Williams v. Admire et al
MEMORANDUM re MOTION to Dismiss and for Summary Judgment 15 (Order to follow as separate docket entry)Signed by Honorable William W. Caldwell on 03/09/15. (ma)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
TORATIO DEVAL WILLIAMS,
OFC. ADMIRE, et al.,
CIVIL NO. 1:CV-13-3000
Toratio Deval Williams, a federal inmate, filed this civil-rights action
concerning a series of events that occurred in 2013 while he was housed at the United
States Prison in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.1 Williams alleges that defendants frequently
searched his cell and confiscated legal materials and personal property; interfered with his
access to the courts; physically assaulted him on three occasions; denied him medical care
for his injuries; called him racially charged names; tampered with his food; and issued him
false incident reports to cover up their inappropriate use of force against him. Named as
defendants are the following Bureau of Prisons (BOP) USP Lewisburg employees:
Correctional Officer (CO) Robert Admire; CO Sergio Argueta; CO Thomas Benedict; CO
Jason Carpenter; CO Timothy Crawford; CO Ty Crawley; Paramedic Sarah Dees;
Correctional Counselor James Diltz; Lieutenant (Lt.) Daniel Dowkus; Lt. Keith Ferguson;
CO Brittany Garman; CO Joseph Hodish; CO Chad Hurley; Disciplinary Hearing Officer
Williams presently resides in Summerville, South Carolina and is not incarcerated.
(DHO) Angelo Jordan; CO Michael Kemmerer; Phlebotomist Kimberly Lindsey; Lt. Roger
Miller; CO Brandon Mottern; CO Joshua Oldt; Lt. Shannon Prutzman; Lt. Jerame Sherman;
CO Tara Stackhouse; CO Brian Wertz; and Associate Warden David Wilson. (Doc. 1,
Presently before the court is the Defendants’ motion to dismiss and motion for
summary judgment. (Doc. 15, Mot. to Dismiss and Mot. For Summ. J.) The motion is
properly supported with a statement of undisputed material facts, brief, and exhibits.
(See Docs. 32 and 33). In addition to seeking dismissal of the Complaint on the basis of
Williams’ alleged failure to exhaust his administrative remedies, Defendants attack the
merits of each of Williams’ claims. Williams filed a “Declaration in Opposition to
[Defendants’] Motion.” (See Doc. 36, Br. in Opp’n Mot. Summ. J.). He did not file a
response to Defendants’ statement of undisputed facts.2 However, Williams suggests the
Regional Director improperly rejected his administrative remedies due to bias. In their
reply, Defendants point out that when given the opportunity to correct or re-file his
administrative remedies that were rejected by the Regional Director, Williams failed to do
so. (See Doc. 38).
As the issue of Williams’ exhaustion of administrative remedies is dispositive
of Defendants’ motion, the court need not address the remaining defenses presented. For
Because Williams failed to file a Statement of Material Facts in response to Defendants’
submission, the facts as set forth in Defendants’ statement will be deemed admitted pursuant to
M.D. Pa. Local Rule 56.1. See Smith v. Addy, 343 F. App’x 806, 808 (3d Cir. 2009) (District Court
entitled to deem Defendants’ statement of facts as admitted due to Plaintiff’s failure to file a
counter-statement of material facts).
the reasons that follow, the defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted because
Williams has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with regard to any of the claims
presented in his Complaint.
Standard of Review
Because the court will consider matters outside of the pleadings, Defendants’
motion will be treated as one for summary judgment.
Summary judgment is proper where “the movant shows 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). In making this evaluation, the court must determine
“whether the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions on file, and
affidavits show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and whether the moving party
is therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” MacFarlan v. Ivy Hill SNF, LLC, 675
F.3d 266, 271 (3d Cir. 2012)(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct.
2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)).
“[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will
not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement
is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 247-48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2509-10, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). “Material facts are
those ‘that could affect the outcome’ of the proceeding, and ‘a dispute about a material fact
is genuine if the evidence is sufficient to permit a reasonable jury to return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.’” Roth v. Norfalco, 651 F.3d 367, 373 (3d Cir. 2011)(citing Lamont v.
New Jersey, 637 F.3d 177, 181 (3d Cir. 2011)).
