United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
following proposed Findings and Recommendation have been sent
to United States District Judge Susan Webber Wright. 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
Todd McDonald filed a pro se complaint pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 on March 6, 2018, while detained at the
Saline County Detention Facility (“SCDF”) (Doc.
No. 1). McDonald was granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis and ordered to file an amended complaint. Doc.
No. 6. McDonald filed his amended complaint on April 3, 2018,
identifying four claims for denial of medical care.
See Doc. No. 8. First, he asserts that he was denied
dental care pursuant to the detention center's policy of
not providing dental care because it is a short-term
facility, and as a result, he lost teeth and suffered tooth
pain. See Doc. No. 8 at 4-5. Second, McDonald claims
he was denied medication needed for anxiety due to a policy
of not providing narcotics, and that he subsequently suffered
anxiety attacks and attempted suicide. See Id. at 6.
Third, McDonald claims he was not allowed to keep an inhaler
in his cell based on a policy that does not allow inhalers
because prisoners use them to get high. See Id. at 6
& 8. McDonald's fourth claim relates to an incident
in which he was denied medication because his wristband was
broken. Id. at 7. The Court recommended dismissal of
McDonald's claim relating to having an inhaler, and that
claim was subsequently dismissed. See Doc. Nos. 10
& 20. McDonald's claims against defendants Waite,
Dick, and Balding have also been dismissed. See Doc.
Brett Carpenter and Tonya Parker filed a motion for summary
judgment, a brief in support, and a statement of facts,
claiming that McDonald did not exhaust his claims against
them before he filed this lawsuit (Doc. Nos. 25-27). McDonald
filed a response (Doc. No. 35); defendants filed a reply
(Doc. No. 36); and McDonald filed another response (Doc. No.
39). The defendants' statement of facts, and the other
pleadings and exhibits in the record, establish that the
material facts are not in dispute and that defendants are
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Rule 56 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 or declarations, 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; 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).
argue that they are entitled to summary judgment because
McDonald failed to exhaust his administrative remedies before
he filed this lawsuit. In support of their motion for summary
judgment, defendants submitted an affidavit by Parker; a copy
of the SCDF's grievance policy; a copy of the SCDF's
jail detainee grievance form; and a copy of a grievance filed
by McDonald. Doc. Nos. 25-1 - 25-4.
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 particular episodes, and
whether they allege excessive force or some other wrong.
Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002). The PLRA
does not, however, prescribe the manner in which exhaustion
occurs. See Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. at 218. It
merely requires compliance with prison grievance procedures
to properly exhaust. See Id. Thus, the
question as to whether an inmate has properly exhausted
administrative remedies depends on the grievance policy of
the particular prison where the alleged events occurred.
SCDF had a grievance process for inmates to raise concerns
regarding abuse, harassment, an abridgment of civil rights,
or a denial of privileges while McDonald was retained there.
Doc. No. 25-2. The policy provides that “[a] grievance
shall be made by utilizing the kiosk provided in the
cellblock[, ] . . . promptly after the incident has
occurred.” Id. According to Parker, an inmate
may also request a paper grievance form. Doc. No. 25-1 at 2;
Doc. No. 25-3. In an electronic or paper grievance,
“[t]he grievance shall state fully the time, date,
names of the detention officers and/or staff members involved
and pertinent details of the incident, including the names of
any witnesses.” Doc. No. 25-2. The policy provides that
a grievance is initially reviewed by the duty supervisor, who
is to answer it by writing on the grievance form, scanning
the entire grievance form to the inmate file, and returning
the grievance to the inmate. Id. If necessary, the
duty supervisor is to forward the grievance to the jail
administrator or an officer unconnected to the incident.
to Parker's affidavit, there is no evidence of any
grievance submitted by McDonald naming separate defendants
Carpenter or Parker. Doc. No. 25-1 at 3. Parker also states
that there is no record of any grievance submitted by
McDonald reflecting the denial of medication due to a broken
wristband. Id. Parker identified one paper grievance
filed by McDonald that claimed the denial of medical care.
Id. On April 15, 2017, McDonald grieved: “Been
asking for past 10 days I need my asthma [sic], anxiety,
& depression meds. Also have 2 abscessed teeth I need
pulled & they get [illegible] Ibuprofen today which I
been losing sleep due to the pain I need them pulled.”
Doc. No. 25-4. In response, Parker advised McDonald to put in
a sick call so that his grievance could be addressed.
defendants have produced evidence that McDonald filed one
grievance addressing some of the issues raised in his
complaint, and that grievance did not name Parker or
Carpenter as required by the SCDF's grievance procedure.
Accordingly, defendants have made a prima facie case that
McDonald failed to exhaust his administrative remedies before
he filed this lawsuit. McDonald has not produced any other
grievances or other evidence in response to the
defendants' motion and documentation. McDonald maintains
that he was not notified of the grievance procedure when he
entered the SCDF but that he found the grievance procedure on
the kiosk. See Doc. No. 35 at 1. He claims that
other inmates told him the grievance procedure was a waste of
time, and maintains that he could not file a grievance
through the kiosk. Id. McDonald also claims he was