United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Michael J. Reagan United States District Judge.
April 2016, while incarcerated at Robinson Correctional
Center, Ronnie Smith filed a pro se lawsuit in this Court
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging violations of his
federally-secured civil rights while he was confined at Big
Muddy Correctional Center. He named Dr. Andrew Johnson (an
employee of Crossroads Community Hospital) and Dr. Dennis
Larson (an employee of Wexford Health Sources, Inc.) as
defendants and alleged that he had received inadequate
medical treatment from them while at Big Muddy. The Court
dismissed the original complaint and ordered Smith to amend.
Smith did so in June 2016.
Court conducted threshold review of the amended complaint
under 28 U.S.C. 1915A via an Order dated July 27, 2016 (Doc.
12). The undersigned dismissed Dr. Johnson without prejudice
(as the amended complaint failed to state a claim against
him) but found that Plaintiff had stated a cognizable claim
against Dr. Larson for deliberate indifference to medical
needs. Defendant Larson answered and asserted the affirmative
defense of lack of exhaustion of exhaustion of administrative
remedies (Doc. 18, p. 4).
case comes now before the Court on Defendant Larson's
December 8, 2016 motion for summary judgment and supporting
memorandum asserting that Plaintiff failed to exhaust
administrative remedies before filing this lawsuit (Docs.
25-26). Although plainly notified of the need to respond to
the motion (see notice at Doc. 27), Plaintiff did
not file any response or opposition to the motion.
Local Rules of this District allow the Court to treat that
failure to respond as an admission of the merits of
Defendant's motion. SDIL Local Rule 7.1(c). The
undersigned treats the lack of response as an admission that
there are no disputed material facts. See, e.g., Flynn v.
Sandahl, 58 F.3d 283, 288 (7th Cir. 1995) (a failure to
respond constitutes an admission that there are no disputed
motion presents a purely legal issue on which no evidentiary
hearing is necessary. For the reason explained below, the
Court finds that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (PLRA) and grants Defendant's motion.
Summary of Key Allegations and Evidence
claims that he received deliberately inadequate medical care
for his scrotal hernia from Defendant Larson while an inmate
at Big Muddy. Plaintiff alleges that the inadequate care
related to his hernia started in May 2013 and continued for
two years. The record before the Court reveals the following.
was approved for hernia surgery, which was performed on March
11, 2015. Plaintiff was transferred to Robinson Correctional
Center on June 3, 2015. On November 11, 2015, Plaintiff had a
second surgery in which drainage tubes were inserted to
relieve swelling and fluid build-up.
December 8, 2015, Plaintiff filed a grievance with his
counselor at Robinson related to his medical care from
Defendant Larson at Big Muddy (Doc. 26-1). Plaintiff's
counselor returned the grievance on December 17, 2015,
because the issues within the grievance were not related to
incidents that occurred at Robinson and were outside of the
jurisdiction of Robinson (id., p. 1).
Plaintiff's counselor instructed Plaintiff to send his
grievance to the Administrative Review Board (ARB)
(id.). The ARB received Plaintiff's grievance on
December 29, 2015 and returned it on January 4, 2016,
explaining that none of the issues except the second surgery
(the November 11, 2015 surgery) fell within the applicable
60-day review period (Doc. 26-2). The ARB has no record of
any other grievance filed by Plaintiff (Doc. 26-3).
starts with an overview of the applicable legal standards.