United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
ROBERT K. DECKER, Plaintiff,
DAVID LUKENS, WILLIAM E. WILSON, Defendants.
ENTRY DISCUSSING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, SENIOR JUDGE
Robert K. Decker (“Mr. Decker”), a federal
prisoner incarcerated at the Chicago Metropolitan
Correctional Center, alleges that, while he was incarcerated
at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana,
the defendants failed to treat his hepatitis C in violation
of his Eighth Amendment rights.
pending before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment
filed by the defendants on November 16, 2018. Dkt. 28. The
defendants' motion argues that the claims alleged against
them 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
Decker filed a response to the defendants' motion for
summary judgment arguing that the administrative remedy
process was unavailable to him because he was refused stamps
and the forms necessary to complete his appeal.
Standard of Review
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). 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.
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
substantive law applicable to this motion for summary
judgment is the PLRA, which requires that “[n]o action
shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under
section 1983 . . . until such administrative remedies as are
available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e;
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). The requirement to exhaust provides
“that no one is entitled to judicial relief for a
supposed or threatened injury until the prescribed
administrative remedy has been exhausted.” Woodford
v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 88-89 (2006) (citation omitted).
Exhaustion of available administrative remedies
“‘means using all steps that the agency holds
out, and doing so properly (so that the agency addresses the
issues on the merits).'” Id. at 90
(quoting Pozo v. McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1024
(7th Cir. 2002)). Proper use of the facility's grievance
system requires a prisoner “to file complaints and
appeals in the place, and at the time [as] the prison's
administrative rules require.” Pozo, 286 F.3d
at 1025; see also Dole v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804,
809 (7th Cir. 2006).
“exhaustion requirement is strict. A prisoner must
comply with the specific procedures and deadlines established
by the prison's policy.” King v. McCarty,
781 F.3d 889, 893 (7th Cir. 2015). Exhaustion “is an
affirmative defense that a defendant has the burden of
times relevant to his claims, Mr. Decker was incarcerated at
Terre Haute Federal Correctional Facility (“Terre
Haute”). The Federal Bureau of Prisons maintains an
administrative remedy policy that is explained to inmates
each time they arrive at a new federal prison. Inmates also
have access to the administrative remedy policy in the
institutions' law libraries. All administrative remedy
requests submitted by inmates are logged and tracked in the
SENTRY computer database, a Bureau of Prisons electronic
record keeping system.
exhaust the administrative remedy process, inmates must
complete four steps. First, he must complete an informal
resolution form, referred to as a BP-8. Administrative remedy
requests submitted at the institution level, referred to as
BP-9s and identified in the SENTRY database by the notation
“F1” following the remedy identification number,
are the second step in the process. Regional Office
submissions, referred to as BP-10s and identified by the
notation “R1” following the remedy identification
number, are the third step. Finally, Central Office
submissions, referred to as BP-11s and identified by the
notation “A1” following the remedy identification
number, are the final step in the process.
to Program Statement 1130.18 and 28 C.F.R. § 542.15, an
inmate has 20 days from the date of a denial of a BP-9 to
appeal that decision through a BP-10 and 30 days from the
denial of a BP-10 to appeal that decision through a BP-11.
Dkt. 28-1. These time periods run from the date the Warden
signs the response rather than the date the response is
received by the inmate. If the relevant appeal is not
submitted within those respective deadlines, the file is
closed and no further proceedings will be permitted regarding
it absent a showing of valid reason for the delay.
March 1, 2018, Mr. Decker submitted a BP-9 form regarding the
lack of treatment for his hepatitis C. The grievance was
assigned Remedy Number 932439-F1. An explanation was provided
to Mr. Decker in response and the grievance was closed on
March 8, 2018. The defendants have no record of receiving
either a BP-10 or BP-11 form associated with this remedy
number. Dkt. 28-1.
BOP policy provides that an inmate has 20 days from the date
of denial of a BP-9 to appeal, Mr. Decker had through ...