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.

Obriecht v. Raemisch

February 22, 2008

ANDREW M. OBRIECHT, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,
v.
RICK RAEMISCH, SECRETARY OF THE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, MATTHEW J. FRANK, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, BYRON BARTOW, CHONA ARONG, ET AL.,*FN1 DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. No. 05 C 1171-J.P. Stadtmueller, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ripple, Circuit Judge

SUBMITTED DECEMBER 19, 2007*fn2

Before RIPPLE, MANION and WOOD, Circuit Judges.

Andrew Matthew Obriecht, a Wisconsin prisoner, brought this action against various employees and officers (collectively the "prison officials") of the Wisconsin Resource Center ("WRC"), the Wisconsin mental health facility in which he was committed, and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections ("WDOC"). He alleged that he was denied procedural due process when he was transferred to the WRC and when he was forced to take psychotropic medications. The district court granted summary judgment to the prison officials; it held that Mr. Obriecht had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. For the reasons set forth in this opinion, we affirm the judgment of the district court.

I. BACKGROUND

Prior to 2003, Mr. Obriecht was held in a privately operated correctional facility in Minnesota under the auspices of the WDOC. In March 2003, at the recommendation of a psychiatrist, Mr. Obriecht was transferred to the WRC. Between June 2003 and March 2004, while at the WRC, Mr. Obriecht involuntarily was medicated. In March 2004, Mr. Obriecht again was transferred, this time to Fox Lake Correctional Institution, a Wisconsin prison. When a program review committee at Fox Lake met in July 2004 to discuss Mr. Obreicht, a social worker recommended that Mr. Obriecht be returned to the WRC. This social worker based the recommendation on a physician's report that Mr. Obriecht was hallucinating and delusional. The program review committee then approved Mr. Obriecht's second transfer to the WRC, and that transfer occurred in July 2004. While at the WRC, Mr. Obriecht again involuntarily was medicated for about three weeks.

DOC regulations provide an administrative review system for inmate complaints ("ICRS"). See Wis. Admin. Code §§ DOC 310.01-18. An inmate initiates the ICRS review process by filing an offender complaint with the Inmate Complaint Examiner. See Wis. Admin. Code §§ DOC 310.04, DOC 310.11. Here, the defendant prison officials contend that, although Mr. Obriecht did file an offender complaint about the substantive decision to transfer him to the WRC, he never complained about the procedure used in making the decision to transfer him. Mr. Obriecht asserts that he filed a separate offender complaint on that issue but that it was ignored.*fn3 Additionally, the prison officials maintain that Mr. Obriecht never filed any offender complaints about forced medication. Mr. Obriecht again contends that he did, but that the complaints were ignored.

In November 2005, Mr. Obriecht brought this section 1983 action. He challenges, among other issues not raised on appeal, the procedures used to transfer him to the WRC and the forced administration of psychotropic medicine.*fn4 After the district court had screened his complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, Mr. Obriecht moved for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. The prison officials cross-moved for summary judgment, contending that Mr. Obriecht had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The district court denied Mr. Obreicht's motion and awarded summary judgment to the prison officials. It concluded that Mr. Obriecht had not exhausted his administrative remedies because he had not filed any administrative complaints about the procedures used to transfer him or about the forced use of psychotropic medication.

In January 2007, within ten days of the order granting summary judgment, Mr. Obriecht moved for reconsideration under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b).*fn5 In support of the motion, Mr. Obriecht submitted an affidavit and two offender complaints that he claimed to have filed in 2003 in order to challenge his first transfer to the WRC and his subsequent forced medication. These offender complaints do not have an assigned number and do not show whether they were received by WRC staff.

The district court denied the motion. In its view, the motion failed to meet any of the appropriate Rule 60(b) grounds. In any event, ruled the district court, Rule 60(b) is not an appropriate vehicle to introduce new evidence that could have been introduced before the district court granted summary judgment. Mr. Obriecht then filed a second Rule 60(b) motion that also was denied.

II. DISCUSSION

We review de novo a district court's determination that an exhaustion requirement has not been met; we also review de novo a grant of summary judgment. Kaba v. Stepp, 458 F.3d 678, 681 (7th Cir. 2006). Failure to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense, and consequently, the burden of proof is on the prison officials. Conyers v. Abitz, 416 F.3d 580, 584 (7th Cir. 2005). We review for an abuse of discretion a district court's denial of a motion for relief under either Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 59(e) or 60(b). Harrington v. City of Chicago, 433 F.3d 542, 546 (7th Cir. 2006).

A.

Prisoners must exhaust available administrative remedies before filing a claim under section 1983. 42 U.S.C. ยง 1997e(a); see Booth v. ...


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.