Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

MASSEY v. HELMAN

February 2, 1999

MICHAEL MASSEY, AND JOHN OTTEN, M.D., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
DAVID HELMAN, WARDEN OF THE FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL CENTER IN PEKIN, ILLINOIS, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; FERDINAND SOMALIA, HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATOR OF THE FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL CENTER IN PEKIN, ILLINOIS, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; MIGUEL GONZALEZ, ASSISTANT WARDEN OF THE FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL CENTER IN PEKIN, ILLINOIS, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY; AND KENNETH MORIT SUGU, M.D., MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF PRISONS OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard Mills, District Judge.

OPINION

A prisoner and a prison doctor join together to bring this case.

It must be dismissed.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Michael Massey is a prisoner at the Federal Correctional Facility in Pekin, Illinois ("Pekin Facility" or "Pekin"). He contends that he did not receive proper treatment for a hernia and that this improper treatment constituted a denial of his Eighth Amendment right to receive adequate medical care. He specifically contends that three policies of the Bureau of Prisons resulted in his inadequate medical care.*fn1

Plaintiff John Otten was a physician who worked at the Pekin Facility until he was discharged in February 1998. He alleges that he was discharged in furtherance of the unconstitutional policy of depriving inmates of their Eighth Amendment right to medical care and their First Amendment right of access to the courts. In addition, he claims a deprivation of his own First Amendment right to speak on matters of public concern.

II. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

The parties have filed a plethora of motions in this case*fn2, and few of the memoranda in support of those motions have been especially helpful to the Court in terms of clear argument or complete inclusion of relevant authorities. In fact, in one of the representative types of pleadings before the Court, Plaintiff*fn3 Massey filed a motion to discuss additional authority in which was mentioned several cases that supported contentions in one of his earlier motions. However, he completely omitted discussion of other cases, such as the Eleventh Circuit case of Alexander v. Hawk, 159 F.3d 1321 (11th Cir. 1998) that directly undermines his contentions. The Alexander case was decided more than a month before Plaintiff's motion was filed. This sort of selective presentation of authority is more than a little deceptive and is strongly discouraged by the Court.

Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. The grounds for this motion are (1) that Mr. Massey is required to exhaust his administrative remedy before filing an action in this Court, (2) that the Court lacks jurisdiction over Dr. Otten's claims, and (3) that Dr. Otten lacks standing to bring the claims.

Plaintiffs filed their responses in two lengthy and overlapping memoranda. Their argument, in summary, is that exhaustion is not required as to Mr. Massey and that Dr. Otten's claims are not barred by any lack of jurisdiction or standing problems.

Perhaps on the theory that more is preferable to less, Mr. Massey also has filed a motion styled "Rule 56 Motion to Deny Defendants Application for Summary Judgment." In this motion, Mr. Massey asserts that Defendants have converted their motion to dismiss into a motion for summary judgment by including an affidavit with the motion to dismiss. Thus, he concludes, there must be additional discovery on the contested issues of fact and he must be given a further opportunity to respond. In addition, Plaintiffs have filed a motion for leave to amend his fourth amended complaint and a motion to compel.

III. ANALYSIS

A. MOTION TO DISMISS COUNT I

Defendants, in their motion to dismiss count I, contend that Mr. Massey has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as a prerequisite to bringing this action in federal court. Defendants argue that since he has not satisfied this requirement, the action must be dismissed.

This exhaustion requirement is set out in the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a):

  No action shall be brought with respect to prison
  conditions under section 1983 of this title, or
  any other Federal law, by a prisoner

  confined in any jail, prison or other correctional
  facility until such administrative remedies as are
  available are exhausted. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).

Plaintiff contends that there is no requirement of administrative exhaustion in this case because there is no administrative remedy "available" in this case. Mr. Massey's contention is that he could not have received the relief he is seeking in this case in any administrative proceedings available to him at Pekin. Specifically, he argues that neither money damages nor an alteration in the BOP's alleged policy prohibiting surgical repair of hernias could be obtained via the administrative remedy. Thus, he concludes that no administrative remedy was "available" to him and that the PLRA therefore does not bar this action in federal court.

On the other hand, the defendants argue that the term "available" does not refer to the effectiveness of the administrative remedy. They argue that because an administrative remedy does exist for challenging prison conditions at Pekin, and because Mr. Massey has failed to use those procedures, he is barred from bringing this claim in this Court. Thus, the resolution of this issue turns on whether the term "available" means that the remedy sought in the lawsuit must be obtainable via the administrative procedures, or, instead, the term "available" means that there is some remedy in place that the ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.