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NEELY v. HAWKINS (2019)

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United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

Charles NEELY, Plaintiff - Appellant v. Reggie HAWKINS, Sergeant; Benjamin Oliveaux, Lieutenant; Bryan Sharp, Sergeant; James Spurlock, Captain; Stewart Hawkins, Lieutenant Colonel, Defendants - Appellees

No. 18-30403

Decided: April 22, 2019

Before BARKSDALE, ELROD, and HO, Circuit Judges. Donna Unkel Grodner, Esq., Grodner & Associates, A.P.L.C., Baton Rouge, LA, for Plaintiff-Appellant Grant Lloyd Willis, Assistant Attorney General, Louisiana Department of Justice, Litigation Division, Baton Rouge, LA, for Defendants-Appellees

Charles Neely, Louisiana prisoner # 302642, challenges the district court’s granting defendants’ motions for summary judgment against his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action. In that regard, Neely claims the court erred in concluding he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.

A summary judgment is reviewed de novo, using the same standard employed by the district court. Dillon v. Rogers, 596 F.3d 260, 266 (5th Cir. 2010). Summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant 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). If the movant succeeds in this showing, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to set forth specific evidence to support his claims. Duffie v. United States, 600 F.3d 362, 371 (5th Cir. 2010).

Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, “[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title ․ 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). In other words, unexhausted claims may not be pursued in federal court. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 211, 127 S.Ct. 910, 166 L.Ed.2d 798 (2007). Our court takes “a ‘strict’ approach” to exhaustion and requires inmates “not just [to] substantially comply with the prison’s grievance procedures, but ․ [to] ‘exhaust available remedies properly’ ”. Wilson v. Epps, 776 F.3d 296, 299–300 (5th Cir. 2015) (citation omitted) (emphasis in original). A properly exhausted claim has “complete[d] the administrative review process in accordance with the applicable procedural rules”. Abbott v. Babin, 587 F. App'x 116, 118 (5th Cir. 2014) (alteration in original) (quoting Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 88, 126 S.Ct. 2378, 165 L.Ed.2d 368 (2006)).

Neely failed to submit a grievance that complied with the prison’s procedures and did not pursue the grievance process to its proper conclusion. See id. Further, he offers no evidence to demonstrate his administrative remedies were “unavailable”. See Ross v. Blake, ––– U.S. ––––, 136 S.Ct. 1850, 1859–60, 195 L.Ed.2d 117 (2016). Therefore, pursuant to our de novo review, Neely did not satisfy the exhaustion requirement. See Wilson, 776 F.3d at 300; Wright v. Hollingsworth, 260 F.3d 357, 358 (5th Cir. 2001).

AFFIRMED.

FOOTNOTES

FOOTNOTE.  

PER CURIAM: * FN* Pursuant to 5th Cir. R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5th Cir. R. 47.5.4.

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