United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Glennis Stewart, currently incarcerated within the Missouri
Department of Corrections (MDOC), filed this pro se
action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. She alleges that
defendants violated her civil rights by being deliberately
indifferent to her serious medical needs in failing to
provide her with adequate medical and dental care. Defendants
are the MDOC medical services provider, a medical director,
and a director of nursing. Defendants have filed a partial
motion for summary judgment, arguing that Stewart failed to
exhaust her administrative remedies before filing this suit.
Because the undisputed evidence shows that Stewart did fail
to exhaust administrative remedies on many of the grievances
she complains of in this suit, I must grant defendants'
motion for dismissal as to the unexhausted claims at the time
Glennis Stewart is now incarcerated within the Missouri
Department of Corrections at the Chillicothe Correctional
Center. Her § 1983 complaint alleges violations of her
civil rights during her imprisonment at the Women's
Eastern Reception, Diagnostic, and Correctional Center
(WERDCC) in Vandalia, Missouri. She contends that defendant
Corizon Medical, LLC, the contracted medical provider for
MDOC inmates, has a policy of denying inmates medical care in
order to increase its profits. She also claims that
defendants Dr. Justin Jones (Medical Director at WERDCC) and
Danielle Halterman (Director of Nursing and Health Services
Administrator at WERDCC) have refused to provide her the
necessary treatment and medications for her medical
to the allegations of the complaint, Stewart had a bilateral
mastectomy and reconstructive breast surgery performed by a
MDOC surgeon in 2013, following a breast cancer diagnosis. At
some point she was released from the MDOC, and while not in
custody, an oncologist prescribed her Lupron injections every
three months as part of her ongoing cancer care treatment.
She was then re-incarcerated at WERDCC in 2015.
has filed multiple medical grievance complaints, alleging
many different medical and dental issues. She contends that
defendants have denied her standard cancer care, including
continuation of her Lupron injections, of which she missed
three of over a nine month period. She also seeks a
continuation of the medication Gabapentin for her hot
flashes. Stewart claims that the breast implants used by the
MDOC in her reconstructive surgery are substandard and have
resulted in significant pain and leakage, which has not been
properly treated. As for dental care, Stewart alleges that
Corizon has an unwritten “outwait” policy for
cutting dental care costs: patients who need filings are put
on a wait list that is so long that the only option remaining
at time of treatment is extraction of teeth, which is also
the least expensive option for Corizon.
have now moved for partial summary judgment on all claims
except those involving Stewart's requests for Lupron
injections. Defendants argue that Stewart failed to exhaust
administrative remedies before filing suit as to all her
standards for summary judgment are well settled. In
determining whether to grant a motion for summary judgment,
the court views the facts - and any inferences from those
facts - in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The movant bears the
burden of establishing that (1) it is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law and (2) there are no genuine issues of
material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Once the movant has
met this burden, however, the non-moving party may not rest
on the allegations in its pleadings but must, by affidavit
and other evidence, set forth specific facts showing that a
genuine issue of material fact exists. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).
Where a factual record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there
is no genuine issue for trial. Matsushita, 475 U.S.
at 587. At the summary judgment stage, I will not weigh the
evidence and decide the truth of the matter, but rather I
need only determine if there is a genuine issue for trial.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249
Prison Litigation Reform Act and MDOC Grievance
Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires a prisoner to
exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit: “No
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). Congress's goal in enacting this statute was
“to reduce the quantity and improve the quality of
prisoner suits” by affording prison officials time to
resolve the complaints internally before going to federal
court. Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524-25
(2002). The PLRA requires that an inmate exhaust
administrative remedies before filing a suit in federal
court, and mandates dismissal if exhaustion was not completed
at the time of filing. Johnson v. Jones, 340 F.3d
624, 627 (8th Cir. 2003).
have produced uncontroverted evidence of the MDOC Offender
Grievance Policy, which establishes a three-step procedure
for inmates to use for filing complaints. To initiate the
process, an inmate must file an Informal Resolution Request
(IRR) within fifteen days of the date of the incident giving
rise to the IRR. If an inmate is dissatisfied with the
response to her IRR, she can file a formal grievance within
seven days of receiving the response. If an inmate is also
dissatisfied with the response to her formal grievance, she
can file a grievance appeal within seven days of receiving
that response. Only after the inmate receives a response to
her appeal is the administrative grievance procedure
exhausted. ECF Nos. 28-1, 2.
has filed more than eight separate medical grievances through
the offender grievance process at WERDCC since January 1,
2013. She filed her complaint in this case on November 18,
2016, and attached as exhibits paperwork from her prison
grievance file. ECF No. 1. Later, she filed more paperwork
from her grievance file as “Additional Exhibits”
on two separate occasions, and as exhibits to her opposition
to partial summary judgment. ECF Nos. 15, 20, 29.
Stewart's own filings show that only two of her medical
grievances were exhausted as of the date that she filed this
lawsuit. ECF No. 1 at 6 (Chart under “V. EXHAUSTION OF
LEGAL REMEDIES” shows only IRR Numbers 16-225 and
15-404 as having “GRIEVANCE APPEAL RESPONSE”
dates at time of filing complaint); ECF No. 29 at 2 (Chart
showing only complaint numbers ...