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Hale v. Richard

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Batesville Division

March 10, 2017




         The following Proposed Findings and Recommendation have been sent to United States District Judge D.P. Marshall Jr. You may file written objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the factual and/or legal basis for your objection; and (2) be received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the right to appeal questions of fact.


         I. Relevant facts

         Plaintiff Fredrick L. Hale, a former Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC) inmate, filed a pro se civil rights complaint on August 8, 2016. Lori Holst, a Mental Health Supervisor at the ADC's Grimes and McPherson Units, is the only remaining defendant.[1] She is sued in both her official and personal capacity.

         According to Hale's complaint, he took prescribed medications for his “mental condition” for years before he entered the ADC on January 6, 2016.[2] Hale asserts that when he entered the ADC, he notified the appropriate physicians of his mental condition and the medications he was taking. Hale further claims in his complaint:

I can not be held reliable for Any actions that may or may not occur. Lori Holst (Supervisor of Mental department of Grimes Unit has Refused to get me my medicine to control my condition And The Arkansas Dept of Corrections Policy Prevents SAID treatment.

Doc. No. 2, page 4.

         Hale seeks injunctive relief as well as compensatory and punitive damages. On October 3, 2016, Holst filed a motion for summary judgment, a statement of facts, and a brief in support on the issue of exhaustion. Doc. Nos. 26-28. The Court advised Hale of his opportunity to file a response. The Court also warned him that if he did not file a response, the Court could assume that the facts set out in Holst's statement of facts are true. Doc. No. 29.

         Hale has not filed a response, and the time for doing so has passed. Because Hale failed to controvert the facts set forth in Holst's statement of undisputed facts, Doc. No. 27, those facts are deemed admitted. See Local Rule 56.1(c). Holst's statement, and the other pleadings and exhibits in the record, establish that the material facts are not in dispute and summary judgment is appropriate.

         II. Standard of Review

         Under Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is proper “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 321 (1986). When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must view the evidence in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Naucke v. City of Park Hills, 284 F.3d 923, 927 (8th Cir. 2002). The nonmoving party may not rely on allegations or denials, but must demonstrate the existence of specific facts that create a genuine issue for trial. Mann v. Yarnell, 497 F.3d 822, 825 (8th Cir. 2007). The nonmoving party's allegations must be supported by sufficient probative evidence that would permit a finding in his favor on more than mere speculation, conjecture, or fantasy. Id. (citations omitted). A dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury to return a verdict for either party; a fact is material if its resolution affects the outcome of the case. Othman v. City of Country Club Hills, 671 F.3d 672, 675 (8th Cir. 2012). Disputes that are not genuine or that are about facts that are not material will not preclude summary judgment. Sitzes v. City of West Memphis, Ark., 606 F.3d 461, 465 (8th Cir. 2010).

         III. Analysis

         Holst asserts she is entitled to summary judgment because Hale failed to exhaust his administrative remedies before he filed this lawsuit. The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires an inmate to exhaust prison grievance procedures before filing suit in federal court. See 42 U.S.C. §1997e(a); Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 202 (2007); Jones v. Norris, 310 F.3d 610, 612 (8th Cir. 2002). Exhaustion under the PLRA is mandatory. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. at 211. “The PLRA's exhaustion requirement applies to all inmate suits about prison life whether they involve ...

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