"[S]ummary judgment is essentially ‘put up or shut up' time for the
non-moving party: the non-moving party must rebut the motion with facts in the record and
cannot rest solely on assertions made in the pleadings, legal memoranda, or oral
argument." Berckeley Inv. Group, Ltd. Colkitt, 455 F.3d 195, 201 (3d Cir. 2006). The
moving party has the burden of showing the absence of a genuine issue of material fact,
but the nonmoving party must present affirmative evidence from which a jury might return a
verdict in the nonmoving party's favor. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 256-57, 106 S.Ct. at
2514. Allegations made without evidentiary support may be disregarded. Jones v. UPS,
214 F.3d 402, 407 (3d Cir. 2000).
Allegations of the Complaint
The allegations of the Complaint consist of several distinct events that
occurred in 2013 while Williams was incarcerated at USP Lewisburg. (Doc. 1, Compl.)
Williams claims Defendants Admire, Mottern, Garman and Ferguson
searched his cell on July 8, 2013, and threw away some of his legal documents. (Id., ECF
On July 12, 2013, Williams alleges Defendant Garman lied when she said
that Plaintiff masturbated in front of her. Garman did not issue Williams an incident report
but she did call him a “monkey.” (Id., ECF p. 3).
Williams alleges his cell was searched again on July 21, 2013, this time by
Defendants Benedict, Admire and Mottern. He claims they confiscated legal materials and
personal property without issuing him the required confiscation form. (Id.)
On September 10, 2013, Defendants Ferguson, Hurley, Stackhouse, Miller
and Paramedic Dees came to his cell and told him “to pack up.” (Id., ECF p. 7). Williams
told his cellmate “don’t go to the door they might spray gas in the cell.” (Id.) Williams told
the officers that they should not use mace on him because he has breathing problems. Lt.
Ferguson then sprayed “2 big bottles of mace” into Williams’ cell. (Id.) Williams then
began to scream that he could not breathe. Although present, the “nurse” did not assess
his breathing. The defendants present were yelling “just die just die nigger.” (Id.)
Defendant Hurley later issued Williams a false incident report for assaulting his cellmate.
Later that day while Defendant Argueta was escorting Williams from I-block to
G-block he assaulted Wiliams. (Id.) Argueta then told Oldt to “hit the devices to call other
staff.” (Id.) Defendants Crawford, Carpenter, Kmmerer Prutzman and Wert responded and
joined in on the assault. Defendant Crawford is alleged to have made racially derogatory
remarks. Lt. Dawkus and Associate Warden Wilson stood by and watched the defendants
beat Williams for “ten minutes.” (Id.) Following this assault Williams was placed in
“restraints and the black box.” (Id., ECF p. 8). The restraints were applied so tight that he
has permanent scarring on his wrists. The “medical staff” present disagreed with Williams
saying the restraints were not too tight. (Id.) Lt. Dowkus knew the cuffs were too tight but
told Williams “that’s not my job to loosen them it’s the P.A. / med techs.” (Id.) Defendant
Wilson told Williams “to take that like a man.” (Id.) Williams remained “in the black box” for
three days, September 10-13, 2013. (Id.)
On October 12, 19 and 26, 2013, Defendants Crawley and Hodish spit in
Williams food tray. Defendant Hodish also took a piece of bread from Williams’ tray, took a
bite and said “bon appetite, bitch.” (Id.) Williams says he spoke to Lt. Dawkus and A.W.
Hotzapple (a non-defendant) about this incident. (Id.)
Williams also alleges that “Nurse Lindsey” issued him a false incident report
because “the office” did not like him because they “read [his] case off the computer” which
led to him getting “ruffed up by the staff.” (Id.)
DHO Jordan is alleged to have falsified the outcome of two incident reports
when he was found guilty of assaulting and resisting staff on January 4, 2013, and
September 18, 2013. (Id.) Williams claims that video footage from these events will
exonerate him and reveal that he was issued the incident reports by unnamed staff to cover
up their assaulting him.
Finally, Williams claims Counselor Diltz threw away his legal work to “cover
for fellow officers.” (Id.) He claims that on September 24, 2013, he mailed a civil rights
action which the federal court, the Lewisburg Prison project and his sentencing judge never
Undisputed Facts Related to Williams’ Exhaustion of BOP
Administrative Remedies as to the Claims Presented in his
After a prisoner is required to attempt to resolve the issue informally, with
staff, 28 C.F.R. § 542.13(a); DSMF ¶ 21, the BOP has a three-tiered administrative remedy
process that must be completed. This process allows a federal prisoner “to seek formal
review of an issue relating to any aspect of his/her own confinement.” See 28 C.F.R. §
542.10(a); Doc. 32, Defs.’ Statement of Material Facts (DSMF), ¶ 20. If the informal
resolution is unsuccessful, the prisoner then files a formal administrative remedy at the
institution of confinement within twenty calendar days following the date on which the basis
of the grievance occurred, except where the prisoner demonstrates a valid reason for
delay.3 See 28 C.F.R. § 542.14(a), (b); DSMF ¶ 22. The Warden has 20 calendar days to
respond to the inmate’s administrative remedy request. See 28 C.F.R. § 542.18; DSMF ¶
23. An inmate dissatisfied with the Warden’s response may file an appeal to the BOP
Regional Director within 20 calendar days of the date the Warden signed the response.
