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Bauer v. Glaser

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Southern Division

February 1, 2017

JEREMY BAUER, Plaintiff,
v.
JACOB GLASER, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING MOTION TO AMEND

          KAREN E. SCHREIER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Jeremy Bauer, is an inmate at the South Dakota State Penitentiary (SDSP) in Sioux Falls. He filed a pro se civil rights lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Docket 1. Defendant, Jacob Glaser, now moves for summary judgment. Docket 16. In response, Bauer moves to amend his complaint. Docket 29. For the reasons stated below, both motions are denied.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On April 20, 2016, Bauer filed a complaint alleging violations of his right of access to the courts and his rights under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. Docket 1. The court screened Bauer's complaint and dismissed all defendants other than Glaser and all claims other than Bauer's access to the courts claims. Docket 9. Bauer has two access to the courts claims: (1) Glaser delayed sending Bauer's motion for certificate of probable cause to the South Dakota Supreme Court, and (2) Glaser delayed sending Bauer's motion to reconsider to the South Dakota Supreme Court. On August 10, 2016, Glaser moved for summary judgment, arguing that Bauer failed to exhaust his claims through the prison grievance system. Docket 16. In response, Bauer moved to amend his complaint. Docket 29. His proposed amended complaint attempts to cure the deficiencies of his Equal Protection claim and responds to Glaser's motion for summary judgment. Id.

         LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate 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). The moving party can meet this burden by presenting evidence that there is no dispute of material fact or by showing that the nonmoving party has not presented evidence to support an element of its case on which it bears the ultimate burden of proof. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).

         “A party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment may not rest on mere allegations or denials, but must set forth specific facts in the record showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Denn v. CSL Plasma, Inc., 816 F.3d 1027, 1032 (8th Cir. 2016) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986)). For purposes of summary judgment, the facts, and inferences drawn from those facts, are “viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)).

         DISCUSSION

         I. Glaser's Motion for Summary Judgment.

         Glaser argues he is entitled to summary judgment because Bauer has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), “[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 . . . 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). The purpose of the exhaustion requirement is to afford corrections officials the opportunity to address inmate complaints internally before such matters are litigated. Johnson v. Jones, 340 F.3d 624, 627-28 (8th Cir. 2003) (quoting Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524- 25 (2002)). “In some instances, corrective action taken in response to an inmate's grievance might improve prison administration and satisfy the inmate, thereby obviating the need for litigation.” Id. at 628 (quoting Porter, 534 U.S. at 524-25).

         To satisfy the PLRA's exhaustion requirement,

prisoners must ‘complete the administrative review process in accordance with the applicable procedural rules, '-rules that are defined not by the PLRA, but by the prison grievance process itself. Compliance with the prison grievance procedures, therefore, is all that is required by the PLRA to ‘properly exhaust.' The level of detail necessary in a grievance to comply with grievance procedures will vary from system to system and claim to claim, but it is the prison's requirements, and not the PLRA, that define the boundaries of proper exhaustion.

Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 218 (2007) (quoting Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 88 (2006)).

         The South Dakota Department of Corrections' procedure for an administrative remedy requires that, prior to filing a lawsuit, an inmate must follow a two-step process. Docket 18-2 at 3. First, the inmate must file an Informal Resolution Request. Id. Second, if the issue is not resolved, the inmate must file a Request for Administrative Remedy. Id. Glaser moves for summary judgment, arguing that ...


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