Davis v. Hempstead County Detention Facility et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Honorable Barry A. Bryant on April 19, 2016. (mll)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
Civil No. 4:15-cv-04034
HEATH ROSS; JAMES SINGLETON;
JOHNNY GODBOLT and JOAN MCCLAIN
Plaintiff Kerry Davis filed this civil rights case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He proceeds
pro se and in forma pauperis. Before me is Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF
The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge to conduct any and all
proceedings in this case, including conducting the trial, ordering the entry of a final judgment, and
conducting all post-judgment proceedings. ECF No. 14. Pursuant to this authority, I find this
Motion is ready for decision and issue this Memorandum Opinion.
Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of Corrections – Ouachita
River Unit in Malvern, Arkansas. During the time at issue in this case, Plaintiff was incarcerated
in the Hempstead County Detention Center (“HCDC”). Plaintiff filed his Complaint on March 24,
2015 alleging that his constitutional rights were violated when he received inadequate medical
care after he was bitten by a spider while at HCDC. ECF No. 2. Plaintiff named HCDC, Heath
Ross, James Singleton, Johnny Godbolt and Joan McClain as Defendants. ECF No. 2. Plaintiff
subsequently dismissed claims against HCDC. ECF. 10. Plaintiff makes both official and
individual capacity claims against each Defendant. ECF No. 2.
On December 23, 2015, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and a Brief in
Support thereof arguing in part Plaintiff’s claims should be dismissed for failure to properly
exhaust his administrative remedies pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). ECF
Nos. 18, 19. A hearing was held on April 5, 2016 in this matter. Plaintiff and Counsel for
Defendants appeared via video conference. ECF. No. 29.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT RECORD
Upon review of the summary judgment record, I find the following as undisputed facts:
On February 8, 2015 Plaintiff was bitten by what he believed to be a spider. ECF No. 2.
Plaintiff informed a jailer about the bite and was told to put in a sick call requesting medical
treatment. For the next several days Plaintiff was provided with anti-biotic topical cream and
bandages for the bite. ECF No. 2.
On February 10, 2015 Plaintiff put in a medical request for the spider bite. ECF. No 19-1.
The request was received by Defendant McClain, the nurse at HCDC, on February 12, 2015. That
same day Defendant McClain treated Plaintiff and ordered antibiotics for him. ECF No. 19-1.
Plaintiff did not file any grievance during his incarceration at HCDC relating to the spider
bite. ECF No. 2. Defendants submitted Interrogatories to Plaintiff and asked him to “list each and
every grievance and/or request that you have made while an inmate at Hempstead Detention
Center”. ECF No. 19-3. Plaintiff responded as follows: “No grievance file. Why. Because was
not going to be handled corrected. I Kerry Davis felt it would be better this way.” ECF No. 19-3.
The Court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R.
Civ. P. 56(a). “[A] genuine issue of material fact exists if: (1) there is a dispute of fact; (2) the
disputed fact is material to the outcome of the case; and (3) the dispute is genuine, that is, a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for either party.” RSBI Aerospace, Inc. v. Affiliated FM Ins.
Co., 49 F.3d 399, 401 (8th Cir. 1995). The moving party has the burden of showing the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, but the
nonmoving party may not rest upon mere denials or allegations in the pleadings and must set forth
specific facts to raise a genuine issue for trial. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
256 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986).
The Court must view all evidence and inferences in a light most favorable to the nonmoving
party. See McCleary v. ReliaStar Life Ins. Co., 682 F.3d 1116, 1119 (8th Cir. 2012). However,
“[w]hen opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the
record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts
for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary judgment.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380
The PLRA in 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) provides: “[n]o 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.” Exhaustion is mandatory. See Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524-25 (2002).
In Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007), the Supreme Court concluded that “to properly
exhaust administrative remedies prisoners must complete the administrative review process in
accordance with the applicable procedural rules.” Id. at 218 (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). The Court stated that the “level of detail necessary in a grievance to comply with the
grievance procedures will vary from system to system and claim to clam, but it is the prison’s
requirements, and not the PLRA, that define the boundaries of proper exhaustion.” Id. “[F]ailure
to exhaust available administrative remedies is an affirmative defense, not a matter of subject
matter jurisdiction.” Lenz v. Wade, 490 F.3d 991, 993 n. 2 (8th Cir. 2007).
The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, has recognized two exceptions to the PLRA
exhaustion requirement: (1) when officials have prevented prisoners from utilizing the grievance
procedures; or (2) when the officials themselves fail to comply with the grievance procedures. See
Gibson v. Weber, 431 F.3d 339, 341 (8th Cir. 2005) (citing Miller v. Norris, 347 F.3d 736 (8th Cir.
2001) (explaining that a prisoner is only required to exhaust those administrative remedies that are
available and any remedies that prison officials prevent a prisoner from utilizing are not considered
Plaintiff testified during the hearing in this matter he asked for a grievance form but was
never provided with one. I find this testimony to be contradicted by the record. First, Plaintiff’s
Complaint does not allege any person denied him a grievance form. Instead, Plaintiff states he
intentionally did not file any grievance relating to his claims while incarcerated at HCDC. ECF
No. 2. In addition, Plaintiff made clear he did not file a grievance because he “felt it would be
better this way [filing a lawsuit].” ECF No. 19-3. Consequently, neither of the exceptions to the
PLRA exhaustion requirement apply in this matter.
Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to bringing his lawsuit in
this matter. Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. As a result, it is not necessary
for the Court to address the merits of Plaintiff’s claim.
Accordingly, Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 18) is GRANTED.
Plaintiff's claims against each Defendant are hereby dismissed with prejudice.
DATED this 19th day of April 2016.
/s/ Barry A. Bryant
HON. BARRY A. BRYANT
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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