United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division
BRETT A. TURNQUIST, Plaintiff,
C/O MRS. RANEY and C/O MR. BYRON, Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
CAROLYN S. OSTBY, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff Brett Turnquist ("Turnquist") claims his constitutional rights were violated when Defendants failed to respond to his complaints of sexual assault by other inmates while he was incarcerated at the Dawson County Correctional Facility in Glendive, Montana. See Amended Complaint (ECF 7).  Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment arguing that Turnquist failed to exhaust his prison grievance remedies. See Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF 18). Turnquist opposed the motion arguing that he was not aware of the grievance procedure ( Statement of Disputed Facts, ECF 29 ) and he was not given the option of exhausting his administrative remedies because when he submitted a "kite" he got no response. MSJ Response (ECF 23).
Having reviewed the parties initial filings on the Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court gave Turnquist an opportunity to file a Statement of Disputed Facts, to respond to the new evidence presented in Warden Green's Supplemental Affidavit ( ECF 25 ), and to make any further response he wanted to make to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. April 15, 2015 Order (ECF 28) at 5. Turnquist filed a response to the Court's Order on May 11, 2015 ( ECF 29 ) and Defendants filed a supplemental reply on May 22, 2015. ECF 30. This matter has now been fully briefed.
Having considered the parties' arguments and submissions, the Court finds that Defendants have met their burden of demonstrating that administrative remedies were available and that Turnquist failed to utilize those remedies. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment ( ECF 18 ) will be granted.
Turnquist was incarcerated at the Dawson County Correctional Facility (DCCF) in July and August, 2012. See Defendants' Statement of Uncontroverted Facts ("SUF") (ECF 21) at ¶ 2 citing Green Affidavit (ECF 20) at ¶ 3. Turnquist alleges that, beginning on July 9, 2012, he was assaulted repeatedly by three inmates. He reported this wrongdoing to prison officials but alleges his claims were disregarded as frivolous and without merit. He alleges that the assaults then became a daily occurrence. See Complaint (ECF 2) at 7. On August 6, 2012, Turnquist spoke to a nurse during a medical pass and mentioned his allegations of inmate assault. See SUF (ECF 21) at ¶ 10 [sic-second ¶10] citing Green Affidavit (ECF 20) ¶ 13.
Turnquist's allegations were discussed at a staff meeting the following day, Turnquist was moved to another area in the Facility, and the matter was investigated. See SUF (ECF 21) at ¶ 11 [sic-second 11] citing Green Affidavit (ECF 20) ¶ 14. Turnquist alleges that Officer Bryon placed him in a holding cell on August 7, 2012, and required him to strip so that photos could be taken of the bruises and contusions on his legs and arms. Turnquist remained in the holding cell until August 17, 2012, when he was moved to the "C" housing unit on the County side of the facility. See Complaint (ECF 2) at 7.
On August 21, 2012, Office Riley moved Turnquist to an isolation cell meant for punitive punishment, which was devoid of human contact or communication. He was only allowed one phone call to his mother. His library, television, gym, letter writing, and church and bible study privileges were taken away. See Complaint (ECF 2) at 7; Amended Complaint (ECF 7) at 4-5.
Turnquist remained at DCCF while the matter was investigated and it was determined that no charges would be brought against the alleged assailants. Turnquist was transferred to the Montana State Prison on August 26, 2012. See SUF (ECF 21) at ¶ 12 citing Green Affidavit (ECF 20) at ¶ 15; Complaint (ECF 2) at 7; Amended Complaint (ECF 7) at 4-5.
II. PARTIES' ARGUMENTS
Defendants argue there is a grievance procedure at DCCF, Turnquist did not submit a grievance regarding the issues raised in his Complaints, and therefore he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. See Motion for Summary Judgment Brief, ECF 19.
Turnquist initially submitted a brief document (a little more than a page) entitled "Motion of Argument of the facts on the Plaintiffs side" which the Court liberally construed as Turnquist's response to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Response (ECF 23). In that document, Turnquist alleged he submitted a kite to prison officials, was told they would get back to him, and he never received a response. Id.
In his response to Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Facts ( ECF 29 ), Turnquist argues that he did not submit a grievance because he was not aware of the procedure of a grievance nor was he aware it was even available at the time. He alleges he asked for help before and while he was in an isolation cell but it was not given and his kites/OSR's were not answered. He contends that he should not have to file a grievance when he is the victim and that this is a PREA case. He alleges he was not aware of the procedure of PREA or how to report it. Response to Undisputed Fact (ECF 29) at 1. He alleges he was the victim but was punished by being placed in an isolation cell from August ...