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Graham v. Krueger

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

October 3, 2019

FREDRICK GRAHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
J. E. KRUEGER, et al. Defendants. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Interested Party.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, DENYING PLAINTIFF'S SUPPLEMENTAL MOTION, AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          James Patrick Hanlon United States District Judge Southern District of Indiana

         Plaintiff Fredrick Graham, an inmate currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, asserts multiple claims based on events that are alleged to have occurred while he was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana (FCC-TH). The defendants seek summary judgment as to all claims, arguing that Mr. Graham failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies before filing this lawsuit, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Mr. Graham has responded to the defendants' motion, and the defendants' have submitted a reply. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment, dkt. 69, is granted.

         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.” Porter, 534 U.S. at 532 (citation omitted).

         II.

         Statement of 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 most favorable to Mr. Graham as the non-moving party with respect to the motion for summary judgment. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

         A. Evidence Considered

         As a preliminary matter, the Court addresses Mr. Graham's responses to the defendants' motion for summary judgment. Mr. Graham makes factual assertions in his surreply, but does not designate supporting admissible evidence. “Admissibility is the threshold question because a court may consider only admissible evidence in assessing a motion for summary judgment.” Gunville v. Walker, 583 F.3d 979, 985 (7th Cir. 2009). An unsworn pleading that is not signed under the penalty of perjury is inadmissible for purposes of defeating a motion for summary judgment. See Owens v. Hinsley, 635 F.3d 950, 954-55 (7th Cir. 2011); Dale v. Lappin, 376 F.3d 652, 655 (7th Cir. 2004). Similarly, the Local Rules of the Southern District of Indiana require that each fact asserted must be supported with a citation to admissible evidence. See S.D. Ind. Local Rule 56-1(e); see also dkt. 71 (notice providing text of Local Rule 56-1). Because Mr. Graham's responses are neither affidavits nor verified, the Court cannot consider the factual allegations contained therein.

         B. Federal Administrative Remedy Procedure

         The Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) maintains an administrative remedy procedure, see 28 C.F.R. §§ 542.10 et seq., and FCC-TH has promulgated an Institution Supplement with additional information. Upon arrival at FCC-TH, an inmate participates in an orientation that includes an explanation of the administrative remedy process and instructions on how to use the law library to access BOP policy and the facility-specific supplements.

         When an inmate submits an administrative remedy request, facility staff log it into the BOP's electronic record system, the SENTRY database. Each entry receives a remedy identification number and includes the inmate's Federal Register Number and a short description of the request that often contains abbreviations due to limited space. Through the SENTRY ...


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