United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Gottschall United States District Judge
Michael Bryant, currently an Illinois state prisoner, has
brought this pro se civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff claims that Defendant, an
officer at the Cook County Jail, violated Plaintiff's
constitutional rights by acting with deliberate indifference
to his safety. More specifically, Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant failed to take reasonable steps to protect him from
two assaults by a fellow detainee. This matter is before the
Court for ruling on Defendant's motion for judgment on
the pleadings . Although granted the opportunity to
respond to the motion, see briefing schedule entered
February 16, 2017, Plaintiff has not filed an opposing brief.
For the following reasons, the uncontested motion is granted.
12(c) provides that “[a]fter the pleadings are
closed-but early enough not to delay trial-a party may move
for judgment on the pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). The
distinction between a motion to dismiss and a motion for
judgment on the pleadings is largely inconsequential for
present purposes because both are evaluated under the same
standard: the Court accepts as true all facts alleged in the
complaint and construes all reasonable inferences in favor of
the non-moving party. See Lodholtz v. York Risk Servs.
Grp., Inc., 778 F.3d 635, 639 (7th Cir. 2015) (citing
Vesely v. Armslist LLC, 762 F.3d 661, 664-65 (7th
Cir. 2014)); Hayes v. City of Chicago, 670 F.3d 810,
813 (7th Cir. 2012). In considering a motion under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c), the Court may rely on the pleadings,
documents attached to or critical to (and referred to in) the
pleadings, or information subject to judicial notice. See
Geinosky v. City of Chicago, 675 F.3d 743, 745 n.1 (7th
Cir. 2012) (discussing review of motions under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6)) (citations omitted); Lodholtz, 778 F.3d at
639 (explaining that the same standards govern Rules 12(b)(6)
and 12(c) (citing Adams v. City of Indianapolis, 742
F.3d 720, 727-28 (7th Cir. 2014)); see also Fed. R.
Civ. P. 10(c). A motion for judgment on the pleadings is
granted “only if it appears beyond doubt that the
plaintiff cannot prove any facts that would support his claim
for relief.” Buchanan-Moore v. County of
Milwaukee, 570 F.3d 824, 827 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Northern Indiana Gun and Outdoor Shows, Inc. v. City of
South Bend, 163 F.3d 449, 452 (7th Cir. 1998)).
alleges the following facts, assumed true for purposes of
Defendant's motion for judgment on the pleadings: On
December 14, 2015, Plaintiff advised Defendant Sczerua that a
fellow inmate was threatening him. Sczerua ignored
Plaintiff's concern that he was in danger and allowed
both inmates to go to the recreation yard together. During
the recreation period, the other detainee attacked Plaintiff.
the prisoners returned from recreation, Plaintiff told
Sczerua what had happened. Sczerua refused to take any
action, and accused Plaintiff of lying. Shortly thereafter,
Sczerua abandoned his post, once again leaving Plaintiff
alone with the younger, hostile, declared enemy. The other
inmate assaulted Plaintiff again, causing injuries to his
mouth, hand and legs.
attached a copy of his ensuing grievance as an exhibit to the
Complaint. The grievance form reflects that Plaintiff did not
appeal the denial of his grievance.
is entitled to judgment on the pleadings, having shown that
Plaintiff failed to complete the administrative grievance
process prior to initiating suit.
Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 contains a comprehensive
administrative exhaustion requirement. Under that statute,
“[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison
conditions ... by a prisoner ... until such administrative
remedies as are available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997(e)(a); see also Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S.
199, 204 (2007); Maddox v. Love, 655 F.3d 709, 720
(7th Cir. 2011). “[I]f a prison has an internal
administrative grievance system through which a prisoner can
seek to correct a problem, then the prisoner must utilize
that administrative system before filing a claim under
Section 1983.” Massey v. Helman, 196 F.3d 727,
733 (7th Cir. 1999); Howard v. Maselko, No. 11 C
9278, 2013 WL 1707955, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 19, 2013)
order to satisfy the PLRA's exhaustion requirement, a
prisoner “must take all steps prescribed by the
prison's grievance system.” Ford v.
Johnson, 362 F.3d 395, 397 (7th Cir. 2004). An inmate
must comply with the rules established by the State with
respect to the form, timeliness, and content of grievances.
Dale v. Lappin, 376 F.3d 652, 655 (7th Cir. 2004);
Pozo v. McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1023-25 (7th Cir.
2002). “Administrative remedies have not been exhausted
unless the inmate has given the process a chance to work and
followed through with administrative appeals.”
Worthem v. Boyle, 404 Fed. App'x 45, 46, 2010 WL
4683631, at *2 (7th Cir. Nov. 18, 2010) (citing
Ford, 362 F.3d at 398-400; Dixon v. Page,
291 F.3d 485, 490-91 (7th Cir. 2002)). If a prisoner fails to
properly avail himself of the prison's or jail's
grievance process, he may lose his right to sue.
Massey, 196 F.3d at 733; Howard, 2013 WL
1707955, at *2. Correctional officials bear the burden of
pleading and proving failure to exhaust. Kaba v.
Stepp, 458 F.3d 678, 681 (7th Cir. 2006) (citing
Dole v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804, 809 (7th Cir.
Cook County Department of Corrections has established a
grievance procedure that is available to all inmates.
Brengettcy v. Horton, 423 F.3d 674, 678 (7th Cir.
2005). This process requires filing a grievance and an
appeal. Id. A prisoner plaintiff must complete the
full exhaustion process before bring suit in federal court.
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). An inmate at the Cook County Jail
is required to submit a grievance in a designated lockbox
within fifteen days of the matter being grieved.
Stallings v. Cook County, No. 11 C 7349, 2013 WL
3669623, at *4 (N.D. Ill. July 12, 2013) (Coleman, J.). The
grievances are picked up daily by the Correctional
Rehabilitation Worker (CRW), who must address the ...