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Badger v. Fisher

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division

November 30, 2017

CRAYTONIA BADGER PLAINTIFF
v.
MARSHALL FISHER, ET AL. DEFENDANTS

          OPINION AND ORDER

          MICHAEL T. PARKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment [51] filed by Defendants Marshall Fisher and Derrick Patton and the Motion for Summary Judgment [54] filed by Defendants Ray Lofton, Danny Meaux, Bobby White, and Sheriff Tim Wroten. Having considered the parties' submissions and the applicable law, the Court finds that the Motions [51] [54] should be denied.

         BACKGROUND

         On November 16, 2016, Plaintiff Craytonia Badger, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed his Complaint [1] pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's claims arose from events which took place while Plaintiff was incarcerated in Ferriday, Louisiana, and incarcerated at the Amite County Jail in Mississippi. Plaintiff asserts claims against Sheriff Tim Wroten, Parole Officer Derrick Patton, and Mississippi Department of Corrections (“MDOC”) Commissioner Marshall Fisher for wrongfully holding him in custody at the Amite County Jail for twelve additional days.

         Plaintiff also asserts claims against Bobby White and Sheriff Wroten for their alleged failure to provide adequate medical care. Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Sheriff Wroten, Ray Lofton, and Danny Meaux retaliated against him for filing a state court pleading by placing him and two other inmates in a cell designed to hold two men. Plaintiff was allegedly housed in this cell for one month and was not allowed to participate in outdoor recreation during that period.

         On September 18, 2017, Defendants Fisher and Patton (“MDOC Defendants”) filed their Motion for Summary Judgment [51], and on September 21, 2017, Defendants Lofton, Meaux, White, and Sheriff Wroten (“Amite County Defendants”) filed their Motion for Summary Judgment [54]. In both Motions [51] [54], Defendants argue that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing this action. Plaintiff responded to the Motions [51] [54] on November 1, 2017, and the Motions are ripe for disposition.

         STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         A motion for summary judgment will be granted only when “the record indicates that there is ‘no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'” Causey v. Sewell Cadillac-Chevrolet, Inc., 394 F.3d 285, 288 (5th Cir. 2004) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)). The Court must view “the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Id. The nonmoving party, however, “cannot defeat summary judgment with conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated assertions, or ‘only a scintilla of evidence.'” Turner v. Baylor Richardson Med. Center, 476 F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007) (quoting Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994)). In the absence of proof, the Court does not “assume that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary facts.” Little, 37 F.3d at 1075 (emphasis omitted).

         ANALYSIS

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), requires prisoners to exhaust any available administrative remedies prior to filing suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. “Whether a prisoner has exhausted administrative remedies is a mixed question of law and fact.” Dillon v. Rogers, 596 F.3d 260, 266 (5th Cir. 2010). The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that “[s]ince exhaustion is a threshold issue that courts must address to determine whether litigation is being conducted in the right forum at the right time, . . . judges may resolve factual disputes concerning exhaustion without the participation of a jury.” Id. at 272. Because exhaustion is an affirmative defense, Defendants bears the burden of demonstrating that Plaintiff failed to exhaust available administrative remedies. Id. at 266.

         The Fifth Circuit takes “a strict approach” to the PLRA's exhaustion requirement. Johnson v. Ford, 261 Fed. App'x 752, 755 (5th Cir. 2008) (citing Days v. Johnson, 322 F.3d 863, 866 (5th Cir. 2003)). A prisoner cannot satisfy the exhaustion requirement “by filing an untimely or otherwise procedurally defective administrative grievance or appeal” because “proper exhaustion of administrative remedies is necessary.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 83-84 (2006). It is not enough to merely initiate the grievance process or to put prison officials on notice of a complaint; the grievance process must be carried through to its conclusion. Wright v. Hollingsworth, 260 F.3d 357, 358 (5th Cir. 2001).

         Exceptions to the exhaustion requirement are only appropriate where the available administrative remedies are unavailable or wholly inappropriate to the relief sought, or where the attempt to exhaust such remedies would itself be patently futile. Fuller v. Rich, 11 F.3d 61, 62 (5th Cir. 1994). Exceptions to the exhaustion requirement only apply in “extraordinary circumstances, ” and the prisoner bears the burden of demonstrating the futility or unavailability of administrative review. Id.

         In support of their Motion [54], Amite County Defendants submitted an affidavit from the Chief Deputy of the Amite County Sheriff's Department, Rodney Murray, stating that there was a grievance process in place at the time of Plaintiff's incarceration at the jail. See [54-1] at 1. Amite ...


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