United States District Court, D. Oregon
KENNETH G. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
OREGON DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
Aiken United States District Judge
an inmate at Oregon State Penitentiary, filed suit pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his federal
due process rights. Defendants now move for summary judgment
on all claims under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56,
arguing that plaintiffs claims are untimely and barred for
failure to exhaust administrative remedies. For the reasons
set forth below, defendants' motion is granted, and this
action is dismissed.
alleges several claims for relief against the remaining
defendants. First, plaintiff alleges that ODOC medical
defendants failed to provide adequate testing of and
treatment for his serious spine conditions, subjecting him to
unnecessary pain for three years. Second, plaintiff alleges
that Correctional Officer Stills assaulted him and used a
stun gun on his face while plaintiff was receiving treatment
at the Kadlec Neuroscience Center. Third and finally,
plaintiff alleges that various defendants denied him access
to the courts when they failed to process his grievances and
fraudulently responded to his appeals. See generally
Pl.'s Compl. (ECF No. 2).
argue that plaintiffs claims are untimely, and alternatively,
that they are barred due to plaintiffs failure to exhaust
administrative remedies. To prevail on their motion for
summary judgment, defendants must show there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and defendants are entitled
to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a);
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986);
Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162, 1166 (9th Cir. 2014)
("If undisputed evidence viewed in the light most
favorable to the prisoner shows a failure to exhaust, a
defendant is entitled to summary judgment under Rule
56"). The court must construe the evidence and
draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to
plaintiff. Torres v. City of Madera, 648 F.3d 1119,
1123 (9th Cir. 2011).
that plaintiffs claims are barred by the relevant two-year
statute of limitations. Sain v. City of Bend, 309
F.3d 1134, 1139 (9th Cir. 2002). Construing all inferences in
his favor, plaintiff signed his Complaint on January 9, 2018,
and he alleges no unlawful conduct by defendants that
occurred during the two-year period prior to that date.
Granted, the statute of limitations is tolled while a
prisoner exhausts his or her available administrative
remedies. Brown v. Valoff, 422 F.3d 926, 943 (9th
Cir. 2005) (stating that "the applicable statute of
limitations must be tolled while a prisoner completes the
mandatory exhaustion process"). However, plaintiffs
evidence shows that he submitted and appealed the vast
majority of grievances related to his claims in 2013, with
several filed and appealed in 2015. See Pl.'s
Response Exs. A-D (ECF No. 42-1). Only one of plaintiffs
grievance appeals extended into 2106 and within the
limitations period; in that instance, plaintiff failed to
comply with the relevant appeal process. See Sobotta
Decl. ¶¶ 28-31; Pl.'s Response Ex. E.
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), inmates must exhaust
all available administrative remedies before filing a federal
action to redress prison conditions or incidents.
See 42 U.S.C § 1997e(a) ("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."). The exhaustion requirement is
"mandatory" and requires compliance with both
procedural and substantive elements of the prison
administrative process before a prisoner files suit.
Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 85, 93-95 (2006).
the exhaustion requirement is mandatory, it is not absolute;
if the defendant shows that the inmate did not exhaust an
available administrative remedy, "the burden shifts to
the prisoner to come forward with evidence showing that there
is something in his particular case that made the existing
and generally available administrative remedies effectively
unavailable to him." Albino, 747 F.3d at 1172;
see also Sapp v. Kimbrell, 623 F.3d 813, 822 (9th
Cir. 2010; (the PLRA does not require exhaustion when
administrative remedies are "effectively
unavailable"). This burden is met when the prisoner
shows that he or she took "reasonable and appropriate
steps," but prison officials nonetheless prevented or
interfered with the prisoner's attempts to exhaust.
Nunez v. Duncan, 591 F.3d 1217, 1224 (9th Cir.
Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) employs a three-step
grievance and appeal process. Or. Admin, R. 291-109-0140.
Inmates may file grievances for numerous issues, including
"unprofessional behavior or action which may be directed
toward an inmate by an employee" of ODOC. Id.
291-109-0140(2)(c). Generally, the inmate must file a
grievance within thirty days of the alleged condition or
incident, and inmates must file a separate grievance for each
individual who was involved. Id. 291-109-0140(5),
291-109-0150(2). If a grievance is returned to the inmate on
procedural grounds, the inmate may resubmit the grievance
within fourteen days if the procedural errors can be
corrected. Id. § 291-109-0160(5). If a
grievance is accepted, the inmate may appeal a response to
the grievance within fourteen days from the date the response
was sent to the inmate. Id. 291-109-0170(1)(b). If
the appeal is denied, the inmate may file a second appeal
within fourteen days from the date the denial was sent to the
inmate. Id. 291-109-0170(2)(c). A decision following
a second appeal is final. Id. 291-109-0170(2)(f).
did not file any grievances against defendants Schnetsky,
Sallee, O'Brien, Van Houten, Bradford, Hague, White,
Wilson, Shelton, Gower, DaFoe, Fhuere, or Williamson, Sobotta
Decl. ¶ 13; Taylor Decl. ¶ 13. Plaintiff filed
various grievances in 2013 regarding his medical conditions,
but he completed the grievance appeals process for those
grievances in 2013 and 2014, well outside of the limitations
period. Taylor Decl. ¶¶| 15-43. Plaintiff also
filed grievances in March and April 2015 regarding the
alleged lack of medical care, but he failed to complete the
administrative process for one grievance and completed the
process for the other in August 2015, also outside of the
limitations period. Sobotta Decl, ¶¶ 25-27, 32-36.
noted above, only one of plaintiffs grievance appeals
extended into 2016. In April 2015, plaintiff filed Grievance
No. 2015-04-024 and alleged that Officer Stills interfered
with a neurosurgeon's recommendation and treated
plaintiff disrespectfully. Sobotta Decl. ¶ 29; Pl.'s
Response Ex. E4-5. Officer Stills responded to the grievance,
and plaintiff filed a first appeal. Sobotta Decl.
¶¶ 29-30. On December 11, 2015, defendant Fhuere
responded to plaintiffs appeal and found no wrongdoing to
support plaintiffs claims. Id. Plaintiff submitted a
second appeal, and it was returned for corrections;
plaintiffs corrected appeal was due February 9, 2016.
Id. ¶ 31. On March 2, 2016, ODOC received a
second appeal dated February 12, 2016, and the appeal was
returned as untimely. Id. Plaintiff did not properly
exhaust his administrative remedies for this grievance and
fails to show that the appeal process was unavailable as a
even if plaintiff had completed the grievance appeal process
for Grievance No, 2015-04-024, that grievance does not relate
to the claim alleged against Officer Stills in this action.
Thus, plaintiff presents no evidence that he completed the
grievance process for the claims alleged within the
limitations period, and plaintiffs claims are barred.
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 22) is GRANTED, and ...