McClanton v. Bland et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER granting 21 Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff's 2 Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice, for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies. An appropriate Judgment shall accompany this Memorandum and Order. Signed by Magistrate Judge Jerome T. Kearney on 6/19/2014. (ks)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PINE BLUFF DIVISION
RODNEY WILSON MCCLANTON,
ESTELLA BLAND, et al.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on the Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No.
21). Plaintiff filed a Response in opposition to the Motion, and Defendants filed a Reply (Doc. Nos.
Plaintiff Rodney McClanton is a state inmate incarcerated at the Cummins Unit of the
Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC). He filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging denial of adequate medical care and treatment for a hernia condition, and asks for monetary
Summary Judgment Motion
Pursuant to FED.R.CIV.P. 56(a), summary judgment is appropriate if the record shows that
there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. See Dulany v. Carnahan, 132 F.3d 1234, 1237 (8th Cir. 1997). “The moving party bears
the initial burden of identifying ‘those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, which it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.’” Webb v. Lawrence County, 144 F.3d
1131, 1134 (8th Cir. 1998), quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (other
citations omitted). “Once the moving party has met this burden, the non-moving party cannot
simply rest on mere denials or allegations in the pleadings; rather, the non-movant ‘must set forth
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.’” Id. at 1135. Although the facts are
viewed in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, “in order to defeat a motion for summary
judgment, the non-movant cannot simply create a factual dispute; rather, there must be a genuine
dispute over those facts that could actually affect the outcome of the lawsuit.” Id.
Defendants Warren, Bland, and Esaw ask the Court to dismiss Plaintiff’s Complaint against
them for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform
Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e, and the ADC grievance procedure, Administrative Directive (AD)
12-16. According to Shelly Byers, a Medical Grievance Investigator for the ADC, Plaintiff filed
three medical grievances from March 5, 2011, to March 7, 2014 (Doc. No. 23-3.) However, Plaintiff
did not appeal any of those three grievances to the Deputy Director for Health and Correctional
Programs, which is the final step of the process. (Id). See also grievances CMU 13-00053, CU 1300113, and CMU 14-00010, Doc. No. 23-1. Therefore, based on these submissions, Defendants
state Plaintiff’s Complaint against them should be dismissed.
In Response, Plaintiff states that the medical staff knew that Plaintiff suffered from a hernia
in 2013, and waited until he filed this action on March 6, 2014, to provide surgery. Plaintiff does
not address Defendants’ exhaustion argument.
According to the PLRA,
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.
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), unconst’l on other grounds, Siggers-El v. Barlow, 433 F.Supp.2d 811, 813
(E.D. Mich. 2006). The courts have interpreted this provision as a mandatory requirement that
administrative remedies be exhausted prior to the filing of a lawsuit. In Booth v. Churner, the
United States Supreme Court held that in enacting the PLRA, “Congress has mandated exhaustion
clearly enough, regardless of the relief offered through administrative procedures.” 532 U.S. 731,
741 (2001). In addition, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held in Chelette
v. Harris, “[t]he statute’s requirements are clear: If administrative remedies are available, the
prisoner must exhaust them. Chelette failed to do so, and so his complaint must be dismissed, for
‘we are not free to engraft upon the statute an exception that Congress did not place there.’” 229
F.3d 684, 688 (8th Cir. 2000), quoting Castano v. Nebraska Dep’t of Corrections, 201 F.3d 1023,
1025 (8th Cir. 2000). In Johnson v. Jones, the Court held that “[u]nder the plain language of section
1997e(a), an inmate must exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit in federal court....If
exhaustion was not completed at the time of filing, dismissal is mandatory.” 340 F.3d 624, 627 (8th
Cir. 2003) (emphasis in original). Finally, in Jones v. Bock, the United States Supreme Court held
that while the PLRA itself does not require that all defendants be specifically named in an
administrative grievance, “it is the prison’s requirements, and not the PLRA, that define the
boundaries of proper exhaustion.” 549 U.S. at 218.
The ADC grievance policy in effect at the time of the incidents at issue in Plaintiff’s
Complaint was AD 12-16, which specifically instructs inmates how to process and appeal
grievances, including exhausting “remedies as to all defendants at all levels of the grievance
procedure before filing a Section 1983 lawsuit.” (Doc. No. 23-2, p. 18.) Since Plaintiff clearly did
not completely exhaust his administrative remedies as to the issues raised in his Complaint, he did
not comply with the law set forth in the PLRA, or the ADC grievance procedure. Therefore, his
Complaint should be dismissed, without prejudice.
IT IS, THEREFORE, ORDERED that Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
No. 21) is GRANTED, and Plaintiff’s Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice, for failure to
exhaust his administrative remedies.
An appropriate Judgment shall accompany this Memorandum and Order.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 19th day of June, 2014.
JEROME T. KEARNEY
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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