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Haywood v. Maue

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

July 8, 2019

JOHN D. HAYWOOD, Plaintiff,
C/O MAUE, Defendant.



         This matter has been referred to United States Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly by United States District Judge Staci M. Yandle pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), and SDIL-LR 72.1(a) for a Report and Recommendation on the question of whether Plaintiff exhausted his administrative remedies prior to filing this lawsuit, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1997(e)(a). It is RECOMMENDED that the District Court ADOPT the following findings of fact and conclusions of law, and GRANT Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 21).

         Findings of Fact

         Plaintiff John Haywood, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Menard Correctional Center. Plaintiff alleges that in May 2014, Defendant Maue directed another inmate to fight Plaintiff. After the other inmate quickly retreated, Maue placed Plaintiff in a chokehold and subsequently shoved Plaintiff's face into the floor. A lieutenant ordered Maue to stop. Plaintiff is proceeding in this action on an Eighth Amendment excessive force claim against Maue related to the May 2014 incident.

         Defendant Maue filed a motion for summary judgment arguing Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing this action (Doc. 21). Defendant contends, and Plaintiff does not dispute, that there is only one grievance related to the claim in this matter (Doc. 22-1 at 1-5). In this grievance, Plaintiff describes Maue's alleged assault and asks that Maue be fired for attempted murder. This grievance, dated May 19, 2014, was submitted to the Chief Administrative Officer as an emergency. The CAO determined an emergency was not substantiated on July 2, 2014, and Plaintiff was directed to submit the grievance in the normal manner. Despite the CAO's non-emergency determination, the grievance was received by the Grievance Office on July 2, 2014. The Grievance Officer denied the grievance on September 2, 2014 and the CAO concurred with the denial on September 8, 2014. Plaintiff dated his appeal to the director as September 11, 2014, but it was not received by the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) until October 23, 2014[1]. Because the ARB's receipt of this grievance occurred more than 30 days after it was signed by the CAO, it was not reviewed and the ARB returned the grievance to Plaintiff on November 5, 2014.

         Defendant contends that Plaintiff's May 19, 2014 was not exhausted as Plaintiff never received a determination on the merits from the ARB. Plaintiff asserts that the Court should determine he exhausted this grievance because he did not receive the CAO's signed response until October 17, 2014. Plaintiff asserts he mailed the grievance to the ARB on October 20, 2014 because October 17, 2014 was a Friday. Plaintiff posits that the delay in receipt of the grievance was likely due to his many cell transfers during the relevant time.

         Defendant also argues that this action should be dismissed because it was filed beyond the applicable two-year statute of limitations. Defendant contends that Plaintiff's grievance process lasted, at most, until November 5, 2014 when the ARB provided no further redress on his grievance. Because Plaintiff did not file suit until January 4, 2018, Defendant argues this lawsuit is barred.

         Plaintiff argues that although the ARB made its decision November 5, 2014, he did not receive it until January 11, 2016. Plaintiff attributes the delay to flooding and cell transfers. Plaintiff also argues that Defendant's statute of limitations argument must fail because he was not aware that he fractured his elbow during the assault at issue until he received his medical records in January 2016.

         Pursuant to Pavey v. Conley, 544 F.3d 739 (7th Cir. 2008), the Court held a hearing on the issue of exhaustion on June 18, 2019. At the hearing, Plaintiff testified that he was placed in segregation after the May 2014 incident with Defendant Maue. During his second week in segregation, he claims he wrote an emergency grievance. Plaintiff testified he never received a response to his grievance and, when Warden Butler came through segregation, he asked if she had received it. Warden Butler indicated she had not received the emergency grievance, and Plaintiff gave her a copy of the same. Plaintiff received a response to his hand-delivered grievance in late June 2014 wherein the Warden found that his grievance was not an emergency. Plaintiff testified he then submitted his grievance to the counselor and, after receiving the counselor's response, he sent it to the Grievance Officer. The counselor's response to Plaintiff's grievance is not in the record. Plaintiff testified he had copies of the counselor's response and would submit it to the Court for review.

         Plaintiff also testified he met with two internal affairs officers around September 2014 in the showers in his gallery. Plaintiff testified that the IA officers had the Grievance Officer's response denying his grievance. Plaintiff was told to sign the Grievance Officer's report and other paperwork. The Officers maintained possession of his grievance. Plaintiff was told he was going to be transferred to a different institution. In October 2014, Plaintiff testified he wrote to Warden Lashbrook inquiring as to the whereabouts of his grievance. On October 2, 2014, Lashbrook responded to his letter, indicating that grievances involving discipline at Menard or issues that have not been resolved by your counselor shall be forwarded to the grievance officer (see Doc. 25 at 8). Plaintiff testified he received the CAO and Grievance Officer's response to his May 2014 grievance on October 17, 2014. The ARB received this grievance on October 23, 2014.

         With regard to the ARB's response to the May 2014 grievance, Plaintiff testified he never received said response while he was at Menard. Plaintiff testified he received the ARB response sometime after he was transferred to Lawrence in March 2016. Plaintiff testified he wrote letters to the ARB concerning the status of its response and that he had copies of the same. Plaintiff was directed to provide the Court with copies of the letters.

         On June 21, 2019, Plaintiff submitted additional documentation to the Court (see Doc. 36). The additional documentation includes: (1) a letter signed by Haywood addressed to “whom it may concern” inquiring about grievances dated May 19, 2014 and May 22, 2014; (2) envelopes directed to Plaintiff at Menard postmarked February 1, 2017, June 7, 2017, December 19, 2016, and December 6, 2016; (3) an emergency grievance dated September 13, 2014, complaining about an interaction with Sgt. Tisdale and referencing the conversation Plaintiff testified took place in the showers with internal affairs officers; (4) an emergency grievance dated July 4, 2014, wherein Plaintiff complained about issues with his wheelchair and asked to be transferred to an ADA facility; (5) a grievance dated August 4, 2014, where Plaintiff asks for copies of a May 22, 2014 grievance; (6) a May 19, 2014 grievance (different from the May 19, 2014 that was in the record and discussed above), wherein Plaintiff contends he is missing property after being taken to segregation; (7) an illegible grievance that was responded to by Plaintiff's counselor on July 21, 2014; and (8) the final adjustment committee report finding Plaintiff guilty of Offense 102 “Assaulting Any Person - Staff.”

         Legal Standards

         Summary ...

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