United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
CHRISTOPHER E. YOUNG, Plaintiff,
JON M. CAMP, LT. BRADLEY, C/O LIND, C/O FURLOW, C/O JAMES, C/O CLARK, VIPIN K. SHAH, and OFFICER J. HASTINGS, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
DONALD G. WILKERSON, Magistrate Judge.
This matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson by United States District Judge Nancy J. Rosenstengel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), and SDIL-LR 72.1(a) for a Report and Recommendation on the question of whether Plaintiff exhausted his administrative remedies prior to filing this lawsuit, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). For the reasons set forth below, it is RECOMMENDED that the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Camp, Bradley, Lind, Furlow, James, Clark, and Hastings (Doc. 86) be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, and that the Court adopt the following findings of fact and conclusions of law.
Plaintiff, Christopher E. Young, an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center, filed this Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging defendants violated his constitutional rights while he was incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center ("Pinckneyville"). After an initial screening, Plaintiff was allowed to proceed on Count One, an Eighth Amendment failure to protect claim against Defendants Camp, Bradley, Lind, Furlow, James, Clark, and Hastings, and Count Two, an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Defendants Camp, Hastings, and Shah (Doc. 10).
On August 22, 2014, Defendants Bradley, Camp, Clark, Furlow, James, Hastings, and Lind filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing this suit (Doc. 86). Based on the affidavit of Billie Greer, a Chairperson for the Administrative Review Board ("ARB"), Defendants argue that Plaintiff either failed to file grievances complaining of each Defendant's alleged conduct or failed to file grievances in the proper timeframe. Plaintiff timely filed a response to Defendants' Motion on September 30, 2014 (Doc. 100).
FINDINGS OF FACT
Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Bradley, Clark, Lind, James, and Furlow relate to their denial of Plaintiff's requests to be moved into protective custody. In particular, Plaintiff alleges that when he arrived at Pinckneyville he asked Defendant Clark to place him in protective custody because he had known enemies. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Clark denied his request and placed him in general population. Defendant Clark avers that Plaintiff never submitted any grievances related to this request. Plaintiff also claims that he submitted written requests and made verbal requests for placement into protective custody to Defendants Bradley, Clark, Lind, James, and Furlow that were summarily denied. The date on which Plaintiff made these requests is unclear; however, it appears that immediately following his transfer to Pinckneyville, Plaintiff made continuous requests for placement in protective custody to Defendants Bradley, Clark, Lind, and Furlow. With respect to Defendant James, it appears that Plaintiff made his first request to this Defendant sometime after October 13, 2011. Although Defendants acknowledge that Plaintiff submitted an emergency grievance dated December 17, 2010 that identified "known-enemies" that was received by the ARB on February 28, 2011, Defendants explain that this grievance was not reviewed on the merits as it was not submitted in the proper timeframe. Further, Defendants argue that this is the only grievance related to Plaintiff's concerns regarding "known enemies" that could be relevant to his claims against them. According to these Defendants, Plaintiff did not submit grievances to the ARB specifically complaining of their conduct alleged in this lawsuit. However, the Court notes that in his December 17, 2010 grievance, Plaintiff stated that he had made his cell house lieutenants, sergeants, and correctional officers aware of his enemies, but they failed to take any action (Doc. 87-1, pp. 12-13).
Plaintiff's claims against Defendants Camp and Hastings relate to their alleged denial of medical attention and failure to protect Plaintiff from his cellmate on February 4, 2012. On this date, Plaintiff alleges he asked Defendants Hastings and Camp for medical attention for his asthma, but they refused his requests. Further, Plaintiff claims that these Defendants failed to intervene for approximately two minutes while his cellmate was attacking him. Once these Defendants eventually ordered the cellmate to stop attacking Plaintiff, he claims they issued him a disciplinary ticket for assaulting an officer. With respect to these claims, Defendants Camp and Hastings concede that Plaintiff submitted a grievance regarding the February 4, 2012 disciplinary ticket to which the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) responded on March 29, 2012, and the ARB made its final determination on January 7, 2013. However, Defendants Camp and Hastings argue this grievance is insufficient to exhaust Plaintiff's claims against them as it complains of alleged due process violations, not the Defendants' conduct at issue in this lawsuit. The Court notes that this grievance, which Defendants indicate was filed February 4, 2012, was actually filed February 8, 2012 (Doc. 87-1, pp. 18-19). In this grievance, Plaintiff recounts events leading up to the issuance of what he contends was a false disciplinary ticket issued on February 4, 2012 by Defendant Camp. Plaintiff does not specifically mention being assaulted by his cellmate or being refused an inhaler or any other medical treatment by either Defendant Camp or Hastings ( Id. ).
In his response to Defendants' Motion, Plaintiff avers that he filed grievances complaining of the conduct at issue in this lawsuit, but he never received a response from his counselor and/or grievance officer. Plaintiff explains that he was housed in segregation during this time and was not able to personally submit his grievances; accordingly, he placed these grievances in his cell door for the correctional officers to place in the mailbox. Plaintiff claims these grievances were subsequently lost or thrown away.
Pursuant to Pavey v. Conley, 544 F.3d 739 (7th Cir. 2008), the Court held a hearing on the issue of exhaustion on December 1, 2014. At the hearing, Plaintiff provided testimony regarding the various grievances he avers exhausted his administrative remedies prior to filing this lawsuit.
With respect to his grievance dated December 17, 2010, Plaintiff testified that he was not able to appeal the CAO's decision to the ARB within the proper 30-day timeframe because he was consistently being moved around the prison, including into segregation and then back to general population. Plaintiff testified that his property was confiscated while he was in segregation. Plaintiff could not provide the dates of his movements, but Defendants were ordered to provide the Court with information on Plaintiff's movements within Pinckneyville for the relevant time period. Plaintiff did not provide substantive testimony regarding additional grievances he claimed he filed that were either lost or destroyed.
Defendants maintained that Plaintiff's December 17, 2010 grievance is insufficient to establish exhaustion of his administrative remedies as it was submitted out of the proper timeframe. Defendants averred that there was no indication Plaintiff was in segregation in the 30 days following the CAO's decision. Defendants also informed the Court that another, unrelated grievance Plaintiff initially filed on September 30, 2010 was received by the ARB on the same date as his December 17, 2010 grievance.
The Court instructed the parties that it has copies of the other grievances filed by Plaintiff, specifically the grievance filed February 8, 2012, and did not require additional ...