United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. ROSENSTENGEL Chief U.S. District Judge
Anterrian Moore, an inmate in the custody of the Illinois
Department of Corrections (“IDOC”), alleges that
Defendant Dustin Bowles was deliberately indifferent due to
his failure to protect Moore from an attack by his cell mate.
According to Bowles, Moore's claim cannot proceed because
he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies before
filing suit. The Court held an evidentiary hearing on
December 4, 2019.
was incarcerated at Pinckneyville Correctional Center
(“Pinckneyville”) during the alleged incident. On
May 1, 2018, Moore notified a correctional officer
(”CO”) that his cellmate was threatening to
strangle him in his sleep using a cable cord (Doc. 1, p. 6).
The CO reported these threats to his superior, who arranged
for a meeting with internal affairs (“IA”) the
same day. Id. Moore claims that IA Officer Dustin
Bowles offered him two options: he could refuse housing,
which would result in a new cell assignment after punishment
with segregation for a disciplinary violation; or he could
sign a release stating that he did not fear for his safety
and go back to his cell. Id. To avoid segregation
and his personal items being mishandled, Moore states he
reluctantly chose the latter option and was attacked by his
cellmate on May 29, 2018, after a disagreement regarding
catching their cell door. Id. at 6-7. Moore says he
sustained “minor” scrapes and bruises and a
“major” back injury during the scuffle, for which
he was denied timely treatment by “healthcare.”
Moore asserts the entire incident could have been avoided if
he was reassigned to a new cell in when he requested.
Id. at 6-8.
November 2018, Bowles filed a motion for summary judgment for
failure to exhaust administrative remedies (Doc. 48). In that
motion, Bowles submitted an affidavit from Chalene Hale, a
grievance officer, who searched Pinckneyville's records
for grievances submitted by Moore in 2018 against Bowles
involving Moore's cell placement or safety concerns about
Moore's cellmate (Declaration of Chalene Hale, Doc.
49-1). She found one emergency grievance dated June 7, 2018,
which was deemed a non-emergency by the Chief Administrative
Officer (“CAO”) and returned to Moore. Moore
included this denied emergency grievance in his response
(Doc. 55, pp. 6-7).
also submitted an affidavit from Sarah Johnson, a chairperson
for the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”), who
searched the ARB's records for grievances submitted by
Moore in 2018 against Bowles involving Moore's cell
placement or safety concerns about Moore's cellmate.
(Declaration of Sarah Johnson, Doc. 49-2). She found one
directly appealed grievance to the ARB dated June 7, 2018,
concerning an incident with Moore's cellmate.
Id. The grievance was received on June 18, 2018, but
included no facility response and was consequently denied.
Id. Moore further requested a response from the ARB
in December 2018, and the ARB replied referencing their
earlier denial. Id. Moore included the ARB Return of
Grievance Form along with the returned grievance in his
response (Doc. 55, p. 5). Johnson also testified to the same
facts as her affidavit during the hearing.
response to Bowles's motion, Moore admits receiving his
returned emergency grievance (Doc. 55, p. 1).He claims that
after receiving that response, he made copies of the
grievance and resubmitted it through the “normal
grievance process.” Id. at 2. Moore then
states almost a year later, on May 9, 2019, having received
no response regarding his grievance, he sent Assistant
Attorney General Jeanine Armstrong a copy of the grievance
with a letter claiming that he resubmitted the grievance as
advised by the CAO and to the ARB and did not receive a
response. Id. After waiting six months for a
response, he then wrote a letter to ARB, which responded,
stating that his grievance was returned in June 2018. (Doc.
55, p. 1, 11). Moore claims that he did attempt to exhaust
all his available remedies, and hints that the grievance
process was unavailable to him. He also claims that ARB's
response to his letter was deficient because it was not a
“formal response.” Moore also testified during
the hearing, stating that when his emergency grievance was
rejected by the CAO, he sent the same grievance to his
counselor through the mailbox and to the ARB.
judgment is proper only where the moving party can
demonstrate no genuine issue of material fact exists and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian
Information Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir.
2005). All facts and reasonable inferences must be construed
in favor of the non-moving party. Blow v. Bijora,
Inc., 855 F.3d 793, 797 (7th Cir. 2017) (citing
Calumet River Fleeting, Inc. v. Int'l Union of Operating
Eng'rs, Local 150, AFL-CIO, 824 F.3d 645, 647-48
(7th Cir. 2016)).
Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) requires
prisoners to exhaust all administrative remedies before
bringing suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(a); Dole v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804, 808 (7th
Cir. 2006). Proper exhaustion requires an inmate to
“file complaints and appeals in the place, and at the
time, the prison's administrative rules require.”
Pozo v. McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1025 (7th Cir.
the procedures set forth in the Illinois Administrative Code,
an inmate is required to file a written grievance within 60
days of the “incident, occurrence or problem that gives
rise to the grievance.” 20 Ill. Admin. Code §
504.810(a). The grievance must be filed with the inmate's
counselor, unless certain discrete issues are being grieved.
Id. If the complaint is not resolved through a
counselor, the grievance is considered by a grievance officer
who must render a written recommendation to the CAO (usually
the Warden) within two months of receipt, “when
reasonably feasible under the circumstances.”
Id. at § 504.830(e). The Warden then advises
the inmate of a decision on the grievance. Id.
inmate may also file an emergency grievance that is forwarded
directly to the Warden. Id. at § 504.840. If
“there is a substantial risk of imminent personal
injury or other serious or irreparable harm to the offender,
” consideration of the grievance will be expedited.
Id. at § 504.840(a) and (b). An inmate may
appeal the Warden's decision to the IDOC Director.
Id. at § 504.850(a). The appeal must be in
writing, must be directed to the ARB, and must be received by
the ARB within 30 days of the date of the Warden's
response. See also Dole v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804,
806-07 (7th Cir. 2006). The ARB will submit a written report