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Barnes v. Boston

United States District Court, D. Oregon, Portland Division

March 10, 2017

CHRISTOPHER LEE BARNES, Plaintiff,
v.
STEVE BOSTON, et al., Defendants.

          FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATION

          Honorable Paul Papak United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff pro se Christopher Lee Barnes, an incarcerated prisoner, filed this action in forma pauperis against defendants Steve Boston, the Oregon Department of Collections, and the State of Oregon. This court has dismissed Barnes's claims against the Oregon Department of Corrections and the State of Oregon, leaving Boston as the only defendant. Barnes claims Boston is liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating his Fourteenth Amendment rights to due process and equal protection.

         Boston now moves for summary judgment, contending that Barnes failed to exhaust administrative remedies. ECF No. 13. For the reasons set forth below, Boston's motion for summary judgment should be granted.

         BACKGROUND

         Barnes is an inmate at the Two Rivers Correctional Institution. Boston is a correctional lieutenant, and was a correctional captain at the time of Barnes's allegations.

         Barnes alleges Boston "continues to house the plaintiff in an unsafe unit, while having personal knowledge that the plaintiff is being subjected to verbal threats on his life by another inmate who has already physically harmed the plaintiff." Compl. 4, ECF No. 2. Barnes alleges that, by subjecting him daily to imminent danger, Boston acted inconsistently with the institution's rules and policies, as well as state law. Compl. 5C.

         Boston submits a declaration from James A. Taylor, a Grievance Coordinator who reviewed Barnes's records at the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC). See Taylor Decl., ECF No. 14. Taylor states that inmates may seek administrative review of complaints through a grievance review process, which includes an appeals process. Taylor Decl. ¶¶ 4, 8-9.

         Two Rivers Correctional Institution received a grievance from Barnes on March 14, 2016. In the grievance, Barnes stated that he had spoken to Boston on March 10, 2016 about the. dangers of his current housing placement, and that Boston refused to transfer him to a different housing placement. Taylor Deck, Attach. 4. The Grievance Coordinator's office accepted Barnes's grievance and sent it to Boston for a written reply. Boston issued his reply to the grievance on May 18, 2016. Taylor Decl,, Attach. 4, at 1.

         Taylor states that after thoroughly reviewing ODOC records, he found no evidence that Barnes had ever filed a first or second appeal of his grievance against Boston. Taylor Decl. ¶ 10. Taylor notes that Barnes had filed several other grievances, Taylor Decl. ¶ 9. Taylor states that ' because Barnes did not appeal the denial of his grievance, he failed to complete the grievance process. Taylor Decl. ¶ 11.

         LEGAL STANDARDS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT MOTIONS

         Summary judgment is appropriate "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." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The substantive law governing a claim or defense determines whether a fact is material. See Moreland v. Las Vegas Metro. Police Dep't 159 F.3d 365, 369 (9th Cir. 1998).

         Summary judgment is not proper if material factual issues exist for trial. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 318, 322 (1986). In evaluating a motion for summary judgment, this court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party, and may not make credibility findings or weigh evidence. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U, S. 133, 150 (2000). In civil actions brought by a pro se plaintiff, the court construes the pleadings liberally and gives the plaintiff the benefit of any doubt. Alvarez v. Hill, 518 F.3d 1152, 1158 (9th Cir. 2008).

         DISCUSSION

         Boston contends that Barnes has failed to exhaust administrative remedies as required by the Prison ...


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