United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Pensacola Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
THAI CANNON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Brian Shawn Sauder, brings an action under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 alleging excessive use of force and state law battery by
two prison guards, Goyer and Stanley, and failure to train,
supervise or discipline those guards by Captain
Harkin. ECF Doc. 17. Sauder also brings a count
against the Florida Department of Corrections
(“FDOC”) for injunctive relief, seeking to enjoin
the FDOC from housing Sauder at any facility where Goyer and
Stanley are employed. Id. The FDOC filed a motion to
dismiss, arguing Sauder failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies. ECF Doc. 43. Upon review of Sauder's response,
ECF Doc. 52, as well as Sauder's Notice of Exhaustion of
Administrative Remedies (ECF. Doc. 5), the undersigned
respectfully recommends the FDOC's motion to dismiss be
alleges the following in this amended complaint. ECF Doc. 17.
On June 9, 2018, Plaintiff was a prisoner housed in the
H-Dorm Confinement Unit at Walton Correctional Institution.
On that date, Sergeant Goyer and Officer Stanley escorted
Plaintiff from the showers back to his confinement cell.
Plaintiff was fully restrained, with his hands handcuffed
behind his back and his ankles shackled. When Plaintiff,
Sergeant Goyer, and Officer Stanley arrived at
Plaintiff's cell, Sergeant Goyer requested Plaintiff
provide information regarding an alleged gang
“hit” that was placed against Plaintiff's
life in 2010. Plaintiff declined to comment on the alleged
Plaintiff declined to comment on the alleged gang hit,
Sergeant Goyer forcefully grabbed Plaintiff and slammed him
face-first onto the concrete floor while Plaintiff was still
fully restrained and unable to defend himself or protect
himself from the fall. Plaintiff suffered significant
injuries to his head and his right eye. Sergeant Goyer then
jumped on Plaintiff's back and placed all his bodyweight
on Plaintiff's lower back, causing significant injury to
Goyer and Officer Stanley lifted Plaintiff by grabbing him by
his arms and carrying him downstairs. Once downstairs,
Sergeant Goyer and Officer Stanley pulled both of
Plaintiff's arms, which were still handcuffed behind his
back, nearly over the top of his head, causing significant
injury to Plaintiff's shoulders and rotator cuffs.
Sergeant Goyer and Officer Stanley then threw Plaintiff into
the shower, where another officer instructed Plaintiff to
make a statement on a video recorder. Captain Harkin used his
cell phone to take pictures of Plaintiff's head and right
to Plaintiff's injuries on June 9, 2018, Colonel Johnson
and Captain Harkin received numerous reports that Sergeant
Goyer and Officer Stanley had multiple prior incidents
involving the use of excessive force against inmates at
Walton Correctional Institution and took no action to prevent
future use of excessive force by either of them.
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) provides
that “[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. § 1997e(a). Exhaustion of
all available administrative remedies is a mandatory
precondition to suit. See Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S.
731, 739 (2001). The exhaustion requirement “applies to
all inmate suits about prison life, whether they involve
general circumstances or particular episodes, and whether
they allege excessive force or some other wrong.”
Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002).
Exhaustion is required whether the plaintiff seeks
declaratory and injunctive relief, monetary damages, or both.
See Booth, 532 U.S. at 734, 741. The requirement is
not subject to waiver by a court or futility or inadequacy
exceptions. See Id. at 741 n.6.
the PLRA requires “proper exhaustion” so that the
agency has an opportunity to address the issues on the
merits. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 93-94 (2006);
see also Id. at 95 (“The benefits of
exhaustion can be realized only if the prison grievance
system is given a fair opportunity to consider the grievance.
The prison grievance system will not have such an opportunity
unless the grievant complies with the system's critical
procedural rules.”). “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). A court must dismiss an action if satisfied the
inmate failed to properly exhaust his available
administrative remedies before filing suit. See
Higginbottom v. Carter, 223 F.3d 1259, 1261
(11th Cir. 2000).
Jones, the Supreme Court held that “to
properly exhaust administrative remedies prisoners must
complete the administrative review process in accordance with
the applicable procedural rules -- rules that are defined not
by the PLRA, but by the prison grievance process
itself.” Id. Compliance with prison grievance
procedures, therefore, is all that is required by the PLRA to
properly exhaust. Id. at 218 (“The level of
detail necessary in a grievance to comply with the grievance
procedures will vary from system to system and claim to
claim, but it is the prison's requirements, and not the
PLRA, that define the boundaries of proper
defense of failure to exhaust should be treated as a matter
in abatement. See Bryant v. Rich, 530 F.3d 1368,
1374 (11th Cir. 2008). “This means that
procedurally the defense is treated ‘like a defense for
lack of jurisdiction,' although it is not a
jurisdictional matter.” Turner v. Burnside,
541 F.3d 1077, 1082 (11th Cir. 2008) (quoting
Bryant, 530 F.3d at 1374). Because exhaustion is a
matter in abatement, “it should be raised in a motion
to dismiss or be treated as such if raised in a motion for
summary judgment.” Bryant, 530 F.3d at 1374-75
(citation and internal quotation omitted).
a motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative
remedies involves two steps. See Turner, 541 F.3d at
1082. “First, the court looks to the factual
allegations in the defendant's motion to dismiss and
those in the plaintiff's response, and if they conflict,
takes 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.” Id. (citing
Bryant, 530 F.3d at 1373-74).
the complaint is not subject to dismissal at the first step,
where the plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be true,
the court then proceeds to make specific findings in order to
resolve the disputed factual issues related to
exhaustion.” Id. (citing Bryant, 530
F.3d at 1373-74, 1376). “The defendants bear the burden
of proving that the plaintiff has failed to exhaust his
available administrative remedies.” Id.
(citing Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 216 (2007)).
“Once the court makes findings on the disputed ...