United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
LOWELL B. SMITH, Plaintiff,
WEXFORD MEDICAL COMPANY, Defendant.
ENTRY GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT ON
DEFENDANT'S AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE OF EXHAUSTION
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE.
December 3, 2018, Plaintiff Lowell Smith filed his original
complaint alleging that his constitutional rights were
violated while he was incarcerated at the Plainfield
Correctional Facility. Specifically, he alleged that in
October 2018, Wexford and its employees refused to provide
treatment to him for Hepatitis C.
Wexford Medical Company (properly known as “Wexford of
Indiana, LLC;” hereinafter referred to as
“Wexford”) seeks dismissal of this action through
summary judgment on the basis that Mr. Smith 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. Mr. Smith
responded. Wexford was given a period of time in which to
file a reply in support of its motion for summary judgment or
to otherwise comply with the Entry of April 29, 2019. No.
further reply was submitted.
reasons explained below, Defendant's motion for summary
judgment, dkt. , is granted.
Standard of Review
motion for summary judgment asks the Court to find that a
trial is unnecessary because there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and, instead, the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(a). As the current version of Rule 56 makes clear, whether
a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely
disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing
to particular parts of the record, including depositions,
documents, or affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party
can also support a fact by showing that the materials cited
do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute
or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence
to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or
declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out
facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the
affiant is competent to testify on matters stated.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). Failure to properly support a fact in
opposition to a movant's factual assertion can result in
the movant's fact being considered undisputed, and
potentially in the grant of summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P.
deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court need only
consider disputed facts that are material to the decision. A
disputed fact is material if it might affect the outcome of
the suit under the governing law. Williams v.
Brooks, 809 F.3d 936, 941-42 (7th Cir. 2016). “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
summary judgment, a party must show the Court what evidence
it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its
version of the events. Gekas v. Vasilades, 814 F.3d
890, 896 (7th Cir. 2016). The moving party is entitled to
summary judgment if no reasonable fact-finder could return a
verdict for the non-moving party. Nelson v. Miller,
570 F.3d 868, 875 (7th Cir. 2009). The Court views the record
in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws
all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.
Skiba v. Illinois Cent. R.R. Co., 884 F.3d 708, 717
(7th Cir. 2018). It cannot weigh evidence or make credibility
determinations on summary judgment because those tasks are
left to the fact-finder. Miller v. Gonzalez, 761
F.3d 822, 827 (7th Cir. 2014). The Court need only consider
the cited materials, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3), and the Seventh
Circuit Court of Appeals has repeatedly assured the district
courts that they are not required to “scour every inch
of the record” for evidence that is potentially
relevant to the summary judgment motion before them.
Grant v. Trustees of Indiana University, 870 F.3d
562, 573-74 (7th Cir. 2017).
the standard set forth above, the following facts are
Smith is an inmate in the custody of Plainfield Correctional
Facility and the the Indiana Department of Correction's
(IDOC) offender grievance process is available to him. Dkt.
32 at ¶ 3. The purpose of the offender grievance process
is to provide administrative means by which inmates may
resolve concerns and complaints related to the conditions of
their confinement at their current institution. Id.
The grievance procedures at the Plainfield Correctional
Facility are noted in the inmate handbook and are provided to
inmates upon their arrival at the Plainfield Correctional
Facility as well as available to them in both Law Libraries
in the facility. Id.
grievance process consists of four stages. Id. at
¶ 4. First, an offender must attempt to resolve the
grievance informally through officials at the facility. The
informal grievance process is interactive and requires the
offender to communicate and work with staff for an
appropriate period of time, along with giving staff a
reasonable period of time to respond to the grievance.
Id. at ¶ 4(a).
informal grievance process is unsuccessful, the offender must
file a Level 1 formal grievance. This includes the submission
of a Level 1 Grievance Form to the facility's Grievance
Specialist. Dkt. 32 at ¶ 4(b).
finding has been given to the Level 1 formal grievance, the
offender may then decide if the grievance has been satisfied.
If the decision made on the Level 1 grievance is not
satisfactory, he may ...