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Beasley v. Hicks

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

September 17, 2019




         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Mark A. Beatty (Doc. 82), which recommends that the Motion for Summary Judgment on the Issue of Exhaustion (Doc. 46) filed by Defendants Dwayne Burrows and Terry Beegle be granted. The Report and Recommendation was entered on June 3, 2019. Plaintiff Theodore Beasley filed a timely objection (Doc. 84). For the reasons explained below, the Court adopts the Report and Recommendation and grants the motion for summary judgment.


         Beasley filed this pro se civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on June 4, 2018. (Doc. 1). Beasley asserts that he was attacked by his cellmate and three officers on February 4, 2018, while he was incarcerated at Shawnee Correctional Center (“Shawnee”) (Doc. 1). With regard to Defendants Beegle and Burrows, Beasley claims two violations of his Eighth Amendment rights occurred. (Docs. 1, 7). The first violation alleged is against Defendant Beegle for failing to intervene and protect Beasley from being attacked a second time. (Id.). The second alleged violation is against both Defendants Beegle and Burrows for being deliberately indifferent to his medical needs after he was assaulted. (Id.).

         In November 2018, Defendants Beegle and Burrows filed a motion for summary judgment arguing Beasley failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies before filing this suit. (Doc. 46). Defendants assert there are only two grievances in the record that mention Beegle and Burrows. Both of these grievances were dated March 18, 2018, and were sent directly to the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) without any institutional responses. Defendants also dispute the credibility of a statement Beasley attached to his Complaint claiming he received no responses to emergency grievances he submitted on February 15, 2018, and March 18, 2018. Defendants argue this statement is not credible as it was written on May 3, 2018, at the same time he mailed his grievances directly to the ARB. Finally, Beasley's cumulative counseling summary shows that he did submit one grievance during his term in segregation on an unrelated matter. Thus, there is evidence Beasley was able to grieve issues during his time in segregation.

         Beasley responded by arguing that he filed two emergency grievances on February 15, 2018, regarding Defendants Beegle and Burrows, but he never received a response. (Doc. 51). Beasley stated that, because he was housed in segregation, he did not have access to housing unit mailboxes for the deposit of his emergency grievances addressed to the Chief Administrative Officer (“CAO”)-the warden. Instead, he placed them in his cell door for pickup by officers per Shawnee's standard procedure at that time. (Docs. 50, 51).

         Beasley further argues that on March 18, 2018, after 30 days of not receiving a response from the CAO, he re-wrote the same emergency grievances and made handwritten copies of them. He then stuck the grievances in his cell door. (Doc. 51; Doc. 81 at p. 17). Beasley maintains that he never received a response to these grievances either.

         Beasley also asserts he requested that his counselor, Daniel Lynn, document their communications while he was in segregation and that he kept his counselor verbally informed that he had not received any responses from the CAO concerning his emergency grievances about Defendants Beegle and Burrows. (Id.). Beasley argues that because he never received responses to his grievances, his attempts to exhaust his administrative remedies were thwarted by officers who must have destroyed his emergency grievances after taking them from his cell door. (Doc. 50, p. 2). Thus, Beasley contends, he fully exhausted the administrative remedies available to him at that time. (Id. at pp. 2-3).

         Judge Beatty held an evidentiary hearing regarding the Motion for Smarmy Judgment on April 11, 2019, pursuant to Pavey v. Conley, 544 F.3d 739 (7th Cir. 2008). (Docs. 69, 82). Beasley appeared via videoconference. (Id.). At the hearing, Beasley testified that he wrote two grievances dated February 15, 2018, pertaining to the incidents at issue in this lawsuit and sent them out, but that he does not know what happened to them. (Doc. 81 at pp. 12-14). Beasley testified that he made copies of these grievances- one of which he sent along with the Complaint in this matter and the other he sent to the Administrative Review Board (Doc. 81 at p. 13). He admitted, however, that there were no grievances dated February 15, 2018, attached to his Complaint or included in the records produced by the ARB (Id.).

         Counselor Daniel Lynn also testified at the Pavey hearing. Lynn testified that he recalled seeing Beasley in segregation in February 2018 and that Beasley told him he had been turning grievances in but that he had not been getting responses. (Doc. 81 at pp. 45-46). Lynn further testified that Beasley asked him to check and see if he had received any grievances from Beasley, at which point Lynn checked and noted in Beasley's cumulative counseling summary that he did not see any grievances from him. (Id. at p. 46). According to Lynn, he told Beasley that if he handed the grievance directly to Lynn, he would guarantee the grievance would get turned in. (Id. at p. 32).

         After the hearing, Judge Beatty issued his Report and Recommendation to this Court on June 3, 2019, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b), and SDIL-LR 72.1(a). (Doc. 82).


         In his Report and Recommendation, Judge Beatty concluded that Beasley failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as to Defendants Beegle and Burrows. (Doc. 82, p. 7). Judge Beatty specifically noted Counselor Lynn's testimony that he tells inmates in segregation to give him grievances directly to ensure proper submission, and that Beasley's pertinent counseling records show that Counselor Lynn never received grievances from Beasley while he was housed in segregation. (Id.). Importantly, Judge Beatty did not find credible Beasley's testimony that he attempted to submit emergency grievances in February and March 2018 but did not receive responses. Furthermore, although Beasley attached the March 18, 2018 grievances, which contained allegations against Beegle and Burrows, to his Complaint (Doc. 1-1), these grievances were sent directly to the ARB without the required institutional responses (Doc. 82. pp. 8-9). Consequently, Judge Beatty found that Beasley failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies before filing this lawsuit.

         Where 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). The Court may accept, reject or modify the magistrate judge's recommended decision. Harper, 824 F.Supp. at 788. In making this determination, the Court must look at all the evidence contained in the record and give fresh consideration to those issues to which specific ...

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