Biggins v. Danberg et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 8/10/2017. (lmm)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
JAMES ARTHUR BIGGINS,
) Civ. Action No. 12-1666-GMS
BERNARD ADDOGOH, et al.,
The plaintiff, James Arthur Biggins ("Biggins"), an inmate at the James T. Vaughn
Correctional Center ("VCC"), Smyrna, Delaware, filed this lawsuit on December 6, 2012. (D.I.
2.) Biggins appears prose and was granted permission to proceed informa pauperis pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915. (D.I. 9.)
The complaint raises medical needs issues. Upon screening, several defendants were
dismissed and the case proceeded against the defendants Bernard Addogoh ("Addogoh") and Dr.
Louis Desrosiers-Roddeck ("Dr. Desrosiers") (together "the defendants"). (D.I. 11, 12.) On
June 23, 2015, the court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on the grounds
that Biggins failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as is required under the Prison
Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). (D.1. 79.) Biggins' moved for reconsideration and
his motion was denied on July 15, 2015. (D.I. 82.) Biggins did not appeal any court rulings.
On January 6, 2017, Biggins filed the instant motion for relief under Fed. R. Civ. P.
60(d)(l). (D.1. 85.) He did not serve a copy of the motion upon counsel ofrecord.
Biggins seeks relief pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(d)(l) on the grounds that the court
made a clear error of law in granting the defendants' motion for summary judgment. Biggins
contends that he has been denied a fair opportunity to the defense of his claims based upon the
court's ruling. (D.I. 85 at 2.)
Relief is available under Rule 60( d)( 1) only in extraordinary circumstances where relief is
necessary to "prevent a grave miscarriage of justice." See Jackson v. Danberg, 656 F.3d 157,
166 (3d Cir. 2011) (quoting United States v. Beggerly, 524 U.S. 38, 47 (1998)). Biggins "must
show a meritorious claim or defense" and "relief under Rule 60( d) is reserved for the rare and
exceptional case where a failure to act would result in a miscarriage of justice." See Sharpe v.
United States, 2010 WL 2572636, at *2 (E.D. Pa. June 22, 2010) (citing Beggerly, 524 U.S. at
42-46); Brown, 2013 WL 3742444, at *8-9.
As noted, the court granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on the grounds
that Biggins failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to commencement of the case, in
part, based upon Biggins' position that he was not required to exhaust his administrative
remedies, (see D.I. 78 at 1), and in part based upon the record that indicates that Biggins
exhausted his administrative remedies while the case was pending (see D.I. 74 at ex. C, grievance
submitted on November 25, 2012, commencement of case on December 6, 2012, grievance
denied on January 10, 2012, grievance appeal denied on February 4, 2013). Exhaustion during
the pendency of the case does not change the outcome given that dismissal of an inmate's claim
is appropriate when a prisoner has failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies before
bringing a civil rights action. See Ahmedv. Sromovski, 103 F. Supp. 2d 838, 843 (E.D. Pa.2
000). "Exhaustion must occur prior to filing suit, not while the suit is pending." Millbrook v.
United States, 8 F. Supp. 3d 601, 611 (M.D. Pa. 2014) (citations omitted); see also Oriakhi v.
United States, 165 F. App'x 991, 993 (3d Cir. 2006) (unpublished) (under the PLRA, prisoner
must exhaust all available administrative remedies prior to filing suit).
Biggins now claims that he exhausted his administrative remedies and provides the court
with a grievance he submitted on August 4, 2004, for an incident that occurred on November 21,
1997. (D.I. 85 at ex. A.) His complaint, filed in December 2012, refers to an incident that
occurred in October 2012. (See D.I. 2.) Only if Biggins is clairvoyant would he be able to
submit a grievance in 2004 for a claim that would occur in 2012.
Biggins has not supplied any extraordinary circumstances or reason to believe that a grave
miscarriage of justice has occurred in this case. Accordingly, the court will deny his request for
relief under Rule 60( d)(l ).
For the reasons stated, the court will deny the motion for relief from judgment pursuant
to Fed. R. Civ. P. 60(d)(l). (D.I. 85.)
An appropriate order will be entered.
Iii? , 2011
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