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Riggleman v. Tussey

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

October 15, 2018

ELISHA RIGGLEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
MATTHEW TUSSEY, C ZIPPERLE, A WIBLE, D PORTER, A. SCHOEFFEL, R MOSLEY, Defendants. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Interested Party.

          ELISHA RIGGLEMAN, LEWISBURG U.S. PENITENTIARY, Special Mail-Open Only in the Presence of the Inmate, LEWISBURG, PA, Shelese M. Woods UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE

          ENTRY GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          Hon. William T. Lawrence, Senior Judge

         Elisha Riggleman filed this action on August 7, 2017, contending that his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. Mr. Riggleman claims that the defendants used excessive force against him and failed to protect him from the excessive force of their fellow correctional officers. The defendants move for summary judgment, arguing that Mr. Riggleman 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.

         Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary 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).

         Once 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).

         Discussion

         A. Facts

         The following statement of material facts was evaluated pursuant to the standards 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 most favorable to Mr. Riggleman as the non-moving party. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

         At all times relevant to his complaint, Mr. Riggleman was confined at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. The Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) operates an administrative remedy process. All administrative remedy requests filed by inmates are logged and tracked in the SENTRY computer database, which is an electronic record keeping system utilized by the BOP.

         The BOP administrative remedy process consists of three steps. To initiate the process an inmate first submits a BP-9 form to the warden at his facility. These requests receive an F1 notation in the SENTRY database. If he is dissatisfied with the response, the inmate can submit an appeal on a BP-10 form to the regional office. This level of appeal receives an R1 notation in the SENTRY database. Finally, the inmate can file a BP-11 with the central office. This final appeal receives an A1 notation in the SENTRY database.

         On June 20, 2018, the Bureau of Prisons ran a full SENTRY report of Mr. Riggleman's administrative remedy requests from December 26, 2016, the date of the alleged incident, through August 7, 2017, the date Mr. Riggleman's complaint was filed.

         According to the SENTRY report, the first form filed by Mr. Riggleman after the alleged incident was a BP-10 on January 6, 2017. That form received the remedy number 887950-R1. The form was rejected because Mr. Riggleman had not first filed a BP-9 with the warden of his facility. Mr. Riggleman next filed a BP-9 at his facility on February 8, 2017, remedy number 891335-F1, but it was denied because it was unsigned and untimely.

         On February 21, 2017, Mr. Riggleman filed a BP-11 form with the central office appealing remedy number 887950-R1. This form was assigned number 887950-A1. It was rejected for the same reason 887950-R1 had been rejected by the regional office-Mr. ...


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