ROBINSON v. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA et al
ENTRY Granting Defendant's Motion For Summary Judgment and Directing Entry of Final Judgment - For the reasons explained above, the defendant's motion for summary judgment [dkt. 29 ] is granted. Final judgment consistent with this Entry and with the screening Entry of April 19, 2016, dismissing other claims, shall now issue (SEE ENTRY). Copy sent to Plaintiff via US Mail. Signed by Judge William T. Lawrence on 2/23/2017.(DW)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
TERRE HAUTE DIVISION
LOUSHAWN A. ROBINSON,
Entry Granting Defendant’s Motion For Summary Judgment
and Directing Entry of Final Judgment
Plaintiff Loushawn A. Robinson (“Mr. Robinson”) is a federal inmate formerly confined
at the United States Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana (“USP Terre Haute”). After screening
the complaint and dismissing some claims, the Court determined that Mr. Robinson’s claim of
excessive force would proceed against Officer David Cox (“Officer Cox”).
The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that Mr. Robinson’s claim is
barred because he failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies. Mr. Robinson has
opposed the motion for summary judgment and the defendant has replied. The motion is ripe for
For the reasons explained in this Entry, the defendant’s motion for summary judgment
[dkt. 29] is granted.
A. Legal Standards
Summary judgment should be granted “if the movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.
R. Civ. P. 56(a). A “material fact” is one that “might affect the outcome of the suit.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is genuine only if a reasonable jury
could find for the non-moving party. Id. If no reasonable jury could find for the non-moving
party, then there is no “genuine” dispute. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007). The Court
views the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and all reasonable inferences
are drawn in the non-movant=s favor. Ault v. Speicher, 634 F.3d 942, 945 (7th Cir. 2011).
“The applicable substantive law will dictate which facts are material.” National Soffit &
Escutcheons, Inc., v. Superior Systems, Inc., 98 F.3d 262, 265 (7th Cir. 1996) (citing Anderson,
477 U.S. at 248). The substantive law applicable to the motion for summary judgment is the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), which requires that a prisoner exhaust his available
administrative remedies before bringing a suit concerning prison conditions. 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(a); see Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524-25 (2002). “[T]he PLRA's exhaustion
requirement applies to all inmate suits about prison life, whether they involve general
circumstances or particular episodes, and whether they allege excessive force or some other
wrong.” Id. at 532 (citation omitted). The Court must consider the issue of exhaustion before
reaching the merits. Perez v. Wis. Dep’t of Corr., 182 F.3d 532, 536 (7th Cir. 1999) (“The statute
[requiring administrative exhaustion] can function properly only if the judge resolves disputes
about its application before turning to any other issue in the suit.”).
B. Undisputed Facts
The following statement of facts was evaluated pursuant to the standards set forth above.
That is, this statement of facts is not necessarily objectively true, but as the summary judgment
standard requires, the undisputed facts and the disputed evidence are presented in the light
reasonably most favorable to Mr. Robinson as the non-moving party with respect to the motion
for summary judgment. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150
The Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) has promulgated an administrative remedy system which
is codified in 28 C.F.R. § 542.10, et seq., and BOP Program Statement 1330.18, Administrative
Remedy Program. The administrative remedy process is a method by which an inmate may seek
formal review of a complaint related to any aspect of his imprisonment. 28 C.F.R. § 542.10. To
exhaust his remedies, an inmate must first file an informal remedy request through an
appropriate institution staff member via a BP-8. 28 C.F.R. § 542.14(a). He must then file a
formal administrative remedy request with the Warden, Regional Director, and General Counsel.
If the inmate is not satisfied with the informal remedy response (BP-8), he is required to
address his complaint at the institutional level with the Warden via a BP-9 form within twenty
(20) calendar days of the incident. 28 C.F.R. § 542.14(a). If the inmate is dissatisfied with the
Warden’s response to his BP-9, he may appeal to the Regional Director within twenty (20)
calendar days of the Warden’s response, via a BP-10. 28 C.F.R. § 542.15(a). If dissatisfied with
the Regional Director’s response, the inmate may appeal to the General Counsel/Central Office
within thirty (30) calendar days of the Regional Director’s response, via a BP-11. Id. Once an
inmate receives a response to his appeal from the General Counsel/Central Office, after filing
administrative remedies at all required levels, his administrative remedies are deemed exhausted,
as to the specific issue(s) properly raised therein. See BOP Program Statement, Administrative
Remedy Program, 1330.16, available at http://www.bop.gov.
All codified BOP Program Statements are available for inmate access via the institution
law library, including BOP Program Statement 1330.16. Administrative remedy filing
procedures are outlined in an Inmate Information Handbook, which is provided to all inmates
upon initial intake at USP Terre Haute.
