United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
Stadtmueller, U.S. District Judge.
August 3, 2018, Plaintiff in the above-captioned case filed a
complaint alleging violations of his constitutional rights.
(Docket #1). On September 5, 2018, the Court screened his
complaint and allowed Plaintiff to proceed on his First
Amendment claims related to mail suspension and retaliation.
(Docket #5). A scheduling order issued shortly thereafter,
which set a discovery completion deadline for April 25, 2019.
(Docket #10). On May 15, 2019, Sandra Hautamaki
(“Hautamaki”) and David Tarr (“Tarr”)
(collectively, “Defendants”) filed a motion for
summary judgment. (Docket #19). Neither the motion, nor the
accompanying proposed facts, were opposed. See
(Docket #29). Accordingly, the Court will treat
Defendants' statement of facts as undisputed for the
purpose of their motion. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2); Civ. L.R.
56(b)(4). For the reasons stated below, the motion for
summary judgment will be granted, and the case will 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).
Exhaustion of Prisoner Administrative Remedies
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).
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(2). The ICE may reject the
complaint or return the complaint to the inmate and allow him
or her to correct the issue(s) and re-file within ten days.
See Id. §§ DOC 310.10(5), (6). If the
complaint is rejected, the inmate may appeal the rejection to
the appropriate reviewing authority within ten days.
Id. § DOC 310.10(10). 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 310.10(9),
(12). The reviewing authority will affirm or dismiss the
complaint in whole or in part, or return the complaint to the
ICE for further investigation. Id. § DOC
if the ICE recommends dismissal and the reviewing authority
accepts it, the inmate may appeal the decision to the
Corrections Complaint Examiner (“CCE”) within
fourteen days. Id. §§ DOC 310.09(1),
310.12. The CCE issues a recommendation to the Secretary of
the Department of Corrections who may accept or reject it.
Id. §§ DOC 310.12(2), 310.13. Upon
receiving the Secretary's decision, or after ninety days
from the date the Secretary received the recommendation, the
inmate's administrative remedies are exhausted.
Id. § DOC 310.13(4).
is an inmate at the Redgranite Correctional Institution,
under the custody of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
Plaintiff was ordered, by the terms of his prison sentence,
not to contact one Olga Garrido. Nevertheless, he repeatedly
violated the no-contact order by attempting to send mail to
her. As a result, Plaintiff was disciplined and lost personal
mail privileges for ninety days. As it happened, the personal
mail restriction was arbitrarily enforced against all
prisoners, not just those who had violated no-contact orders.
Plaintiff filed an inmate complaint, which was affirmed
because conduct-related personal mail restrictions must be
limited to particular individuals. Subsequently, Tarr imposed
a personal mail restriction against all inmates for security
reasons. Hautamaki affirmed the restriction, finding that
this type of action, if taken for security reasons, was
permitted. Plaintiff did not file an inmate complaint about
this second restriction. Instead, he untimely challenged the
restriction in an appeal of his original complaint. Neither
his complaint nor his appeal alleged retaliation or any
related First Amendment rights violations.
threshold matter, the facts indicate that Plaintiff failed to
administratively exhaust his complaint through the required
channels because he failed to submit a complaint that timely
or specifically challenged Tarr's second all-inmate mail
restriction, or Hautamaki's refusal to rescind it.
Additionally, it does not appear that he ever challenged his
individual restriction as retaliatory or otherwise violative
of his First Amendment rights.
even if Plaintiff had exhausted his administrative remedies,
Defendants' restrictions on Plaintiff's mail did not
violate the First Amendment because they were
“reasonably related to legitimate penological
interests, ” i.e., carrying out the terms of this
sentence. Turner v. ...