United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
DAVID L. MCGUIRE, JR., Plaintiff,
BRAD WHITE, et al., Defendants.
T. TREADWELL, JUDGE
States Magistrate Judge Stephen Hyles recommends (1) granting
Defendants Brad White, Leslie Holmes, and Ron Buchanan's
(collectively, “the Defendants”) motion to
dismiss Plaintiff David McGuire's 42 U.S.C. § 1983
claim that the Defendants were deliberately indifferent to
his serious medical needs (Doc. 27) and (2) denying
McGuire's motion to have access to the library (Doc.
Doc. 31. The Magistrate Judge dismissed McGuire's claim
because McGuire, pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies by not specifically stating in his prison grievances
that he needed a different type of insulin. Id.
McGuire has not objected to the Recommendation. The Court has
reviewed the Recommendation for clear error pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
72. For the following reasons, the Recommendation (Doc. 31)
is ADOPTED as modified.
has brought Eighth Amendment claims against the Defendants
for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.
Doc. 14. Specifically, he alleges that the medical staff at
the Lamar County Detention Center (“LCDC”)
changed his insulin for his diabetes, and as a result, he
suffered from irregular blood sugars. Id. at 2.
Specifically, McGuire alleges co-Defendant Dr. Worbel changed
his insulin to one that was cheaper. Id. His
injuries included “anxiety, chills, difficulty with
thinking, dizziness, drowsiness, excessive hunger, headache,
fast heartbeat, nausea, nervousness, [and] tingling in hands,
feet, lips, and tongue” caused by his irregular blood
sugars. Id. McGuire states that “Buchanan,
White, [and] Holmes were aware of the problems I was having
with Dr. Worbel and his staff because I wrote grievances to
all of them about Dr. Worbel's inadequate
healthcare.” Id. at 3. The Defendants
subsequently moved to dismiss McGuire's claims for (1)
failing to exhaust his administrative remedies and (2)
failing to allege these Defendants caused a physical injury,
as required by the PLRA.Doc. 27. The Magistrate Judge recommends
dismissing McGuire's claims for failing to exhaust his
MOTION TO DISMISS
Failure to Exhaust
Defendants first argue that McGuire's complaint should be
dismissed for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies.
Doc. 27-2 at 5. Specifically, they argue that McGuire (1) did
not “fully describe the factual basis and circumstances
of the alleged incident or situation” in his grievance
as required by LCDC's grievance procedure; (2) did not
name the Defendants in his grievance to put them on notice;
and (3) did not complete the grievance appeals process.
Id. at 5-8. The Magistrate Judge recommends
dismissing McGuire's claims against the Defendants based
on the first argument alone because McGuire's filed
grievances did not “include a specific complaint”
as required by LCDC's grievance procedure. Doc. 31 at
PLRA requires prisoners to exhaust all available
administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit under 42
U.S.C. § 1983. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Porter v.
Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002). When a state jail
provides a grievance procedure, as LCDC does here, an inmate
“alleging harm suffered from prison conditions must
file a grievance and exhaust the remedies available under
that procedure before pursuing a § 1983 lawsuit.”
Johnson v. Meadows, 418 F.3d 1152, 1156 (11th Cir.
2005) (quotation marks and citation omitted). To properly
exhaust, an inmate must use all available remedies and comply
with procedural rules and deadlines of the applicable state
grievance system. See Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81,
93 (2006); Bryant v. Rich, 530 F.3d 1368, 1378 (11th
Cir. 2008). Defendants bear the burden of proving that the
prisoner failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.
Turner v. Burnside, 541 F.3d 1077, 1082 (11th Cir.
2008). Unexhausted claims must be dismissed. Harper v.
Jenkin, 179 F.3d 1311, 1312 (11th Cir. 1999).
a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative
remedies is a two-step process.” Id. Courts
first look to the defendant's factual allegations in the
motion to dismiss and the plaintiff's factual allegations
in his response. Id. If those facts conflict, the
court should take the plaintiff's version of the facts as
true, and if the defendant is entitled to dismissal based on
those facts, then the complaint should be dismissed.
Id. If the defendant is not entitled to dismissal
based on those facts, then the defendant bears the burden of
proof in establishing facts that entitle the defendant to
dismissal. Id. “In deciding a motion to
dismiss for a failure to exhaust nonjudicial remedies, the
court may look beyond the pleadings and decide disputed
issues of fact.” Bryant, 530 F.3d at 1374
(quotation marks and citation omitted).
and the Defendants' versions of the facts regarding what
is stated in the grievances do not conflict. See
generally Docs. 27-2; 30. Rather, the Defendants argue
that McGuire's grievances do not “fully describe
the factual basis and circumstances of the alleged incident
or situation” as required by LCDC's grievance
procedure because his grievances do not specifically say that
he needed a different type of diabetes medication. Docs. 27-1
at 10; 27-2 at 5-6. Instead, McGuire's grievances state
that his “diabetic neuropathy is not getting better,
” the medical staff was “not doing anything about
[his poor condition], ” he felt “weak” and
“light headed” due to his poor diet, and he had
low blood sugars. Doc. 27-1 at 12-16, 19-21, 23.
Defendants' argument is unconvincing. Although
“[t]he level of detail necessary in a grievance to
comply with the grievance procedures will vary from system to
system and claim to claim, ” Jones v. Bock,
549 U.S. 199, 218 (2007), a plaintiff is not required to
provide that level of detail when complaining about medical
treatment. Prisoners are not medical experts, and they need
not diagnose or prescribe their medical issue in the
grievances they file.
Defendants also argue that McGuire's grievances
“did nothing to alert the Sheriff's Office to the
Plaintiff's contentions about misconduct by Defendant
White, Holmes or Buchanan.” Doc. 27-2 at 6-7.
Specifically, the Defendants argue that McGuire's
grievances should have listed the names of the Defendants.
Id. That argument is without merit. As stated by the
Magistrate Judge, a grievance is sufficient so long as it
alerts jail officials of the problem and gives them an
opportunity to resolve it, but a prisoner need not
“name any particular defendant in a grievance to
properly exhaust his claim.” Doc. 31 at 6 (citing
Parzyck v. Prison Health Servs. Inc., 627 F.3d 1215,
1218-19 (11th Cir. 2010)).
Defendants' third argument regarding McGuire's
failure to appeal his grievances does, however, raise a
conflict. “[I]t is the prison's requirements, and
not the PLRA, that define the boundaries of proper
exhaustion.” Jones, 549 U.S. at 218. The
Defendants argue, without citing any evidence, that McGuire
filed only one appeal of his grievances relating to his
diabetes. Doc. 27-2 at 7. However, McGuire states in his
response to the Defendants' motion that he completed the
appeals process. Doc. 30.
affidavit of Defendant Buchanan, who is LCDC's record
custodian, states only the grievances filed by McGuire are
attached; it does not state that McGuire did not file any
appeals. Doc. 27-1 at 2-3. Furthermore, Buchanan's
affidavit and the attached inmate handbook do not state
whether inmates can appeal denials of their grievances or how
the appeals process is completed. Id. at 1-3, 5-10.
As previously discussed, the Defendants bear the burden of
proof in establishing facts entitling them to dismissal.
Turner, 541 F.3d at 1082. Thus, the Court must
accept McGuire's version of the facts relating to his
completion of the appeals process as true because the
Defendants have not established that McGuire ...