Miller v. Walker et al
ORDER GRANTING 66 MOTION for Summary Judgment filed by Lu Walker. This matter is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Clerk of Court is directed to enter judgment accordingly. Signed by Magistrate Judge Reona J. Daly on 11/17/2022. (nmf)
Case 3:20-cv-00448-RJD Document 69 Filed 11/17/22 Page 1 of 6 Page ID #448
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
Case No. 20-cv-448-RJD
DALY, Magistrate Judge:
Plaintiff Jokari Miller, a former inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of
Corrections (“IDOC”), filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging his constitutional
rights were violated while he was incarcerated at Shawnee Correctional Center (“Shawnee”).
Plaintiff alleges he was held in unconstitutional conditions of confinement, denied medical care,
and retaliated against. Plaintiff’s amended complaint was filed on August 19, 2021. The
amended complaint was screened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and Plaintiff was allowed to
proceed on the following claims:
Eighth Amendment claim against Warden Walker for housing
Plaintiff in unconstitutional conditions of confinement in 4-House
First Amendment claim against Warden Walker for retaliating
against Plaintiff for filing a lawsuit by directing prison staff to place
him in segregation and mishandle his legal mail.
Fourteenth Amendment claim against Warden Walker for placing
Plaintiff in segregation for over a year without due process of law.
Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment claim against
Warden Walker for placing Plaintiff in segregation for over a year.
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Count Seven: Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment claim against
Warden Walker for directing the strip search and placement of
Plaintiff in a clear box on display for staff and other inmates.
Count Eight: Eighth Amendment cruel and unusual punishment claim against
Warden Walker for subjecting Plaintiff to toxic drinking water.
First Amendment claim against Warden Walker for denying
Plaintiff the right to petition the government for redress of his
State law claim against Warden Walker for the intentional infliction
of emotional distress.
Defendant Walker filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on the Issue of Exhaustion (Doc.
66) that is now before the Court. Defendant asserts summary judgment is warranted because
Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing this lawsuit. In support of his
motion, Defendant asserts Plaintiff filed three grievances regarding some claims in this lawsuit,
but argues these grievances were never fully exhausted. The following grievances were included
in grievance records from the Administrative Review Board (“ARB”) and identified by Defendant
as related to the claims in this lawsuit:
1. Grievance dated April 13, 2020 (#2020-04-158) (Doc. 67-1 at 24-26): Plaintiff
alleges he was placed in segregation “unjustly” on February 4, 2020. Plaintiff asserts he was
placed in segregation while awaiting transfer to another facility and was forgotten. Plaintiff’s
counselor responded to this grievance on April 16, 2020. The grievance was received by the ARB
on October 8, 2020 and was returned to Plaintiff on November 4, 2020. The ARB directed
Plaintiff to provide a copy of the Grievance Officer’s and Chief Administrative Officer’s (CAO)
responses. There is no further documentation concerning this grievance in the record.
2. Grievance dated September 17, 2020 (#2020-09-13) (Doc. 67-1 at 34-36): In this
grievance, Plaintiff complains he was forced to drink water contaminated with Bisphenol A
(“BPA”), which made him sick. Plaintiff asserts he received a letter form the warden claiming the
water is fine. The counselor responded to this grievance on September 29, 2020 and it was
received by the ARB on October 8, 2020. The ARB directed Plaintiff to provide a copy of the
Grievance Officer’s and CAO’s responses. There is no further documentation concerning this
grievance in the record.
3. Grievance dated July 29, 2012 (#2021-08-03) (Doc. 67-1 at 2-5): In this grievance,
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Plaintiff alleges he was subjected to a humiliating and unnecessary strip search by Officer
Williams on July 26, 2021. The Grievance Officer responded to this grievance on October 18,
2021, recommending the grievance be denied. The CAO concurred with the Grievance Officer
on October 19, 2021.
The Court has reviewed Plaintiff’s grievance records submitted by Defendant and finds an
additional grievance, dated September 23, 2020, complained of issues relevant to the claims in this
lawsuit. In his September 23, 2020 grievance (#2020-09-158) (Doc. 67-1 at 24, 27-28), Plaintiff
lodges complaints similar to those set forth in his April 13, 2020 grievance claiming he has been
falsely imprisoned in segregation since February 4, 2020.
The counselor responded on
September 29, 2020, and Plaintiff appealed the grievance to the ARB. The ARB received this
grievance, along with the April 13, 2020 grievance, on October 8, 2020. The ARB directed
Plaintiff to provide a copy of the Grievance Officer’s and CAO’s responses. There is no further
documentation concerning this grievance in the record.
