United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
O. Hickey, Chief United States District Judge
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
Defendants Correct Care Solutions, LLC; Dr. Nannette Vowell;
Dr. Thomas Daniel; Jason Kelley; and Veronica Cannon
(collectively, the “Moving Defendants”). (ECF No.
27). Plaintiff Tracy Bernard Williams filed a response. (ECF
Nos. 35, 36). The Moving Defendants filed a reply. (ECF No.
39). The Court finds the matter ripe for consideration.
a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and
in forma pauperis. Plaintiff is incarcerated in the
Arkansas Department of Correction - Ouachita River
Correctional Unit (“ADC”). He asserts three
claims against the Moving Defendants, each alleging that one
or more of them, in various ways, were deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs and subjected him to
cruel and unusual punishment. (ECF No. 7).
times relevant to this case, the ADC maintained an Inmate
Grievance Procedure providing inmates an internal
administrative mechanism for the resolution of complaints.
(ECF No. 28-1, p. 1). The purpose of the Inmate Grievance
Procedure is to create “an internal administrative
means for the resolution of complaints and the identification
of potentially problematic management areas.” (ECF No.
28-1, p. 3).
grievance policy requires that the inmate include designated
information on a Unit Level Grievance Form. (ECF No. 28-1,
pp. 1-2). An inmate must “specifically name each
individual involved for a proper investigation and response
to be completed by the ADC.” (ECF No. 28-1, p. 4). The
policy further states that “[i]nmates who fail to name
all parties during the grievance process may have their
lawsuit or claim dismissed by the court or commission for
failure to exhaust against all parties.” (ECF No. 28-1,
the inmate must include a statement that is “specific
as to the substance of the issue or complaint to include the
date, place, personnel involved or witnesses, and how the
policy or incident affected the inmate submitting the
form.” (ECF No. 28-1, pp. 5-6). The Unit Level
Grievance Form must be submitted within fifteen days after
the occurrence of the incident and it must include the date
that the Unit Level Grievance is being completed. (ECF No.
28-1, pp. 5-6). Within five working days after receiving a
Unit Level Grievance Decision, an inmate must lodge any
appeal to the Deputy Director for Health and Correctional
Programs. (ECF No. 28-1, p. 11). The grievance process is
completed when the Deputy Director issues a written decision
or rejection of an appeal. (ECF No. 28-1, pp. 11-12). If an
inmate fails to lodge an appeal within the time to do so, the
Deputy Director may choose to not process the appeal. (ECF
No. 28-1, p. 11).
three-year period before Plaintiff brought this action, he
lodged nine formal medical grievances. Plaintiff did not
appeal seven of the nine grievances to the Deputy Director as
required to complete the grievance process. Those seven
grievances are as follows: grievance numbers OR-15-00959,
OR-15-01086, OR-15-01424, OR-15-01425, OR-16-00029,
OR-17-00132, and OR-18-00587. (ECF Nos. 28-2, 28-3).
Plaintiff appealed the remaining two grievances during the
relevant period. Specifically, Plaintiff appealed grievance
number OR-18-00467 to the Deputy Director, but the Deputy
Director found that the grievance was untimely and declined
to provide an appeal decision on the merits. (ECF Nos. 28-2,
p. 19; 28-3, p. 2). Plaintiff also appealed grievance number
OR-18-00663 to the Deputy Director. (ECF Nos. 28-2, p.
27; 28-3, p. 2). However, Plaintiff did not identify any of
the Moving Defendants in grievance number OR-18-00663. (ECF
Nos. 28-2, pp. 27-31; 28-3, p. 2).
November 21, 2018, the Moving Defendants filed the instant
motion, contending that they are entitled to summary judgment
because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies prior to filing this suit. Plaintiff opposes the
judgment is appropriate if, after viewing the facts and all
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party, the record “shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). “Once a party
moving for summary judgment has made a sufficient showing,
the burden rests with the non-moving party to set forth
specific facts, by affidavit or other evidence, showing that
a genuine issue of material fact exists.” Nat'l
Bank of Comm. v. Dow Chem. Co., 165 F.3d 602, 607 (8th
non-moving party “must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts.” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586.
“They must show there is sufficient evidence to support
a jury verdict in their favor.” Nat'l
Bank, 165 F.3d at 607 (citing Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986)). “A case
founded on speculation or suspicion is insufficient to
survive a motion for summary judgment.” Id.
(citing Metge v. Baehler, 762 F.2d 621, 625 (8th
Cir. 1985)). “When opposing parties tell two different
stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the
record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court
should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of
ruling on a motion for summary judgment.” Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).
Moving Defendants contend they are entitled to summary
judgment because Plaintiff did not fully exhaust his