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Ingram v. Campbell

United States District Court, S.D. Illinois

January 14, 2020

JOHNNY INGRAM, Plaintiff,
v.
AARON CAMPBELL, GREGORY DAVIS and GARRETTE LEPOSKY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          GILBERT C. SISON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Introduction

         Now before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment on the issue of exhaustion of administrative remedies (Docs. 29, 30). Ingram opposes the motion (Doc. 33). Based on the following, the undersigned DENIES the motion for summary judgment on the issue of exhaustion of administrative remedies.

         Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, pro se Plaintiff Ingram filed his complaint for deprivations of his constitutional rights that occurred at Menard Correctional Center (“Menard”). Ingram alleges that while housed at Menard, officials subjected him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement by housing him in a segregation cell with no lights for 88 days (from October 16, 2017 to January 12, 2018).

         After conducting a preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, Ingram was allowed to proceed on one claim against Campbell, John Doe 1 and John Doe 2 for subjecting him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement in violation of the Eighth Amendment (Doc. 8). Also in the Order, the Court added Frank Lawrence as a defendant in his official capacity only for the purpose of responding to discovery aimed at identifying the unknown defendants. (Doc. 8, p. 3). Thereafter, Ingram filed a first amended complaint identifying and substituting Garrette Leposky as John Doe 1 and Gregory Davis as John Doe 2 (Docs. 22, 24).

         On October 31, 2019, Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on the issue of failure to exhaust administrative remedies (Docs. 29, 30, 31). Ingram filed his opposition on November 12, 2019 (Doc. 33). As the motion is ripe, the Court turns to address the merits of the motion.

         Facts

         On January 9, 2018, Ingram filed a grievance concerning the issues in this lawsuit. Ingram names Campbell in the grievance. However, he does not name either Defendant Davis or Defendant Leposky. The grievance states in pertinent part:

This is my third grievance about this situation. I am diagnosed with hearing voices, multipule [sic] personality disorder some type of schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorders. Now since 10/16/17 Ive [sic] been locked in cell 823 without a working light. My gallery officer has put in multipule [sic] work orders and nothing has happened. Ive [sic] told officers on all three shifts about the situation. My 5 day officer (Campbell) has been the only one to try and help me.”

(Doc. 30-1, p. 4). On March 27, 2018, Chairman Dave White of the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) denied Ingram's grievance finding that the issue was appropriately addressed by the facility administration (Doc. 30-1, p. 1).

         Legal Standards

         Summary Judgment is proper if the pleadings, discovery materials, disclosures and affidavits demonstrate no genuine issue of material fact such that [Defendants are] entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Wragg v. Village of Thornton, 604 F.3d 464, 467 (7th Cir. 2010). Lawsuits filed by inmates are governed by the provisions of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). That statute states, in pertinent part, that “no action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.” Id. (emphasis added). The Seventh Circuit requires strict adherence to the PLRA's exhaustion requirement. See, e.g., Dole v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804, 809 (7th Cir. 2006)(noting that ‘[t]his circuit has taken a strict compliance approach to exhaustion”). Exhaustion must occur before the suit is filed. See Ford v. Johnson, 362 F.3d 395, 398 (7th Cir. 2004). Plaintiff cannot file suit and then exhaust his administrative remedies while the suit is pending. Id.

         Moreover, “[t]o exhaust remedies, a prisoner must file complaints and appeals in the place, and at the time, the prison administrative rules require.” Pozo v. McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1025 (7th Cir. 2005). Consequently, if a prisoner fails to use a prison's grievance process, “the prison administrative authority can refuse to hear the case, and the prisoner's claim can be indefinitely unexhausted.” Dole, 438 F.3d at 809. The purpose of exhaustion is to give prison officials an opportunity to address the inmate's claims internally, prior to federal litigation. See Kaba v. Stepp, 458 F.3d 678, 684 (7th Cir. 2006)

         Under Pavey, the Seventh Circuit held that “debatable factual issues relating to the defense of failure to exhaust administrative remedies” are not required to be decided by a jury but are to be determined by the judge. Pavey v. Conley, 544 F.3d 739, 740-741 (7th Cir. 2008). Thus, where failure to exhaust ...


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