Houston #101036 v. Sices et al
OPINION AND ORDER APPROVING AND ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION 33 ; motion for summary judgment 13 is granted in part and denied in part; signed by District Judge Jane M. Beckering (lep)
Case 1:21-cv-00947-JMB-SJB ECF No. 36, PageID.232 Filed 11/17/22 Page 1 of 3
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 1:21-cv-947
HON. JANE M. BECKERING
UNKNOWN SICES, et al.,
OPINION AND ORDER
This is a prisoner civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants Peter
Sices and David Huyge moved for summary judgment of the claims against them, arguing that
Plaintiff had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The matter was referred to the
Magistrate Judge, who issued a Report and Recommendation (R&R), recommending that this
Court grant the motion as to Plaintiff’s claim against Defendant Sices but deny the motion as to
the claim against Defendant Huyge. The matter is presently before the Court on Defendant
Huyge’s objection to the Report and Recommendation. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)
and FED. R. CIV. P. 72(b)(3), the Court has performed de novo consideration of those portions of
the Report and Recommendation to which objection has been made. The Court denies the
objection and issues this Opinion and Order.
In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleged that while he was at a weekly healthcare check-up,
Defendant Huyge, who is a healthcare employee, ransacked his cell and stole sentimental items
from Plaintiff as retaliation for Plaintiff’s grievance activity (ECF No. 1 at PageID.7–9). Before
filing his Complaint in this case, Plaintiff filed Grievance No. ICF-21-07-0964-28b (“the 0964
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Grievance”), which concerned the theft of his property on July 8, 2021 by a “healthcare employee”
(Grievance Report, ECF No. 13-1 at PageID.121). In the grievance, Plaintiff indicated that he
talked to the corrections officer and was “told the only one [who] did a round was Healthcare while
[he] was in Medical” (id. at PageID.121). He requested that MDOC staff “[p]lease check cameras
and talk to who came in my room for my items” (id.). The MDOC Grievance Coordinator rejected
the 0964 Grievance for being “vague, illegible, or contain[ing] extraneous information” in
violation of MDOC policy, and the rejection was upheld at Steps II and III (id. at PageID.119–
In recommending that this Court deny Defendant Huyge’s motion, the Magistrate Judge
concluded that the Grievance Coordinator improperly rejected the 0964 Grievance (ECF No. 161
at PageID.137–138). The Magistrate Judge determined that the contents of the grievance were
“certainly not vague or illegible” but confined to Plaintiff’s specific concern (id. at PageID.138).
The Magistrate Judge pointed out that Plaintiff stated he was unable to identify the perpetrator
based on the information that he currently possessed (id.). Acknowledging that a court should
exercise restraint in inserting itself in a prison’s grievance process, the Magistrate Judge
nonetheless concluded that there was no “more Plaintiff could have done” to comply with the
administrative procedure and that his efforts to exhaust his administrative remedies were sufficient
under the circumstances (id.).
In his objections to the Report and Recommendation, Defendant Huyge argues that the
Grievance Coordinator properly rejected the 0964 Grievance for vagueness because the grievance
merely uses the term “healthcare” and no statement therein “puts anyone on notice as to who
allegedly took his things” (Def. Obj., ECF No. 35 at PageID.230–231). Defendant Huyge argues
In the Report and Recommendation (ECF No. 33 at PageID.220), the Magistrate Judge incorporated by reference
her May 18, 2022 Opinion and Order (ECF No. 16).
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that to conclude otherwise puts the MDOC in a “no-win situation” because processing a vague
grievance on its merits constitutes exhaustion (id. at PageID.230, citing Reed-Bey v. Pramstaller,
603 F.3d 322 (6th Cir. 2010)).
Defendant Huyge’s objection is properly denied. Defendant Huyge’s argument focuses on
Plaintiff’s “failure” to identify the employee by name.
However, when a prisoner makes
affirmative efforts to comply with administrative procedures but does not succeed, courts analyze
whether those efforts to exhaust were “sufficient under the circumstances.” Lamb v. Kendrick, 52
F.4th 286, 293 (6th Cir. 2022) (quoting Lee v. Willey, 789 F.3d 673, 677 (6th Cir. 2015) (quoting
Risher v. Lappin, 639 F.3d 236, 240 (6th Cir. 2011)). Here, Plaintiff identified in his grievance a
healthcare employee who went into his cell on July 8, 2021 during the timeframe of his healthcare
Defendant Huyge, who does not address the quality of Plaintiff’s efforts at
compliance under the unique circumstances of this case, concomitantly fails to demonstrate any
analytical error by the Magistrate Judge. Accordingly, this Court adopts the Magistrate Judge’s
Report and Recommendation as the Opinion of this Court. Therefore:
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Objection (ECF No. 35) is DENIED and the Report
and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge (ECF No. 33) is APPROVED and ADOPTED as
the Opinion of the Court.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 13) is
GRANTED IN PART as to Plaintiff’s claims against Defendant Sices and DENIED IN PART as
to Plaintiff’s claim against Defendant Huyge. Plaintiff’s claims against Defendant Sices are
DISMISSED without prejudice, and Defendant Sices is TERMINATED as a party to this case.
Dated: November 17, 2022
/s/ Jane M. Beckering
JANE M. BECKERING
United States District Judge
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