United States District Court, D. South Carolina
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
V. HODGES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Renard Webb (“Plaintiff”) filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his
constitutional rights by Captain Marvin Nix(“Nix”) while detained at
Pickens County Detention Center (“PCDC”).
matter is before the court on Defendant's motion for
summary judgment. [ECF No. 33]. Having been fully briefed
[ECF Nos. 51, 52], the motion is ripe for disposition.
Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B),
and Local Civ. Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d) (D.S.C.), this matter has
been referred to the undersigned for all pretrial
proceedings. Having carefully considered the record in this
case, the undersigned recommends the district judge grant
Defendant's motion for summary judgment.
alleges various constitutional violations occurring during
his confinement at PCDC between February 10, 2018, and
December 6, 2018.Plaintiff alleges he was exposed to black
mold in the showers and bunks, resulting in a bad rash and
difficulty breathing. Id. at 5, 7. He asserts he was
forced to drink brown, foul-smelling water from rusty pipes;
lead paint peeled from the walls; most of the bathrooms in
the bunks did not function, leading to a bad smell; PCDC had
a poor ventilation system; he lacked access to a law library;
and he was denied medical treatment. Id. 5-8. In
addition, Plaintiff contends PCDC was overcrowded, forcing
detainees to sleep anywhere they could find space. [ECF No.
51 at 1]. He asserts he injured his right leg when he had to
step over another inmate lying on the floor. [ECF No. 1-1 at
8]. In his response, Plaintiff further alleges Nix
unsuccessfully attempted to have his criminal charges dropped
so Plaintiff would dismiss this action. [ECF No. 51 at 3-4].
seeks monetary damages for medical bills related to his leg
injury, as well as for pain and suffering and inhumane
conditions. [ECF No. 1-1 at 8].
Standard on Summary Judgment
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 a judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The movant bears the initial
burden of demonstrating that summary judgment is appropriate;
if the movant carries its burden, then the burden shifts to
the non-movant to set forth specific facts showing that there
is a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). If a movant
asserts that a fact cannot be disputed, it must support that
assertion either by “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 “showing . . . that an
adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support
the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1).
considering a motion for summary judgment, the evidence of
the non-moving party is to be believed and all justifiable
inferences must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party.
See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
255 (1986). However, “[o]nly disputes over facts that
might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law
will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual
disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be
counted.” Id. at 248. Further, while the
federal court is charged with liberally construing a
complaint filed by a pro se litigant to allow the development
of a potentially meritorious case, see, e.g., Cruz v.
Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972), the requirement of liberal
construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear
failure in the pleadings to allege facts that set forth a
federal claim, nor can the court assume the existence of a
genuine issue of material fact when none exists. Weller
v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir.
argues Plaintiff failed to timely exhaust his administrative
remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), specifically 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).
Section 1997e(a) 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.” Id. This 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). To satisfy this requirement, a plaintiff must avail
himself of every level of available administrative review.
See Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731 (2001). Those
remedies neither need to meet federal standards, nor are they
required to be plain, speedy, and effective. Porter,
534 U.S. at 524.
of the exhaustion requirement requires “using all steps
that the agency holds out, and doing so
properly.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S.
81, 90 (2006) (quoting Pozo v. McCaughtry, 286 F.3d
1022, 1024 (7th Cir. 2002)) (emphasis in original). Thus,
“it is the prison's requirements, and not the
[PLRA], that define the boundaries of proper
exhaustion.” Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 218
(2007). Defendant has the burden of establishing that
Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.
Anderson v. XYZ Corr. Health Servs., Inc., 407 F.3d
674, 683 (4th Cir. 2005).
grievance procedure requires inmates to first verbally
discuss the problem with a detention officer. [See
Inmate Orientation Packet, ECF No. 33-4 at 4]. If the inmate
disagrees with the officer's explanation, he can then
file a formal, written grievance by requesting a grievance
form from an officer, completing the form, and returning it
to the officer for a written response. Id. If the
inmate disagrees with the written response, he may appeal to
the officer's supervisor. Id.
complaint, Plaintiff alleges he filed grievances regarding
all his claims, but did not receive responses. [ECF No. 1-1
at 9-11]. In his response, Plaintiff asserts he made informal
grievances regarding the dark, foul-smelling water, poor
ventilation system, chipping paint, and malfunctioning
toilets and sinks. [ECF No. 51 at 2-3]. Plaintiff further
alleges he filed a written grievance after an officer denied
him bleach, but Plaintiff does not specify the contents of
that grievance. Id. at 3. Plaintiff contends he did
not receive a response to his written grievance and the form
was not returned to him. Id.
grievance policy does not specify a timeframe in which the
receiving officer must respond to a grievance form, nor does
it indicate a detainee may retain or request a copy of his
grievance prior to receiving a response. [See ECF
No. 33-4 at 4]. Further, it does not appear an ...