Mr. Robinson alleges in his amended complaint that on or about September 1, 2015,
Officer Cox used excessive force against him when the officer sprayed him with O.C. pepper
spray and charged him, trying to body slam him, causing them both to fall to the ground. Dkt.
Mr. Robinson did not submit any administrative remedy requests within twenty (20)
calendar days of the alleged incident on September 1, 2015. Dkt. 25-1, ¶ 17; dkt. 25-6. His first
remedy requests submitted after September 1, 2015, were two requests filed on October 2, 2015.
One of those requests complained of “requesting pay for time worked.” (837599-F1). That
remedy did not relate to the incident alleged against Officer Cox. Id. Mr. Robinson submitted
another remedy request on October 2, 2015, complaining of “staff allegation – verbal threat”
(839054-F1), which mentions the September 1, 2015, incident and officer “D Cox.” Dkt. 25-1, ¶
18; dkt. 25-7. In this grievance, Mr. Robinson complains, in part, that a Lieutenant Granger
falsely stated in an incident report that Mr. Robinson was resisting Officer Cox. Dkt. 25-7, at p.
2. In this remedy, Mr. Robinson does not allege that Officer Cox used excessive force against
him. Nevertheless, Mr. Robinson did not pursue this remedy request past the Regional Director
BP-10 level. Dkt. 25-1, ¶ 18; dkt. 25-6, at p. 8.
Mr. Robinson submitted other remedy requests later in 2015 and early 2016. See Dkt. 251, ¶¶ 19-23 (#843690-F1 for “inmates kept in unsafe environment;” #844666-R1 for appeal of a
disciplinary determination; #844935-FI alleging “staff are retaliating against him;” #846829-R1
alleging “staff complaint;” #847588-F1 requesting that “mail be sent out in approp time”). None
of these remedy requests, even if they were construed as relating to the incident with Officer
Cox, were pursued to the final General Counsel BP-11 level.
In response to the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, Mr. Robinson argues that
he sent a remedy to the Inspector General’s office, asking for an investigation, and he received
no response. This submission, however, no matter when it was sent, did not initiate the BOP
Administrative Remedy Program. Mr. Robinson does not contend that he was unaware of the
remedy process. The record demonstrates that he knew how to file administrative remedies, but
he failed to do so in a timely manner with regard to his excessive force allegations against
Mr. Robinson also argues that he did file an appeal, but it was rejected on December 7,
2015, as untimely and returned to him. Dkt. 33-1, at p. 3. That remedy, #844666-R1, however,
was an appeal of a hearing officer’s decision to impose sanctions against Mr. Robinson for
violating prison rules. It was not an appeal of a remedy alleging Officer Cox used excessive
force. Even if it had been, it was rejected as untimely. Id.
The Seventh Circuit “has taken a strict compliance approach to exhaustion.” Dole v.
Chandler, 438 F.3d 804, 809 (7th Cir. 2006). “The exhaustion requirement is interpreted strictly;
thus, a prisoner must comply with the specific procedures and deadlines established by the
prison’s policy.” Pyles v. Nwaobasi, 829 F.3d 860, 864 (7th Cir. 2016) (internal quotation
omitted). “To exhaust remedies, a prisoner must file complaints and appeals in the place, and at
the time, the prison’s administrative rules require.” Pozo v. McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1025
(7th Cir. 2002). “Unexhausted claims are procedurally barred from consideration.” Pyles, 829
F.3d at 864.
The undisputed record reflects that no remedy alleging excessive force against Officer
Cox was filed within the initial twenty (20) day deadline. Moreover, no remedy that mentioned
Officer Cox was appealed through the final step of the process. Officer Cox met his burden of
establishing that Mr. Robinson did not complete the BOP exhaustion procedure before he filed
Because Mr. Robinson failed to timely initiate and complete the exhaustion process with
respect to his claim in this action, in light of 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), this action should not have
been brought and must now be dismissed without prejudice. See Ford v. Johnson, 362 F.3d 395,
401 (7th Cir. 2004) (“We therefore hold that all dismissals under § 1997e(a) should be without
For the reasons explained above, the defendant’s motion for summary judgment [dkt. 29]
is granted. Final judgment consistent with this Entry and with the screening Entry of April 19,
2016, dismissing other claims, shall now issue.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge
United States District Court
Southern District of Indiana
LOUSHAWN A. ROBINSON
TERRE HAUTE – FCI
P.O. BOX 33
TERRE HAUTE, IN 47808
Electronically registered counsel
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