United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
take notice that the attached Magistrate Judge's Report
has been filed with the Clerk of the U.S. District Court.
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), you have 14 days
after being served with the attached report to file written
objections to the proposed findings of fact, conclusions of
law, and recommendations set forth therein. Failure to file
written objections to the proposed findings, conclusions and
recommendations within 14 days after being served will bar
you, except upon grounds of plain error, from attacking on
appeal the unobjected-to proposed factual findings and legal
conclusions accepted by the District Court.
NO EXTENSION OF TIME SHALL BE GRANTED TO FILE WRITTEN
OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
WILDER-DOOMES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
the Court are Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Motion
for Summary Judgment (R. Docs. 9 and 12) and the
Plaintiff's Motion Requesting a Ruling on Exhaustion of
Administrative Remedy Proceedings (R. Doc. 14).
se Plaintiff, an inmate confined at the Elayn Hunt
Correctional Center (“EHCC”), St. Gabriel,
Louisiana, filed this proceeding pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against Social Worker Kristen Thomas, Social Worker
James Dulaney, Major Brown, Program Manager Clara Hodas,
Capt. Donald Johnson, Ass't Warden Boies and Lt. Jackson,
alleging that Defendants violated his constitutional rights
on January 21, 2015 by exhibiting deliberate indifference to
his health and safety, specifically by placing him in a
suicide cell with a top bunk notwithstanding his explicit
threat that he would harm himself by jumping therefrom, which
he thereafter did.
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on the evening of January
21, 2015, he was escorted to a suicide cell in response to
his assertion that he was feeling suicidal. However, upon
placement in the assigned cell, Plaintiff complained that he
should not be placed therein because it had an upper bunk,
because he feared that he would harm himself by jumping from
the bunk, and because he had a history of jumping from the
upper bunk in double-bunked cells. In response to
Plaintiff's complaint, Defendants Jackson, Johnson and
Brown were summoned to the tier, whereupon Plaintiff
explained his concerns regarding the cell. Defendant Johnson
then instructed Defendant Jackson to contact a mental health
worker, whereupon Defendant Kristen Thomas arrived at the
tier. After Plaintiff again explained his concerns, Defendant
Thomas advised Plaintiff that he would have to remain in the
cell and that, if he hurt himself by jumping off of the bed,
he would then be placed in 4-point restraints on
“extreme” suicide watch. According to Plaintiff,
he thereafter tried to sleep, but his “thoughts kept
racing, telling [him] to hurt [him]self, ” and he began
to hyperventilate. Finally, at around 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. the
next morning, he jumped from the top bunk, landing on his
knees and sustaining injury.
first Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants
contend, relying upon the pleadings, a Statement of
Uncontested Material Facts, certified copies of
Plaintiff's pertinent administrative remedy proceedings,
and the affidavits of Rhonda Z. Weldon and Linda S. Krol,
that dismissal is appropriate in the first instance based
upon the procedural argument that Plaintiff has failed to
exhaust administrative remedies as mandated by 42 U.S.C.
to well-established legal principles, summary judgment is
appropriate where there is no genuine disputed issue as to
any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Rule 56, Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317
(1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242 (1986). A party moving for summary judgment must inform
the Court of the basis for the motion and identify those
portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories and admissions on file, together with
affidavits, if any, that show that there is no such genuine
issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
supra, 477 U.S. at 323. If the moving party carries
its burden of proof under Rule 56, the opposing party must
direct the Court's attention to specific evidence in the
record which demonstrates that the non-moving party can
satisfy a reasonable jury that it is entitled to a verdict in
its favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
supra, 477 U.S. at 248. This burden is not satisfied
by some metaphysical doubt as to alleged material facts, by
unsworn and unsubstantiated assertions, by conclusory
allegations, or by a mere scintilla of evidence. Little
v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).
Rather, Rule 56 mandates that summary judgment be entered
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,
supra, 477 U.S. at 323. Summary judgment is
appropriate in any case where the evidence is so weak or
tenuous on essential facts that the evidence could not
support a judgment in favor of the non-moving party.
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., supra, 37 F.3d
at 1075. In resolving a motion for summary judgment, the
Court must review the facts and inferences in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party, and the Court may not
evaluate the credibility of witnesses, weigh the evidence, or
resolve factual disputes. International Shortstop, Inc.
v. Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir.
review of Plaintiff's pertinent administrative remedy
proceedings, the Court finds that Defendants' motion
should be denied. In this regard, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e, Plaintiff was required to exhaust
administrative remedies available at the prison prior to
commencing a civil action in this Court with respect to
prison conditions. This provision is mandatory and applies
broadly to “all inmate suits about prison life.”
Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002). Further,
a prisoner must exhaust administrative remedies by complying
with applicable prison grievance procedures. Johnson v.
Johnson, 385 F.3d 503, 517 (5th Cir. 2004).
not only must the prisoner exhaust all available remedies,
but such exhaustion must be proper, including compliance with
an agency's deadlines and other critical procedural
rules. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 90 (2006). One
of the principal purposes of the administrative exhaustion
requirement is to provide fair notice to prison officials of
an inmate's specific complaints so as to provide
“'time and opportunity to address complaints
internally.'” Johnson v. Johnson, supra,
385 F.3d at 516, quoting Porter v. Nussle, supra,
534 U.S. at 525. Thus, the degree of specificity necessary in
a prisoner's grievance should be evaluated in light of
this intended purpose. Id.
the foregoing standard, it appears that on January 7, 2015,
approximately two weeks prior to the incident complained of,
Plaintiff submitted an administrative grievance to prison
officials wherein he complained of the specific risk
referenced herein, i.e., the risk associated with
his being placed in a double-bunked suicide cell.
Specifically, Plaintiff asserted in the referenced grievance:
When I'm placed in CBB-tier …, which is the
suicide tier, my thoughts stay racing with thoughts of
jumping off of the top bunks in these suicide cells. I warn
security. I warn mental health workers, because to be placed
in a suicide cell with a top bunk is a great risk to my
health and safety. I have already in the past jumped off of
one of these top bunks in these suicide ...