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Owusu v. Thompson

United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma

October 30, 2019

DERICK OWUSU, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN THOMPSON, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          David W. Christel United States Magistrate Judge

         The District Court referred this action, filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, to United States Magistrate Judge David W. Christel. Presently pending before the Court is Defendant John Thompson's Motion for Summary Judgment (“Motion”). Dkt. 11.

         After reviewing the relevant record, the Court finds Plaintiff Derick Owusu failed to exhaust his administrative remedies regarding the claims raised in the Complaint. Therefore, the Court recommends Defendant's Motion (Dkt. 11) be granted and this case be closed.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff, an inmate currently housed at the Stafford Creek Corrections Center (“SCCC”), alleges Defendant suspended Plaintiff from the law library without reason in violation of Plaintiff's access to the courts and due process rights. Dkt. 6.

         Defendant filed the Motion on June 28, 2019. Dkt. 11. Plaintiff filed a Response to the Motion on September 24, 2019 (Dkt. 17) and, on September 27, 2019, Defendant filed a Reply. Dkt. 18.

         II. Standard of Review

         Summary judgment is proper only if the pleadings, discovery, and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits, show that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law when the nonmoving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of a claim in the case on which the nonmoving party has the burden of proof. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). There is no genuine issue of fact for trial where the record, taken as a whole, could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986) (nonmoving party must present specific, significant probative evidence, not simply “some metaphysical doubt”); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). Conversely, a genuine dispute over a material fact exists if there is sufficient evidence supporting the claimed factual dispute, requiring a judge or jury to resolve the differing versions of the truth. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 253 (1986); T.W. Elec. Serv., Inc. v. Pac. Elec. Contractors Ass'n, 809 F.2d 626, 630 (9th Cir. 1987).

         III. Discussion

         Defendant alleges Plaintiff failed to exhaust the administrative remedies available to him as to the claims alleged in the Complaint. Dkt. 11. Plaintiff contends Defendant made the grievance process unavailable to Plaintiff, excusing the exhaustion requirement in this case. Dkt. 17.

         A. Legal Standard

         Before a prisoner may bring a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, he must first exhaust all available administrative remedies. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (“PLRA”),

No 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.

42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Exhaustion in cases covered by § 1997e(a) is mandatory. Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 739 (2001). The mere fact a plaintiff has filed an initial grievance under a prison's grievance policy does not satisfy the PLRA exhaustion requirement; a plaintiff must exhaust all levels of an available grievance procedure before he can initiate litigation. See Id. at 736-41; Porterv. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524-25 (2002). Even when the prisoner seeks relief not available in grievance proceedings, notably money damages, exhaustion is still a prerequisite ...


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