Baldomino v. Stephens et al
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER denying 48 Defendants Gonzalez and Rathmann's MOTION for Summary Judgment. The defendants shall respond to Baldominos motion for leave to conduct discovery 47 within 10 days of the date of this Order.(Signed by Judge Kenneth M Hoyt) Parties notified.(chorace)
United States District Court
Southern District of Texas
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
WILLIAM STEPHENS, et al,
July 11, 2017
David J. Bradley, Clerk
CIVIL ACTION NO. 4:13-CV-3683
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Plaintiff Alexander Baldomino filed a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging
violations of his Eighth Amendment rights. On September 4, 2014, this Court dismissed
defendant William Stephens from this case.
(Dkt. No. 29). On October 24, 2014, this
Court dismissed without prejudice plaintiff’s claims against defendant Rapher for failure
to timely serve him with a summons and complaint. (Dkt. No. 34). On March 24, 2017,
the remaining defendants, Gonzalez and Rathmann, moved for summary judgment. (Dkt.
No. 48) Baldomino responded on May 30, 2017. For the reasons stated below, the
motion for summary judgment by defendants Gonzalez and Rathmann is denied.
At all times relevant to this case, Baldomino was an inmate in, and defendants
Gonzalez and Rathmann were Corrections Officers employed by, the Texas Department
of Criminal Justice (“TDCJ”) .
Plaintiff alleges that defendants failed to intervene
promptly when he was attacked by another inmate, and that he has received inadequate
medical treatment for injuries he sustained in that attack.
Standard of Review
Summary judgment is appropriate when “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 considering a motion for summary judgment, the “evidence of the nonmovant is
to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).
Once the movant presents evidence
demonstrating entitlement to summary judgment, the nonmovant must present specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986).
Exhaustion of Remedies
Before bringing a federal lawsuit challenging prison conditions, a prisoner must
first exhaust available administrative remedies. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Jones v. Bock, 549
U.S. 199 (2007).
The Texas prison system has developed a two-step formal
grievance process. The Step 1 grievance, which must be filed
within fifteen days of the complained-of incident, is handled
within the prisoner's facility. After an adverse decision at Step
1, the prisoner has ten days to file a Step 2 grievance, which
is handled at the state level. This court has previously held
that a prisoner must pursue a grievance through both steps for
it to be considered exhausted.
Johnson v. Johnson, 385 F.3d 503, 515 (5th Cir., 2004) .
Defendants argue that
Baldomino filed a Step 1 grievance concerning the alleged attack, and a Step 1 grievance
regarding the allegedly inadequate medical care, both of which were denied. They
further contend that he failed to file a Step 2 grievance regarding either complaint.
Defendants submit copies of Baldomino’s Step 1 grievances, accompanied by an
affidavit establishing that these grievances were kept in the ordinary course of business.
See Summary Judgment Motion, Exh. A. Baldomino responds with a lengthy discussion
of the merits of his claims, and an assertion that he filed Step 2 grievances, but he does
not attach any copies of his Step 2 grievances or any evidence supporting his claim that
he filed such grievances. See Response to Motion for Summary Judgment (“Response”)
(Dkt. No. 49), at Exhibits B and C. Rather, he contends that he has attempted to obtain
copies of his Step 2 grievances, but that the prison library will not provide them until he
pays a fee for the copies. Response at 4.
The business records affidavit accompanying the Step 1 grievances states, in
relevant part: “I have reviewed the grievance records for Offender Baldomino . . . for the
time period of October 2012 to [February 26, 2014]. The records attached hereto are the
original or exact duplicates of the originals.” Dkt. No. 48, Exh. A. Conspicuously absent
from the affidavit is any statement that the attached records are a complete set of the
relevant grievances filed by Baldomino. This leaves open the possibility that his Step 2
grievances were filed, but are not attached to the affidavit. Accepting the business
records affidavit as true, it nonetheless fails to disprove Baldomino’s claim that he filed
Step 2 grievances. The defendants therefore fail to demonstrate the absence of any
disputed material fact regarding Baldomino’s exhaustion of administrative remedies, and
are not entitled to summary judgment.
It is ORDERED that the motion for summary judgment by defendants Gonzalez
and Rathmann (Dkt. No. 48) is DENIED;
It is FURTHER ORDERED THAT the defendants shall respond to Baldomino’s
motion for leave to conduct discovery (Dkt. No. 47) within 10 days of the date of this
SIGNED on this 11th day of July, 2017.
Kenneth M. Hoyt
United States District Judge
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