Jackson et al v. Catanzariti et al
ORDER denying 132 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings; denying 134 Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings. Signed by Chief Judge J. Randal Hall on 06/27/2017. (thb)
IN THE UNITED
MIGUEL JACKSON and KELVIN
CIVIL ACTION NO.
et al. ,
Plaintiffs Miguel Jackson and Kelvin Stevenson filed this
action pursuant to 42 U.S. C. § 1983 on December 10, 2012.
case arises out of an alleged unlawful beating that Plaintiffs
Prison in; Glennville,
amended their complaint
The amended coiyiplaint is the operative
complaint in the case.
Plaintiffs have named 3 9
individuals from Smith State Prison ks Defendants.
two of the defendants,
Defendants Eerius Attical and Joshua
administrative remedies against them.
The motions are ripe
The legal standards applicable to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(c) motions for judgment on the pleadings and Rule
Creations, Inc. v. City of Cumming, Ga. , 558 F. Supp. 2d 1283,
1284 (N.D. Ga. 2008)
("A motion for judgment on the pleadings
is subject to the same standard as is a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
A motion for judgment on the pleadings, like a
motion to dismiss,
does not test whether the plaintiff will
ultimately prevail on the merits of
the court must
accept as true all facts alleged in the complaint and construe
all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
See Hoffman-Pugh v. Ramsey,
The court, however,
312 F.3d 1222,
need not accept the
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
A complaint also must "contain sufficient factual matter,
plausible on its face.'"
Id. at 61% (citing Bell Atl.
required to plead *factual content
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for
basis of a dispositive issue of law,
no construction of the
factual allegations of the complaint will support the cause of
Executive 100, Inc. v. Martin Cnty. , 922 F.2d 1536, 1539 (11th
performed a nshake down"
dormitory that housed
(Am. Compl., Doc. 24, t 13.)
During that time,
Defendant Joseph Catanzariti struck Plaintiff Jackson after
the two exchanged words, and then Defendant Catanzariti lifted
Plaintiff Jackson up, with the help of other defendants, as if
he were going to throw him over the second floor rail.
After placing him in handcuffs, Defendant Catanzariti
repeatedly struck Plaintiff Jackson in the face with an object
(the back end of a flash light or hammer).
beating is allegedly on video.
dormitory and to the medical unit
(Id. f 19.)
Defendants continued to
(Id. H 21.)
Catanzariti repeatedly hit Plaintiff Jackson in the face with
and another defendant beat him with a night stick.
(Id. H 22.)
While in the medical unit, Defendant Catanzariti
threatened Plaintiff Jackson if he mentioned the beating and
hit him a few more times.
(Id. f 27.)
suffered head injury, a broken nose, fractured teeth, multiple
lacerations to the face, contusions, swelling to his eyes and
trauma to his
continues to suffer effects from tjhe injuries sustained on
repeatedly struck Plaintiff Stevenson with a hammer while he
on the ground,
sitting on him.
(Id. t 17.)
and with a 300-pound officer
Other defendants beat and kicked
beating is allegedly on video.
Plaintiff Stevenson was
taken to the medical unit, but while there, Defendants punched
multiple lacerations, a broken nose; swelling to the eyes and
trauma to his ear canal.
continues to suffer effects from the injuries sustained on
Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
Plaintiffs allege that all Defendants either participated in
the beatings or failed to take reasonable steps to immediately
brought a claim (Count II) for supervisory liability against
Eason and Andrew McFarlane.
The case was stayed for over three years because of the
state criminal charges brought against Plaintiffs for their
conduct in the prison disturbance that occurred on that day.
(See Doc. 81, 118.)
Now, discovery in the case is ongoing and
A Joint Status Report submitted to the Court on March
7, 2017 shows that the parties are discussing the dismissal of
the movants here are not among
Section 1983 creates a federal remedy for the deprivation
of federal rights.