See 28 C.F.R. § 542.15; DSMF ¶ 24. As a last step, where the prisoner is not satisfied
with the Regional Director’s response, he or she may submit an appeal to the BOP’s
Central Office within 30 calendar days of the Regional Director’s response. See 28 C.F.R.
§ 542.15(a); DSMF ¶ 25. No administrative remedy is considered fully exhausted until it
has been considered and denied by the BOP Central Office. DSMF ¶ 26. If an
administrative remedy is rejected at any level, it is returned to the inmate with a written
notice explaining the reason for the rejection and if the defect on which the rejection is
based is correctable, the inmate is advised to resubmit the request or appeal. See 28
Where an inmate demonstrates a valid reason for delay, an extension in
filing time may be allowed. In general, valid reason for delay means a
situation which prevented the inmate from submitting the request within
the established time frame. Valid reasons for delay include the
following: an extended period in-transit during which the inmate was
separated from documents needed to prepare the Request or Appeal;
an extended period of time during which the inmate was physically
incapable of preparing a Request or Appeal; an unusually long period
taken for informal resolution attempts; indication by an inmate, verified
by staff, that a response to the inmate’s request for copies of
dispositions requested under § 542.19 of this part was delayed.
28 C.F.R. § 542.14(b).
C.F.R. § 542.17; DSMF ¶ 27. The BOP does not maintain copies of rejected administrative
remedies. DSMF ¶ 27.
If an inmate reasonably believes the issue [being grieved] is
“sensitive and the inmate’s safety or well-being would be placed in
danger if the [administrative remedy] Request became known at
the institution, the inmate may submit the Request directly to the
appropriate Regional Director. The inmate shall clearly mark
“Sensitive” upon the Request and explain, in writing, the reason for
not submitting the Request at the institution. If the Regional
Administrative Remedy Coordinator agrees that the Request is
sensitive, the Request shall be accepted. Otherwise, the Request
will not be accepted and the inmate shall be advised in writing of
that determination, without a return of the Request. The inmate
may pursue the matter by submitting an Administrative Remedy
Request locally to the Warden. The Warden shall allow a
reasonable extension of time for such a resubmission.
28 C.F.R. § 542.14(d)(1).
As of the filing of Defendants’ Summary Judgment materials, Williams had
filed a total of 37 administrative remedies since his incarceration with the BOP. DSMF ¶
28. The only administrative remedy request Williams fully exhausted while housed at USP
Lewisburg concerned a request for halfway house placement. DSMF ¶ 43. A review of
Williams’ administrative remedies reveals that three of them possibly relate to the claims
raised in his Complaint: Administrative Remedy (AR) No. 748027; AR No. 748451; and AR
759031. DSMF ¶¶ 28 - 29, 33, and 39; see also Doc. 32-1, ECF pp. 63 - 66.
Williams filed AR No. 748027-R1 directly to the BOP’s Regional Director on
August 26, 2013, alleging that the subject matter, a complaint against a staff member, was
sensitive in nature. DSMF ¶¶ 29-30. The Regional Director rejected the administrative
remedy finding that it was not sufficiently sensitive and directed Williams to submit the
remedy at the institution level. DSMF ¶ 31. Williams’ appeal of this response to the BOP’s
Central Office was similarly rejected. DSMF ¶ 32.
On September 3, 2013, Williams filed AR No. 748451-F1 at the institutional
level alleging staff misconduct and racial discrimination. DSMF ¶ 33. The Warden rejected
the administrative remedy as untimely, but noted that a copy of the remedy was forwarded
to the appropriate office for review. DSMF ¶ 34. The Regional Director concurred with the
institution’s rejection of the administrative remedy as untimely. Williams appealed the
Regional Director’s response to the BOP’s Central Office. DSMF ¶ 37. The appeal was
rejected and Williams was advised “[y]ou will need to refile your grievance to the institution
& also include staff memo stating reason for untimeliness with your resubmission.” DSMF
Williams filed AR No. 759031-R1 with the BOP Regional Deputy on
November 22, 2013, alleging a complaint against staff. DSMF ¶ 39. Again, Williams
alleged that the remedy was sensitive in nature. However, the Regional Director rejected it
as sensitive and directed Williams to re-file his administrative remedy at the institution level.
