United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
REINALDO C. ACOSTA, JR., Plaintiff,
NICHOLAS MAKI, JONAS TROCHINSKI, DAVE TARR, and ANGELA THOMPSON, Defendants.
D. PETERSON, DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff Reinaldo C. Acosta, Jr. alleges that he slipped,
fell, and injured himself on a slippery bathroom floor at
Redgranite Correctional Institution in January 2018 and was
denied adequate medical treatment afterward. He is proceeding
on claims that (1) Angela Thompson and David Tarr failed to
provide him medical treatment, in violation of the Eighth
Amendment and state negligence law; and (2) Thompson, Tarr,
Nicholas Maki, and Jonas Trochinksi were all aware of the
slippery floor but did nothing to fix the problem, in
violation of state negligence law.
have filed a motion for partial summary judgment on the
grounds that (1) Acosta failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies as to his Eighth Amendment claims against defendants
Thompson and Tarr; and (2) Acosta failed to comply with
Wisconsin's notice of claim statute, Wis.Stat. §
893.82, as to his negligence claims against Thompson, Tarr,
and Trochinski. Dkt. 23. Acosta responded by asking the court
to allow him to refile a notice of claim with the state. Dkt.
grant defendants' motion to dismiss Acosta's Eighth
Amendment claims against Thompson and Tarr because the
undisputed evidence shows that Acosta failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies as to those claims. I will decline to
exercise jurisdiction over Acosta's state law claims, so
I need not determine whether Acosta complied with Wis.Stat.
§ 893.82. I will deny Acosta's request to refile his
notice of claim as moot.
the Prison Litigation Reform Act, prisoners must exhaust all
available administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit in
federal court about prison conditions. 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(a). To comply with § 1997e(a), a prisoner must
take each step within the administrative process, Pozo v.
McCaughtry, 286 F.3d 1022, 1025 (7th Cir. 2002), which
includes following instructions for filing an initial
grievance, Cannon v. Washington, 418 F.3d 714, 718
(7th Cir. 2005), as well as filing all necessary appeals,
Burrell v. Powers, 431 F.3d 282, 284-85 (7th Cir.
2005), “in the place, and at the time, the prison's
administrative rules require.” Pozo, 286 F.3d
at 1025. To exhaust administrative remedies in Wisconsin,
inmates must follow the inmate complaint review process set
forth in the Wisconsin Administrative Code ch. DOC 310. The
purpose of these requirements is to give the prison
administrators a fair opportunity to resolve the grievance
without litigation. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81,
88- 89 (2006). Failure to exhaust administrative remedies
under § 1997e(a) is an affirmative defense that must be
proven by the defendants. Davis v. Mason, 881 F.3d
982, 985 (7th Cir. 2018).
contend that Acosta failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies as to his claims that Thompson and Tarr violated his
Eighth Amendment rights by failing to provide him adequate
medical treatment for injuries he suffered after slipping on
a wet floor. Defendants have submitted evidence showing that
Acosta filed an inmate complaint about slipping and falling
on the wet floor, but that he did not file any inmate
complaint about being denied medical treatment afterward.
See Dkt. 26-1 (Acosta's inmate complaint history
report). Acosta has not submitted any contrary evidence
showing that he filed an inmate complaint about not receiving
medical care, so I will dismiss his Eighth Amendment claims
against Thompson and Tarr for Acosta's failure to exhaust
his administrative remedies.
also argue that Acosta's state law claims against
Thompson, Tarr, and Trochinski should be dismissed because
Acosta failed to file a notice of claim as required by
Wis.Stat. § 893.82 as to his state-law claims against
them. (Defendants do not dispute that Acosta filed a notice
of claim as to his claim against Maki.) But I need not
resolve this question because I will decline to exercise
jurisdiction over Acosta's state-law claims.
federal court generally does not have jurisdiction over
state-law claims unless they are related to a federal claim
that is pending in the same case, 28 U.S.C. § 1367, or
if the plaintiff and defendants are citizens of different
states and the amount in controversy is greater than $75,
000, 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Because I am granting summary
judgment for defendants on all of the federal claims, I will
decline to exercise jurisdiction over Acosta's state-law
negligence claims under § 1367. See Groce v. Eli
Lilly & Co., 193 F.3d 496, 499-501 (7th Cir. 1999)
(“[I]t is the well established law of this circuit that
the usual practice is to dismiss without prejudice state
supplemental claims whenever all federal claims have been
dismissed prior to trial.”). Acosta does not allege
that he and defendants are citizens of different states and
nothing in the complaint suggests that they are, so I cannot
exercise jurisdiction under § 1332 either. Accordingly,
I will dismiss Acosta's state-law claims without
prejudice. Acosta may refile them in state court, subject to
the applicable Wisconsin statute of limitations and notice of
Defendants' motion for summary judgment, Dkt. 22, is
GRANTED with respect to plaintiff Reinaldo C. Acosta,
Jr.'s federal claims against defendants Angela Thompson
and David Tarr. Those claims are DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE
for Acosta's failure to exhaust his administrative
remedies. The motion is DENIED as moot with respect to
Acosta's claims against defendants Jonas Trochinski and
Acosta's state-law claims are DISMISSED without prejudice
under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).
Plaintiff Reinaldo C. Acosta, Jr.'s motion for leave to
refile his notice of ...