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Pittman v. Napralla

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

February 5, 2016

COREY R. PITTMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
GARY NAPRALLA, DUSTIN KINGSLAND, PAGE PALMER, ADAM JORDAN, and RICKY SEABUL, Defendants.

OPINION & ORDER

JAMES D. PETERSON District Judge

I granted pro se plaintiff Corey Pittman leave to proceed with Eighth Amendment claims against defendants Gary Napralla, Dustin Kingsland, Page Palmer, Adam Jordan, and Dr. Ricky Seabul. Dkt. 8. Plaintiff alleges that on several occasions, some of the defendants failed to respond after plaintiff fell and injured himself. Plaintiff also alleges that other defendants failed to provide adequate medical care or comply with plaintiff’s medical authorization for additional bedding supplies. Dkt. 8. All but one of the defendants have now moved for summary judgment, contending that plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies for the claims that he is asserting against them. Dkt. 18. Plaintiff does not dispute that he failed to adhere to the administrative requirements for filing some of his inmate grievances. Thus, I will grant defendants’ motion and dismiss plaintiff’s claims against Kingsland, Palmer, Jordan, and Seabul. This case will continue with only plaintiff’s claims against Napralla.

FACTS

The screening order describes the factual background of this case. Dkt. 8. But I will provide a brief summary below. This summary is based on the allegations in plaintiff’s complaint, which I accept as true at this point in the case because we have not yet reached the merits of plaintiff’s claims. I will also recount plaintiff’s efforts to exhaust his administrative remedies through the Inmate Complaint Review System (ICRS). Based on the affidavits and grievance materials that the parties have submitted, I conclude that the facts relating to plaintiff’s use of the ICRS are undisputed.

Plaintiff is an inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution, located in Portage, Wisconsin. On two occasions in December 2013, plaintiff slipped and fell in the shower. After each fall, plaintiff called out to prison staff-defendant Kingsland after the first fall, and defendants Palmer and Johnson after the second fall-but he did not receive an immediate response or prompt medical treatment. Medical personnel eventually saw plaintiff and gave him a “bottom bunk restriction.” But Kingsland forced plaintiff to sleep on a top bunk, and plaintiff fell for a third time as he was trying to get out of the bunk. This time, plaintiff went to the hospital, where he received pain medication. When plaintiff complained to defendant Seabul that the medication was not working, Seabul did not change plaintiff’s course of treatment. Plaintiff also received a medical authorization to have an extra pillow. But when plaintiff presented this authorization to defendant Napralla, Napralla denied plaintiff’s request for another pillow.

Based on these allegations, I granted plaintiff leave to proceed with Eighth Amendment claims against: (1) Kingsland for failing to respond to plaintiff’s fall in the shower on December 23, 2013, and for forcing plaintiff to sleep on a top bunk, which led to plaintiff’s fall from the bunk on December 24, 2013; (2) Palmer and Johnson for failing to adequately respond to plaintiff’s fall in the shower on December 24, 2013; (3) Seabul for ignoring plaintiff’s complaints about the effectiveness of his medication; and (4) Napralla for refusing plaintiff’s request for a second pillow. Id. at 4-5. Kingsland, Palmer, Johnson, and Seabul now move for summary judgment on the claims against them, contending that plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies for these claims. Dkt. 18.

Defendants have submitted a copy of plaintiff’s grievance history, Dkt. 21-1, and they have identified five grievances that are relevant to plaintiff’s claims in this case. Plaintiff does not dispute that these are the only pertinent grievances. See Dkt. 22.

Plaintiff submitted two grievances regarding his fall in the shower on December 23: CCI-2014-659 and CCI-2014-14717. Dkt. 21-2 and Dkt. 21-6. The institution complaint examiner (ICE) received the ’659 grievance on January 2, 2014. But the ICE returned the grievance to plaintiff so that he could provide written documentation of his attempts to resolve the issue with prison staff. Plaintiff resubmitted the ’659 grievance a few days later- without any additional documentation-and the ICE returned it to plaintiff again. Plaintiff submitted the ’659 grievance for a third time on January 9, 2014, still without any additional documentation. The ICE accepted the grievance and recommended dismissing it, which the reviewing authority did. Plaintiff did not appeal the dismissal to the Corrections Complaint Examiner (CCE). Plaintiff submitted the ’14717 grievance on July 28, 2014.[1] The ICE rejected the grievance as untimely because plaintiff had filed it after the 14-day deadline for inmate grievances. Plaintiff did not appeal the rejection to the reviewing authority.

Plaintiff did not submit any grievances directly addressing his fall in the shower on December 24. Nor did plaintiff mention this fall in his grievances regarding the fall on December 23.

Plaintiff submitted two grievances regarding his fall from the top bunk on December 24: CCI-2014-660 and CCI-2014-14716. Dkt. 21-3 and Dkt. 21-5. The ICE received the ’660 grievance on January 2, 2014. But the ICE returned the grievance to plaintiff so that he could provide written documentation of his attempts to resolve the issue with prison staff. Plaintiff resubmitted the ’660 grievance a few days later-without any additional documentation-and the ICE returned it to plaintiff again. Plaintiff submitted the ’660 grievance for a third time on January 9, 2014, still without any additional documentation. The ICE accepted the grievance and recommended dismissing it, which the reviewing authority did. Plaintiff appealed this dismissal to the CCE on August 12, 2014. But the CCE recommended dismissing plaintiff’s appeal as untimely, and the secretary adopted the CCE’s decision. Plaintiff submitted the ’14716 grievance on July 28, 2014.[2] The ICE rejected the grievance as untimely because plaintiff had filed it after the 14-day deadline for inmate grievances. Plaintiff appealed the rejection to the reviewing authority, who determined that the ICE had properly rejected the grievance.

Plaintiff did not submit any grievances regarding the care or medication that he received from Seabul.

Finally, plaintiff submitted one grievance regarding an extra pillow and an extra blanket: CCI-2014-1451. Dkt. 21-4. The ICE recommended affirming the grievance with the modification that plaintiff was not entitled to an extra blanket. The reviewing authority agreed, and plaintiff received an extra pillow.

ANALYSIS

Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, “[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 . . . 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). The Supreme Court has applied “the PLRA’s exhaustion requirement . . . 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) (internal citations omitted). To properly exhaust a claim, “the inmate must file a timely grievance utilizing the procedures and rules of the state’s prison grievance process.” Maddox v. Love, 655 F.3d 709, 720 (7th Cir. 2011). “[A] prisoner who does not properly take each step within the administrative process has failed to exhaust state remedies, and thus is ...


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