United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
W. FLANAGAN United States District Judge
matter is before the court on plaintiff's motion for
summary judgment (DE 59), defendant Peter Woglom's
(“Woglom”) motion for summary judgment (DE 67),
and defendants Officer Brooks (“Brooks”), and
Captain J. Cox's (“Cox”) motion for summary
judgment (DE 73). The issues raised have been fully briefed
and are ripe for adjudication. For the following reasons, the
court denies plaintiff's motion, grants defendants'
motions, and dismisses plaintiff's claims without
prejudice for failure to exhaust his administrative remedies.
OF THE CASE
September 29, 2015, plaintiff, a state prisoner, filed this
civil rights action pro s e pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, asserting a claim of breach of confidentiality
regarding medical status and a claim of deliberate
indifference to his medical needs. (Complaint (DE
On August 22, 2016, the court completed its frivolity review
and ordered that the case proceed. (DE 25). The court entered
a case management order on December 19, 2016, providing for
discovery to close on May 22, 2017. (DE 50). On April 5,
2017, plaintiff filed the instant motion for summary
judgment, to which defendants filed oppositions. On June 22,
2017, defendant Woglom filed the instant motion for summary
judgment, including memorandum in support of his motion,
statement of material facts, and affidavit, attaching
plaintiff's relevant medical records. Also on June 22,
2017, defendants Brooks and Cox filed their instant motion
for summary judgment, including memorandum in support,
statement of material facts, affidavits by both Brooks and
Cox, Albermarle district jail general medical procedures, and
declaration by Wayne Jones (“Jones”), the
administrative captain of Albermarle district jail.
OF THE FACTS
undisputed facts are as follows. Plaintiff was incarcerated
in the Albemarle district jail between the dates of August
28, 2015 and September 30, 2015. At all times relevant to
this action, defendants Cox and Brooks served as detention
officers at the Albarmarle district jail. Defendant Woglom
provided medical treatment to plaintiff during that time.
submitted a grievance on September 6, 2015, complaining that
“according to the inmates here at ADJ, ” the jail
staff spread gossip about plaintiff's medical status. (DE
1-1 at 3). Plaintiff submitted a grievance on September 7,
2015, requesting “a copy of the inmate/doctor
confidentiality agreement and a copy of the release form
signed by myself to allow Albermarle district jail medical
staff to treat me.” (Id. at 2). Plaintiff
submitted a grievance on September 10, 2015, requesting
“lactose free trays due to the fact that I am lactose
intolerant.” (Id. at 1). Plaintiff received
responses to each of these grievances from jail staff, but
did not appeal any of these grievances to the Jail
Administrator. (Id. at 1-3).
Cox and Brooks raise the affirmative defense that plaintiff
failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Title 42
U.S.C. § 1997e(a) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”) requires a prisoner to properly exhaust
his administrative remedies before filing an action under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 concerning his confinement. Ross v.
Blake, __ U.S.__, 136 S.Ct. 1850, 1856 (2016)
(“[A] court may not excuse a failure to exhaust, even
to take [special circumstances] into account.”);
Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 83-85 (2006)
(requiring “proper” exhaustion of administrative
remedies); see Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 217
(2007) (“failure to exhaust is an affirmative defense
under [42 U.S.C. § 1997e]”); Anderson v. XYZ
Corr. Health Servs., Inc., 407 F.3d 674, 683 (4th Cir.
2005). The PLRA states that “[n]o action shall be
brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983
of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner . . .
until such administrative remedies as are available are
exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The PLRA's
exhaustion requirement is mandatory. Woodford, 548
U.S. at 85; Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524
(2002) (“Once within the discretion of the district
court, exhaustion in cases covered by § 1997e(a) is now
mandatory.”). A prisoner must exhaust his
administrative remedies even if the relief requested is not
available under the administrative process. Booth v.
Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001). “[U]nexhausted
claims cannot be brought in court.” Jones, 549
U.S. at 211.
administrative captain of Albemarle district jail, details
the grievance process at Albermarle district jail and
plaintiff's interaction with that process as follows:
The administrative grievance process of the Jail begins when
an inmate submits a grievance form. If an inmate is
dissatisfied with the response to a grievance, he can appeal
to the Jail Administrator. Plaintiff received a response to
each grievance that he has submitted, including the
grievances that he attached to his Complaint in this matter.
I have reviewed Plaintiff s jail files and do not have any
record that Plaintiff appealed any of the grievances he filed
to the Jail Administrator.
(DE 75-3 at 1). As previously stated, the record reflects
that plaintiff filed three grievances during the time period
at issue, one concerning his request for a lactose-free diet,
one requesting copies of the “inmate/doctor
confidentiality agreement, ” and one stating that other
inmates had informed plaintiff that the jail staff had
discussed his medical information with others. (DE 1-1 at
1-3). Plaintiff received responses to each of these
grievances, but did not file any appeals. (Id;
see also DE 75-3 at 1). Additionally, plaintiff does
not appear to dispute that filed no appeals. (See DE
court finds that plaintiff has failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies. Therefore, Plaintiffs claims ...