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Carr v. Carlyn

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 17, 2017

JODY CARR, Plaintiff,


          B. Lynn Winmill Chief Judge United States District Court


         The Court has before it several motions. As explained below, the Court will grant summary judgment in favor of all defendants, and dismiss this case in its entirety.


         Carr is a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Corrections. He alleges that in November of 2011, while incarcerated at Idaho Correctional Institution-Orofino (ICI-O), he became ill with an antibiotic resistant strain of “C- Diff” and had severe, bloody diarrhea for several months that went untreated and left him permanently underweight and incontinent. He alleges that when he became ill at ICI-O he filed Medical Care Request Forms, but Defendant York, a nurse practitioner, refused to see him for approximately 60 days. Carr further alleges that when York finally examined him, York diagnosed him as suffering from hemorrhoids and gave him hemorrhoid cream. Thus, York examined Carr, determined a diagnosis, and provided him with treatment.

         Carr also filed a separate lawsuit, Carr v. Higgins et. al. (Case No. 1:13-cv-00380-REB), in which he alleged that a correctional officer told him that another correctional officer had put human feces in Plaintiff's food in November 2011, and that Carr learned this information within a few days of when he alleges he ate the feces-laced food. Carr further alleges that he became immediately and violently ill. However, it appears that Carr withheld the information that he may have consumed human feces from York and other medical providers. Thus, Carr went to his medical providers with an uncommon illness, the medical providers had no reason to believe he had been exposed to feces-laced food, and they followed a regular course of attempting to diagnose the problem. The other case was ultimately dismissed on summary judgment in favor of the defendants.

         Carr also states that in February or March of 2012, he was seen by a doctor who diagnosed him with “C-Diff” and prescribed him an antibiotic, which he claims did not work. He states that he repeatedly asked ICI-O Warden Carlyn for help during this time period, but did not receive any help. Carr further alleges that prison officials failed to protect him from assault, and that prison officials violated his right to send and receive mail.

         Upon review of Carr's Amended Complaint, the Court allowed Carr to proceed with the following claims: (1) Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference medical care claim against Rory York; (2) Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference medical care claims against Dr. Whinnery, Tina Williams, and Shelly Mallet; (3) Eighth Amendment interference with medical care claim against Sergeant Higgins; (4) First Amendment mail interference claim against Officer Maddox and Lieutenant Woodland; (5) Eighth Amendment failure to protect claim against Physician's Assistant Valley, Sergeant Link, Sergeant Carter, and Lieutenant Aiello; and (6) First Amendment free speech claim against Sergeant Mechtel. The claims are now before the Court on summary judgment, except the claim against Rory York, who passed away on March 12, 2014. Dkt. 32.


         1. Corizon Defendants (Dr. Whinnery, Williams, Mallet, and Valley) are Entitled to Summary Judgment.

         Inmates must exhaust their available administrative remedies before bringing civil rights actions based on prison conditions. The federal Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) requires exhaustion of administrative remedies for all federal claims brought by state prisoners who challenge the conditions of their confinement in a federal complaint. “No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other federal law, until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Exhaustion must be proper; meaning “a prisoner must complete the administrative review process in accordance with the applicable procedural rules, including deadlines, as a precondition to bringing suit in federal court.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 88 (2006). “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 exhaustion.” Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 218 (2007).

         Idaho law also requires that prisoners exhaust administrative remedies before proceeding with civil lawsuits. Idaho Code § 19-4206(1). The Idaho Court of Appeals has interpreted this statutory provision to require exhaustion for all civil actions related to conditions of confinement. Drennon v. Idaho State Corr. Inst., 181 P.3d 524, 526 (Idaho Ct.App.2007). Likewise, Idaho requires that the prisoner meet procedural deadlines to exhaust administrative remedies properly. Butters v. Valdez, 241 P.3d 7, 12 (Idaho Ct.App.2010) (Relying on federal law interpreting 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a)).

         In the Ninth Circuit, a claim that a prisoner failed to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense that should be brought as an unenumerated motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Wyatt v. Terhune, 315 F.3d 1108, 1119 (9th Cir.2002). Defendants have the burden to plead and prove exhaustion, and the reviewing court may look beyond the pleadings to resolve disputed issues of fact, if necessary. Id.

         Here, the Corizon defendants have brought such a motion, and they have met their burden. IDOC's grievance procedure for inmates is set forth in Defendants' statement of facts and supporting affidavits. See Pitzer Aff., ΒΆ 3, Dkt. 52-3. The IDOC grievance process is contained generally in IDOC Policy 316: Offender Grievance Process. The grievance procedure is ...

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