Along with his motion, Defendant filed a Rule 56 Notice informing Plaintiff of his
obligation to file a response to the motion for summary judgment and advising him of the perils of
failing to respond (see Doc. 68). Plaintiff’s response to the motion was due by June 22, 2022.
No response, or any other filing, has been received from Plaintiff as of the date of this Order. The
motion and notice were sent to Plaintiff’s last known address as set forth on the docket sheet and
there is no indication it was not received or that it was returned as undeliverable.
Summary Judgment Standard
Summary judgment is appropriate only if the moving party can demonstrate “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); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322(1986); see also
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Ruffin-Thompkins v. Experian Information Solutions, Inc., 422 F.3d 603, 607 (7th Cir. 2005).
The moving party bears the initial burden of demonstrating the lack of any genuine issue of
material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Once a properly supported motion for summary
judgment is made, the adverse party “must set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine issue
for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986). A genuine issue of
material fact exists when “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Estate of Simpson v. Gorbett, 863 F.3d 740, 745 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). In considering a summary judgment motion, the district court views
the facts in the light most favorable to, and draws all reasonable inferences in favor of, the
nonmoving party. Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d 962, 965 (7th Cir. 2013)
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), prisoners are required to exhaust available
administrative remedies prior to filing lawsuits in federal court. “[A] prisoner who does not
properly take each step within the administrative process has failed to exhaust state remedies.”
Pozo v. McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1024 (7th Cir. 2002). “[A] suit filed by a prisoner before
administrative remedies have been exhausted must be dismissed; the district court lacks discretion
to resolve the claim on the merits, even if the prisoner exhausts intra-prison remedies before
judgment.” Perez v. Wisconsin Dep’t of Corr., 182 F.3d 532, 535 (7th Cir. 1999). “[A]ll
dismissals under § 1997e(a) should be without prejudice.” Ford v. Johnson, 362 F.3d 395, 401
(7th Cir. 2004).
An inmate in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections must first submit a
written grievance within 60 days after the discovery of the incident, occurrence or problem, to his
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or her institutional counselor, unless certain discrete issues are being grieved. 20 ILL. ADMIN.
CODE § 504.810(a). If the complaint is not resolved through a counselor, the grievance is
considered by a Grievance Officer who must render a written recommendation to the Chief
Administrative Officer — usually the Warden — within 2 months of receipt, “when reasonably
feasible under the circumstances.” Id. §504.830(e). The CAO then advises the inmate of a
decision on the grievance. Id.
An inmate may appeal the decision of the Chief Administrative Officer in writing within
30 days to the Administrative Review Board for a final decision. Id. §_504.850(a); see also Dole
v. Chandler, 438 F.3d 804, 806–07 (7th Cir. 2006). The ARB will submit a written report of its
findings and recommendations to the Director who shall review the same and make a final
determination within 6 months of receipt of the appeal. 20 ILL. ADMIN. CODE § 504.850(d) and
An inmate may request that a grievance be handled as an emergency by forwarding it
directly to the Chief Administrative Officer. Id. § 504.840. If it is determined that there exists a
substantial risk of imminent personal injury or other serious or irreparable harm, the grievance is
handled on an emergency basis, which allows for expedited processing of the grievance by
responding directly to the offender. Id. Inmates may further submit certain types of grievances
directly to the Administrative Review Board, including grievances related to protective custody,
psychotropic medication, and certain issues relating to facilities other than the inmate’s currently
assigned facility. Id. at § 504.870.
The Court deems all material facts as presented by Defendant undisputed because Plaintiff
failed to file a response to the pending motion for summary judgment despite being provided
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ample time and opportunity to do so. In failing to file a response, Plaintiff disregarded a Notice
explaining the implications of this decision (Doc. 68). The Court will exercise its discretion
pursuant to Rule 56(e) and deem all material facts as undisputed.
Further, Local Rule 7.1(c)
provides that a party’s “[f]ailure to timely file a response to a motion may, in the Court’s
discretion, be considered an admission of the merits of the motion.”
Although there are four grievances in the record that relate to certain claims in this lawsuit,
there is no evidence that Plaintiff exhausted his available administrative remedies concerning the
same. With regard to each of these grievances, Plaintiff received the counselor’s response and
appealed said response to the ARB. This is not the procedure that must be followed. Plaintiff
was required to submit these grievances to both the Grievance Officer and CAO. His failure to do
so was not excused and the Court finds he therefore failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.
Based on the foregoing, the Motion for Summary Judgment on the Issue of Exhaustion
(Doc. 66) filed by Defendant Walker is GRANTED. This matter is DISMISSED WITHOUT
PREJUDICE. The Clerk of Court is directed to enter judgment accordingly.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: November 17, 2022
s/ Reona J. Daly
Hon. Reona J. Daly
United States Magistrate Judge
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