United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR
C. Nivison, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
action, Plaintiff Caleb Maxham, an inmate in the custody of
the Maine Department of Corrections, alleges corrections
officers assaulted him at the direction of Defendant Daniel
Landry. The matter is before the Court on Defendant Daniel
Landry’s motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 14.)
Plaintiff has not filed an opposition to the motion.
review of the summary judgment record, I recommend the Court
grant the motion.
support of his motion for summary judgment, Defendant filed a
statement of material fact in accordance with Local Rule 56.
(ECF No. 15.) Because Plaintiff has failed to oppose the
factual assertions contained in Defendant’s statement,
and because Defendant has further supported his factual
assertions with citations to record evidence, the facts
stated by Defendant are deemed admitted for purposes of
Defendant’s motion. See D. Me. Loc. R. 56(f).
Maine Department of Corrections has in place a prisoner
grievance policy that allows prisoners to “request
administrative review of any policy, procedure, practice,
condition of confinement, … action, decision, or event
that directly affects the prisoner.” (Policy § VI,
Procedure A.4.) This includes complaints alleging the use of
excessive force. (Defendant’s Statement of Material
Facts ¶ 1.) If an attempt at an informal resolution of
the prisoner’s grievance is unsuccessful, the prisoner
may file a formal written grievance with the grievance review
officer. (Id. ¶ 2.)
to the affidavit Plaintiff filed with his complaint, the
assault of which he complains occurred on August 11, 2015.
(Complaint Affidavit, ECF No. 1-1.) There is no record that
Plaintiff ever filed a grievance while incarcerated at Maine
Correctional Center. (Id. ¶ 5.)Plaintiff was
transferred to the Maine State Prison (MSP) on August 13,
2015. (Id. ¶ 6.) There is no record that
Plaintiff ever filed a grievance while incarcerated at MSP.
(Id. ¶ 7.)
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant 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). “After the moving party has
presented evidence in support of its motion for summary
judgment, ‘the burden shifts to the nonmoving party,
with respect to each issue on which he has the burden of
proof, to demonstrate that a trier of fact reasonably could
find in his favor.’” Woodward v. Emulex
Corp., 714 F.3d 632, 637 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting
Hodgens v. Gen. Dynamics Corp., 144 F.3d 151, 158
(1st Cir. 1998)).
reviews the factual record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, resolving evidentiary conflicts and drawing
reasonable inferences in the non-movant’s favor.
Perry v. Roy, 782 F.3d 73, 77 (1st Cir. 2015). If
the court’s review of the record reveals evidence
sufficient to support findings in favor of the non-moving
party on one or more of his claims, a trial-worthy
controversy exists and summary judgment must be denied to the
extent there are supported claims. Id. (“The
district court’s role is limited to assessing whether
there exists evidence such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” (internal
quotation marks omitted)). Unsupported claims are properly
dismissed. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323-24 (1986) (“One of the principal purposes of the
summary judgment rule is to isolate and dispose of factually
unsupported claims or defenses.”).
law requires a prisoner to exhaust the available
administrative remedies before initiating a lawsuit pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Specifically, “[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); see also
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 211 (2007) (“There is
no question that exhaustion is mandatory under the PLRA
[Prison Litigation Reform Act] and that unexhausted claims
cannot be brought in court.”).
Supreme Court has held that § 1997e(a) requires
“proper exhaustion” of a prisoner’s
administrative remedies. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S.
81, 93 (2006). “Proper exhaustion demands compliance
with an agency’s deadlines and other critical
procedural rules because no adjudicative system can function
effectively without imposing some orderly structure on the
course of its proceedings.” Id. at 90 - 91.
“Compliance with prison grievance procedures …
is all that is required … to ‘properly
exhaust.’” Jones, 549 U.S. at 218.
“[I]t is the prison’s requirements, and not the
PLRA, that define the boundaries of proper exhaustion.”
defendant may raise the § 1997e exhaustion requirement
as an affirmative defense. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S.
199, 216 (2007); see also Ramos v. Patnaude, 640
F.3d 485, 488 (1st Cir. 2011) (“The Supreme Court made
it plain … that exhaustion under § 1997e(a) is
not a jurisdictional condition, and has held it to be an
affirmative defense.” (citing Jones, 549 U.S.
at 212)). Because failure to exhaust administrative remedies
is an affirmative defense rather than a jurisdictional issue,
initially, Defendant bears the burden of proof.
Jones, 549 U.S. at 216. To satisfy that burden,
Defendant must establish “that there was an available
administrative remedy, and that the prisoner did not exhaust
that available remedy.” Albino v. Baca, 747
F.3d 1162, 1172 (9th Cir.) (en banc), cert. denied sub
nom. Scott v. Albino,135 S.Ct. 403