United States District Court, C.D. Illinois
L. DARROW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
cause is before the Court on Defendants Daniel Hobart and
Susan Hobart's motion for summary judgment on the issue
of failure to exhaust administrative remedies. As explained
more fully infra, the Hobarts are entitled to
summary judgment because Plaintiff Maurice Jackson failed to
exhaust properly his administrative remedies against them
before filing this suit.
Maurice Jackson is an inmate within the Illinois Department
of Corrections (“IDOC”) who is housed at the
IDOC's Pontiac Correctional Center
(“Pontiac”). Defendants Daniel Hobart and Susan
Hobart (collectively, “the Hobarts”) are food
service workers at Pontiac.
filed this Complaint on July 18, 2016, alleging, among other
things, that the Hobarts had tampered with his food beginning
in May 2016. Based upon this allegation, the Court determined
that Jackson's Complaint stated a claim against the
Hobarts for violating his Eighth Amendment rights based upon
the conditions of his confinement. The Hobarts have now moved
for summary judgment arguing that Jackson failed to exhaust
his administrative remedies prior to filing this suit.
GOVERNING SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment
shall 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);
Ruiz-Rivera v. Moyer, 70 F.3d 498, 500-01
(7th Cir. 1995). The moving party has the burden
of providing proper documentary evidence to show the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986). Once the moving
party has met its burden, the opposing party must come
forward with specific evidence, not mere allegations or
denials of the pleadings, which demonstrates that there is a
genuine issue for trial. Gracia v. Volvo Europa Truck,
N.V., 112 F.3d 291, 294 (7th Cir. 1997).
“[A] party moving for summary judgment can prevail just
by showing that the other party has no evidence on an issue
on which that party has the burden of proof.”
Brazinski v. Amoco Petroleum Additives Co., 6 F.3d
1176, 1183 (7th Cir. 1993). “As with any
summary judgment motion, we review cross-motions for summary
judgment construing all facts, and drawing all reasonable
inferences from those facts, in favor of the nonmoving
party.” Laskin v. Siegel, 728 F.3d 7314, 734
(7th Cir. 2013)(internal quotation marks omitted).
the non-movant cannot rest on the pleadings alone, but must
designate specific facts in affidavits, depositions, answers
to interrogatories or admissions that establish that there is
a genuine triable issue; he must do more than simply show
that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
261 (Brennan, J., dissenting)(1986)(quoting Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
586 (1986)); Hot Wax, Inc. v. Turtle Wax, Inc., 191
F.3d 813, 818 (7th Cir. 1999). Finally, a
scintilla of evidence in support of the non-movant's
position is not sufficient to oppose successfully a summary
judgment motion; “there must be evidence on which the
jury could reasonably find for the [non-movant].”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.
Prison Litigation Reform Act requires an inmate to exhaust
the available administrative remedies before filing a §
1983 lawsuit. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a)(“[n]o action
shall be brought with respect to prison conditions . . . by a
prisoner . . . until such administrative remedies as are
available are exhausted.”); Massey v. Wheeler,
221 F.3d 1030, 1034 (7th Cir. 2000). Exhaustion is
mandatory. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 95
(2006)(“The benefits of exhaustion can be realized only
if the prison grievance system is given a fair opportunity to
consider the grievance. The prison grievance system will not
have such an opportunity unless the grievant complies with
the system's critical procedural rules.”); Dole
v. Chandler, 43 F.3d 804, 809 (7th Cir.
futility, sham, or substantial compliance exception exists to
this requirement, and a plaintiff seeking only monetary
damages for ongoing conditions must still utilize the
grievance procedure in place before filing suit.
Massey, 259 F.3d at 646 (inmate alleging failure to
repair a hernia timely must exhaust administrative remedies
even though surgery was performed and only money damages
claim remained); Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731,
736-37 (2001)(the PLRA requires administrative exhaustion
even where grievance process does not permit award of money
damages, if “some action” in response to a
grievance can be taken). Likewise, the exhaustion requirement
includes claims that only seek equitable relief. Falcon
v. United States Bureau of Prisons, 52 F.3d 137, 139
(7th Cir. 1995).
means properly and timely taking each step in the
administrative process established by the applicable
procedures. Pozo v. McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1025
(7th Cir. 2002)(failure to file timely
administrative appeal constitutes failure to exhaust
administrative remedies and bars a § 1983 suit).
“[I]f a prison has an internal administrative grievance
system through which a prisoner can seek to correct a
problem, the prisoner must utilize that administrative system
before filing a claim.” Massey v. Helman, 196
F.3d 727, 733 (7th Cir. 1999). A dismissal for
failure to exhaust is without prejudice, so reinstatement is
not barred unless the time for exhaustion has expired.
Walker v. Thompson, 288 F.3d 1005, 1009
(7th Cir. 2002).
issues of fact exist in determining whether an inmate has
exhausted his administrative remedies, a judge should hold a
hearing and resolve these factual disputes. Pavey v.
Conley, 544 F.3d 739, 742 (7th Cir. 2008).
The Court is permitted to make findings of fact and
credibility assessments of witnesses at such an evidentiary
hearing. Pavey v. Conley, 663 F.3d 899, 904
Court finds that the prisoner exhausted his administrative
remedies, “the case will proceed to pretrial discovery,
and if necessary a trial, on the merits.”
Pavey, 544 F.3d at 742. If the Court finds that the
prisoner did not exhaust his administrative remedies, the
Court determines whether: (a) the plaintiff has unexhausted
remedies, and so he must go back and exhaust; (b) or,
although he has no unexhausted remedies, the failure to
exhaust was innocent (as where prison officials prevent a
prisoner from exhausting his remedies), in which event he
will be allowed to go back and exhaust; or (c) the failure to
exhaust was the prisoner's fault, in which event the case
is over. Id. No evidentiary hearing is ...