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Kevin Raymond Sullivant v. Spectrum Medical

July 26, 2012

KEVIN RAYMOND SULLIVANT,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
SPECTRUM MEDICAL, INC., JUDY MUNSELL, N.P., LT. SCOTT LEETE, AND RAVALLI COUNTY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Jeremiah C. Lynch United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Pending are Defendants' Motions to Dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies (Dkt. 48, 56) and Defendants Leete and Ravalli County's Motion to Compel Discovery. (Dkt. 63). The motions will be granted.

I. SULLIVANT'S ALLEGATIONS

Sullivant alleges he was denied mental health medications while incarcerated at the Ravalli County Detention Center. After hoarding medication, Sullivant was placed in a holding cell for approximately three weeks. He alleges his placement in the holding/observation cell was done to punish him and there was no plumbing or water in the cell just a drain in the floor. He states that he was only given water and bathroom privileges at the discretion of jail officials.

II. MOTION TO DISMISS

A. Standard

Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A motion to dismiss based on a prisoner's failure to exhaust administrative remedies is properly the subject of an unenumerated motion under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b). Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d 1108, 1119 (9th Cir. 2003). "In deciding a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust non-judicial remedies, the court may look beyond the pleadings and decide disputed issues of fact." Wyatt, 315 F.3d at 1119-20.

Defendants bear the burden of establishing that a plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies. Wyatt, 315 F.3d at 1120. If the court concludes that administrative remedies have not been exhausted, the unexhausted claims should be dismissed without prejudice. Wyatt, 315 F.3d at 1120; see also Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199 (2007).

B. Administrative Remedies

The Ravalli County Detention Center has an inmate information manual containing rules and regulations which is provided to inmates and was provided to Sullivant. The manual contains information which sets out the grievance procedure for inmates. The inmate can request a grievance form. The request should contain a brief description of the nature of their complaint. Grievances can relate to any aspect of life in the Detention Center except for disciplinary procedures or other governmental agencies. Inmates are encouraged to attempt to resolve any issues informally with appropriate staff prior to filing a grievance. Upon receipt, the Lieutenant or his/her designee investigates the grievance and provides a response the aggrieved inmate within ten days. (Dkt. 49-3, p. 8: Ex. 1 to Affidavit of Chris Hoffman, p. 5).

C. Analysis

Defendants move to dismiss arguing Sullivant failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") with regard to his placement in the holding/observation cell. The PLRA's exhaustion requirement states:

[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.

42 U.S.C. ยง 1997e(a); see also Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524-25 (2002); Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001). This means a prisoner must "complete the administrative review process in accordance with the applicable procedural rules, including deadlines, as a precondition to bringing suit in federal court." ...


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