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Oliver v. Asuncion

United States District Court, D. Hawaii

September 16, 2019

JUSTIN MITCHELL OLIVER, Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD ASUNCION and ERIC GRIMLEY, Defendants.

          ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          JILL A. OTAKE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Justin Oliver alleges that Adult Corrections Officers (“ACOs”) Richard Asuncion and Eric Grimley (“Defendants”) used excessive force and denied him medical care while he was incarcerated in a state prison facility. Plaintiff seeks monetary damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants move for summary judgment arguing Plaintiff did not exhaust his prison administrative remedies prior to filing suit as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS Defendants' Motion because Plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Factual History

         i. Undisputed Facts

         Plaintiff filed a grievance form on December 6, 2017, stating:

On 9/23/2016 at 10:37am I was beaten by ACOS: I sustained three fractured ribs, broken teeth, fractured jaw, and bruses [sic] up and down arms and legs. And then I was thrown in the hole. I had to request x-ray's [sic], but was not allowed proper medical treatment when I asked to go to Queens. I could have died. This grievance is merely for proper procedure and documentation.

ECF No. 46-3 at 1. An ACO filled out the “Resolution” section of the form on December 6, 2017, stating, “YOU FAILED TO FILE GRIEVANCE (14) DAYS FROM WHICH THE INCIDENT OCCURED [sic].” Id.

         On December 3, 2018, Plaintiff filed a second grievance form regarding the September 23, 2016 incident, requesting video footage. ECF No. 46-1 ¶ 10. The form was returned on December 6, 2018 because two years had passed since the incident. These are the only two grievances in the system regarding the September 23, 2016 incident. Id.

         ii. The Inmate Grievance Program

          The Hawai‘i Department of Public Safety (“DPS”) has a three-step Inmate Grievance Program (“IGP”), which is “the means for receiving, processing, and resolving inmate complaints” at any DPS facility, including the Oahu Community Correctional Center (“OCCC”). ECF 46-2 at 4. The IGP is outlined in Policy No. COR.12.03, contained in DPS's Policy and Procedures Manual, effective July 1, 2015. ECF No. 46-1 ¶ 3. Generally, a prisoner must file an initial Step 1 grievance within fourteen days of an incident, subject to certain exceptions. ECF No. 46-2 § 8.1-2.

         The grievance is considered filed on the date it is logged into the Corrections Information Management System (“Offendertrak”) by the Facility Grievance Officer (“FIGO”) or Inmate Grievance Specialist (“IGS”). Id. § 10.1. The IGS or FIGO must respond in writing within 20 working days but may take an additional 20 working days if necessary. Id.

         If the inmate is dissatisfied with the response, he or she may file a Step 2 appeal within five days of receiving the response. Id. § 8.3(d). If unhappy with the Step 2 appeal response, the inmate may file a Step 3 appeal within five days of receiving the response. Id. § 10.5. If the prison does not respond within the time allotted for any particular step, the inmate is instructed to consider this a denial and proceed to the next step. Id. § 10.4.

         If a prisoner reasonably believes his or her complaint is sensitive or fears for his or her safety, the inmate may submit a grievance directly to the Division Administrator in a sealed envelope that is marked “Confidential.” Id. ยง 8.3(b). The IGP notifies prisoners that completion of all three ...


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