United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller U.S. District Judge
filed both of these actions on November 13, 2017. In
Pietila v. Tritt, Plaintiff was allowed to proceed
on a claim under the Eighth Amendment against Captain Kyle
Tritt, a correctional officer at Waupun Correctional
Institution, for depriving Plaintiff of various necessities.
Pietila v. Tritt, 17-CV-1586-JPS (“Pietila
I”), (Docket #14). In Pietila v. Westra,
the Court permitted Plaintiff to present a claim of excessive
force, also a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights,
against Jeremy Westra, Grant Roper, Brian Schmidt, Ann York,
Jacob Aronson, and Michael Clark, all members of Waupun's
security staff. Pietila v. Westra et al.,
17-CV-1587-JPS (“Pietila II”), (Docket
early May 2018, Defendants moved for summary judgment in both
cases on the basis of Plaintiff's failure to exhaust his
administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (“PLRA”). Pietila 1.
(Docket #20); Pietila II, (Docket #19). Plaintiff
has filed a number of documents in each case since that time,
some of which are responsive to the motions, but none of
which are terribly coherent. In any event, his time in which
to respond to Defendants' motions has now expired. For
the reasons explained below, Defendants' motions must be
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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).
Plaintiff's Failure to Dispute the Material
facts relevant to each motion are undisputed because
Plaintiff failed to dispute them. In the Court's
scheduling orders, entered in March 2018, Plaintiff was
warned about the requirements for opposing a motion for
summary judgment. Pietila I, (Docket #18 at 3);
Pietila II, (Docket #14 at 3). Accompanying those
orders were copies of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and
Civil Local Rule 56, both of which describe in detail the
form and contents of a proper summary judgment submission. In
Defendants' motions for summary judgment, they too warned
Plaintiff about the requirements for his responses as set
forth in Federal and Local Rules 56. Pietila I,
(Docket #20 at 1-2); Pietila II, (Docket #19 at
1-2). He was provided with additional copies of those rules
along with Defendants' motions. Pietila I,
(Docket #20 at 3-11); Pietila II, (Docket #19 at
neither case did Plaintiff file a response to a statement of
facts or any evidence of his own. Rather, as mentioned above,
Plaintiff submitted a series of documents, only some of which
appear responsive to the motions for summary judgment.
See Pietila I, (Docket #24) (styled a “motion
for default summary judgment, ” but arguably a brief in
response to the summary judgment motion), (Docket #27)
(response to a motion to stay filed by defendant);
Pietila II, (Docket #23) (brief styled a
“reply” to the summary judgment motion), (Docket
#26) (reply to a prior motion filed by Plaintiff). Even those
documents which seem responsive make no attempt to dispute
Defendants' factual contentions. Pietila I,
(Docket #24); Pietila II, (Docket #23).
wrinkle remains, however. In Pietila I, the motion
materials also included a statement of facts, as required by
Local Rule 56. Pietila I, (Docket #22); Civ. L. R.
56(b)(1)(B). Such a statement is absent in Pietila
II. The Court will, nevertheless, excuse Defendants'
noncompliance with the Local Rules in this instance. The only
evidence relied upon in Pietila II is a three-page
affidavit, a three-page printout of Plaintiff's
complaint-filing history, and a copy of Wisconsin's
statewide procedures for filing inmate complaints.
Pietila II, (Docket #21, #21-1, and #22).
Plaintiff's submissions included no evidence at all,
suggesting that he has none to oppose that of Defendants.
Further, he did not object to their noncompliance with the
Local Rules or argue that their presentation of the facts was
erroneous. See Id. (Docket #23).
being twice warned of the strictures of summary judgment
procedure in each case, Plaintiff ignored those rules by
failing to properly dispute Defendants' proffered
evidence with his own relevant, admissible evidence.
Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003).
Though the Court is required to liberally construe a pro
se plaintiff's filings, it cannot act as his lawyer,
and it cannot delve through the record to find favorable
evidence for him. Thus, the Court will, unless otherwise
stated, deem Defendants' assertions of fact undisputed
for purposes of deciding their motion for summary judgment.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e); Civ. L. R. 56(b)(4);
Hill v. Thalacker, 210 Fed.Appx. 513, 515 (7th Cir.
2006) (noting that district courts have discretion to enforce
procedural rules against pro se litigants).
Exhaustion of Prisoner Administrative Remedies
be helpful to review how the PLRA's exhaustion
requirement plays out in the Wisconsin prison system prior to
relating the relevant facts. The 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); Burrell v. Powers, 431 F.3d 282, 284-85
(7th Cir. 2005). Several important policy goals animate the
exhaustion requirement, including ...