DSMF ¶ 40. Williams’ appeal to the BOP Central Office was similarly rejected. DSMF ¶
The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires that an inmate exhaust all
available administrative remedies before he may maintain a suit in federal court:
No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under
§ 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined
in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility under such
administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Small v. Camden Cnty., 728 F.3d 265, 268 (3d Cir. 2013). This
“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,” including civil-rights suits by federal prisoners. Porter v. Nussle, 543
U.S. 516, 523, 122 S.Ct. 983, 992, 152 L.Ed.2d 12 (2002). Under the PLRA, a prisoner
must properly exhaust all available administrative remedies prior to filing suit. 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(a); Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 83-84, 126 S.Ct. 2378, 2382-83, 165 L.Ed.2d 368
(2006). That is, “prisoners must complete the administrative review process in accordance
with the applicable procedural rules — rules that are defined not by the PLRA, but by the
prison grievance process itself.” Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 218, 127 S.Ct. 910, 922,
166 L.Ed.2d 798 (2007)(internal citation and quotation marks omitted). “Proper exhaustion
demands compliance with the agency’s deadlines and other critical procedural rules.”
Woodford, 548 U.S. at 90-91, 126 S.Ct. at 2386; Williams v. Beard, 482 F.3d 637, 639 (3d
Cir. 2007). Failure to substantially comply with procedural requirements of the applicable
prison's grievance system will result in a procedural default of the claim. Spruill v. Gillis,
372 F.3d 218, 227-32 (3d Cir. 2004). Further, the PLRA "completely precludes a futility
exception to its mandatory exhaustion requirement." Nyhuis v. Reno, 204 F.3d 65, 71 (3d
Cir. 2000). The Supreme Court has clearly stated that "there is no question that exhaustion
is mandatory under the PLRA and that unexhausted claims cannot be brought in court."
Jones, 549 U.S. at 212, 127 S.C. at 918-19.
A prisoner is not required to allege that administrative remedies have been
exhausted. Jones, 549 U.S. at 216, 127 S.Ct. at 921; Ray v. Kertes, 285 F.3d 287 (3d Cir.
2002). Failure to exhaust available administrative remedies is an affirmative defense. (Id.)
As such, it must be plead and proven by the Defendants. Brown v. Croak, 312 F.3d 109,
111 (3d Cir. 2002).
In their motion, Defendants present the affirmative defense that they are
entitled to judgment as a matter of law with respect to all claims against all defendants due
to Williams’ failure to properly exhaust his available administrative remedies. The evidence
submitted by Defendants reveals that Williams has only properly exhausted one
administrative remedy, on a topic unrelated to the issues presented in this case, during his
tenure with the BOP. While Defendants candidly point out the existence of three
administrative remedies that could related to claims presented in this matter (complaint of
staff misconduct and racial discrimination), these administrative remedies were not properly
exhausted. The two administrative remedies (AR Nos. 748027 and 759031) relating to
unspecified “staff complaint[s]” were filed as “sensitive” by Williams, as permitted by the
BOP’s administrative remedy process. However, although Williams argues the Regional
Director’s rejection of these remedies as non-sensitive was due to “bias,” he does not
dispute that BOP policy allows for such rejection or explain why he did not re-file his
grievances at the institutional level as instructed. Thus, to the extent either of those
administrative remedies addressed issues of staff mistreatment or issues asserted in the
Complaint, they are unexhausted.
The same is true with respect to Williams’ administrative remedy concerning
allegations of staff misconduct and racial discrimination (AR No. 748451). The Warden
rejected the administrative remedy as untimely filed. Williams was advised to re-file at the
institutional level with an explanation for his untimely original filing. Again, Williams fails to
explain any impediment or other reason as to why he never re-filed this administrative
remedy. Even though Williams appealed the rejection of these grievances to final review at
the BOP’s Central Office, his exhaustion was not proper as it did not comply with the
mandates of the BOP’s administrative remedy process procedures. Williams has not
presented any evidence to challenge Defendants’ facts related to his lack of proper
exhaustion of claims presented in his Complaint or explain why he could not re-file the
administrative remedies as directed. Moreover, Williams does not dispute that he has only
properly exhausted one administrative remedy which does not related to this case.
Williams has not presented any evidence to counter Defendants evidence that he failed to
properly exhaust his available administrative remedies regarding his claims of assault,
denial of medical care, destruction of legal materials, loss of personal property, food
tampering or interference with his access to the courts. Accordingly, the Defendants are
entitled to summary judgment in their favor as to all claims set forth in the Complaint
An appropriate order follows.
/s/ William W. Caldwell
William W. Caldwell
United States District Judge
Date: March 9, 2015
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