Smith v. Griffith et al
OPINION MEMORANDUM AND ORDER IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or cause process to issue, because plaintiff has failed to exhaust his prison remedies. A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and Order. Signed by District Judge Henry Edward Autrey on 7/21/16. (CLA)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
CINDY GRIFFITH, et al.,
No. 4:16CV535 HEA
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on review of the file. For the reasons set forth
below, this case will be dismissed, without prejudice, for plaintiff’s failure to
exhaust his prison grievances prior to bringing this action.
28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)
Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. ' 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court may dismiss a complaint
filed in forma pauperis if the action is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief. An action is frivolous if Ait lacks an arguable basis in
either law or in fact.@ Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989). An action
fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted if it does not plead Aenough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.@ Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). To determine whether an action fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted, the Court must engage in a two-step inquiry.
First, the Court must identify the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to
the assumption of truth. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-79 (2009). These
include Alegal conclusions@ and A[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action [that are] supported by mere conclusory statements.@ Id. Second, the Court
must determine whether the complaint states a plausible claim for relief. Id. at
680-82. This is a Acontext-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on
its judicial experience and common sense.@ Id. at 681. The plaintiff is required to
plead facts that show more than the Amere possibility of misconduct.@ Id. The
Court must review the factual allegations in the complaint Ato determine if they
plausibly suggest an entitlement to relief.@
Id. at 681-82. When faced with
alternative explanations for the alleged misconduct, the Court may exercise its
judgment in determining whether plaintiff=s proffered conclusion is the most
plausible or whether it is more likely that no misconduct occurred. Id.
Moreover, in reviewing a pro se complaint under ' 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court
must give the complaint the benefit of a liberal construction. Haines v. Kerner, 404
U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
The Court must also weigh all factual allegations in favor of
the plaintiff, unless the facts alleged are clearly baseless. Denton v. Hernandez,
504 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1992).
The Amended Complaint
Plaintiff, an inmate at the Potosi Correctional Center, brings this 42 U.S.C. '
1983 action against Cindy Griffith (Warden), Brittney Coffman (Correctional
Officer), and Shane Pashia (Caseworker). On page 3 of the amended complaint,
plaintiff states, “I have filed an I.R.R. on the 26th of April which is the first step in the
grievance policy.” Page 8 of the amended complaint is a letter to this Court, in
which plaintiff states, “I filed on the 28th of April. I have your copies of the I.R.R.
coming to you as soon as I get them from the caseworker and the process of the
grievance procedure moves along.”
On June 22, 2016, the Court instructed plaintiff to show cause why this
action should not be dismissed for his failure to exhaust all prison grievances prior to
bringing this action [Doc. 9]. Plaintiff has now complied with the Court’s Order
and states, “I am currently on my final stage of the process[,] The Grievance Appeal
Stage[,] as of June 14, 2016.” Plaintiff further states that the “final stage of the
process . . . takes no longer than 100 days to get an answer,” and he asks the Court
“to keep [his] case . . . pending until the Grievance Appeal is complete.”
Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, A[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. ' 1997e(a).
Exhaustion is mandatory. Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516 (2002). Moreover,
pursuant to Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 733-40 (2001), exhaustion is required
where prison administrative remedies are available even if the available
administrative remedies do not provide the precise, or full, relief sought.
Johnson v. Jones, 340 F.3d 624, 627-28 (8th Cir. 2003), the Eighth Circuit stated
that if a prisoner's administrative remedies have not been exhausted prior to the
filing of the lawsuit, the case must be dismissed, even if exhaustion occurs before the
District Court rules on a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust.
Plaintiff concedes that he has not yet exhausted his available administrative
remedies. Therefore, his present claims are barred by 42 U.S.C. ' 1997e(a), and
this action will be dismissed accordingly. The dismissal will be without prejudice,
thereby allowing plaintiff an opportunity, if he so chooses, to file another action in
federal court once he has fully exhausted his prison remedies.
In accordance with the foregoing,
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the Clerk shall not issue process or cause
process to issue, because plaintiff has failed to exhaust his prison remedies.
A separate Order of Dismissal shall accompany this Memorandum and Order.
Dated this 21st day of July, 2016
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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