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Bey Ali v. Peterson

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

March 1, 2019

MUFTI ABDUL EL-MALIK BEY ALI a/k/a FRANCIS LEE SMITH-BEY, Plaintiff,
v.
MATT PETERSON, DREW LIEBEL, ANDREW COLE, Defendants.

          DAVID A. ARTHUR INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL

          JONATHAN PAUL NAGY INDIANA ATTORNEY GENERAL

          ENTRY GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DIRECTING FURTHER PROCEEDINGS

          HON. WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, SENIOR JUDGE

         Plaintiff Mufti Abdul El-Malik Bey Ali is a prisoner confined at the Pendleton Correctional Facility (PCF). Mr. Abdul filed this lawsuit on May 15, 2017, pursuing claims alleging restrictions on his religious practices.

         The defendants have moved for summary judgment, arguing that Mr. Abdul 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. For the reasons set forth below, the defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Legal Standards

         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 judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “Material facts are those that might affect the outcome of the suit under applicable substantive law.” Dawson v. Brown, 803 F.3d 829, 833 (7th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation omitted).

         “A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists ‘if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'” Daugherty v. Page, 906 F.3d 606, 609-10 (7th Cir. 2018) (quoting 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. See Barbera v. Pearson Education, Inc., 906 F.3d 621, 628 (7th Cir. 2018).

         The substantive law applicable to the motion for summary judgment is the PLRA, which 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).

         “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 Dole v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804, 809 (7th Cir. 2006) (“‘To exhaust remedies, a prisoner must file 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)). “State law establishes the administrative remedies that a state prisoner must exhaust for purposes of the PLRA.” Lanaghan v. Koch, 902 F.3d 683, 687 (7th Cir. 2018). “[A]n inmate is required to exhaust those, but only those, grievance procedures that are capable of use to obtain some relief for the action complained of.” Ross v. Blake, 136 S.Ct. 1850, 1859 (2016) (internal quotation omitted).

         When a party does not respond to a motion for summary judgment, the opposing party's facts are accepted as true. See S.D. Ind. L. R. 56-1(f)(1)(A) (“In deciding a summary judgment motion, the court will assume that[ ] the facts as claimed and supported by admissible evidence by the movant are admitted without controversy except to the extent that[] the non-movant specifically controverts the facts . . . .”); see also Dade v. Sherwin-Williams Co., 128 F.3d 1135, 1137 (7th Cir. 1997) (affirming district court's grant of summary judgment where it accepted moving party's facts as true when non-moving party failed to respond under local rule). This does not alter the summary judgment standard, so the movant's facts are still viewed in the light most favorable to the non-movant, but it does “reduce the pool” from which facts and inferences relative to the motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997). “Because exhaustion is an affirmative defense, the defendants must establish that an administrative remedy was available and that [the plaintiff] failed to pursue it.” Thomas v. Reese, 787 F.3d 845, 847 (7th Cir. 2015).

         II. Facts

         The complaint alleges that the defendants are responsible for conditions that have prevented Mr. Abdul from exercising his ...


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