Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Brown v. Clark

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

February 3, 2017

GREGORY GARRETT BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
MR. CLARK, SUPT., et al, Defendants.

          Barbara Rothstein United States District Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Cynthia Reed Eddy United States Magistrate Judge

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         It is respectfully recommended that the motion to dismiss filed by Defendants (ECF No. 44) be converted into a motion for summary judgment on the issue of exhaustion, and that summary judgment be granted to Defendants. Additionally, the Court recommends that Plaintiff's Motion for Preliminary Injunction (ECF No. 28) be denied as moot as it is recommended that summary judgment be granted to Defendants.

         II. REPORT

         A. Background

         Plaintiff, Gregory Garrett Brown (“Brown”) is an inmate currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Albion (“SCI-Albion”). PACER, a/k/a Public Access to Court Records, reflects that Brown is a serial pro se prisoner filer of lawsuits and has incurred three or more strikes for purposes of the Prison Litigation Report Act (“PLRA”).[1] In this case, Brown is not proceeding in forma pauperis as he paid the full filing fee at the time he filed his complaint. (ECF No. 5).

         In the instant lawsuit, Brown names thirty-three (33) defendants, all of whom appear to be employed at SCI-Albion. (Amended Complaint, ECF No. 16). The claims are difficult to follow but appear to relate to a three-month period from May 2016 through early September 2016. Defendants contend that the specifics of Brown's claims are of no moment, as Brown failed to properly exhaust any grievance or claim for any incident which occurred from May 10, 2016 through September 8, 2016.

         B. Discussion

         Defendants filed the instant Motion to Dismiss asking the Court to convert the motion to dismiss to a summary judgment motion on the issue of exhaustion. (ECF No. 44). Prior to the Court issuing a briefing schedule, Brown filed a “Response to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss” (ECF No. 52) and a “ Response to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.” (ECF No. 53.)[2]The motion is ripe for disposition.

         Under the PLRA, “[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 . . . by a prisoner confined in jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). A prisoner must exhaust administrative remedies as to any claim that arises in the prison setting, regardless of any limitations on the kind of relief that may be gained through the grievance process. See Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002); Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 n.6 (2001). Exhaustion means “a prisoner must complete the administrative review process in accordance with the applicable procedural rules, including deadlines, as a precondition to bringing suit in federal court.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 92 (2006). The exhaustion requirement is not a technicality, rather it is federal law which federal district courts are required to follow. Nyhuis v. Reno, 204 F.3d 65, 73 (3d Cir. 2000) (by using language “no action shall be brought, ” Congress has “clearly required exhaustion”). Grievance procedures in inmate handbooks are administrative remedies that must be exhausted under the PLRA prior to suit. Concepcion v. Morton, 306 F.3d 1347, 1348-49 (3d Cir. 2002).

         The PLRA also requires “proper exhaustion” meaning that a prisoner must complete the administrative review process in accordance with the applicable procedural rules of that grievance system. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 87-91 (2006) (“Proper exhaustion demands compliance with an agency's deadlines and other critical procedural rules . . . .”). This broad rule, however, admits of one narrowly defined exception. If the actions of prison officials in some fashion contributed to the inmate's procedural default on a grievance, the inmate will not be held to strict compliance with this exhaustion requirement. See Camp v. Brennan, 219 F.3d 279 (3d Cir. 2000). However, courts have recognized a clear “reluctance to invoke equitable reasons to excuse [an inmate's] failure to exhaust as the state requires.” Davis v. Warman, 49 F. App'x 365, 368 (3d Cir. 2002). Thus, an inmate's failure to exhaust will only be excused “under certain limited circumstances, ” and an inmate can defeat a claim of failure to exhaust only by showing “he was misled or that there was some extraordinary reason he was prevented from complying with the statutory mandate.” Harris v. Armstrong, 149 F. App'x 58, 59 (3d Cir. 2005); Davis v. Warman, 49 F. App'x at 368.

         The DOC maintains a grievance system which offers a three-phase grievance and appeals procedure. See DC-ADM 804. First, an inmate may submit a grievance to the inmate Grievance Coordinator at the institution where the acts complained of occurred. If the inmate is dissatisfied with the initial review response, he or she may, file appeal to the Facility Manager/Superintendent for a second level of review. Finally, an inmate may submit an appeal to the Secretary's Office of Inmate Grievances and Appeals (“SOIGA”) for review of the decision by the Facility Manager / Superintendent.

         Defendants argue that this case should be dismissed as Brown failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies under the PLRA. In support of their argument, Defendants present the sworn Declaration of Amanda West, a ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.