United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge
Bernard Sanganza, a federal inmate, filed this amended
Bivenscomplaint alleging that Defendants violated
Sanganza's constitutional rights by illegally holding him
in custody, attempting to interfere with his criminal case
and coerce him into pleading guilty, and retaliating against
him for filing or threatening to file a civil complaint.
(Doc. 9 at 3-4). Sanganza has also filed a series of motions
that are ripe for consideration, including motions: for a
preliminary injunction (Doc. 13); for a jury trial (Doc. 28);
for default judgment (Doc. 32); for oral argument or
adjudication of other motions (Doc. 45); to unseal the case
(Doc. 46); and to compel initial and expert disclosures (Doc.
47). Defendants filed two motions to dismiss the complaint,
which the Court subsequently converted to motions for summary
judgment. (Docs. 25, 30, 42). For the following reasons,
Defendants' motions for summary judgment will be granted,
and Sanganza's motions will be denied.
Factual Background & Procedural History
2017, Sanganza was convicted of mail and bank fraud and was
sentenced to 144 months' imprisonment. (Doc. 34 ¶ 2;
Doc. 34-1 at 4-5). Sanganza was thereafter assigned to the
Allenwood Federal Correctional Institution (“Allenwood
FCI”). (Doc. 34 ¶ 1). Sanganza alleges that, in
October 2017-while he was incarcerated at Allenwood
FCI-Defendant Gardner attempted to coerce Sanganza into
agreeing that he suffered from a mental illness, and Kahley
Charles attempted to provide Sanganza with medication that
would render Sanganza unconscious, thereby allowing the
government to force Sanganza to sign documents that would
result in a “tainted conviction.” (Doc. 9 at 3).
Sanganza further alleges that, beginning in February 2018,
Defendants issued false misconduct reports, placed Sanganza
in solitary confinement, and orchestrated a sexual assault
against Sanganza in retaliation for Sanganza threatening to
sue, suing, or encouraging other prisoners to sue prison
officials. (Id. at 3-4). Sanganza did not file any
administrative grievances or claims related to those matters.
(Doc. 34 ¶¶ 15-17).
2018, Sanganza filed suit against Defendants alleging
violations of his constitutional rights. (Id.).
Defendants in turn filed two motions to dismiss contending,
inter alia, that Sanganza's complaint must be dismissed
because he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, as
required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”). (See Docs. 26, 35).
Defendants' motions relied in part on the contention that
Sanganza failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, this
Court issued an order-pursuant to Paladino v.
Newsome, 885 F.3d 203, 211 (3rd Cir. 2018)-that
converted to motions to motions for summary judgment and
permitted the parties to supplement the record with any
pertinent documents or arguments related to the exhaustion of
Sanganza's administrative remedies. (Doc. 42). Defendants
declined to supplement the record (Docs. 43, 44), while
Sanganza submitted a timely supplemental brief. (Doc. 48).
The matter is now ripe for consideration.
judgment is appropriate when, drawing all reasonable
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, and
thus the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Minarsky v. Susquehanna Cty., 895 F.3d
303, 309 (3d Cir. 2018) (internal quotation marks omitted).
“A dispute is genuine if a reasonable trier-of-fact
could find in favor of the non-movant, and material if it
could affect the outcome of the case.” Bradley v.
W. Chester Univ. of Pa. State Sys. of Higher Educ., 880
F.3d 643, 650 (3d Cir.) (internal quotation marks omitted),
cert. denied, 139 S.Ct. 167 (2018)).
contend that summary judgment is appropriate because Sanganza
failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing
suit. (Docs. 26, 35, 44). Sanganza in turn asserts that the
motions should be denied because: (1) Defendants
unambiguously violated his constitutional rights; (2)
administrative remedies are inadequate to address his
irreparable injuries; (3) exhausting his remedies would be
futile because grievances “usually disappear”
after they are filed; and (4) the Court should, in the
exercise of its discretion and “in the interests of
justice, ” excuse his failure to exhaust administrative
remedies. (Doc. 48 at 1).
Summary Judgment Motions
PLRA requires that federal prisoners exhaust all available
administrative remedies prior to filing suit in federal
court. Rinaldi v. United States, 904 F.3d 257,
264-65 (3d Cir. 2018). “Exhaustion is thus a
non-jurisdictional prerequisite to an inmate bringing suit
and, for that reason, . . . it constitutes a threshold issue
that courts must address to determine whether litigation is
being conducted in the right forum at the right time.”
Id. at 265 (emphasis and internal quotation marks
omitted). To exhaust administrative remedies in federal
As a general matter, inmates must (1) attempt an informal
resolution with staff at the institution; (2) file a formal
complaint with the institution; (3) file an appeal to the
appropriate Regional Director if the inmate is not satisfied
with the institution's response to the formal complaint;
and (4) file another appeal to the General Counsel if ...