United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
EDMOND E. CHANG, District Judge.
Plaintiff Marshaun Boykin was a detainee at the Cook County Jail. He brings this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart, Dr. Jonathan Howard, Dr. David Kelner, and Dr. Michael Moreno. See R. 13, First Am. Compl. Boykin alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in violation of his rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Id. ¶¶ 27-30. Defendants now move for summary judgment, arguing that Boykin failed to exhaust his administrative remedies before filing suit as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. See R. 58, Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. For the reasons discussed below, Defendants' motion is granted.
In deciding Defendants' motion for summary judgment, the Court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Marshaun Boykin has been an inmate in the Cook County Jail since May 2011. First Am. Compl. ¶ 11. Boykin suffers from depression and bipolar disorder and has been prescribed medication for these diagnoses. Id. ¶¶ 11-12. In late 2011, Boykin attempted suicide. Id. ¶ 13. He was scheduled for a psychiatric evaluation, during which he claims he was refused treatment by Defendant Dr. Jonathan Howard, a psychiatrist at Cook County Jail. Id. ¶¶ 8, 13. A short time later, Boykin expressed thoughts of suicide to Cook County correctional officers. Id. ¶ 14. Boykin alleges that these officers "took no action." Id. He attempted suicide again and was given another psychiatric evaluation. Id. Boykin claims that at his second evaluation, Howard did not take his condition seriously and misdiagnosed Boykin with antisocial personality disorder and malingering. Id. Boykin alleges that Defendants Dr. David Kelner and Dr. Michael Moreno, both psychiatrists at the Cook County Jail, also denied Boykin psychiatric treatment based on this misdiagnosis. Id. ¶¶ 9-10, 14.
Boykin next told Cook County correctional officers that he had suicidal thoughts in April 2012. First Am. Compl. ¶ 15. He claims that they again did nothing. Id. Boykin attempted suicide a third time. Id. After this attempt, Boykin was visited by a mental health specialist who scheduled him for another psychiatric evaluation. Id. ¶ 16. Boykin claims that the appointment was cancelled. Id. The following month, Boykin claims he again reported thoughts of suicide to Cook County correctional officers, who did nothing. Id. ¶ 17. Boykin attempted suicide for the fourth time. Id. He claims that he was again denied medical assistance and sent back into the general population. Id.
Cook County Jail has established a grievance procedure to address inmate complaints. DSOF ¶ 11. The procedure requires an inmate to file a written grievance within fifteen days of the event giving rise to the complaint. Id. ¶ 12; R. 59-4, Defs.' Exh. D, Mueller Aff. Exh. 1, Sheriff's Order 126.96.36.199 at 2. Within 48 hours of a grievance being filed, a Correctional Rehabilitation Worker (CRW) must assign the grievance a case number and enter it into the record-keeping system. DSOF ¶ 17; Defs.' Exh. D, Mueller Aff. Exh. 1, Sheriff's Order 188.8.131.52 at 2. If a grievance relates to healthcare or medical treatment, it is forwarded to Cermak Health Services, the hospital at the Cook County Department of Corrections. DSOF ¶¶ 3-5, 18. All grievances must be resolved in "a timely fashion (not to exceed 30 days from the date the grievance was filed)." Defs.' Exh. D, Mueller Aff. Exh. 1, Sheriff's Order 184.108.40.206 at 3. If a grievance cannot be resolved within 30 days, the CRW must notify the both the detainee and the divisional Superintendent. Id. An inmate may appeal a grievance decision within five working days of his receipt of that decision. Id. The Administrator of Program Services must review the grievance appeal within ten days and reply to the inmate in writing. Id.
Boykin filed several grievances related to his medical care at Cook County Jail. DSOF ¶¶ 23-30; R. 76, Pl.'s Resp. Br. at 1-2. On May 8, 2012, Boykin filed a grievance complaining that he was not receiving adequate medical attention. DSOF ¶ 26; R. 59-3, Defs.' Exh. C, Grievances at Boykin_00004-05. This grievance was assigned a tracking number and forwarded to Cermak Health Services. DSOF ¶ 26. The Cermak Health Services staff wrote a response to the grievance on June 4, 2012. Id.; Defs.' Exh. C, Grievances at Boykin_00011. Boykin received the response on July 12, 2012 and appealed it the same day. DSOF ¶ 26. Boykin submitted another grievance alleging lack of medical attention on May 22, 2012. Id. ¶ 27; Defs.' Exh. C, Grievances at Boykin_00006. It was forwarded to Cermak Health Services, which responded on June 25, 2012. DSOF ¶ 27; Defs.' Exh. C, Grievances at Boykin_00013. Boykin received the response on July 15, 2012, and he appealed it. DSOF ¶ 27. Boykin also submitted a grievance regarding his medical care on May 29, 2012. Id. ¶ 28; Defs.' Exh. C, Grievances at Boykin_00007. Cermak Health Services responded on June 26, 2013, and the response was delivered to Boykin on July 12, 2012. DSOF ¶ 28; Defs.' Exh. C, Grievances at Boykin_00012. Again, Boykin appealed the response on the same day. DSOF ¶28. Boykin submitted his next grievance regarding his medical treatment on June 12, 2012. DSOF ¶ 29; Defs.' Exh. C, Grievances at Boykin_00008. Cermak Health Services responded on August 3, 2012, and Boykin received the response on August 16, 2012. DSOF ¶ 29; Defs.' Exh. C, Grievances at Boykin_00014. Boykin's final grievance regarding medical treatment was filed on August 4, 2012. DSOF ¶ 30; Defs.' Exh. C, Grievances at Boykin_00010. Cermak Health Services responded on September 7, 2012, and Boykin received the response on September 18, 2012. DSOF ¶ 30; Defs.' Exh. C, Grievances at Boykin_00015.
