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Salley v. Hammers

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois

May 5, 2018

DONTANEOUS SALLY, Plaintiff,
v.
JUSTIN HAMMERS, et. al., Defendants

          SUMMARY JUDGMENT ORDER

          JAMES E. SHADID UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This cause is before the Court for consideration of Defendant's motion for summary judgment on the issue of exhaustion of administrative remedies. [23].

         Plaintiff has one claim alleging Defendant Illinois River Correctional Center Officer Paula Wolfe used excessive force on March 22, 2017 when she intentionally and maliciously slammed a prison door on Plaintiff's hand causing injury.

         I. FACTS

         The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) has an established grievance process. See 20 Ill. Admin. Code §§ 504.800 et seq. An inmate must first submit a written grievance on the appropriate form to their counselor. 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.810(a). The grievance must be submitted within 60 days of the alleged incident or problem. Nonetheless, if the inmate can demonstrate “good cause' for failing to meet this deadline, the grievance will still be considered. 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.810(a).

         The grievance officer must review the grievance and report his or her findings and recommendations to the Chief Administrative Officer or Warden within two months of receipt “when reasonably feasible under the circumstances.” 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.830(e). The Warden will then review the recommendations and advise the inmate of the Warden's final decision in writing.

         If the inmate is not satisfied with the Warden's response, he or she can file a written appeal to the IDOC Director through the Administrative Review Board. The appeal must be filed within 30 days of the Warden's decision. 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.850(a). The Director shall then review the findings and recommendations of the board and make a final determination within six month after receipt of the grievance “where reasonably feasible under the circumstances.” 20 Ill. Admin. Code § 504.850(f). When an inmate has received a copy of the Director's decision, the grievance procedure is complete.

         The Administrative Review Board (ARB) received four grievances from the Plaintiff which made reference to the alleged use of excessive force on March 22, 2017. All of the grievances were filed using the traditional, non-emergency grievance procedures. (Def. Mot., Ben. Aff., p. 3-4).

         Plaintiff first submitted a grievance dated April 27, 2017 complaining about the Defendant slamming the door on his hand. The grievance officer denied Plaintiff's grievance on July 19, 2017 finding Defendant Wolfe was not working in Plaintiff's housing unit on the day of the incident. (Def. Ex. A1., p. 2-3). The Warden signed off on the denial of the grievance on August 4, 2017. (Def. Ex. A1, p. 3). The ARB received the grievance on December 18, 2017. The board denied the grievance as untimely because inmates are required to file their appeals within 30 days of the Warden's signature, and Plaintiff had provided no explanation for the three month delay. (Def. Ex. A1, p. 4).

         Plaintiff's second grievance is dated May 31, 2017, but Plaintiff sent his grievance directly to the ARB which received it on June 8, 2017. (Def. Ex. A2, p. 2-4). Plaintiff claimed he first filed a grievance complaining about Defendant Wolfe's actions on March 23, 2017, but he had not received a response. The ARB denied the grievance since Plaintiff had not provided a response from his grievance officer, nor the Warden. (Def. Ex. A2, p. 4). Plaintiff was advised to contact his counselor. (Def. Ex. A2, p. 4).

         Plaintiff's third grievance was dated July 23, 2017. While Plaintiff mentioned the incident with Defendant Wolfe, the focus of his grievance was medical care for chronic back pain. Both the grievance counselor and grievance officer denied the grievance on July 31, 2017. (Def. Ex. A3, p. 2, 4). The Warden also denied the grievance on November 28, 2017. (Def. Ex. A3, p. 4). Plaintiff appealed to the ARB which received his grievance on December 7, 2017.

         Plaintiff also included a letter with this appeal complaining about the response to his grievance and the grievance procedures in general. However, Plaintiff made no mention of the incident with Defendant Wolfe. (Def. Ex. A3, p. 6).

         The ARB ultimately found the July 23, 2017 grievance was not submitted within the required 60 day time frame because the alleged incident occurred four months before Plaintiff submitted his grievance. Furthermore, Plaintiff again provided no explanation for the delay. (Def. Ex. A3, p. 4).

         Plaintiff's final grievance was dated August 4, 2017. (Def. Ex. A4, p. 2). Plaintiff again complained about Defendant Wolfe's actions. Plaintiff also claimed he filed a grievance on March 23, 2017, but he still not received a response. The counselor denied the grievance on August 7, 2018, and Plaintiff appealed the denial directly to the ARB. The ARB noted Plaintiff had not completed the grievance process at his institutional by obtaining a response from the grievance officer and the Warden. (Def. Ex. A4, p. 4). In addition, the ...


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