United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
SHARION AYCOCK, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is the Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment  for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.
The Magistrate Judge appointed counsel to the Plaintiff, and
through counsel, the Plaintiff responded.
and Procedural History
Sumrall was an inmate in the Mississippi Department of
Corrections when he filed both of these cases in the District
Court for the Southern District of Mississippi on December
18, 2015. The cases were later transferred to this District
and consolidated into this lead case. See Orders
[11, 27]. In his Complaint , Sumrall alleges several
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, namely that he endured
physical attacks and beatings at the hands of the Defendants,
mostly Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC)
employees, and that the Defendants failed to protect him from
physical violence from other inmates. Sumrall also alleges
that MDOC staff failed to provide him with adequate medical
care and conspired to retaliate against him for filing
grievances by issuing false Rule Violation Reports (RVR) to
Defendants seek summary judgment on all claims, contending
that Sumrall failed to fully exhaust the remedies available
to him under MDOC's Administrative Remedy Program (ARP).
Sumrall counters that he did exhaust.
Magistrate Judge assigned to this case held a preliminary
hearing on several issues. At the hearing, Sumrall agreed
that he had no factual basis for a claim against named
Defendants Marshall Fisher, Jerry Williams, Marylen
Sturdivant, Connie Durr, Kenishia Cox, Raynette Wells, and
Sabrina Jackson. The Magistrate Judge issued a Report and
Recommendation  recommending that these Defendants be
dismissed. No. objections were filed, and the time for doing
so has expired. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B);
light of the results of the hearing, and the fact that no
objections were raised, the Court adopts the Report and
Recommendation as the opinion, findings of fact, and
conclusions of law of this Court. Accordingly, Marshall
Fisher, Jerry Williams, Marylen Sturdivant, Connie Durr,
Kenishia Cox, Raynette Wells, and Sabrina Jackson are
dismissed from these consolidated actions. Sumrall's
claims against the remaining Defendants will proceed below to
summary judgment review.
judgment is warranted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
Rule 56(a) when evidence reveals no genuine dispute regarding
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. The rule “mandates the
entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery
and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing
sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential
to that party's case, and on which that party will bear
the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d
party moving for summary judgment “bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of [the
record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Id. at 323,
106 S.Ct. 2548. The nonmoving party must then “go
beyond the pleadings” and “designate
‘specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial.' ” Id. at 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548.
In reviewing the evidence, factual controversies are to be
resolved in favor of the nonmovant, “but only when . .
. both parties have submitted evidence of contradictory
facts.” Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d
1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994) (en banc) (per curiam). When such
contradictory facts exist, the court may “not make
credibility determinations or weigh the evidence.”
Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prod., Inc., 530 U.S.
133, 150, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000). “The
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) provides that “[n]o
action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions
under section 1983 . . . 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). “[F]ailure
to exhaust is an affirmative defense under the PLRA.”
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 216, 127 S.Ct. 910, 166
L.Ed.2d 798 (2007). Thus, Defendants “must establish
beyond peradventure all of the essential elements of the
defense of exhaustion to warrant summary judgment in their
favor.” Dillon v. Rogers, 596 F.3d 260, 266
(5th Cir. 2010) (citing Martin v. Alamo Cmty. Coll.
Dist., 353 F.3d 409, 412 (5th Cir. 2003)). It is
therefore the Defendants' burden to establish what the
available procedures were that the inmate did not exhaust.
Id.; see also Cantwell v. Sterling, 788
F.3d 507, 509 (5th Cir. 2015).
2016, the Supreme Court outlined the parameters of
“availability” in this context. See Ross v.
Blake, ___ U.S. ___, 136 S.Ct. 1850, 1859, 195 L.Ed.2d
117 (2016). Ross sets out “three kinds of
circumstances in which an administrative remedy, although
officially on the books, is not capable of use to obtain
relief and unavailable: (1) “when (despite what
regulations or guidance materials may promise) it operates as
a simple dead end-with officers unable or consistently
unwilling to provide any relief to aggrieved
inmates[;]” (2) when “some mechanism exists to
provide relief, but no ordinary prisoner can discern or
navigate it” because “no ordinary prisoner can
make sense of what it demands[;]” and (3) “when