Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Nelson v. Beahm

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

May 23, 2019




         1. INTRODUCTION

         The Court has permitted Plaintiff to proceed on the following claims in his third amended complaint: 1) a claim of an unconstitutional search against Defendants Joseph Beahm (“Beahm”), Jason Sonntag (“Sonntag”), and Jesse Jones (“Jones”); 2) a claim of excessive force against Beahm and Sonntag; 3) a claim of failing to intervene against Defendants Lacee Smelcer (“Smelcer”), Wayne Bauer (“Bauer”), and Jones; and 4) a claim of harassment against Defendant Kyle Demers (“Demers”). See (Docket #22 at 4-7; Docket #36). This action was reassigned to this branch of the Court on November 1, 2018.

         On April 4, 2019, Plaintiff filed a motion for partial summary judgment as to the first three claims. (Docket #39). On April 19, 2019, Defendants filed their own summary judgment motion as to all of the claims. (Docket #45). They assert that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) as to the first three claims, and that the undisputed facts warrant judgment in Demers' favor on the final claim. (Docket #45 and #46). For the reasons explained below, Defendants' motion must be granted, and Plaintiff's denied as moot.


         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); see 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).

         3. BACKGROUND

         3.1 Plaintiff's Failure to Dispute the Material Facts

         In the Court's scheduling order, entered November 2, 2018, Plaintiff was warned about the requirements for opposing a motion for summary judgment. (Docket #26 at 3). Accompanying that order 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' motion for summary judgment, they too warned Plaintiff about the requirements for a response as set forth in Federal and Local Rules 56. (Docket #45). Plaintiff was provided with additional copies of those Rules along with Defendants' motion. Id. at 3-12. In connection with their motion, Defendants filed a supporting statement of material facts that complied with the applicable procedural rules. (Docket #48). It contained short, numbered paragraphs concisely stating those facts which Defendants proposed to be beyond dispute, with supporting citations to the attached evidentiary materials. See id.

         Plaintiff's response to Defendants' summary judgment motion consists of a four-page brief, (Docket #52), his own four-page affidavit, (Docket #53), and a two-page “statement of disputed factual issues, ” (Docket #54). The “statement” does not comport with the rules of procedure, as it is devoid of any citations to evidentiary materials. Even looking to Plaintiff's affidavit directly, it focuses on the merits of the first three claims. The merits of those claims are, of course, not relevant to the disposition of Defendants' motion. Plaintiff also fails to discuss the merits of the fourth claim, which are at issue in Defendants' motion.

         The only relevant statement is a conclusory one, that Plaintiff exhausted his administrative remedies. (Docket #53 at 3). For support for that statement, Plaintiff directs the Court to his own summary judgment submissions. Id. This is not the proper method for disputing factual contentions. Plaintiff should present all of the evidence he believes provides a basis to dispute Defendants' factual assertions in his own responsive materials. He should not merely gesture at his own submissions in an attempt to formulate a dispute of fact. Nevertheless, the Court will generously consider the arguments and evidence regarding exhaustion of Plaintiff's administrative remedies that were presented in his own motion for summary judgment. Doing so does not change the result of this Order. As to all remaining facts, the Court will, unless otherwise stated, deem Defendants' facts undisputed. 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).

         3.2 Exhaustion of Prisoner Administrative Remedies

         It is helpful to review how the PLRA's exhaustion requirement plays out in the Wisconsin prison system prior to analyzing the issues in this case. 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). 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). Exhaustion is a precondition to suit; a prisoner cannot file an action prior to exhausting his administrative remedies or in anticipation that they will soon be exhausted. Hernandez v. Dart, 814 F.3d 836, 841-42 (7th Cir. 2016); Ford v. Johnson, 362 F.3d 395, 398 (7th Cir. 2004). A lawsuit must be dismissed even if the prisoner exhausts his administrative remedies during its pendency. Ford, 362 F.3d at 398.

         The Wisconsin Department of Corrections (“DOC”) 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 a complaint with the Institution Complaint Examiner (“ICE”) within fourteen days of the events giving rise to the complaint. Id. ยงยง 310.07(1), 310.09(6). A complaint filed beyond that time may be accepted by the ICE, in their discretion, if the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.