826 F.2d 1030,
Wideman v. Shallowford Community Hosp.,
An actionable §
privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws
of the United States and that the deprivation was by a person
or persons acting under color of law.1
claim that Defendants
subjected them to
applicable to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment.
169 F.3d 1353,
cruel and unusual punishment governs the amount of force that
prison officials are entitled to use against inmates); Bennett
v. Parker, 898 F.2d 1530, 1532 (11^ Cir. 1990) ("The eighth
amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment is
triggered when a prisoner is subject to a [n]
wanton infliction of pain.'"
(quoted source omitted)).
In order to seek relief, however, a prisoner must first
exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit in federal
specifically, under the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") ,
conditions under section 1983
available are exhausted."
Through their motions
or any other
for judgment on the pleadings,
Defendants Eason and Attical contend that Plaintiffs did not
1 There is no dispute that
acted under color
their prison grievances do not identify them.
In Jones v.
Court explained that
the United States
u[t]he level bf detail necessary in a
grievance to comply with the grieva.nce procedures will vary
system and claim
boundaries of proper exhaustion."
Thus, this Court must look
to the Smith State Prison's requirements to determine whether
Plaintiffs complied with its grievance procedure.
The Standard Operating Procedure for prisons operated by
the Georgia Department of Corrections requires a prisoner to
use its grievance form to grieve his complaints.
In turn, the
Grievance Form informs the prisoner as follows:
completed in blue or black ink.
You must include
for J. on the Pleadings,
132, Exs. 1 & 2 (emphasis added) .)
Here, Defendants Eason and
2 Plaintiffs argue in part thlat they were not required
to provide the names of persons involved because such
requirement appears on the Grievance Form as opposed to in the
Department of Corrections.
(Doc. 135, at 13-14; Doc. 142, at
13-14.) This argument is without merit; the Grievance Form is
explicitly identified within and appended to the SOP. Its use
is a required step in the exhaustion process and is therefore
an integral part of the grievance procedure.
Attical complain that Plaintiffs'
grievances fail to mention
them by name or any description of
could reasonably identify them.
Plaintiff Jackson's grievance form reads as follows:
On 12/31/10 after regaining control of a disturbance
in D-2 Dorm,
Smith State Prison.
and subdued with mace.
and escort off. repeatedly beat! me in the head, face,
and body with a hammer and blackjack all the way to
the medical door.
Inside medical waiting room
officers continued to punch and kick me.
(Id. , Ex.
Plaintiff Jackson requests "criminal charges
brought upon all officers that participated!"
Plaintiff Stevenson's grievance form reads as follows:
12-31-10 at D2 Dormitory, Petit ioner was assaulted by
Lt. McFarland (sic) and Sgt
Cantarzati (sic) 2nd
shift along with numerous other officers, while
handcuffed in restraints.
Said officers assaulted me
incident was witnessed by Micheal (sic) Briscoe and
numerous persons of Smith S.P. (Grady Williams).
(Id. , Ex.
Plaintiff Stevenson requests * [c]riminal and
civil charges to be brought against said officers . . . ."
The Eleventh Circuit addressed
a similar question to the
one presented here in Brown v. Sikes, 212 F.3d 1205 (11th Cir
The question before the Brown court was "whether the
§ 1997e(a) exhaustion requirement always prohibits a prisoner
administrative grievance the prisoner filed."
Id. at 1207
Eleventh Circuit unequivocally held that
information he has, including the identity of any officials he
thinks have wronged him and any witnesses."
Id. at 1208.
court reasoned that a prisoner cannot identify those whose
identities are unknown to him and that the PLRA did not intend
to "shut the courthouse door to a prisoner who, at the time
he filed his grievance,
did not know and could not readily
ascertain the identity of the individuals responsible for the
Supreme Court did not change this analysis in Jones v. Bock,
54 9 U.S. 199, but rather supported the Brown rationale when it
held that nothing in the PLRA "imposes a 'name all defendants'
detail required in a prison grievance would vary not only from
system to system but from "claim to claim" as well.
