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Runyon v. Edwards

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

August 29, 2018

DAVID RUNYON, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN EDWARDS, et al. Defendants.

          ENTRY GRANTING THE DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DIRECTING THE ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge

         I. Background

         Plaintiff David Runyon, an inmate at the United States Penitentiary - Terre Haute (USP-TH), brings this action pursuant the theory set forth in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). Mr. Runyon alleges that while he was incarcerated at USP-TH, the defendants caused him to be labeled a “snitch” placing his life in danger. Dkt. No. 8. The Court screened his complaint and permitted his Bivens claim against the defendants to proceed. Dkt. No. 9.

         The defendants seek resolution of Mr. Runyon's claim through the entry of summary judgment. Although one defendant, Michael Sample, has not appeared in the action, the motion for summary judgment is applicable as to him as well as the moving defendants. See Malak v. Associated Physicians, Inc., 784 F.2d 277, 280 (7th Cir. 1986) (“[W]here one defendant files a motion for summary judgment which the court grants, the district court may sua sponte enter summary judgment in favor of additional non-moving defendants if the motion raised by the first defendant is equally effective in barring the claim against the other defendants and the plaintiff had an adequate opportunity to argue in opposition to the motion.”). The plaintiff opposes the motion for summary judgment.

         II. Standard of Review

         A motion for summary judgment asks that the court find that a trial based on the uncontroverted and admissible evidence is unnecessary because, as a matter of law, it would conclude in the moving party's favor. See Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56. To survive a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must set forth specific, admissible evidence showing that there is a material issue for trial. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56(e); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

         As the current version of Rule 56 makes clear, whether a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing to particular parts of the record, including depositions, documents, or affidavits. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 56(c)(1)(A). A party can also support a fact by showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant is competent to testify on matters stated. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). Failure to properly support a fact in opposition to a movant's factual assertion can result in the movant's fact being considered undisputed, and potentially the grant of summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The Court need only consider the cited materials, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3), and the Seventh Circuit has “repeatedly assured the district courts that they are not required to scour every inch of the record for evidence that is potentially relevant to the summary judgment motion before them, ” Johnson v. Cambridge Indus., 325 F.3d 892, 898 (7th Cir. 2003). Furthermore, reliance on the pleadings or conclusory statements backed by inadmissible evidence is insufficient to create an issue of material fact on summary judgment. Id., at 901.

         III. Applicable Law

         â€œThe 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 Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (“PLRA”) requires that prisoners who bring suit in federal court must first exhaust their available administrative remedies. The PLRA was enacted “to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of prisoner suits” by “afford[ing] corrections officials time and opportunity to address complaints internally before allowing the initiation of a federal case.” 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.

         The PLRA's exhaustion requirement is not subject to either waiver by a court or futility or inadequacy exceptions. Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 n.6 (2001); McCarthy v. Madigan, 503 U.S. 140, 112 S.Ct. 1081 (1992) (“Where Congress specifically mandates, exhaustion is required.”). Moreover, the PLRA requires “proper exhaustion.” “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 at 655 (“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)).

         IV. Undisputed Facts

         The following statement of facts was evaluated pursuant to the standard set forth above. That is, this statement of facts is not necessarily objectively true, but as the summary judgment standard requires, the undisputed facts and the disputed evidence are presented in the light reasonably most favorable to Mr. Runyon as the non-moving party with respect to the motion for summary judgment. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

         The BOP promulgated an administrative remedy system which is codified in 28 C.F.R. §§ 542.10, et seq., and BOP Program Statement 1330.18, Administrative Remedy Procedures for Inmates. Dkt. No. 20-1, ¶ 4.

         The Administrative Remedy process is a method by which an inmate may seek formal review of a complaint related to any aspect of his imprisonment. To exhaust his remedies, an inmate must first file an informal remedy request through an appropriate institution staff member via a BP-8. If the inmate is not satisfied with the informal remedy response, he is required to first address his complaint with the Warden via a BP-9. If the inmate is dissatisfied with the Warden's response, he may appeal to the Regional Director via a BP-10. If dissatisfied with the Regional Director's response, the inmate may appeal to the General Counsel via a BP-11. Once an inmate receives a response to his appeal from the General Counsel, after filing administrative remedies at all required levels, his administrative remedies are deemed exhausted as to the specific issues properly raised therein. Dkt. No. 20-1, ¶ 7.

         All administrative remedy requests filed by inmates are logged and tracked in the SENTRY computer database, an electronic record keeping system used by the BOP. That database shows the filings of administrative remedy requests by Mr. Runyon and the responses to those requests. Dkt. No. 20-1.

         The claim in this action is based on an event which occurred at the USP-TH on November 20, 2015. On November 30, 2015, Mr. Runyon filed BP-8 Administrative Remedy No. 845384-F1 alleging that defendant Edwards coerced him to participate in an interview with FBI staff on November 20, 2015. Dkt. No. 20-4, pp. 12-13. In the BP-8, Mr. Runyon states, “After being on death row for almost a decade now I am fluent with the quagmire Edwards' trickery had placed me in, whereas now I will have a snitch jacket placed on me for coming out and being interviewed by the FBI.” Id. A response denying that remedy was issued on December 5, 2015. Dkt. No. 20-4, p. 11. On December 14, 2015, Mr. Runyon submitted a BP-9, assigned Remedy No. 845384-F1 disputing and disagreeing with defendant Sample's response to his informal remedy request. Dkt. No. 20-4, pp. 8-9. A response denying the remedy was issued on December 22, 2015. Dkt. No. 20-4, p. 5.

         Mr. Runyon did not appeal this matter further. Dkt. No. 20-1, ¶ 10.

         V. ...


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