United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
October 21, 2005.
CHESTER L. WOULARD, Plaintiff,
MR. GLENN, Food Service Director at FCI-Allenwood; MR. HAMMOND, Medical Director at FCI-Allenwood; MR. ROCES, Physician Assistant at FCI-Allenwood; JOHN DOE, Chief Medical Director at FCI-Allenwood; MS. ESPINOZA-LEVI, Unit Manager 4B; OFFICER PARKER, Property Room Officer; and MR. McCLUSKY, Staff Attorney, Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: SYLVIA RAMBO, Senior District Judge
Before the court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the
alternative, for Summary Judgment (Doc. 37). For the reasons that
follow, the court will grant the Motion to Dismiss, without
Plaintiff, Chester Woulard, filed a Complaint on March 18,
2005, seeking an injunction and other equitable relief and
monetary damages against Defendants for alleged violations
including the denial of medical care, the denial of access to the
courts, the denial of a special diet, and cruel and unusual
punishment.*fn1 Plaintiff alleged that the violations occurred at Allenwood
Federal Correction Institution in White Deer, Pennsylvania, where
Plaintiff was incarcerated at the time he filed the Complaint.
On April 12, 2005, Plaintiff entered a change of address to
M.P.C.Y.F. Gander Hill Prison (also known as Howard R. Young
Correctional Institution) in Wilmington, Delaware. However, a
court order, dated June 6, 2005, was returned from that facility,
marked "Return to Sender Inmate Unknown" and "Attempted Not
Known." In addition, the Records Supervisor of the Delaware
Department of Correction, Probation, and Parole replied to
Defendants' request for information concerning Plaintiff and
indicated that Plaintiff was released from Gander Hill Prison on
May 28, 2004. (See Doc. 35.)
Defendants' filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative,
for Summary Judgment and Brief in Support on August 8 and August
22, 2005, respectively. Defendants certified that they were
unable to serve Plaintiff with copies because of Plaintiff's
failure to provide the court with his current address.
Plaintiff's opposition brief was due on September 9th.
II. Legal Standard
In deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule
12(b)(6), the court is required to accept as true all of the
factual allegations in the complaint and all reasonable
inferences that can be drawn from the face of the complaint.
Worldcom, Inc. v. Graphnet, Inc., 343 F.3d 651, 653 (3d Cir.
2003). "The complaint will be deemed to have alleged sufficient facts if it adequately put[s]
the defendant[s] on notice of the essential elements of the
plaintiff's cause of action." Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65
(3d Cir. 1996). The court will not dismiss a complaint for
failure to state a claim "unless it appears beyond a doubt that
the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim
that would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson,
355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957); Port Auth. of New York & New Jersey v.
Arcadian Corp., 189 F.3d 305, 311 (3d Cir. 1999). In the case of
a pro se plaintiff, the court should construe the complaint
liberally and draw fair inferences from what is not alleged as
well as for what is alleged. Dluhos v. Strasberg, 321 F.3d 365,
369 (3d Cir. 2003); Youse v. Carlucci, 867 F. Supp. 317, 318
(E.D. Pa. 1994).
"To decide a motion to dismiss, courts generally consider only
the allegations contained in the complaint, exhibits attached to
the complaint and matters of public record." Pension Benefit
Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d
Cir. 1993) (citations omitted). The court may consider
"undisputedly authentic document[s] that a defendant attaches as
an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are
based on the [attached] document[s]." Id. Additionally,
"documents whose contents are alleged in the complaint and whose
authenticity no party questions, but which are not physically
attached to the pleading may be considered." Pryor v. Nat'l
Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 288 F.3d 548, 560 (3d Cir. 2002);
see also U.S. Express Lines, Ltd. v. Higgins, 281 F.3d 383, 388
(3d Cir. 2002) ("Although a district court may not consider
matters extraneous to the pleadings, a document integral to or
explicitly relied upon in the complaint may be considered without
converting the motion to dismiss into one for summary judgment.")
(internal quotation omitted). However, the court may not rely on
other parts of the record in making its decision. Jordan v. Fox,
Rothschild, O'Brien & Frankel, 20 F.3d 1250, 1261 (3d Cir.
