United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
MICHAEL M. MIHM, District Judge.
Now before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 11) filed by Defendant Brian Piper ("Piper" or "Defendant") arguing that summary judgment in his favor is appropriate because Plaintiff Raymon Jones ("Jones" or "Plaintiff") has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies related to his claim of excessive force. For reasons stated herein, the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 11) is GRANTED and the Complaint (ECF No. 1) is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. This case is now TERMINATED.
On September 18, 2013, Jones filed his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Complaint alleging that on June 19, 2013, he was tackled and assaulted while incarcerated in the Illinois River Correctional Center by Defendant Piper when he asked for emergency health care. (ECF No. 1). Jones alleges the assault resulted in various mental injuries. Id.
On October 31, 2013, this Court entered its Merit Review Order pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and found Jones adequately alleged a claim against Defendant Piper based upon his allegations he was tackled and assaulted by Piper on June 19, 2013. TEXT ORDER dated 10/31/2013.
On January 3, 2013, Piper filed his Answer and Affirmative Defenses. (ECF No. 9). In his Answer, Piper denied Plaintiff's claim of excessive force, and further denied that any of Plaintiff's Constitutional rights were violated whatsoever. As affirmative defenses, Piper first argued that he acted in good faith in the performance of his official duties and without violating Plaintiff's clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known. Defendant therefore argues that he is protected from suit by the doctrine of qualified immunity. Second, Piper argued Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to the initiation of this cause of action and that his claims are barred by the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997.
Defendant now moves for this Court to enter summary judgment in his favor arguing that Jones failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing this suit. (ECF No. 11). In support of his Motion, Defendant presented an affidavit from Thomas Scott Keen ("Keen"), Chairperson for the Office of Inmate Issues for the Illinois Department of Corrections, also known as the Administrative Review Board ("ARB"). Keen states he found one grievance from Jones dated June 19, 2013, referencing alleged excessive force on or about June 19, 2013, that was received by the ABR on June 28, 2013. On July 10, 2013, the ARB responded to the grievance and stated Jones had to provide a Committed Person's Grievance Report, including the Counselor's, Grievance Officer's, and Chief Administrative Officer's response in order to move forward. Keen also states that Jones never re-submitted his grievance to the ARB with the required response.
On February 25, 2014, Jones filed his response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 15). Jones argued that he tried to exhaust his administrative remedies. He states he put two grievances in the grievance box and wrote to the grievance office many times about his grievance, but got no answer. He states he also got no answer from Greg Gossett, Warden. He states he sent an emergency grievance on July 31, 2013, but had it returned on August 30, 2013. He states he tried to write to Michael Hood, the director of internal affairs, but the privileged legal mail kept being returned. Jones attached his mail to Michael Hood with his response to the Motion for Summary Judgment. Id.
This Order follows.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
A motion for summary judgment will be granted where there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). A material fact is one that might affect the outcome of the suit. Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 598-99 (7th Cir. 2000). The moving party may meet its burden of showing an absence of material facts by demonstrating "that there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). If the moving party meets its burden, the non-moving party then has the burden of presenting specific facts to show there is a genuine issue of material fact. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986).
On summary judgment, the inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd., 475 U.S. at 588. Any disputed issues of fact are resolved against the moving party. GE v. Joiner, 552 U.S. 136, 143 (1997). The moving party has the responsibility of informing the Court of portions of the record or affidavits that demonstrate the absence of a triable issue. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(e) requires the non-moving party to go beyond the pleadings and produce evidence of a genuine issue for trial. Id. at 324. Where a proposed statement of fact is supported by the record and not adequately rebutted, a court will accept that statement as true for purposes of summary judgment; an adequate rebuttal requires a citation to specific support in the record. Drake v. Minnesota Mining & Mfg. Co., 134 F.3d 878, 887 (7th Cir. 1998). This Court must then determine whether there is a need for trial - whether, in other words, there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may be reasonably resolved in favor of either party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986).
The PLRA, governs a variety of procedural requirements related to inmate suits brought under 42 ...