United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
Pupo Lenihan, United States Magistrate Judge.
reasons stated herein, the Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment on the issue of exhaustion will be granted and the
case dismissed with prejudice.
William Harris initiated the instant action with the filing
of a Motion to Proceed in forma pauperis on November
16, 2015. (ECF No. 1.) After the motion was granted, his
Complaint was docketed on December 3, 2015. (ECF No. 3.)
Plaintiff later filed an Amended Complaint on July 19, 2016.
(ECF No. 55.) Discovery ensued. Defendants have filed a
Motion for Summary Judgement solely on the issue of
exhaustion. (ECF No. 82.)
Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
is an inmate currently incarcerated at the State Correctional
Institution at Fayette (SCI-Fayette) and formerly at the
State Correctional Institution at Somerset (SCI-Somerset).
See, generally, Def.'s State of Mat. Facts (ECF
No. 83 at p.1.) Plaintiff made a number of claims in his
Amended Complaint, including but not limited to, placement in
two cells with bent bedframes, false misconducts, and the
seizure of his legal property. (ECF No. 55.) All claims were
dismissed by this court except for the claim against
Defendants Wingard and Wadsworth of a transfer from
SCI-Somerset to SCI-Fayette on March 17, 2015 in retaliation
for filing several grievances at SCI-Somerset. Pl.'s Am.
Compl. (ECF No. 68).
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff makes several factual
allegations with regard to the alleged retaliatory treatment
and transfer. On March 6, 2015 Plaintiff avers that he was
told he was being sent to SCI-Fayette. When he asked why he
was told “you'll find out when you get
there.” He avers that this statement (and the transfer)
was made in retaliation for his filing of grievances.
Id. at ¶ 6. Plaintiff further claims that on
March 20, 2015 he was given documents containing disciplinary
hearing results with sanctions by an unknown Restricted
Housing Unit Officer. Id. at ¶ 5. When he asked
what the documents were about, the Officer allegedly said,
“It's what you get for filing grievances.”
argue that Plaintiff's retaliatory transfer claim against
Defendants Wingard and Wadsworth should be dismissed because
Plaintiff failed to comply with the administrative exhaustion
requirement of the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. §1997e(a). The Act
states that an inmate is required to exhaust their available
administrative remedies before filing a federal lawsuit under
42 U.S.C. §1983. Id. Specifically, PLRA
No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions
under section 1983 of this title by a prisoner confined in
jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such
administration remedies as are available are exhausted.
Id. The United States Supreme Court has held 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.” Porter v.
Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002). Additionally, Congress
has clearly mandated exhaustion, “regardless of the
relief offered through administrative procedures.”
Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001).
have concluded that inmates who fail to comply with the
prison grievance process are barred from litigating those
claims in federal courts, as proper exhaustion of
administrative remedies is a “prerequisite” to a
suit in federal court. Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d
218, 222 (3d Cir. 2004).
to the Supreme Court, “proper exhaustion demands
compliance with an agency's deadlines and other critical
procedural rules because no adjudicative system can function
effectively without imposing some orderly structure on the
course of its proceedings.” Woodford v. Ngo,
548 U.S. 81, 89-90 (2006). Such requirements “eliminate
unwarranted federal court interference with the
administration of prisons, and thus seek to affor[d]
corrections officials time and opportunity to address
complaints internally before allowing the initiation of a
federal case.” Id. at 93.
the Plaintiff makes claims that the filing of a grievance
would be futile for various reasons, the Third Circuit has
held that, “the futility exception is not applicable in
any case.” Nyhuis v. Reno, 204 F.3d 65, 72 (3d
Cir. 2000). Therefore, it does not matter whether or not the
Plaintiff believes that the filing of a grievance would be
ineffective. Id. at 78. Rather, he must continue to
exhaust his administrative remedies when available to him.
Plaintiff Failed to Exhaust ...