BROWN v. CLARK et al

Filing 79

ORDER denying as moot 28 Motion for Preliminary Injunction; granting 44 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim; adopting Report and Recommendations re 72 Report and Recommendations. Signed by Judge Barbara Rothstein on 2/28/2017. (nk)

Download PDF
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA 1 2 3 4 5 GREGORY GARRETT BROWN, Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-0166 (BJR) Plaintiff, ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION. v. 6 MR. CLARK, SUPT., et al., 7 8 Defendants. 9 10 11 12 13 Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter (Doc. No. 72), which recommends that the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants (Doc. No. 44) be converted into a motion for summary judgment on the issue of exhaustion, and that 14 15 16 summary judgment be granted to Defendants. The Report and Recommendation additionally recommends that Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction (Doc. No. 28) be denied as moot. 17 After reviewing the Report and Recommendation, Plaintiff’s Objections, and the record, the Court 18 ADOPTS Magistrate Judge Baxter’s Report and Recommendation in its entirety. 19 20 Plaintiff, a federal inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Albion (SCIAlbion), brings this action against prison officials for various violations that allegedly occurred 21 between May 2016 and September 2016. (Doc. No. 1.) Defendants contend Plaintiff has failed to 22 23 24 25 properly exhaust the administrative review process. Under the PLRA, “[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 . . . by a prisoner confined in jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). 1 A prisoner must exhaust 1 2 administrative remedies as to any claim that arises in the prison setting, regardless of any limitations on the kind of relief that may be gained through the grievance process. See Porter v. 3 Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002); Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 n.6 (2001). Exhaustion 4 means “a prisoner must complete the administrative review process in accordance with the 5 applicable procedural rules, including deadlines, as a precondition to bringing suit in federal 6 court.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 92 (2006). An inmate’s failure to exhaust will only be 7 excused “under certain limited circumstances,” and an inmate can defeat a claim of failure to 8 9 exhaust only by showing “he was misled or that there was some extraordinary reason he was 10 prevented from complying with the statutory mandate.” Harris v. Armstrong, 149 F. App’x 58, 11 59 (3d Cir. 2005); Davis v. Warman, 49 F. App’x 365, 368 (3d Cir. 2002). 12 Plaintiff does not dispute Defendant’s evidence that he has failed to exhaust administrative 13 remedies. See Doc. No. 45-1 at ¶ 6. Instead, he argues that the Supreme Court’s decision in Jones 14 15 v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007), overruled the PLRA and eliminated the exhaustion requirement. (Doc. No. 78.) Plaintiff is mistaken. Jones plainly states, “There is no question that exhaustion is 16 17 mandatory under the PLRA and that unexhausted claims cannot be brought in court.” Id. at 211. 18 In Jones, the Court held that exhaustion is an affirmative defense under the PLRA, and thus 19 plaintiffs are not required to specially plead or demonstrate exhaustion in their complaints. 549 20 U.S. at 212. Defendants, however, do not seek dismissal on the grounds that Plaintiff failed to 21 22 plead exhaustion; rather, they complied with Jones and raised exhaustion as an affirmative defense. Plaintiff’s misreading of this precedent does not qualify as an “extraordinary reason” 23 24 excusing compliance with the exhaustion requirement. 25 2 1 2 Accordingly, it is hereby ordered that: (1) The Report and Recommendation is adopted; 3 (2) Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss, which has been converted into a Motion for 4 Summary Judgment on the exhaustion issue, is GRANTED; 5 (3) Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction is DENIED AS MOOT; 6 (3) The case is CLOSED; and 7 (4) The Clerk of the Court shall send copies of this Order to the parties. 8 9 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. Dated this 28th day of February, 2017. 11 12 13 Barbara Jacobs Rothstein U.S. District Court Judge 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 3

Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.

Why Is My Information Online?