United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
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
German Williams, an inmate at the Randall Williams
Correctional Facility of the Arkansas Department of
Correction (ADC), filed a pro se complaint on
September 14, 2016. Doc. No. 2. Defendants are ADC Deputy
Director for Health and Correctional Programs Rory Griffin,
ADC health care provider Correct Care Solutions (CCS), Health
Services Administrator Wanda Suggs, and APN Lasonya Griswold.
These defendants are sued only in their official capacities.
Doc. No. 2 at 2.
to Williams, he suffered severe injuries to his back, knee,
ankle, and foot at an ADC work site in November of 1994.
Williams states that because the injuries were not properly
treated, he filed a lawsuit which resulted in a $500.00
judgment against three individuals in 1998.He asserts that
the Court also ordered the ADC to provide him with his
requested medical supplies. Williams' complaint alleges
that the ADC abided by the ruling until 2015, when CCS was
hired as the prison's health care provider. Now, he
states, “the ADC and CCS claim they are no longer
obligated to provide the medical supplies needed to reduce my
pain. They have repeatedly denied my special authorization
requests, despite my forwarding to them a copy of the 1998
decisions.” Doc. No. 2 at 4.
seeks declaratory relief, monetary damages, costs, and an
order directing the ADC and CCS to “either provide
permanent corrective surgery or provide me with the medical
supplies needed to reduce my pain and discomfort.” Doc.
No. 2 at 5. Williams' claim for damages against Griffin
has been dismissed. See Doc. Nos. 24 & 32.
Rory Griffin filed a motion for summary judgment, a brief in
support, and a statement of facts claiming that Williams had
not exhausted his claim against him before he filed this
lawsuit. Doc. Nos. 25-27. Williams filed a response and an
amended response. Doc. Nos. 34 & 40. Griffin filed a
reply. Doc. No. 36. Defendants CCS, Suggs, and Griswold (the
“Medical Defendants”) also filed a motion for
summary judgment, a brief in support, and a statement of
facts claiming that Williams had not exhausted his claims
against them before he filed this lawsuit. Doc. Nos. 28-30.
Williams filed a response. Doc. No. 33. The Medical
Defendants filed a reply. Doc. No. 38. Williams also
separately filed a two-page exhibit. Doc. No. 35.
reasons described herein, the undersigned recommends
defendants' motions for summary judgment be granted.
Standard of Review
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).
defendants argue they are entitled to summary judgment
because Williams failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies as to his claims against them before he filed his
lawsuit. Griffin asserts that Williams did not exhaust his
administrative remedies as to him because Williams did not
file a grievance naming Griffin or complaining about his
actions. In support, Griffin submitted the ADC's
grievance policy and a declaration by Barbara Williams, the
ADC's Inmate Grievance Supervisor. Doc. Nos. 26-1, 26-2.
Barbara Williams declared that Williams filed only one
grievance that could potentially relate to the issues raised
in this case, RLW15-00377, which was attached to
Williams' complaint. Doc. No. 2 at 16-19. The Medical
Defendants acknowledge that Williams named them in the one
grievance he filed but assert that because it was rejected as
untimely, it was not decided on the merits and therefore not
exhausted. The Medical Defendants also submitted a copy of
the ADC's grievance policy and a declaration by Shelly
Byers, the ADC's Medical Grievance Coordinator. Byers
also found that Williams filed and appealed only one medical
grievance, RLW15-00377, between January 1, 2013, and October
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 general
circumstances or ...