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Osborne v. Meisner

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

December 27, 2017

JOSHUA J. OSBORNE, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN MICHAEL MEISNER, SANDRA HAUTAMAKI, ANDREW WESNER, CHAD KELLER, MATTHEW FOCHS, JASON RALLS, DEANNA TIMM, COREY HEFT, KIMBERLY JOHNSON, TRAVIS RODER, ANGELA THOMPSON, ELIZABETH HAASE, SHARI KLENKE, and BRIAN SMITH, Defendants.

          ORDER

          J. P. Stadtmueller, U.S. District Judge

         1. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Joshua Osborne, a prisoner, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants, various employees at Redgranite Correctional Institution, alleging that they housed him in filthy conditions which led to him suffering a severe rash and bug bites. (Docket #22 at 2-4). Plaintiff was allowed to proceed on three claims: “(1) inadequate conditions of confinement. . .; (2) medical malpractice under Wisconsin state law . . .; and (3) deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs[.]” Id. at 5-6. Defendants filed a motion for partial summary judgment on November 16, 2017, arguing that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies before filing suit as to the latter two claims. (Docket #32). The motion has been fully briefed, and for the reasons stated below, it will be granted.

         2. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         2.1 Summary Judgment

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides 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); Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d 910, 916 (7th Cir. 2016). A fact is “material” if it “might affect the outcome of the suit” under the applicable substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute of fact is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. The court construes all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the non-movant. Bridge v. New Holland Logansport, Inc., 815 F.3d 356, 360 (7th Cir. 2016).

         2.2 Exhaustion of Prisoner Administrative Remedies

         The 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); Burrell v. Powers, 431 F.3d 282, 284-85 (7th Cir. 2005). A suit must be dismissed if it was filed before exhaustion was complete, even if exhaustion is achieved before judgment is entered. Perez v. Wis. Dep't of Corr., 182 F.3d 532, 535 (7th Cir. 1999). Several important policy goals animate the exhaustion requirement, including restricting frivolous claims, giving prison officials the opportunity to address situations internally, giving the parties the opportunity to develop the factual record, and reducing the scope of litigation. Smith v. Zachary, 255 F.3d 446, 450-51 (7th Cir. 2001). Failure to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense to be proven by Defendants. Westefer v. Snyder, 422 F.3d 570, 577 (7th Cir. 2005).

         The 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 an inmate must take to exhaust their administrative remedies under the ICRS. First, the inmate must file an offender complaint with the Institution Complaint Examiner (“ICE”) within fourteen days of the events giving rise to the complaint. Id. §§ DOC 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. §§ DOC 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. § DOC 310.11(6).[1] 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. §§ DOC 310.07(2), 310.11. The reviewing authority may accept or reject the ICE's recommendation. Id. § DOC 310.07(3).

         Second, 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. §§ DOC 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. §§ DOC 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. §§ DOC 310.07(7), 310.14.

         3. RELEVANT FACTS

         The material facts are as follows. Plaintiff filed one timely inmate complaint related to his claims in this case. That complaint, submitted on ...


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