliation claim, and a Title VII claim could proceed against various defendants. The defendants have moved for summary judgment on their affirmative defense that Mr. Doughty failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Mr. Doughty did not respond to the defendants' motion, and the time to do so has passed.

         For the reasons explained below, the defendants' unopposed motion for summary judgment is granted, and Mr. Doughty's claims are dismissed without prejudice.

         I.

         Background

         At all times relevant to this action, Mr. Doughty was an inmate at Plainfield. He alleges that the defendants racially discriminated against him while at his job as an inmate kitchen worker.

         Based on these allegations, the Court permitted certain Equal Protection, retaliation, and Title VII claims to proceed against the defendants.

         The defendants move for summary judgment. They argue that these claims 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 federal court. The time for Mr. Doughty to respond to the defendants' motion for summary judgment has passed, and he has failed to respond or file anything with the Court. This leaves the defendants' motion for summary judgment unopposed.

         The consequence of Mr. Doughty's failure is that he has conceded the defendants' version of the events. See 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 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).

         Accordingly, the following facts, unopposed by Mr. Doughty and supported by admissible evidence, are accepted as true:

         The Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”) has an Offender Grievance Process through which inmates can grieve issues related to their conditions of confinement, such as those in Mr. Doughty's complaint. Inmates are made aware of the Offender Grievance Process during orientation and a copy of it is also available at various locations in the prison, including the law library.

         The Offender Grievance Process consists of four stages. First, an inmate must attempt to resolve the grievance informally through officials at the facility by contacting staff to discuss the incident subject to the grievance. Second, if the inmate is unable to obtain a resolution of the grievance informally, he may submit a formal grievance to the designated staff person. Third, if the formal grievance is not resolved in a manner that satisfies the inmate, the inmate may file a grievance appeal to the Warden or other appointed designee. Fourth, if the initial appeal is denied, the inmate can appeal once more to the Department Grievance Manager. The Offender Grievance Process is complete once the inmate has timely completed all of these steps.

         Richard Marks is the Grievance Specialist at Plainfield and reviewed the records relating to grievances filed by Mr. Doughty. The grievance records for Mr. Doughty reflect that he never filed any grievance while at Plainfield. He therefore failed to complete any of the four steps of the Offender Grievance Process.

         II. ...


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