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Ramirez v. Martin

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

June 11, 2018




         This matter is before the Court on the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment [46] and related filings in this case brought pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) and 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Plaintiff has failed to respond to the motion.[1] For the reasons explained below, the undersigned recommends that the motion be granted, and that this case be dismissed.


         Plaintiff Jessee Ramirez, Bureau of Prisons Register Number 31805-180, is currently incarcerated at McCreary United States Penitentiary, located in Pine Knot, Kentucky. When he filed this action, he was incarcerated in the United States Penitentiary in the Federal Correctional Complex, located at Yazoo City, Mississippi.[2] Ramirez is currently serving a life sentence with three (3) years of supervised release. [46-1] at 2. According to the filings, Ramirez's claims arise from events that transpired while he was incarcerated at USP Yazoo.

         Plaintiff filed this action under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, seeking recovery of damages against Defendants pursuant to Bivens. Named as Defendants are Warden Unknown Martin, A.W. Gifford, A.W. Bradley, Unknown Ellis, Unit Team Leader Unknown Silva, Unit Team Leader Unknown Curry, Case Manager Unknown Pullum, Doctor Unknown Chambers, SIS Unknown Greer, Unknown Douthit, Unknown King, Unknown Stewart, Unknown Snyder, and several John Doe defendants. In sum, Ramirez alleges that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights to adequate medical care for serious medical needs, his First Amendment rights related to filing grievances on behalf of himself and other inmates, his Fifth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection in the facilities in which he has been housed, and retaliation and discrimination relating to his conditions of confinement. Plaintiff seeks injunctive and monetary relief.

         In response to the Complaint, Defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, motion for summary judgment. In their motion, Defendants argue, inter alia, that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust administrative remedies as to his claims. For the reasons explained below, the undersigned recommends that this case be dismissed without prejudice based upon Plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies.


         Defendants have moved for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, summary judgment based on Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[3] Although Defendants have raised the defense of qualified immunity, “if it becomes evident that the plaintiff has failed to state or otherwise to establish a claim, then the defendant[s] [are] entitled to dismissal on that basis.” Wells v. Bonner, 45 F.3d 90, 93 (5th Cir. 1995)(citing Siegert v. Gilley, 500 U.S. 226, 231-33 (1991)). As mentioned above, Defendants also assert, among other defenses, that Plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed for his failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

         A review of the relevant statutory and case law on exhaustion is instructive. With the passage of the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, Congress amended 42 U.S.C. § 1997e regarding exhaustion of administrative remedies by prisoners. The relevant portion of' 1997e states, as follows:

No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, 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)(Supp. 2000)(emphasis added). In Booth v. Churner, the Supreme Court held that 42 U.S.C. § 1997e requires an inmate to exhaust administrative remedies before bringing an action with respect to prison conditions, regardless of the relief offered through administrative procedures. Booth, 121 S.Ct. 1819, 1825 (2001). In Porter v. Nussle, the Supreme Court reiterated its holding in Booth when it held that the PLRA's exhaustion requirement is mandatory and 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, 122 S.Ct. 983 (2002). Porter informs that:

[o]nce within the discretion of the district court, exhaustion in cases covered by' 1997e(a) is now mandatory. See Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 739, 121 S.Ct. 1819, 1490 L.Ed.2d 958 (2001). All "available" remedies must now be exhausted; those remedies need not meet federal standards, nor must they be "plain, speedy, and effective." Even when the prisoner seeks relief not available in grievance proceedings, notably money damages, exhaustion is a prerequisite to suit. And unlike the previous provision, which encompassed only' 1983 suits, exhaustion is now required for all "action[s] . . . brought with respect to prison conditions," whether under' 1983 or "any other Federal law." Thus federal prisoners suing under Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999, 29 L.Ed.2d 619 (1971), must first exhaust inmate grievance procedures just as state prisoners must exhaust administrative processes prior to instituting a' 1983 suit.

Porter, 122 S.Ct. at 988 (some citations omitted). Furthermore, the Supreme Court has recently rejected any attempt to engraft a “special circumstances” exception into the PLRA's exhaustion requirement. See Ross v. Blake, 136 S.Ct. 1850, 1858 (2016).

         Turning to the present case, the records show that Ramirez filed seven administrative remedy requests while he was incarcerated at USP Yazoo. Two of them, Remedy ID 828572-A1 and Remedy ID 823277-A1, concerned events that transpired at another facility. [46-2] at 4. Three of the requests, Remedy ID 853928-F1, Remedy ID 853936-F1, and Remedy ID 854087-F1, concerned a sentence computation issue that is not a part of this action. [46-2] at 73-74. Remedy ID 850226-F1, which was denied, concerned inaccurate information in his central file, which is not a part of the claims asserted in this action. Id. at 72. Finally, Remedy ID 853126-R1, which alleges denial of administrative remedy procedures, was rejected for Plaintiff's failure to file an administrative remedy at the facility level. Id. at ...

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