Boykin signed his complaint for this lawsuit on May 11, 2012. See R. 8, Compl. at 6. At some point between May 11, 2012 and June 5, 2012, Boykin mailed his complaint to the Clerk of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. See Docket Entry 1 for 12-cv-04447 (noting that the complaint was postmarked June 5, 2012). On June 7, 2012, the Clerk of the Court received Boykin's complaint. See Compl. at 1 (showing a "received" stamp of June 7, 2012). Boykin moved to proceed in forma pauperis. See R. 3, Application for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis. Boykin's motion was granted, and the complaint was marked as filed on June 21, 2012. See R. 5, June 11, 2012 Minute Entry; Compl. at 1 (showing a "filed" stamp of June 21, 2012). Defendants now move for summary judgment on the issue of exhaustion under the PLRA. See Defs.' Mot. Summ. J.
II. Legal Standard
Summary judgment must 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). A genuine issue of material fact exists if "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In evaluating summary judgment motions, courts must view the facts and draw reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007). The Court may not weigh conflicting evidence or make credibility determinations, Omnicare, Inc. v. UnitedHealth Grp., Inc., 629 F.3d 697, 704 (7th Cir. 2011), and must consider only competent evidence of a type otherwise admissible at trial, Gunville v. Walker, 583 F.3d 979, 985 (7th Cir. 2009). The party seeking summary judgment has the initial burden of showing that there is no genuine dispute and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Carmichael v. Village of Palatine, 605 F.3d 451, 460 (7th Cir. 2010); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Wheeler v. Lawson, 539 F.3d 629, 634 (7th Cir. 2008). If this burden is met, the adverse party must then "set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256.
A. Grievances in the Record
A plaintiff alleging a violation of his civil rights under § 1983 is not typically required to exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit. See Patsy v. Bd. of Regents of Fla., 457 U.S. 496, 516 (1982). Congress has created an exception to this general rule for inmates alleging constitutional deprivations concerning prison conditions. See Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 523 (2002). Under the PLRA, "[n]o 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). This is a strict requirement. To exhaust administrative remedies, prisoners must "file complaints and appeals in the place, and at the time, the prison's administrative rules require." Pozo v. McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1025 (7th Cir. 2002). "This means the prisoner must give the prison's grievance system a fair opportunity to consider the grievance, which requires the complaining prisoner to comply with the system's critical procedural rules." Fluker v. Cnty. of Kankakee, 741 F.3d 787, 791 (7th Cir. 2013) (quoting Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 95 (2006)) (internal quotation marks and alterations omitted). If a prisoner fails to use the administrative process properly, his claim may be indefinitely unexhausted. Dole v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804, 809 (7th Cir. 2006).
Boykin filed several grievances related to his claims of deliberate indifference to medical needs, and the parties cite to the same set of grievances in their summary judgment filings. See Defs.' Exh. C, Grievances; Pl.'s Exhs. 6, 10. Boykin's earliest-filed grievance related to his medical treatment at Cook County Jail was filed on May 8, 2012. Defs.' Exh. C, Grievances at Boykin_00004-05; Pl.'s Exh. 10 at 7-9. The response to this grievance was written on June 4, 2012, but Boykin did not receive the response until July 12, 2012. Defs.' Exh. C, Grievances at Boykin_00011. Boykin argues that the Cook County Jail grievance procedure was unavailable to him because the prison officials did not respond to his grievances in a timely fashion. See Pl.'s Br. at 4. It is true that the PLRA only requires a prisoner to exhaust "such administrative remedies as are available" to him. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Prison officials' failure to respond to a prisoner's claim may render administrative remedies unavailable. See Brengettcy v. Horton, 423 F.3d 674, 682 (7th Cir. 2005) (noting that failure to respond to grievances, particularly because the Cook County Jail policy "does not instruct a prisoner on what he is to do when the [Cook County Department of Corrections] fails to respond ...