United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
WILLIAM J. MENTING, Plaintiff,
BRIAN R. SCHMIDT, Defendant.
STADTMUELLER, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
William J. Menting (“Menting”), a prisoner,
brought this action against defendant Brian R. Schmidt
(“Schmidt”), alleging that he was deliberately
indifferent to Menting's serious medical conditions, in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. Specifically, Menting
alleges that beginning around mid-2013, while he was
incarcerated at Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution
(“KMCI”), Schmidt denied Menting a wheelchair
(the “wheelchair claim”) and prevented
Menting's meals from being delivered to him in his cell
(the “meal-delivery claim”). (Docket #1 at 4-6
and #1-6). Menting alleges that both of these things were
done in contravention of a physician's order.
filed a motion for partial summary judgment as to
Menting's meal-delivery claim on the ground that Menting
did not properly exhaust his administrative remedies as to
that claim. (Docket #23). That motion is now fully briefed
and, for the reasons explained below, it will be
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides the mechanism for seeking
summary judgment. Rule 56 states that 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); see Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d 910, 916 (7th
Cir. 2016). A “genuine” dispute of material fact
is created when “the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). The Court construes all facts and reasonable
inferences in a light most favorable to the non-movant.
Bridge v. New Holland Logansport, Inc., 815 F.3d
356, 360 (7th Cir. 2016). In assessing the parties'
proposed facts, the Court must not weigh the evidence or
determine witness credibility; the Seventh Circuit instructs
that “we leave those tasks to factfinders.”
Berry v. Chicago Transit Auth., 618 F.3d 688, 691
(7th Cir. 2010).
times relevant, Menting was an inmate at housed at KMCI.
See (Docket #25-1). Schmidt was presumably employed
at KMCI in some capacity-the plaintiff alleges Schmidt was a
sergeant-but neither party has confirmed Schmidt's title.
See (Docket #14). Menting claims that sometime
around December 2014, Schmidt refused to follow medical
orders to deliver his meals to him in his cell. (Docket
did not file an inmate complaint at KMCI that addressed his
allegation that Schmidt refused to deliver his meals to his
cell. The inmate complaint examiner (“ICE”) at
KMCI confirmed this by searching KMCI's records of inmate
complaints, which revealed no relevant grievances. (Docket
#25). Menting argues that he verbally reported the
meal-delivery issue to a nurse, but he does not contest that
he failed to file a grievance and follow through with the
grievance appeal procedure, explained in detail below.
(Docket #33 at 1). KMCI records do show that Menting filed
many grievances about other issues, including being denied a
wheelchair, see (Docket #25-1 at 2), but there can
be no dispute that Menting did not properly grieve his
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) establishes
that, prior to filing a lawsuit complaining about prison
conditions, a prisoner must exhaust “such
administrative remedies as are available[.]” 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(a). To do so, the prisoner must “file
complaints and appeals in the place, and at the time, the
prison's administrative rules require, ” and he
must do so precisely in accordance with those rules;
substantial compliance does not satisfy the PLRA. Pozo v.
McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1025 (7th Cir. 2002);
Smith v. Zachary, 255 F.3d 446, 452 (7th Cir. 2001).
Failure to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative
defense to be proven by the defendant. Westefer v.
Snyder, 422 F.3d 570, 577 (7th Cir. 2005).
Wisconsin Department of Corrections maintains an Inmate
Complaint Review System (“ICRS”) to provide a
forum for administrative complaints. Wis. Admin. Code DOC
§ 310.04. There are two steps inmates must take to
exhaust their administrative remedies under the ICRS. First,
an inmate must file a complaint with the ICE within fourteen
days of the events giving rise to the complaint. Id.
§§ 310.07(1), 310.09(6). The ICE may reject a
complaint or, before accepting it, can direct the inmate to
“attempt to resolve the issue.” See Id.
§§ 310.08; 310.09(4); 310.11(5). If the complaint
is rejected, the inmate may appeal the rejection to the
appropriate reviewing authority. Id. §
310.11(6). If the complaint is not rejected, the ICE issues a
recommendation for disposing of the complaint, either
dismissal or affirmance, to the reviewing authority.
Id. §§ 310.07(2), 310.11.1 The reviewing
authority may accept or reject the ICE's recommendation.
Id. at § 310.07(3).
if the ICE recommends dismissal and the reviewing authority
accepts it, the inmate may appeal the decision to the
Corrections Complaint Examiner (“CCE”) within ten
days. Id. §§ 310.07(6), 310.13. The CCE
issues a recommendation to the Secretary of the Department of
Corrections who may accept or reject it. Id.
§§ 310.07(7), 310.13, 310.14. Upon receiving the
Secretary's decision, or after forty-five days from the
date the Secretary received the recommendation, the
inmate's administrative remedies are exhausted.
Id. §§ 310.07(7), 310.14.
explained above, Menting admits that he did not file an
inmate complaint at KMCI that addressed his allegation that
Schmidt refused to deliver meals to his cell. Of course, this
means Menting also did not follow through with the designated
appeal process for his grievance. The PLRA requires complete
or “proper” exhaustion, Woodford v. Ngo,
548 U.S. 81, 93 (2006), and Menting has not done so for his
meal-delivery claim. That claim will be dismissed without
prejudice. See ...