(n [E] xhaustion
inadequate simply because an individual later sued was not
named in the grievances.
We leave it to the court below in
the first instance to determine |the sufficiency of the
exhaustion in these cases.").
In reviewing Plaintiffs'
grievances in this case,
unwarranted federal-court interference with the administration
opportunity to address complaints internally before allowing
initiation of a federal case.'"
Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81,
(quoted source omitted); see also Jones v. Bock, 549
U.S. at 204 ("Requiring exhaustion allows prison officials an
opportunity to resolve disputes
concerning the exercise of
Toennings v. Ga. Dep't of Corr., 600 F. App'x 645, 649 (11th
Cir. 2 015) ("The critical function of the grievance process is
that it provides the institution with notice of a problem such
(citing with approval Brown,
212 F.3d at 1209-
for the proposition that "[e]xhaustion of the grievance
every single defendant be
identified by name").
also considered the
cited by the
parties to include Parzyck v. Prison Health Servs., 627 F.3d
concluded that a prison grievance form that did not list the
name of the doctor defendant was not insufficient for a claim
involving the ongoing denial of medical attention.
cite Paryzyck in a conclusive way for the proposition that
prisoner need not name any particular defendant
grievance in order to properly exhaust his claim."
exhaustion requirement on a case by case basis in accordance
with the policy reasons behind it,
1997e(a)'s exhaustion requirement is designed 'to alert prison
officials to a problem,
not to provide personal notice to a
particular official that he may be sued
. . . .'"
Defendants also cite Wright v. Langford, 562 F. App'x 769
in which the Eleventh Circuit found that a
form which omitted the defendant's
name did not
properly exhaust the prisoner's administrative remedies.
subject grievance form,
stated in relevant part:
was sparse in that it only
"My hand is fractured your officer
handcuffed me behind my back."
At the summary
judgment stage, the district court dismissed the plaintiff's
excessive force claim for failure to exhaust upon finding that
the grievance was untimely and failed to include not only the
officer's name, which was known to the plaintiff at the time
of filing the grievance, but also that the officer "handcuffed
him too tightly or jerked him up on the handcuffs."
By contrast, Plaintiffs' grievances in this case provide
decision in Toenniges,
600 F. App'x 645.
grievance process is that it provides the institution with
a problem such that they have an opportunity to
concluded that the Georgia prisoner's failure to name a doctor
defendant on his grievance form was fatal to his claim because
treatment, did not serve the purpose of putting the prison on
notice of an ongoing problem with the prisoner's treatment or
give the prison an opportunity to address the medical issue.
grievance served the purposes of the exhaustion requirement.
In the case at bar,
grievances describe a
(identified by date and place)
unlawful beatings of Plaintiffs in the dormitory,
grievances provide a few names along with the allegation that
"numerous" unidentified officers participated in the beatings.
It is clear from both grievances that Plaintiffs believed more
than the named officers were involved.
There can be no doubt
that if the allegations are true, it would be very difficult
circumstances to remember or be aware of every officer who was
present and participated in the abuse.
It is also noteworthy
that the allegations arise out of a prison disturbance that
for their involvement.
prisoners under the circumstances of this case to a strict
"'name all defendants'
the pleadings stage
because of the instructions on the grievance form.
54 9 U.S.
the grievances put the
prison on notice of potential claims, particularly given the
observes that the parties are diligently conducting discovery
and represent that they are carefully considering which of the
Report, Doc. 174 (listing 15 Defendants that Plaintiffs are
prepared to dismiss and stating that "[t]he parties will
dismissed from the case before motions for summary judgment
are due to be filed").)
Upon the foregoing,
the Court concludes that Plaintiffs
did not fail to exhaust their administrative remedies against
the Court DENIES Defendants Eason and Attical's
motions for judgment on the pleadings.
(Docs. 132 & 134.)
ORDER ENTERED at Augusta, Georgia, this ^r_7^aky of June,
UNitED States district court
DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
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