Holt et al v. Campbell County, Kentucky et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER: It is ordered 1) Dfts' motions for partial summary judgment as to claims of plaintiffs Elizabeth Doud and Kelcey Benzinger 114 117 be and are hereby GRANTED. The federal claims of these two plaintiffs are DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE; 2) Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over these plaintiffs' state law claims and those claims are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 6/8/2012.(TED)cc: COR
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2009-082 (WOB-JGW)
ANTHONY HOLT, ET AL.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CAMPBELL COUNTY, KENTUCKY,
This is a civil rights action filed by former
detainees at the Campbell County Detention Center (“CCDC”)
in Newport, Kentucky.
The matter is currently before the
court on defendants’ motions for partial summary judgment
as to the claims of two plaintiffs, Elizabeth Doud and
Kelcey Benzinger (Docs. 114, 117).
The Court finds that
oral argument is not necessary to the resolution of these
Factual and Procedural Background
Plaintiff Kelcey Benzinger was incarcerated at the
CCDC on three separate occasions in 2010:
March 25-June 14, and August 17-October 8.
alleges that during the first stay, she was denied
inadequate medical care to treat her symptoms of heroin
Although the CCDC has an administrative grievance
process for inmates, Benzinger never filed a grievance
concerning her allegedly deficient medical care.
Plaintiff Elizabeth Doud also was incarcerated at the
CCDC, among other occasions, from September 9, 2009 to
November 13, 2009.
Doud alleges that she suffered a
miscarriage during this time due to inadequate medical
Doud did not file an administrative grievance
concerning her alleged lack of medical care.
This case was filed as a putative class action on June
17, 2009, alleging claims for deliberate indifference to
plaintiffs= medical needs, repeated use of excessive force,
and mental and psychological abuses, all in violation of 42
U.S.C. ' 1983.
Plaintiff Doud joined this action by way of an amended
complaint on March 15, 2010 (Doc. 15), and plaintiff
Benzinger did the same on June 1, 2010 (Doc. 38).
time they joined this suit, both plaintiffs were
incarcerated: Doud at the Grant County Detention Center and
Benzinger at the CCDC.
Doud was again incarcerated at the CCDC from March
2011 to July 1, 2011.
She did not file a grievance with
the CCDC during this stay.
Benzinger was again incarcerated at the CCDC from
January to May 2011.
She did not file a grievance with the
CCDC during that time.
Thereafter, defendants filed the present pending
motions for partial summary judgment.
The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) provides
that “[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.”
42 U.S.C. §
Under this provision, “a prisoner must exhaust
all of his available remedies before filing a § 1983 action
in federal court.”
Brock v. Kenton County, Ky., 93 Fed.
App’x 793, 796 (6th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted).
is, under the PLRA, exhaustion of available administrative
remedies is a mandatory pre-condition to filing suit in
Id. at 798 (citation omitted).
“The Sixth Circuit requires some affirmative efforts
to comply with the administrative procedures before
analyzing whether the facility rendered these remedies
Napier v. Laurel Jackson, Ky., 636 F.3d 218,
224 (6th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted).
See also Brock, 93
Fed. App’x at 798 (noting that the prisoner “must make some
affirmative efforts to comply with the administrative
procedure” and that the procedures are “unavailable” only
where, despite the prisoner’s efforts, the facility thwarts
the inmate’s attempts at exhaustion).
Plaintiffs Benzinger and Doud were both incarcerated
at the time they joined this lawsuit, and they are thus
“prisoners” for purposes of PLRA exhaustion.1
their claims clearly pertain to “conditions of confinement”
as they allege they received inadequate medical care while
incarcerated at the CCDC.
Thus, the PLRA exhaustion requirement applies to
plaintiffs, and defendants have pled this affirmative
(Doc. 42 at 41).
Further, defendants have attached to their motion for
summary judgment evidence of the CCDC’s grievance process
and the means through which inmates are informed of it.
(Doc. 114-1, Affidavit of Greg Buckler).
put forward this evidence, plaintiffs are “required to
present ‘significant probative evidence’ to defeat the
motion for summary judgment on this ground.”
F.3d at 225 (citation omitted).
It does not matter that the plaintiff was incarcerated at
a facility other than the one where the alleged
mistreatment occurred. Id. at 222.
Plaintiffs Doud and Benzinger have presented no
evidence that they took any steps whatsoever to present a
grievance to the CCDC regarding the conditions of
confinement they now challenge.
Under the above authority,
therefore, the Court does not reach the question of whether
the administrative process was “unavailable” to plaintiffs.
In any event, defendants have presented uncontradicted
evidence that the CCDC does have an administrative
grievance process; that it is communicated to inmates at
intake and periodically over the facility’s television
system; and that these plaintiffs specifically were aware
of the procedure.
Plaintiffs rely on a “special circumstances” test
employed by the Second Circuit to argue that their medical
conditions prevented them from filing grievances.
Hemphill v. New York, C.O., 380 F.3d 680, 686 (2d Cir.
That case, however, is in direct conflict with more
recent Sixth Circuit authority discussed above which holds
that the Court will not consider exceptions to exhaustion
where the plaintiff has not shown that she at least
attempted to file a grievance.
Further, even if such an exception applied, neither
Benzinger nor Doud has shown any reason why, even if they
were limited by their medical conditions while incarcerated
during 2009 and 2010, they could not have pursued
grievances during their subsequent stays at the CCDC in
In sum, plaintiffs Benzinger and Doud’s claim are
completely barred for failure to exhaust under the PLRA.
Further, because these plaintiffs’ § 1983 claims would
be barred by the applicable one-year statute of limitations
even if refiled after exhaustion, these claims will be
dismissed with prejudice.
See Burke v. Campbell County
Fiscal Court, No. Civ.A. 06-CV-191-DLB, 2006 WL 3627711, at
*3 (E.D. Ky. Dec. 11, 2006).
State Law Claims
Defendants further argue that Benzinger’s and Doud’s
state law claims should be dismissed because the Court
cannot exercise its supplemental jurisdiction over them
based on the Court’s federal jurisdiction over the claims
of different plaintiffs, where the claims do not satisfy
the “common nucleus of operative fact” requirement.
e.g., Kline v. Mortgage Elec. Registration Sys., Inc., No.
3:08cv408, 2010 WL 1372401, at *6 n.2 (S.D. Ohio Mar. 29,
2010) (discussing United Mine Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383
U.S. 715 (1966)).
This argument is well taken.
The claims of Benzinger
and Doud are based on different facts than the claims of
other plaintiffs who allege inadequate medical care,
excessive force, etc., and they thus do not derive from a
“common nucleus of operative fact.”
Plaintiffs do not
argue otherwise, asserting merely that summary judgment on
the exhaustion basis is not warranted.
Therefore, the Court will decline to exercise its
supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiffs’ state law
Therefore, having reviewed this matter, and the Court
being sufficiently advised,
IT IS ORDERED that:
Defendants’ motions for partial summary judgment
as to the claims of plaintiffs Elizabeth Doud and Kelcey
Benzinger (Docs. 114, 117) be, and are hereby, GRANTED.
The federal claims of these two plaintiffs are DISMISSED
WITH PREJUDICE; and
The Court declines to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over these plaintiffs’ state law claims, and
those claims are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
This 8th day of June, 2012.
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