United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
Stile, pro se
M. Belobrow, Esq., Brian J.S. Cullen, Esq., Michael T.
A. DiClerico, Jr. United States District Judge
Stile, who is a federal prisoner proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis, brought suit against the Strafford County
Sheriff and deputies in the Sheriff's office, Strafford
County, the Strafford County Administrator, the Strafford
County Department of Corrections (“SCDC”)
Superintendent and officers, and the United States Marshals
Service in the District of Maine and individual marshals. His
claims arose from an incident that occurred in September of
2014, while Stile was a pretrial detainee held at the
Strafford County Department of Corrections awaiting trial in
the District of Maine. He alleges claims for violation of the
Fourteenth Amendment under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state
SCDC, Bruce Pelkie, Robert Farrell, and Robert Hayden move
for summary judgment on the ground that Stile did not exhaust
the administrative remedies that were available to him. Stile
did not object to the defendants' motion but filed his
own motion for summary judgment on the issue of exhaustion.
The SCDC defendants object to Stile's motion.
judgment is appropriate when the moving party “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). “[A] fact is material if it has the
potential of affecting the outcome of the case.”
Leite v. Bergeron, 911 F.3d 47, 52 (1st Cir. 2018)
(internal quotation marks omitted). “A genuine issue of
material fact only exists if a reasonable factfindiner,
examining the evidence and drawing all reasonable inferences
helpful to the party resisting summary judgment, could
resolve the dispute in that party's favor.”
Town of Westport v. Monsanto Co., 877 F.3d 58, 64-65
(1st Cir. 2017) (internal quotation marks omitted); Flood
v. Bank of Am. Corp., 780 F.3d 1, 7 (1st Cir. 2015).
same standard applies on cross motions for summary judgment.
The court determines whether either moving party is entitled
to judgment as a matter of law. Wells Real Estate Inv.
Tr. II, Inc. v. Chardon/Hato Rey P'ship, S.E., 615
F.3d 45, 51 (1st Cir. 2010).
claims arise from the circumstances and events that occurred
on September 5, 2014, when he was taken from his cell at the
SCDC and transported to Maine for a hearing in his criminal
case. At that time, Stile was a federal pretrial detainee who
was in the custody of the SCDC pursuant to an agreement with
the United States Marshals Service. Stile alleges that the
officers involved in moving and transporting him used
excessive force in violation of his Fourteenth Amendment
right to due process.
SCDC defendants move for summary judgment on the federal
claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against them, asserting
that Stile failed to exhaust his administrative remedies
through grievance procedures at the jail with respect to the
transport incident in September of 2014. Stile moves for
summary judgment on the ground that the defendants'
answers to interrogatories show that grievance procedures
were not available or show that a material factual dispute
exists as to whether they were available.
prisoner cannot bring claims under § 1983 to challenge
the conditions of his confinement unless he has exhausted
available administrative remedies. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).
To satisfy that requirement, a plaintiff must properly use
all of the steps provided. Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S.
81, 93 (2006). A plaintiff's failure to exhaust
administrative remedies is an affirmative defense. Jones
v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 216 (2007).
SCDC defendants filed a copy of the Operational Guideline,
3.6.04, Inmate Grievance Procedure, that was in effect from
2013 to 2015 while Stile was a detainee at the SCDC. See Aff.
Gwen Weisgarber, Captain, SCDC, Doc. 36-2; Doc. 36-3. They
also filed a copy of the Inmate Handbook that was in effect
at that time. Stile acknowledges that the SCDC had a
three-part grievance procedure while he was detained there.
grievance procedure is mandatory for an inmate to receive a
remedy. The procedure is provided to inmates in the Inmate
Handbook. Doc. 36-4. An inmate may make a verbal informal
complaint to a staff member within seven days of discovering
a grievable issue. Doc. 36-4, at 10. For any condition or
issue that requires action or a remedy, an inmate must file a
formal written grievance on a grievance form within fourteen
days of the issue or incident. Id. at 11. The inmate
will be provided an inmate grievance form by a staff member.
inmate gives the completed grievance form to the Unit
Officer, and the inmate will be provided with a copy of the
grievance, if requested. The Unit Supervisor will resolve the
grievance if possible, but otherwise the duty shift
supervisor will address the grievance. The shift supervisor
will address the grievance within five business days, return
the original to the inmate, and place a copy in the
inmate's Booking Folder. Doc. 36-4, at 11.
inmate is not satisfied with the shift supervisor's
response, he must submit the grievance to the
“Lieutenant-Operations and Security” or his
designee within five business days. Id. The
Lieutenant will respond in writing within five business days,
and a copy will be placed in the Booking Folder. Id.
third step, if the inmate is still not satisfied with the
response, within five business days he must request a further
administrative remedy. Id. at 12. A Grievance
Committee would then be convened, with members designated by
the Superintendent “on an as-needed basis.”
Id. An inmate may appear before the Committee. The
Committee's decision will be in writing and the inmate