United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Paul L. Maloney Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Kent United States Magistrate Judge
a pro se civil rights action brought pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 by plaintiff Lorenzo Townsend, a state
prisoner at a Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC)
facility. This matter is now before the Court on motions for
summary judgment based on failure to exhaust filed by
defendants John Curley and David M. Leach (ECF No. 19) and
Daphne M. Johnson (ECF No. 22).
the initial screening of plaintiff's complaint, the Court
dismissed all defendants except for MDOC Special Activities
Coordinator (SAC) David M. Leach, MDOC Assistant Deputy
Director (ADD) John Curley, and MDOC Administrator Daphne M.
Johnson. See Opinion (ECF No. 10). Plaintiff states
that he is a Buddhist monk. See Certificate (ECF No.
1-1, PageID.36). Plaintiff's only claim remaining before
the Court is that three MDOC officials, defendants Leach,
Curley, and Johnson, refused to permit him to obtain
vegan-compliant vitamin B-12 in violation of his rights under
the First Amendment and Religious Land Use and
Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000cc-1(a)(1)-(2). Opinion at PageID.128. Plaintiff
seeks compensatory and punitive damages against the three
defendants in the amount of $255, 000.00 and a court order
directing defendants to either provide him with
vegan-compliant vitamin B-12 supplements or to allow him to
buy the vitamins. Compl. (ECF No. 1, PageID.11).
Defendants' motions for summary judgment
Legal standard for summary judgment
seek summary judgment on the ground that plaintiff failed to
exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing this
lawsuit. "The court shall grant summary judgment if the
movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Rule 56 further
provides that a party asserting that a fact cannot be or is
genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
(including those made for purposes of the motion only),
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the
absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse
party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1).
Copeland v. Machulis, 57 F.3d 476 (6th Cir. 1995),
the court set forth the parties' burden of proof in a
motion for summary judgment:
The moving party bears the initial burden of establishing an
absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's
case. Once the moving party has met its burden of production,
the nonmoving party cannot rest on its pleadings, but must
present significant probative evidence in support of the
complaint to defeat the motion for summary judgment. The mere
existence of a scintilla of evidence to support
plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be
evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the
Copeland, 57 F.3d at 478-79 (citations omitted).
“In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the court
views the factual evidence and draws all reasonable
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.” McLean
v. 988011 Ontario Ltd., 224 F.3d 797, 800 (6th Cir.
Failure to Exhaust
PLRA provides that a prisoner bringing an action with respect
to prison conditions under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 must first
exhaust available administrative remedies. See
Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516 (2002); Booth v.
Churner, 532 U.S. 731 (2001). A prisoner must exhaust
available administrative remedies, even if the prisoner may
not be able to obtain the specific type of relief he seeks in
the state administrative process. See Porter, 534
U.S. at 520; Booth, 532 U.S. at 741. One reason for
creating prisoner grievance procedures under the PLRA was to
create an administrative record for the court.
Requiring exhaustion allows prison officials an opportunity
to resolve disputes concerning the exercise of their
responsibilities before being haled into court. This has the
potential to reduce the number of inmate suits, and also to
improve the quality of suits that are filed by producing a
useful administrative record.
Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 204 (2007). In order to
properly exhaust administrative remedies, prisoners must
complete the administrative review process in accordance with
the deadlines and other applicable procedural rules.
Id. at 218; Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81,
90-91 (2006). “Compliance with prison grievance
procedures, therefore, is all that is required ...