United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation
of United States Magistrate Judge Donald G. Wilkerson (Doc.
134), which recommends granting in part and denying in part
the Motion for Summary Judgment on the issue of exhaustion of
administrative remedies filed by Defendants (Doc. 109). The
Report and Recommendation was entered on March 1, 2017. No
objections were filed.
Michael Jackson, an inmate in the Illinois Department of
Corrections, filed this lawsuit on August 19, 2015 (Doc. 1),
asserting that the 32 prison officials named as Defendants
violated his constitutional rights. Specifically, Jackson
claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his
serious mental health and medical needs, that several
officials caused him to incur disciplinary sanctions for
behaviors caused by his mental illness, and that certain
officers used excessive force when they physically assaulted
him in June 2015. After an initial review of the Complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (Doc. 9), Jackson was
permitted to proceed on nine counts.
August 4, 2016, all Defendants who have entered their
appearance filed a joint motion for summary judgment arguing
that Jackson failed to exhaust his administrative remedies
pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C.
§1997e, et seq., prior to commencing this
lawsuit (Doc. 109). Defendants argue that Jackson has not
exhausted his administrative remedies because he failed to
properly file and appeal any grievances concerning
Defendants' treatment of his alleged medical and mental
health conditions, use of force, or issuance of disciplinary
tickets. Defendants assert that Jackson filed only two
potentially relevant grievances and, of those two grievances,
only one was appealed to the Administrative Review Board
(“ARB”). However, because the ARB did not respond
to that grievance prior to Jackson filing this lawsuit, he
failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies.
Therefore, Defendants argue, Jackson's claims must be
dismissed, and the Court should enter summary judgment in
response, Jackson argues that he has attempted to file 20 to
30 grievances over the course of his incarceration, but that
officers would often refuse or fail to provide him with
grievance forms while he was in segregation. When he did
receive a form, he would submit the grievance by addressing
it to the Warden and handing it to a correctional officer.
Jackson claims he is unaware of any grievance procedures and
has never been told that his manner of submitting grievances
is incorrect. Jackson claims that from 2010 to the present,
he has only received one response to his grievances. Jackson
argues that because he did not receive responses to the
majority of his grievances, the grievance process was
rendered unavailable to him, and he is deemed to have
exhausted his administrative remedies. Thus, Jackson argues,
Defendants' motion for summary judgment should be denied.
Judge Wilkerson held a hearing pursuant to Pavey v.
Conley, 544 F.3d 739 (7th Cir. 2008), on February 27,
2017, and issued the Report and Recommendation currently
before the Court on March 1, 2017 (Doc. 134). The Report and
Recommendation accurately states the nature of the evidence
presented, as well as the applicable law and the requirements
of the administrative process.
timely objections are filed, this Court must undertake a
de novo review of the Report and Recommendation. 28
U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(B), (C); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b); SDIL-LR
73.1(b); Harper v. City of Chicago Heights, 824
F.Supp. 786, 788 (N.D.Ill. 1993); see also Govas v.
Chalmers, 965 F.2d 298, 301 (7th Cir. 1992). Where
neither timely nor specific objections to the Report and
Recommendation are made, however, this Court need not conduct
a de novo review of the Report and Recommendation.
See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 (1985). Instead, the
Court should review the Report and Recommendation for clear
error. Johnson v. Zema Systems Corp., 170 F.3d 734,
739 (7th Cir. 1999). The Court may then “accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or
recommendations made by the magistrate judge.” 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
de novo review is not required here, the Court has
considered the evidence and fully agrees with the findings,
analysis, and conclusions of Magistrate Judge Wilkerson.
Magistrate Judge Wilkerson determined that Jackson was
credible in his assertion that he attempted to submit
multiple grievances regarding certain claims in this case but
that he did not receive responses, thus rendering the
grievance process unavailable as to those specific
claims. Magistrate Judge Wilkerson also found
Jackson credible with regard to his claim that he was told to
submit grievances to the correctional officers because he was
in segregation, and that no one indicated to him that this
manner of grieving his issues was inappropriate. It is not
the Court's role at this juncture to second-guess
Magistrate Judge Wilkerson's credibility determinations.
See Pavey v. Conley, 663 F.3d 899, 904 (7th Cir.
2011); Goffman v. Gross, 59 F.3d 668, 671 (7th Cir.
1995) (“The district court is not required to conduct
another hearing to review the magistrate judge's findings
or credibility determinations”).
prison officials failed to submit Jackson's grievances to
the appropriate persons, the grievance process was rendered
unavailable, and Jackson is deemed to have exhausted his
administrative remedies. For these reasons, the Court ADOPTS
Magistrate Judge Wilkerson's Report and Recommendation
(Doc. 34), and GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the motion
for summary judgment on the issue of exhaustion filed by
Defendants (Doc. 109). Accordingly, Defendant John R. Baldwin
is DISMISSED without prejudice. In addition, the following
claims are DISMISSED without prejudice:
1. The claims in Count 2 against Defendants Tarry Williams
(“Terry Williams”) and Michael Lemke
2. Count 3 in its entirety;
3. The claims in Count 5 against Defendants Dr. Jonathan
Kelly (“Dr. Kelly”) and Dr. Saleh Obaisi
4. The claim in Count 6 against Defendant Dr. Mirza Baig