United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
WARREN L. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
OFFICER STROUT (OR STOUT), Defendant.
C. Dickmeyer INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL
Scheil INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL
ENTRY DISCUSSING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY
William T. Lawrence, Judge
civil action, plaintiff Warren L. Williams, an Indiana
prisoner incarcerated at the New Castle Correctional
Facility, alleges that, while he was incarcerated at the
Reception Diagnostic Center (“RDC”), the
defendant violated his Eighth Amendment rights when the
defendant closed his hand in his cell door.
pending before the Court is the motion for summary judgment
filed by the defendant on May 2, 2018. Dkt. No. 27. The
defendant 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
Williams filed a response and the defendant filed a reply.
The motion is now ripe for review.
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).
times relevant to his claims, Mr. Williams was incarcerated
at the RDC. Because he was transferred to the New Castle
Correctional Facility (“New Castle”) shortly
after the alleged event took place, his efforts to grieve the
incident were initiated at New Castle. The grievance process
requires an inmate first to attempt to resolve his grievance
informally by contacting staff to discuss the matter or
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. Formal grievances are screened
to determine whether they meet the requirements set out in
the grievance policy. If deemed inadequate, the grievance is
returned the inmate with the reason for its rejection.
Adequate grievances are reviewed and a response is provided
to the inmate. Third, if the grievance is not resolved in a
manner that satisfies the offender, he may submit an appeal.
Exhaustion of the grievance process requires completion of
all three of these steps.
Williams did not file any grievances regarding his claim
while he was incarcerated at RDC because he felt threatened.
Approximately two months after his transfer to New Castle, he
submitted two informal grievances regarding the incident at
RDC. Those grievances were rejected as untimely. Mr. Williams
then submitted a formal grievance regarding the incident. It
was returned to him as inadequate because the event occurred
at RDC, rather than at New Castle, and because monetary
relief cannot be provided through the grievance process. Mr.
Williams then resubmitted the same grievance to RDC. It was
again rejected and returned to Mr. Williams, this time
because inmates cannot request staff discipline as a remedy
and because tort claims are not grievable
issues. The returned grievance gave Mr. Williams
five days to correct these two problems. He did not resubmit
the grievance or file any other grievances or grievance
appeals regarding the incident at RDC.
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA'”)
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 ...