United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
T. TREADWELL, JUDGE.
Judge Stephen Hyles recommends dismissing Plaintiff
Hines's Recast Complaint (Doc. 6) because Hines failed to
exhaust her administrative remedies. Doc. 29 at 3-4. Hines
objects. Doc. 30. The Court has reviewed the Recommendation
and has made a de novo determination that the Magistrate
Judge correctly concluded that Hines failed to demonstrate
exhaustion of her administrative remedies.
April 15, 2014, Plaintiff Hines filed civil action
5:14-cv-147 asserting an Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claim against Defendant Nazaire for prescribing
thyroid medication even though Hines had a healthy thyroid
and then abruptly discontinuing it, causing significant
injuries. Hines v. Nazaire, 5:14-cv-147-MTT-CHW, ECF
Doc. 1 at 5. Nazaire filed a motion to dismiss asserting that
Hines had not exhausted her administrative remedies.
Id., ECF Doc. 20. After considering Hines's
numerous and voluminous responsive filings (see id.,
ECF Docs. 23, 33, 35-38, 40) and her related amendments to
her complaint (see id., ECF Doc. 29, 32), the
Magistrate Judge recommended that Hines's claims against
Nazaire be dismissed for failure to exhaust her
administrative remedies. See id., ECF Doc. 42. On
August 8, 2015, the Court, after considering Hines's two
objections (see id., ECF Docs. 44, 46), a reply
supporting her objections (Doc. 48), and her supplemental
complaint (see id., ECF Doc. 53), adopted the
Magistrate Judge's recommendation that Hines's claims
against Nazaire be dismissed for failure to exhaust
administrative remedies (the “First Nazaire
Order”). See id., ECF Doc. 55. This ruling is
now on appeal. See id., ECF Doc. 103.
November 10, 2015, Hines filed this action, making
allegations nearly identical to those in her first action.
See Doc. 1, rescast, Doc. 6. Nazaire moved
for dismissal of Hines's complaint, asserting the statute
of limitations, failure to exhaust administrative remedies,
collateral estoppel, res judicata, and failure to state a
claim under the Eighth Amendment. Doc. 23 at 1. Hines filed a
fifteen-page response and a fourteen-page supplemental
response. Docs. 25; 27. The Magistrate Judge recommends
dismissal of Hines's claim because her allegations of
exhaustion here are “almost identical to her previous
description of her efforts to exhaust.” Doc. 29 at 3
n.2. The Magistrate Judge noted:
Plaintiff puts forth no allegation, evidence, or argument to
suggest that there has been a change in the exhaustion issue
such that would change the Court's finding. Plaintiff had
a full opportunity to present her case-she, in fact, had
ample opportunity to develop the record on exhaustion,
covering the same assertions she makes in the instant action.
See Hines v. Nazaire, 5:14-cv-147-MTT-CHW, ECF Nos.
1, 23, 37, 38, 46, and 48. The Court found that Plaintiff had
not exhausted the claims she asserts here. Plaintiff has
presented no new evidence or differing claims.
Plaintiff's disagreement with the outcome of her initial
lawsuit does not entitle her to another opportunity to
litigate. For these reasons, the Court recommends granting
Defendant's motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust.
Id. at 3-4.
Hines points out, in the First Nazaire Order, the Court found
that Hines had filed at least one informal grievance and an
appeal, but found “no evidence [Hines] [f]iled a formal
grievance.” Doc. 25 at 7. Hines disagrees with the
Court's conclusion that this means that she failed to
exhaust. Hines argues:
As I explain in every one of my complaints, after not getting
a response, I assume after more than 30 days of no answer my
grievance was rejected or denied, so I appealed still no
answer. The district court erred in finding Plaintiff Hines
did not comply with G.D.C. grievance policy because she fail
to appeal. It was undisputed that neither of the grievances
had resulted in a decision by the warden.
Id. at 7. Hines goes on to argue that no grievance
appeal is required when prison officials do not respond to a
grievance. Of course, these arguments miss the point of the
Court's reasoning in the First Nazaire Order-that the
then-applicable three-step grievance process required a
formal grievance, and it does not appear that Hines filed
such a formal grievance. See Doc. 55 at
Accordingly, the Court's reasoning in the First Nazaire
Order applies with full force here. Moreover, Hines is
clearly collaterally estopped from relitigating these
arguments. Cf. Hamze v. Cummings, 652 F. App'x
876, 879 (11th Cir. 2016) (“[T]he district court did
not err in applying collateral estoppel to conclude that [42
U.S.C. § 1983 plaintiff] failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies as to these claims.”); see
also Wood v. Kesler, 323 F.3d 872, 879 (11th Cir. 2003)
(applying collateral estoppel in § 1983
asserts arguments not addressed in First Nazaire Order, the
most salient of which rely on an alleged settlement offer
from the prison system. See Docs. 27 at 11-13; 30 at
2-6 (reasserting that the settlement letter evidences
exhaustion and reasserting that “Nurse Rogers, ”
the administrator who allegedly signed the settlement letter,
retaliated against her by destroying her grievance); see
also 5:14-cv-147, ECF Doc. 87 at 12 (settlement offer
letter). But Hines is estopped from asserting these arguments
because she previously raised these arguments in her attempt
to avoid an adverse exhaustion ruling on her related claims
in 5:14-cv-147 against Nazaire's hiring superior, Dr.
Billy Nichols, and Georgia Correctional Healthcare (GCH).
See 5:14-cv-147, ECF Docs. 87, 93, 94, 96, 98, 99.
The Court rejected her arguments there, and found the
settlement letter to be a forgery. Id., ECF Doc. 101
at 4-5. She is accordingly collaterally estopped from
reasserting these arguments here. Cf. Hamze, 652 F.
App'x at 879 (“Collateral estoppel . . . is not
limited to parties and their privies. A defendant who was not
a party to the original action may invoke collateral estoppel
against the plaintiff.” (quoting Hart v.
Yamaha-Parts Distribs., Inc., 787 F.2d 1468, 1473 (11th
event, the Court remains convinced that the settlement letter
is a forgery for the reasons it gave in the order dismissing
Nichols and GCH. And, as in that order, the Court does not
find Hines's related assertions of misconduct by Nurse
Rogers to be credible. Hines had every opportunity to
introduce credible evidence of the formal grievance that she
claims to have submitted and claimed to have a receipt for.
See 5:14-cv-147, ECF Doc. 55 at 5. But she has still
failed to do so. Rather, she has introduces red herrings,
offers contradictory and vague explanations, rehashes old
arguments previously rejected by the Court, or complains
about the Court's past decisions. See, e.g.,
Docs. 25 at 11-13; 27 at 8-11; 30 at 5-6. The Court remains
unpersuaded. Hines has failed to demonstrate that she
exhausted her administrative remedies.
conclusion, the Recommendation (Doc. 29) is ADOPTED as
amended by this Order, Nazaire's Motion to Dismiss (Doc.
83) for failure to exhaust administrative remedies is
GRANTED, and Hines's Recast Complaint (Doc. 6) is
DISMISSED without prejudice.