Finally, in the Third Circuit, a court must grant leave to
amend before dismissing a complaint that is merely deficient.
See, e.g., Weston v. Pennsylvania, 251 F.3d 420, 428 (3d Cir.
2001); Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 116-17 (3d Cir. 2000).
"Dismissal without leave to amend is justified only on the
grounds of bad faith, undue delay, prejudice, or futility."
Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 236 (3d Cir. 2004).
Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's claims on the following
grounds: 1) Plaintiff has failed to establish that he exhausted
his administrative remedies; 2) Defendants have qualified
immunity from Plaintiff's claims; and 3) Plaintiff has failed to
present evidence of a constitutional violation. (Br. in Supp. of
Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss 1.) The court finds that Plaintiff fails
to exhaust all of his available administrative remedies.*fn2
Accordingly, the court will dismiss Plaintiff's claims without
A. Administrative Exhaustion The court must dismiss Plaintiff's claims because he has failed
to exhaust all of his administrative remedies. The Prison
Litigation Reform Act of 1996 provides that "[n]o action shall be
brought under § 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) (2000); see also Nyhuis v.
Reno, 204 F.3d 65, 78 (3d Cir. 2000) ("[N]o action shall be
brought in federal court until such administrative remedies as
are available have been exhausted.").
This statutory administrative exhaustion requirement "includes
civil actions ranging from excessive force actions . . . to
actions `with respect to' a prison official's decision . . . to
deny a prisoner food, heating, or medical attention." Booth v.
Churner, 206 F.3d 289, 295 (3d Cir. 2000), aff'd, 532 U.S. 731
(2001). Essentially, all prisoner actions except habeas petitions
are subject to § 1997e(a)'s exhaustion requirements. Id.; see
also Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 527-28, 532 (2002)
(applying the same reasoning as Booth and holding that "the
PLRA's exhaustion requirement applies to all inmate suits about
prison life, whether they involve general circumstances or
particular episodes, and whether they allege excessive force or
some other wrong").
The Administrative Remedy Program is available to all inmates
in institutions operated by the Bureau of Prisons for the purpose
of allowing inmates "to seek formal review of an issue relating
to any aspect of his/her own confinement." 28 C.F.R. § 542.10
(2005). To file a grievance under the Administrative Remedy
Program an inmate must first submit a formal written
Administrative Remedy Request (Form BP-9) to the designated
institutional staff member. Id. § 542.14. If an inmate is not satisfied with the response, he must appeal to the
Regional Director (Form BP1-0).*fn3 Id. § 542.15. The
final administrative appeal is a Central Office Appeal (Form
BP-11) to the General Counsel. Id.
Plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative appeals for any of
his claims. (Br. in Supp. of Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. 1-Albert
Decl. ¶ 7.)*fn4 Plaintiff filed six Administrative Remedy
Requests, five of which were rejected. (Id.) Of these six
requests, three occurred in 2001 and 2002 and thus are not
related to Plaintiff's Complaint, which seeks remedy for alleged
mistreatment after Plaintiff returned to Allenwood in January of
2005. (Id. at Attach. #3.) Plaintiff made the three remaining
Administrative Remedy Requests in March 2005, and all three were
There is no record showing that Plaintiff appealed any of those
three decisions. Plaintiff indicated on his Civil Complaint Form
that he had fully exhausted available administrative remedies,
but stated that he had "filed BP-8 and BP-10" forms only and had
not yet received a reply.*fn6 Likewise, Plaintiff has failed
to file a response to Defendants' motion and exhibits or otherwise provide
the court with any further evidence regarding his pursuit of
those remedies. There is no evidence that Plaintiff filed a
Central Office Appeal with the General Counsel. Thus, Plaintiff
has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies and the court
must dismiss his Complaint.
Finally, because Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies, it would be futile for the court to
grant Plaintiff leave to amend his Complaint.
Because Plaintiff has failed to exhaust all of his
administrative remedies, the court will grant Defendants' Motion
to Dismiss and dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint, without prejudice. ORDER
In accordance with the accompanying memorandum of law, IT IS
HEREBY ORDERED THAT Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, or in the
alternative, for Summary Judgment (Doc. 36) is construed as a
Motion to Dismiss and is GRANTED.
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