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Drummond v. Hall

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division

October 17, 2017

ARTHUR GLENN DRUMMOND, Plaintiff,
v.
PHILLIP HALL, Warden; BARBARA GRANT, Unit Manager; FREDRICK JOHNSON, Unit Manager; LISA FOUNTAFN, Interim Manager; and SHELAND CRAY, CO II, Officer, Defendants.

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BRIAN K. EPPS, UNITED STAINS MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff, an inmate at Telfair State Prison ("TSP") in Helena, Georgia, is proceeding in forma pauperis ("IFP") in this case filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Because he is proceeding IFP, Plaintiff's amended complaint must be screened to protect potential defendants. Phillips v. Mashburn, 746 F.2d 782, 785 (11th Cir. 1984); Al-Amin v. Donald, 165 Fed.Appx. 733, 736 (11th Cir. 2006).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff names the following Defendants: (1) Phillip Hall, Warden of TSP; (2) Barbara Grant, Unit Manager of Tier II Program at TSP; (3) Fredrick Johnson, Unit Manager of Tier II Program at TSP; (4) Lisa Fountain, Interim Manager; and (5) Sheland Cray, Correctional Officer II at TSP. (Doc. no. 5, pp. 1-6.) Taking all of Plaintiffs factual allegations as true, as the Court must for purposes of the present screening, the facts are as follows.

         On April 5, 2017, Defendant Cray assaulted Plaintiff with a metal detector in Building F-l at TSP and took away Plaintiffs recreation time. (LL at 6-7.) Defendant Grant "and everyone stated in this complaint was involved" in the April 5th incident, though Plaintiff provides no details about how each Defendant participated in the alleged assault. (Id at 7.)

         Plaintiff filed a grievance on April 13, 2017. (Id. at 9.) At the time Plaintiff filed his amended complaint, he had not yet filed an appeal of the grievance, even though prison officials had exceeded the forty days allowed to respond to the original grievance. (Id.) Contrary to Plaintiffs assertion that he filed a grievance on April 13th, Plaintiff also asserts he did not file grievance but informed "[e]veryone that's in this complaint" about the April 5th incident and was simply told "they'll look into it." (Id. at 10.)

         Plaintiff seeks an order directing TSP officials to stop harassing and punishing him, as well as $50, 000 in punitive and compensatory damages from each Defendant. (Id. at 7.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         The amended complaint or any portion thereof may be dismissed if it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or if it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune to such relief. See 28 U.S.C §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b). Plaintiff's amended complaint should be dismissed because of his failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Although Plaintiff alternately states he did, and did not, file a grievance, the Court finds that even if Plaintiff did file a grievance, he did not complete the administrative process prior to filing his lawsuit.

         A. The Exhaustion Requirement

         Section 1997e(a) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") provides that "[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Dismissal for failure to state a claim is appropriate if it is clear from the face of a complaint that the plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies. See Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 215 (2007); Bingham v. Thomas, 654 F.3d 1171, 1175 (11th Cir. 2011); Solliday v. Federal Officers. 413 Fed.Appx. 206, 208 (11th Cir. 2011); Anderson v. Donald. 261 Fed.Appx. 254, 256 (11th Cir. 2008). The PLRA's mandatory exhaustion requirement "applies to all prisoners seeking redress for prison circumstances or occurrences." Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 520 (2002). Moreover, the Court does not have discretion to waive the requirement, even if it can be shown that the grievance process is futile or inadequate. See Smith v. Terry, 491 Fed.Appx. 81, 83 (11th Cir. 2012); Alexander v. Hawk. 159 F.3d 1321, 1325 (11th Cir. 1998).

         Furthermore, the PLRA also "requires proper exhaustion." Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 93 (2006). In order to properly exhaust his claims, a prisoner must "us[e] all steps" in the administrative process; he must also comply with any administrative "deadlines and other critical procedural rules" along the way. LL at 90 (internal quotation omitted). If a prisoner fails to complete the administrative process or falls short of compliance with procedural rules governing prisoner grievances, he procedurally defaults his claims. Johnson v. Meadows, 418 F.3d 1152, 1159 (11th Cir. 2005).

         Also, because exhaustion of administrative remedies is a "precondition" to filing an action in federal court, the Eleventh Circuit requires prisoners to complete the administrative process before initiating suit. Poole v. Rich, 312 Fed.Appx. 165, 166 (11th Cir. 2008); see also Higginbottom v. Carter, 223 F.3d 1259, 1261 (11th Cir. 2000).[1]Finally, under the PLRA, the Court has no discretion to inquire into whether administrative remedies are "plain, speedy, [or] effective." Porter, 534 U.S. at 524; see also Alexander, 159 F.3d at 1326. Rather, under the PLRA's "strict exhaustion" requirement, administrative remedies are deemed "available" whenever "'there is the possibility of at least some kind of relief" Johnson, 418 F.3d at 1155, 1156.

         B. Administrative ...


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