Brooks v. Meadows et al
ORDER approving and adopting the 30 Proposed Findings and Recommendations as this Court's findings in all respects; directing the Clerk to amend the docket to reflect the full name of defendant Melanie Jones; granting 26 Defendant Melanie Jo nes's motion for summary judgment; dismissing without prejudice Plaintiff Michael K. Brooks's claims against defendant Melanie Jones for failure to exhaust administrative remedies; and certifying pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that an in forma pauperis appeal from this Order would not be taken in good faith. Signed by Judge Kristine G. Baker on 9/13/2017. (mef)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
MICHAEL K. BROOKS
Case No. 4:16-cv-00847-KGB/JJV
JASON MEADOUGH, Sergeant,
Wrightsville Unit; et al
The Court has received Proposed Findings and Recommendations (“Recommendations”)
from Magistrate Judge Joe J. Volpe (Dkt. No. 30). Plaintiff Michael K. Brooks filed a timely
objection to the Recommendations (Dkt. No. 32). After a careful review of the Recommendations,
Mr. Brooks’s objection, and a de novo review of the record, the Court concludes that the
Recommendations should be, and hereby are, approved and adopted as this Court’s findings in all
The Court writes separately to address Mr. Brooks’s objections to the Recommendations.
Mr. Brooks first states his failure to exhaust properly his administrative remedies is due to
mysterious missing pages and unjust treatment (Dkt. No. 32, ¶ 1). Despite allegations of unjust
treatment, Mr. Brooks is still required to exhaust. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Moreover, Mr.
Brooks has put forth only conclusory statements concerning mysterious missing pages, despite
assertions that he had proof that his “Grievance was convenient lost [sic] and then returned to the
Plaintiff after the fact” (Dkt. No. 29, ¶ 4). “When the moving party has met its initial burden under
Rule 56, the nonmoving party must meet proof with proof, and if the nonmoving party fails to do
so, summary judgment, if appropriate, must be entered.” Hopkins v. Arkansas, No. 4:05CV00873
JLH, 2007 WL 2996842, at *2 (E.D. Ark. Oct. 12, 2007), aff'd, 329 F. App'x 680 (8th Cir. 2009).
Defendant Melanie Jones has put forth evidence that Mr. Brooks has not exhausted his
administrative remedies. Mr. Brooks has failed to meet proof with proof.
Mr. Brooks next makes assertions regarding the grievance procedure itself. Mr. Brooks
states that he was never informed why grievance WR-16-00338 was rejected as either nongrievable, untimely, duplicative, frivolous, or vexatious (Dkt. No. 20, at 3). He also states that
forcing inmates to write their appeal in the small space given is “nothing more than a malicious
attempt to prevent inmates from expressing and or seeking proper justice in relation to certain
issues.” (Dkt. No. 32, at 2). First, grievance WR-16-00338 was rejected as a duplicate of WR16-00097, as stated on the “Acknowledgment or Rejection of Unit Level Grievance,” which was
signed by Mr. Brooks (Dkt. No. 20, at 4). Accordingly, based on record evidence, Mr. Brooks
was aware of the reason for WR-16-00338’s initial rejection.
Additionally, while the Court agrees that the space for writing an inmate appeal is small, it
does not agree that it prevents inmates from “expressing and or seeking proper justice,” nor that
this small space results in a constitutional violation. Inmates have no right to a prison grievance
procedure. Thurmond v. Byrd, No. 4:07CV01089 BSM, 2008 WL 2782674, at *3 (E.D. Ark. July
3, 2008). Rather, prison inmates have a constitutional right to petition the government for redress
through a right of access to the courts. Flick v. Alba, 932 F.2d 728, 729 (8th Cir. 1991). Mr.
Brooks has not identified a federal constitutional right of which he was deprived because of the
alleged inadequacies in the grievance procedures. He makes no argument that he was treated
differently from other similarly situated prisoners, or that his grievances were ignored because of
his exercise of his constitutional rights, or that his ability to exercise any specific constitutional
right was chilled by defendants’ alleged actions. Accordingly, this objection fails.
Finally, Mr. Brooks states that defendant Melanie Jones’s assertions regarding a lack of
exhaustion are an attempt to “undermined [sic] the fact they not only failed to protect Plaintiff
from undue injury his medical needs as a human being were overlooked and he has been treated
with Deliberate Indifference in every aspect.” (Dkt. No. 32, at 2). The Prison Litigation Reform
Act requires an inmate to exhaust prison grievance procedures before filing suit in federal court.
See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Moreover, the Supreme Court of the United States has held that
exhaustion is mandatory. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 211 (2007). Accordingly, a motion for
summary judgment for lack of exhaustion is a valid affirmative defense, and Mr. Brooks’s last
objection has no merit. See Id. at 212.
It is therefore ordered that:
The Clerk shall amend the docket to reflect the full name of defendant Melanie
Jones (Dkt. No. 18, at 1).
Defendant Melanie Jones’s motion for summary judgment is granted (Dkt. No. 26).
Plaintiff Michael K. Brooks’s claims against defendant Melanie Jones are
dismissed without prejudice for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
The Court certifies pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3) that an in forma pauperis
appeal from this Order would not be taken in good faith.
So ordered this 13th day of September, 2017.
Kristine G. Baker
United States District Judge
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