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Shananaquet v. Bolton

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

December 10, 2019

PERRY SHANANAQUET, Plaintiff,
v.
MARK BOLTON, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          David J. Hale, Judge United States District Court.

         This matter is before the Court upon a motion and supplemental motion by Defendant Mark Bolton for summary judgment (Docket Nos. 42 & 62). By prior Order, the Court remanded these motions from the Court's active docket until they were fully briefed. Because this matter is now ripe for review, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the motions (DNs 42 & 62) are reinstated to the Court's active docket. For the following reasons, the Court will grant summary judgment in favor of Defendant Bolton.

         I.

         Plaintiff Perry Shananaquet initiated this pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 prisoner civil-rights action in September 2017 while he was a pretrial detainee incarcerated at the Louisville Metro Department of Corrections (LMDC). On initial review of the action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, the Court dismissed several claims but allowed a claim based the upon the worsening of Plaintiff's asthma due to the existence of black mold and poor ventilation at LMDC to proceed against Defendant LMDC Director Mark Bolton in both his official and individual capacities.

         On November 5, 2018, Defendant Bolton filed a motion for summary judgment (DN 42). After the time for filing a response had passed, the Court entered an Order directing Plaintiff to file a response and providing Plaintiff guidance on how to respond to a motion for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Plaintiff subsequently filed two documents which the Court construes as responses to Defendant Bolton's motion (DNs 55 & 57).

         In Defendant Bolton's motion for summary judgment, he argued that he was entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Defendant Bolton, however, did not attach LMDC's Grievance Procedure as an exhibit to his motion. Thus, on May 1, 2019, the Court entered an Order directing Defendant Bolton to file a supplemental motion for summary judgment in which he submitted LMDC's Grievance Procedure as evidence. This Order further directed Plaintiff to file a supplemental response to the motion which included details explaining how he attempted to exhaust LMDC's grievance process regarding his concerns of black mold and poor ventilation at LMDC and its effects upon his asthma.

         Defendant Bolton filed his supplemental motion for summary judgment with LMDC's Grievance Procedure attached as evidence on May 15, 2019 (DN 62). Plaintiff filed a supplemental response on May 24, 2019 (DN 63). Defendant Bolton did not file a supplemental reply.[1]

         II.

         Before the Court may grant a motion for summary judgment, it must find that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden of specifying the basis for its motion and identifying that portion of the record that demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Once the moving party satisfies this burden, the non-moving party thereafter must produce specific facts demonstrating a genuine issue of fact for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).

         The evidence of the non-moving party is to be believed, Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255, and all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from the facts placed before the Court must be drawn in favor of the opposing party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Nevertheless, the non-moving party must do more than merely show that there is some “metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Id. at 586. Instead, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require the non-moving party to present specific facts showing that a genuine factual issue exists by “citing to particular parts of materials in the record” or by “showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence . . . of a genuine dispute[.]” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). “The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-moving party's] position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the [non-moving party].” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252. It is against this standard that the Court reviews the facts presented.

         III.

         Defendant Bolton argues that he is entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.[2]

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) provides that “[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any 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. Failure to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense, Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 216 (2007), which the defendant has the burden to plead and prove by a preponderance of the evidence.

         The PLRA requires exhaustion of internal remedies for “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, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002). To meet this requirement, an inmate must “properly exhaust” his remedies, which requires strict compliance with the grievance process provided by the prison. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 93-94 (2006). However, an inmate need only exhaust those remedies that are actually “available”; if an administrative remedy “is not capable of use to obtain relief, ” then § 1997e will not act as a barrier to suit. Ross v. Blake, 136 S.Ct. 1850, 1858-59 (2016). An inmate must demonstrate ...


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