United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Kelly J. Randall, #925722, Plaintiff,
A. Winnicki, et al., Defendants.
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION AND GRANTING
DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
L. Maloney United States District Judge
Kelly Randall is a prisoner under the control of the Michigan
Department of Corrections (MDOC). Randall alleges the
defendants caused him to miss the deadline for filing, in the
state courts, a motion for correction of an invalid sentence.
Because he missed the filing deadline, the state court
dismissed his motion as untimely. In his remaining claim,
Randall alleges a violation of his constitutional right of
access to the courts.
filed a motion for summary judgment for failure to exhaust
administrative grievances. (ECF No. 10.) Randall did file a
grievance, which was rejected as untimely. Reviewing the
motion and response, the magistrate judge issued a report
recommending the motion be granted. (ECF No. 16.) Randall
filed objections, generally asserting that he need not
exhaust constitutional claims. (ECF No. 17.) Randall does not
raise objections to any of the factual conclusions in the
being served with a report and recommendation (R&R)
issued by a magistrate judge, a party has fourteen days to
file written objections to the proposed findings and
recommendations. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P.
72(b). A district court judge reviews de novo the portions of
the R&R to which objections have been filed. 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). Only those objections
that are specific are entitled to a de novo review under the
statute. Mira v. Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th
Cir. 1986) (per curiam) (holding the district court need not
provide de novo review where the objections are frivolous,
conclusive or too general because the burden is on the
parties to “pinpoint those portions of the
magistrate's report that the district court must
1. Randall asserts the exhaustion requirement applies only to
prison conditions; it does not apply to constitutional
objection is OVERRULED. Randall has not alleged or
established that the factual basis giving rise to his claim
cannot be grieved under the MDOC's grievance procedure.
The factual situation in McGrath v. Johnson, 67
F.Supp.2d 499 (E.D. Pa. 1999), one of the cases Randall
cites, is distinct from Randall's situation. In
McGrath, the court concluded that the plaintiff had
successfully established that there was no avenue for him to
exhaust his claim concerning the decision to place him in
administrative custody. Id. at 510-11. Here, Randall
has not established that the grievance procedure precludes
him from grieving his claim that his state-court motion was
not timely filed because Defendants mishandled the paperwork.
And, Randall has not established that the grievance process
is “so opaque” that “no ordinary prisoner
can discern or navigate it.” Ross v. Blake,
136 S.Ct. 1850, 1859 (2016). On this point, Randall's
actions undermine his assertion; he filed a grievance, but it
was not timely. And, as the magistrate judge found, to which
Randall did not object, Randall knew he missed the filing
deadline before he filed his grievance.
explained in the R&R, prisoners bringing claims under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) must exhaust the
available administrative remedies. (R&R at 3 PageID.122.)
The Supreme Court has held that the PLRA's exhaustion
requirement applies broadly to all prisoner lawsuits, whether
filed under § 1983 or some other federal statute.
Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002)
(“For the reasons stated, we hold that the PLRA's
exhaustion requirement applies to all inmate lawsuits about
prison life, whether they involve general circumstances or
particular episodes, and whether they allege excessive force
or some other wrong.”). The Sixth Circuit explained
that the exhaustion “requirement is a strong
one.” Napier v. Laurel Cty., Kentucky, 636
F.3d 218, 222 (6th Cir. 2011). Prisoners must use
the available administrative remedies “even if the
prisoner subjectively believes the remedy is not available,
” “even when the state cannot grant the
particular relief requested, ” and “even where
the prisoners believe the procedure to be ineffectual or
futile[.]” Id. (citations omitted). Contrary
to Randall's assertion, the exhaustion requirement does
apply to constitutional claims, including access to the
courts. See, e.g., Walker v. Michigan Dep't of
Corrs., 128 F. App'x 441, 446 (6th Cir. 2005);
Green v. Tudor, 685 F.Supp.2d 678, 692 (W.D. Mich.
other authority does not require a different conclusion. The
Michigan case cited by Randall, Dickerson v. Warden,
Marquette Prison, 298 N.W.2d 841 (Mich. Ct. App. 1980),
is not binding. At best, Dickerson stands for the
proposition that the Michigan Administrative Procedures Act
does not require a state prisoner to exhaust a federal
constitutional claim before bringing a § 1983 claim in
state court. The holding in that case does not apply to the
claims brought under the PLRA. And, as explained in
Napier, prisoners must attempt to exhaust their
grievances even when the state cannot grant the relief
requested. The statement in Heck v. Humphrey, 512
U.S. 477, 480 (1994), that exhaustion of state remedies is
not a prerequisite to a § 1983 action, is no longer
accurate. The PLRA, which imposed the exhaustion requirement,
was enacted in 1996. In Snider v. Melindez, 199 F.3d
108 (2d Cir. 1999), the circuit court held that the district
court, on its own and without a motion from the defendants,
erred when it dismissed a claim for failing to exhaust
administrative remedies. The circuit court explained that the
district court failed to give the plaintiff notice and
opportunity to be heard prior to the dismissal. Id.
at 112-13. That is not the case here.
2. Randall asserts that all of the defendants should be
defaulted because they failed to file an answer or
objection is OVERRULED. The default judgment rule, Rule 55 of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, applies when the
defendant fails to plead or otherwise defend. The
motion for summary judgment was filed on behalf of all of the
defendants remaining in the case. By filing the motion, the
defendants have defended against Randall's claims.
these reasons, the Court ADOPTS the Report and Recommendation
(ECF No.16) as the opinion of the Court. Defendants'
motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 10) is GRANTED and
Plaintiff's claims ...