Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Clegg v. Sanders

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

November 7, 2019

JEFFREY CLEGG, #276 457, Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFREY SANDERS, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          WALLACE CAPEL, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action for damages and injunctive relief involves a dispute over the adequacy of medical care and treatment afforded Plaintiff Jeffrey Clegg [“Clegg”] during his incarceration at the Bullock Correctional Facility [“Bullock] in Union Springs, Alabama.[1] Clegg names as the defendant Nurse Jeffrey Sanders [“Sanders”].[2]

         Sanders filed an answer, special report, supplemental special reports, and supporting evidentiary materials addressing Clegg's claims for relief. Docs. 6, 8, 17, 34, 39. In these documents, Sanders denies he acted in violation of Clegg's constitutional rights. Sanders also asserts the complaint is due to be dismissed because Clegg failed to exhaust an administrative remedy available to him through the prison system's medical care provider regarding his claims prior to filing the complaint. Doc. 54. The court then issued an order providing Clegg an opportunity to file a response to Sanders' argument that “he failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies . . . as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) [prior to filing this federal civil action] . . . .” Doc. 55 at 1 (footnote omitted). The order also advised Clegg his response should be supported by affidavits or statements made under penalty of perjury and other evidentiary materials. Doc. 55 at 3. The order further notified the parties that unless “sufficient legal cause” is shown within ten days of entry of this order “why such action should not be undertaken, . . . the court may at any time [after expiration of the time for his filing a response to this order] and without further notice to the parties (1) treat the supplemental special report (Doc. 54) and any supporting evidentiary material as a motion to dismiss and/or motion for summary judgment and, (2) after considering any response as allowed by this order, rule on the motion in accordance with law.” Doc. 55 at 3. Clegg has filed nothing in response to said order.

         Pursuant to the court's order of October 22, 2019 (Doc. 55), the court deems it appropriate to treat the supplemental special report filed by Defendant Sanders (Doc. 54) as a motion to dismiss regarding the exhaustion defense. This case is now pending on Sanders' motion to dismiss. Bryant v. Rich, 530 F.3d 1368, 1374-75 (11th Cir. 2008) (internal quotations omitted) (holding “an exhaustion defense . . . is not ordinarily the proper subject for a summary judgment [motion]; instead, it should be raised in a motion to dismiss, or be treated as such if raised in a motion for summary judgment.” Bryant v. Rich, 530 F.3d 1368, 1374-1375 (11th Cir. 2008) (internal quotations omitted); Trias v. Florida Dept. of Corrections, 587 Fed.Appx. 531, 534 (11th Cir. 2014) (holding the district court properly construed defendant's “motion for summary judgment as a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies[.]”).

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         In addressing the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 1997e exhaustion, the Eleventh Circuit has

recognized that [t]he plain language of th[is] statute makes exhaustion a precondition to filing an action in federal court. This means that until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted, a prisoner is precluded from filing suit in federal court.

Leal v. Ga. Dept. of Corrs., 254 F.3d 1276, 1279 (11th Cir. 2001) (citations and internal quotations omitted). Furthermore, “the question of exhaustion under the PLRA [is] a ‘threshold matter' that [federal courts must] address before considering the merits of the case” and that cannot be waived. Myles v. Miami-Dade Cnty. Corr. & Rehab. Dept., 476 Fed. App'x 364, 366 (11th Cir. 2012) (quoting Chandler v. Crosby, 379 F.3d 1278, 1286 (11th Cir. 2004)).

When deciding whether a prisoner has exhausted his remedies, the court should first consider the plaintiff's and the defendants' versions of the facts, and if they conflict, take the plaintiff's version of the facts as true. If in that light, the defendant is entitled to have the complaint dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, it must be dismissed. If the complaint is not subject to dismissal at this step, then the court should make specific findings in order to resolve the disputed factual issues related to exhaustion.

Myles, 476 Fed. App'x at 366 (citations and internal quotations omitted).

         Consequently, a district court “may resolve disputed factual issues where necessary to the disposition of a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust [without a hearing]. The judge properly may consider facts outside of the pleadings to resolve a factual dispute as to exhaustion where doing so does not decide the merits, and the parties have a sufficient opportunity to develop the record.” Trias, 587 Fed. App'x at 535. Based on the foregoing, the Eleventh Circuit has rejected an inmate-plaintiff's argument that “disputed facts as to exhaustion should be decided” only after a trial either before a jury or judge. Id. at 534.

         III. DISCUSSION

         Clegg challenges the adequacy of medical care Sanders provided to him at the Bullock Correctional Facility in October and November of 2016 regarding a chronic dry eye condition. Sanders denies the allegations and also asserts this case against him is subject to dismissal because Clegg failed to exhaust the administrative remedy provided to him by the institutional medical care provider prior ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.