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West v. Head

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

April 17, 2018

JAMMIE MAURICE WEST, Plaintiff,
v.
Warden FREDERICK HEAD, Defendant.

         Proceedings Under 42 U.S.C. §1983 Before the U.S. Magistrate Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Charles H. Weigle United States Magistrate Judge

         Before the Court is a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Frederick Head. (Doc. 14). Because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, it is RECOMMENDED that the Defendant's motion be GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Jammie Maurice West, a prisoner, complains of mold and other unsanitary conditions at the Riverbend Correctional Facility, where Plaintiff has been confined since May 22, 2014. See (Doc. 8, pp. 4-5). These conditions allegedly caused Plaintiff to suffer from a variety of medical reactions, including vomiting and diarrhea. (Id., p. 5). Liberally construing Plaintiff's allegations, the Court allowed Plaintiff to proceed on an Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement claim against Frederick Head, the Warden of Riverbend Correctional Facility, based on the possibility of “widespread abuse.” (Id., p. 12). As noted by the Defendant, (Doc. 14-1, p. 2), Plaintiff previously raised the same allegations in West v. Head, No. 1:17-cv-317 (CAP), CM/ECF Docket Entry 1 (docketed Jan. 26, 2017), an action which the Northern District of Georgia dismissed based on Plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”). See id., Docket Entries 3, 5.

         FAILURE TO EXHAUST

         The PLRA requires prisoners to exhaust available administrative remedies before bringing an action with respect to prison conditions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, or any other federal law. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Exhaustion in this context means proper exhaustion: prisoners must “complete the administrative review process in accordance with the applicable procedural rules, including deadlines, as a precondition to bringing suit in a federal court.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 88 (2006). The exhaustion requirement is “designed to eliminate unwarranted federal-court interference with the administration of prisons” by “seek[ing] to afford corrections officials time and opportunity to address complaints internally before allowing the initiation of a federal case.” Turner v. Burnside, 541 F.3d 1077, 1085 (11th Cir. 2008).

         The Eleventh Circuit's Turner opinion prescribes a two-step process for reviewing motions to dismiss based on a prisoner's failure to exhaust. A reviewing Court first:

[L]ooks 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.

Turner, 541 F.3d at 1082-83.

         Second, if the Complaint is not dismissed under step one, the Court:

[P]roceeds to make specific findings in order to resolve the disputed factual issues related to exhaustion …. Once the court makes findings on the disputed issues of fact, it then decides whether under those findings the prisoner has exhausted his available administrative remedies.

Id.

         GRIEVANCE ...


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