United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on a Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings, (Doc. No. 16), filed by Defendants
Virginia Brookshire, Teresa Puett, and Keith Turner.
Plaintiff Givonno Carter, a North Carolina prisoner
incarcerated at Marion Correctional Institution in Marion,
North Carolina, filed this action on October 10, 2017,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming as Defendants: (1)
FNU Puett,  identified as a sergeant at Marion; (2)
FNU Turner, identified as the unit manager at Marion; and (3)
FNU Brookshire, identified as a mail room officer at Marion.
In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges, among other things, that
Defendants intentionally interfered with and delayed his
incoming mail, in violation of his “constitutional
rights.” (Doc. No. 1 at 2-3). Plaintiff seeks
declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as compensatory
damages. (Id. at 7).
January 24, 2018, Plaintiff filed his Verified Statement of
Exhaustion, (Doc. No. 11), wherein he attached and identified
under penalties of perjury, Grievance Nos.
3730-2017-FU3W-05699 and 3730-2017-DU2E-05906 (“Nos.
05699 and 05906, ” respectively), as the grievances
that demonstrate his exhaustion of his administrative
filed the pending motion for judgment on the pleadings on
February 28, 2018, contending that Plaintiff's claims are
barred under 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) by his failure to
fully exhaust his available administrative remedies. (Doc.
No. 16). On March 2, 2018, this Court entered an order, in
accordance with Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309
(4th Cir. 1975), advising Plaintiff of the requirements for
filing a response to the pending motion and of the manner in
which evidence could be submitted to the Court. (Doc. No.
18). Plaintiff has filed a response, and Defendants have
filed a reply. See (Doc. Nos. 19, 22).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, both
parties attached documents to their briefs related to the
motion. Therefore, it is appropriate for the Court to convert
the motion into one for summary judgment. Summary judgment
shall be granted “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). A factual dispute is genuine “if the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is material only
if it might affect the outcome of the suit under governing
movant has the “initial responsibility of informing the
district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying
those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, which it believes demonstrate the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (internal citations
this initial burden is met, the burden shifts to the
nonmoving party. The nonmoving party “must set forth
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.” Id. at 322 n.3. The nonmoving party
may not rely upon mere allegations or denials of allegations
in his pleadings to defeat a motion for summary judgment.
Id. at 324. The nonmoving party must present
sufficient evidence from which “a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; accord Sylvia Dev.
Corp. v. Calvert County, Md., 48 F.3d 810, 818 (4th Cir.
ruling on a summary judgment motion, a court must view the
evidence and any inferences from the evidence in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party. Anderson, 477
U.S. at 255. “‘Where the record taken as a whole
could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the
nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue for
trial.'” Ricci v. DeStefano, 129 S.Ct.
2658, 2677 (2009) (quoting Matsushita v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)).
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) requires a
prisoner to exhaust his administrative remedies before filing
a Section 1983 action. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The PLRA
provides, in pertinent part: “[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
confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility
until such administrative remedies as are available are
exhausted.” Id. In Porter v. Nussle,
534 U.S. 516 (2002), the Supreme Court held that the
PLRA's exhaustion requirement applies to all inmate suits
about prison life. The Court ruled that “exhaustion in
cases covered by § 1997e(a) is now mandatory.”
Id.at 524 (citation omitted). The Porter Court
stressed that, under the PLRA, exhaustion must take place
before the commencement of the civil action in order to
further the efficient administration of justice. Id.
Woodford v. Ngo,548 U.S. 81 (2006), the Supreme
Court held that the PLRA exhaustion requirement requires
“proper” exhaustion: “Administrative law .
. . requir[es] proper exhaustion of administrative remedies,
which ‘means using all steps that the agency holds out,
and doing so properly (so that the agency addresses
the issues on the merits).'” Id.at 90 (quoting
Pozo v. McCaughtry,286 F.3d 1022, 1024 (7th Cir.
2002)). In Jones v. Bock,549 U.S. 199 (2007), the
Supreme Court stated: “There is no question that
exhaustion is mandatory under the PLRA and that unexhausted
claims cannot be brought in court.” Id.at 211
(citing Porter, 534 U.S. at 524). Finally, the