United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
M. VIRDEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter comes before the court on the pro se prisoner
complaint of Adam Lee Pinkton, who challenges the conditions
of his confinement under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. For the
purposes of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the court notes
that the plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed this suit.
The plaintiff has brought the instant case under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, which provides a federal cause of action against
“[e]very person” who under color of state
authority causes the “deprivation of any rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and
laws.” 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Lepher Jenkins has moved  for summary judgment, seeking
dismissal of the plaintiff's allegations, arguing that
none of the allegations involve him. In addition, the documents
presented with the motion for summary judgment reveal that
the plaintiff has not exhausted his administrative remedies
as to defendants Jenkins, James, or Brown. Further, the
defendants have filed with the court a Suggestion of Death as
to defendant Bernice Brown, and the plaintiff has not timely
sought to substitute a party in her place. For the reasons
set forth below, the instant motion  for summary judgment
will be granted, and the instant case will be dismissed.
plaintiff's remaining claims against the defendants are
that they: (1) maintained inadequate staffing levels at the
Marshall County Correctional Facility (“MCCF”)
(Jenkins, James); (2) permitted excessive contraband in the
facility (Jenkins, James); (3) maintained unsanitary kitchen
conditions (Jenkins, James); (4) provided inadequate exercise
and outdoor recreation (Jenkins, James); (5) retaliated
against the plaintiff for complaining about the conditions at
the facility (Jenkins); and (6) denied him access to the
Pinkton Has Not Exhausted Administrative Remedies as to Any
Claim in This Case
must first exhaust any available administrative remedies
before seeking relief in federal court regarding their
conditions of confinement. Congress enacted the Prison
Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C.
§1997e et seq. - including its requirement that
inmates exhaust their administrative remedies prior to filing
suit - in an effort to address the large number of prisoner
complaints filed in federal courts. See Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 202 (2007). Congress meant for the
exhaustion requirement to be an effective tool to help weed
out the frivolous claims from the colorable ones:
Prisoner litigation continues to ‘account for an
outsized share of filings' in federal district courts.
Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 94, n. 4, 126 S.Ct.
2378 (2006) (slip op., at 12, n.4). In 2005, nearly 10
percent of all civil cases filed in federal courts nationwide
were prisoner complaints challenging prison conditions or
claiming civil rights violations. Most of these cases have no
merit; many are frivolous. Our legal system, however, remains
committed to guaranteeing that prisoner claims of illegal
conduct by their custodians are fairly handled according to
law. The challenge lies in ensuring that the flood of
non-meritorious claims does not submerge and effectively
preclude consideration of the allegations with merit. See
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327, 109 S.Ct. 1827,
104 L.Ed.2d 338 (1989).
Congress addressed that challenge in the PLRA. What this
country needs, Congress decided, is fewer and better prisoner
suits. See Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524, 122
S.Ct. 983, 152 L.Ed.2d 12 (2002) (PLRA intended to
“reduce the quantity and improve the quality of
prisoner suits”). To that end, Congress enacted a
variety of reforms designed to filter out the bad claims and
facilitate consideration of the good. Key among these was the
requirement that inmates complaining about prison conditions
exhaust prison grievance remedies before initiating a
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 203 (2007).
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. The exhaustion requirement protects
administrative agency authority, promotes efficiency, and
produces “a useful record for subsequent judicial
consideration.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S.81,
89 (2006). 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); see also Johnson v.
Ford, 261 Fed.Appx. 752, 755 (5th Cir.
2008)(the Fifth Circuit takes “a strict approach”
to the PLRA's exhaustion requirement)(citing Days v.
Johnson, 322 F.3d 863, 866 (5thCir. 2003));
Lane v. Harris Cty.Med.Dep't, No. 06-20935, 2008
WL 116333, at *1 (5th Cir. Jan.11, 2008)(under the
PLRA, “the prisoner must not only pursue all available
avenues of relief; he must also comply with all
administrative deadlines and procedural rules”).
Indeed, “a prisoner must now exhaust administrative
remedies even where the relief sought - monetary damages -
cannot be granted by the administrative process.”
Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 739 (2001).
requirement that claims be exhausted prior to the filing of a
lawsuit is mandatory and non-discretionary. Gonzalez v.
Seal, 702 F.3d 785 (5th Cir.2012).
“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). As “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. The
Supreme Court has also recognized the need for a prisoner to
face a significant consequence for deviating from the prison
grievance procedural rules:
The benefits of exhaustion can be realized only if the prison
grievance system is given a fair opportunity to consider the
grievance. The prison grievance system will not have such an
opportunity unless the grievance complies with the
system's critical procedural rules. A prisoner who does
not want to participate in the prison grievance system will
have little incentive to ...