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Carr v. Jackson

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division

June 1, 2017




         This matter is before the Court on Magistrate Judge Justin S. Anand's Final Report and Recommendation [22] (“R&R”). The R&R recommends the Court grant Defendants Theodore Jackson, Mark Adgers, Reuben Wingfield, and Jerry Conner's (collectively, “Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss [17]. The motion is unopposed.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         On May 2, 2016, Plaintiff Kentavius Carr (“Plaintiff”) filed his Complaint [1], alleging that he is Muslim, that as part of his beliefs he is required to eat Halal or Kosher food, and, while incarcerated at the Fulton County Jail, he did not receive responses to his numerous requests to receive Halal or meals that met Muslim dietary restrictions. On August 16, 2016, the Magistrate Judge, pursuant to a frivolity review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, allowed Plaintiff's First and Fourteenth Amendment religious free exercise claims to proceed. ([6]).

         On October 31, 2016, Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss. Defendants argue the Complaint should be dismissed because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Plaintiff did not file a response to the Motion to Dismiss, and it is deemed unopposed. See LR 7.1(B), NDGa.

         On May 11, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued his R&R. The Magistrate Judge found that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies. He recommends the Court grant Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and dismiss this action without prejudice for lack of exhaustion. Plaintiff did not file objections to the R&R, and has not taken any other action in this case.


         A. Legal Standard

         After conducting a careful and complete review of the findings and recommendations, a district judge may accept, reject, or modify a magistrate judge's report and recommendation. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Williams v. Wainwright, 681 F.2d 732, 732 (11th Cir. 1982) (per curiam). A district judge “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). Where, as here, no party has objected to the report and recommendation, the Court conducts only a plain error review of the record. United States v. Slay, 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th Cir. 1983) (per curiam).

         B. Analysis

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), “[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title . . . by a prisoner confined in any jail . . . until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). “[A] prisoner must complete the administrative review process in accordance with the applicable procedural rules, including deadlines, as a precondition to bringing federal court.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 88, 93 (2006). The purpose of the exhaustion requirement is “to afford corrections officials time and opportunity to address complaints internally before allowing the initiation of a federal case.” Id. at 93 (alteration and citation omitted). The PLRA's exhaustion requirement is mandatory, “regardless of the relief offered through administrative procedures.” Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001). Courts do not have discretion to waive it. Bryant v. Rich, 530 F.3d 1368, 1372-73 (11th Cir. 2008). “The modifier ‘available' in the PLRA means that inmates must exhaust administrative remedies so long as there is the possibility of at least some kind of relief.” Johnson v. Meadows, 418 F.3d 1152, 1156 (11th Cir. 2005) (quotation marks and citations omitted). There is an established process to evaluate if administrative remedies were exhausted:

[D]eciding a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies is a two-step process.
First, the court looks to the factual allegations in the defendant's motion to dismiss and those in the plaintiff's response, and if they conflict, takes the plaintiff's version of the facts as true. If, in that light, the defendant is entitled to have the complaint dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, it must be dismissed. This process is analogous to judgment on the pleadings under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c).
If the complaint is not subject to dismissal at the first step, where the plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be true, the court then proceeds to make specific findings in order to resolve the disputed factual issues related to exhaustion. The defendants bear the burden of proving that the plaintiff has failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies. Once the court makes findings on the disputed issues of fact, it ...

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