United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
O. Hickey, United States District Judge.
the Court is the Report and Recommendation filed July 20,
2018, by the Honorable Barry A. Bryant, United States
Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Arkansas. (ECF
No. 40). Judge Bryant recommends that the Court grant
Defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismiss this
case with prejudice. Plaintiff Santos Mendoza filed
objections to the Report and Recommendation. (ECF No. 41).
The Court finds the matter ripe for consideration.
January 4, 2017, Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he suffered constitutional
violations while incarcerated at the Hempstead County
Detention Center (“HCDC”). On February 15, 2018,
Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing,
inter alia, that they are entitled to summary
judgment on Plaintiff's claims because he failed to
exhaust his administrative remedies before filing this
20, 2018, Judge Bryant filed the instant Report and
Recommendation. Judge Bryant found that the HCDC has a
three-step procedure for inmate grievances, and that there is
no evidence that Plaintiff fully exhausted his administrative
remedies under the HCDC's grievance procedure. Judge
Bryant also found that Plaintiff has made no allegations or
argument which would allow the Court to determine that he may
be excused from the requirement to exhaust his administrative
remedies. Accordingly, Judge Bryant recommends that the Court
grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment.
August 1, 2018, Plaintiff filed objections to the Report and
Recommendation. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 646(b)(1), the
Court will conduct a de novo review of all issues
related to Plaintiff's specific objections.
objections state that he did not understand what the Court
was asking of him when he responded to Defendants'
summary judgment motion, but that he now believes he
understands what is required of him. Plaintiff attaches to
his objections several HCDC inmate complaint he filled out,
with signatures from various HCDC officers at the bottom of
each, indicating their receipt.
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
other 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(a). Exhaustion is
mandatory. Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524-25
(2002). In Jones v. Bock, the Supreme Court
concluded that “to properly exhaust administrative
remedies prisoners must complete the administrative review
process in accordance with the applicable procedural
rules.” 599 U.S. 199, 218 (2007) (internal quotation
marks omitted); see also Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S.
81, 90 (2006) (“[P]roper exhaustion of administrative
remedies . . . means using all steps that the agency holds
out, and doing so properly.”). “The
level of detail necessary in a grievance to comply with the
grievance procedures will vary from system to system and
claim to claim, but it is the prison's requirements, and
not the PLRA, that define the boundaries of proper
exhaustion.” Jones, 599 U.S. at 218. A
prisoner's remedies are exhausted “when [the]
inmate pursues the prison grievance process to its final
stage and receives an adverse decision on the merits.”
Hammett v. Cofield, 681 F.3d 945, 947 (8th Cir.
consideration, the Court finds that Plaintiff's
objections offer neither error of fact nor law which would
cause the Court to deviate from Judge Bryant's Report and
Recommendation. The HCDC inmate grievance procedure reflects
a three-step procedure in which an inmate must first submit a
written grievance to a detention officer. (ECF No. 29-1, p.
5). If the inmate is unhappy with the resolution of that
grievance, he must then appeal the decision in writing to a
shift supervisor, who will attempt to resolve the grievance.
If the inmate is unsatisfied with the shift's
supervisor's response, he must then appeal the decision
in writing to the grievance officer. After receiving an
adverse decision on the merits at this stage, the inmate will
have fully completed the HCDC's grievance procedure and
exhausted his administrative remedies.
completed HCDC inmate complaint sheets attached to
Plaintiff's objections show that he submitted various
grievances while at the HCDC, but this alone is insufficient
to show that he exhausted his administrative remedies.
Plaintiff's objections show that he filed several initial
grievances, but he does not show that he appealed the
resolution of his grievances to the shift supervisor, or
further appealed that decision to the grievance officer. The
Court cannot find that Plaintiff exhausted his administrative
remedies without evidence showing that he fully appealed his
grievances and received an adverse decision on the merits
from the grievance officer. Hammett, 681 F.3d at
947. The Court must find that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies because he has not provided evidence
to the contrary. Accordingly, the Court agrees with Judge
Bryant that Plaintiff's claims are barred pursuant to the
PLRA for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies
before bringing this suit.
de novo review of the Report and Recommendation, and
for the reasons discussed above, the Court hereby overrules
Plaintiff's objections and adopts the Recommendation (ECF
No. 40) to the extent that it recommends dismissal of
Plaintiff's claims for failure to exhaust his
administrative remedies. Said dismissal, however, shall be
without prejudice. Accordingly, Defendants' motion for
summary judgment (ECF No. 27) is hereby
GRANTED. Plaintiff's claims are
DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.
IS SO ORDERED.
 Claims that are dismissed for failure
to exhaust administrative remedies should be dismissed
without prejudice. See Sergent v. Norris, 330 F.3d