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Ewer v. Morin

United States District Court, D. Maine

January 26, 2018

DYLAN EWER, Plaintiff
v.
JEFFREY MORIN, et al., Defendants

          DECISION AND ORDER ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT [1]

          JOHN C. NIVISON, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         In this action, Plaintiff Dylan Ewer asserts that in 2013, while he was a juvenile resident at the Mountain View Youth Development Center, Defendants acted with deliberate indifference toward his safety.

         The matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 29.) Through their motion, Defendants contend dismissal is warranted because Plaintiff failed to exhaust the available administrative remedies before he initiated this action. Plaintiff did not file a response to the motion.[2]

         Background Facts

         Plaintiff asserts that on July 21, 2013, while he was a resident of the Mountain View Youth Development Center (Mountain View) in Charleston, Maine, he was assaulted by other residents. (Defendants' Statement of Material Facts (DSMF), ¶¶ 4 - 6, 11, ECF No. 30.) According to Plaintiff, Defendants, Superintendent Jeffrey Morin, Operations Supervisor Shane Tyrell, Programs Supervisor Gregory Curry, and Correctional Officers Sandra Cyr and Michael Niles, were aware of the risk that Plaintiff could be the victim of an assault. (Complaint ¶ 1.) Plaintiff asserts, however, that Defendants, did not act to protect Plaintiff from harm. (DSMF ¶ 6.)

         Plaintiff contends Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution and his rights under the Maine Constitution. (¶Complaint at 11 - 13, ¶¶ 37 - 44.) When Plaintiff filed his complaint, he was incarcerated at the Maine State Prison.[3] In his form complaint, Plaintiff asserted that there was a prisoner grievance procedure at his “place of present confinement, ” but that he did not “present the facts related to [his] complaint in the state prisoner grievance procedure.” (Id. at 2.)

         At all relevant times, the Department of Corrections (the Department) maintained a general grievance policy. (DSMF ¶ 7; Department of Corrections Policy 29.01, Resident Grievance Process, General (the “Grievance Policy”), ECF No. 30-2.) The policy covers all grievances by residents of juvenile facilities operated by the Department. (Id. ¶ 8.) A resident of a juvenile facility may file with the Grievance Review Officer a grievance for administrative review of any policy, procedure, practice, condition of confinement, action, decision, or event that directly affects the resident, that the resident believes is in violation of his or her rights or is in violation of Department policies and procedures, and for which the resident believes a Department employee or contractor is responsible. (Id. ¶ 9; Grievance Policy, Procedure A, pages 2 - 3, ¶ 4.) Pursuant to the policy, a resident grievance must be filed with the Grievance Review Officer within fifteen days of when any action, decision, or event occurred. (DSMF ¶ 10; Grievance Policy, Procedure A, page 4, ¶ 10.)

         In 2013, all grievances by juvenile residents at Mountain View were recorded in a handwritten log book. (Id. ¶ 12.) According to the log book, Plaintiff filed a grievance on July 31, 2013, log number 13-MV-46, regarding a housing decision. (Id. ¶ 13.) The grievance was dismissed. (Id. ¶ 14.) Plaintiff filed an appeal from the dismissal. (Id. ¶ 15.) Plaintiff did not file a grievance regarding the assault he alleges occurred on July 21, 2013. (Id. ¶ 16.)

         Discussion

         1. Summary judgment standard

         “The 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)).

         A court 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)). Summary judgment is appropriate where a claim is unsupported. 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.”).

         2. Analysis

         Defendants argue that Plaintiff cannot proceed on his claim because he did not exhaust the available administrative remedies. Federal 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) ...


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