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Greer v. Pinal County Jail

United States District Court, D. Arizona

November 9, 2018

Glenn Greer, Plaintiff,
Pinal County Jail, et al., Defendants.


          David G. Campbell Senior United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Glenn Greer, who is currently confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex-Lewis, brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) Defendants move for summary judgment based on failure to exhaust administrative remedies, and Plaintiff opposes.[1] (Docs. 54, 64.) Also pending before the Court is Plaintiff's “Motion to Deny (Dismiss) Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.” (Doc. 67.) The Court will deny Plaintiff's Motion and will grant in part and deny in part Defendants' Motion.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint while incarcerated in the Pinal County Jail (PCJ) against several PCJ employees. Plaintiff's claims relate to searches of his PCJ cell on September 9, 2016 and May 15, 2017, and his placement in solitary confinement on September 9, 2016. (Doc. 1.)

         On screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court determined that Plaintiff stated Sixth Amendment claims regarding the cell searches in Count One against Defendants Sergeant Street and Lieutenant Hoyos; in Count Two against Defendants Security Captain VanGorden and Lieutenant Arnold; and in Count Three against Defendants Street, Hoyos, and Arnold. (Doc. 5 at 7.) The Court also determined that Plaintiff stated a due process claim in Count Four against Defendants VanGorden and Arnold regarding his placement in solitary confinement. (Id.) The Court dismissed the remaining Defendants. (Id. at 10.)

         II. Plaintiff's Motion to Deny (Dismiss)

         Plaintiff argues that Defendants' Reply in support of their Motion for Summary Judgment was due August 25, 2018, but they did not file it until August 27, 2018. (Doc. 67 at 1-2.) Plaintiff asks the Court to deny Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment with prejudice and grant Plaintiff the relief requested in his Complaint. (Id. at 2.)

         Plaintiff's Motion is without merit. Plaintiff's Response was served on Defendants on August 10, 2018, when it was entered in the Court's electronic case filing system. (See Doc. 64.) The Court permitted Defendants 15 days after service of the Response to file a Reply - until August 25, 2018. (See Doc. 57.) Because August 25 was a Saturday, Defendants had until the following Monday, August 27, to file their Reply under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 6(a)(1)(C). Defendants' Reply filed on August 27, 2018 was timely and the Court will deny Plaintiff's motion.

         III. Legal Standards

         A. Summary Judgment

         A court must 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); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The movant bears the initial responsibility of presenting the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record, together with affidavits, if any, that it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.

         If the movant fails to carry its initial burden of production, the nonmovant need not produce anything. Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Fritz Co., Inc., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102-03 (9th Cir. 2000). But if the movant meets its initial responsibility, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to demonstrate the existence of a factual dispute and that the fact in contention is material, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, and that the dispute is genuine, i.e., the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmovant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 250 (1986); see Triton Energy Corp. v. Square D. Co., 68 F.3d 1216, 1221 (9th Cir. 1995). The nonmovant need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor, First Nat'l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288-89 (1968); however, it must “come forward with specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (internal citation omitted); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1).

         At summary judgment, the judge's function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. In its analysis, the court must believe the nonmovant's evidence and draw all inferences in the nonmovant's favor. Id. at 255. The court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider any other materials in the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3).

         B. Exhaustion

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, a prisoner must exhaust “available” administrative remedies before filing an action in federal court. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Vaden v. Summerhill, 449 F.3d 1047, 1050 (9th Cir. 2006); Brown v. Valoff, 422 F.3d 926, 934-35 (9th Cir. 2005). The prisoner must complete the administrative review process in accordance with the applicable rules. See Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 92 (2006). Exhaustion is required for all suits about prison life, Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 523 (2002), regardless of the type of relief offered through the administrative process, Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001).

         The defendant bears the initial burden to show that there was an available administrative remedy and that the prisoner did not exhaust it. Albino v. Baca, 747 F.3d 1162, 1169, 1172 (9th Cir. 2014); see Brown, 422 F.3d at 936-37 (a defendant must demonstrate that applicable relief remained available in the grievance process). Once that showing is made, the burden shifts to the prisoner, who must either demonstrate that he, in fact, exhausted administrative remedies or “come forward with evidence showing that there is something in his particular case that made the existing and generally available administrative remedies effectively unavailable to him.” Albino, 747 F.3d at 1172. The ultimate burden, however, rests with the defendant. Id. Summary judgment is appropriate if the undisputed evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the prisoner, shows a failure to exhaust. Id. at 1166, 1168; see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a).

         If summary judgment is denied, disputed factual questions relevant to exhaustion should be decided by the judge; a plaintiff is not entitled to a jury trial on the issue of exhaustion. Albino, 747 F.3d at 1170-71. But if a court finds that the prisoner exhausted administrative remedies, that administrative remedies were not available, or that the failure to exhaust administrative remedies should be excused, the case proceeds to the merits. Id. at 1171.

         IV. ...

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