United States District Court, D. Connecticut
ORDER RE EXHAUSTION
A. Bolden United States District Judge.
Leslie Williams, currently incarcerated, has filed this
action pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. After
this Court granted in part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss,
his remaining claims are for retaliation, denial of due
process, unconstitutional conditions of confinement, and
excessive punishment. Order Granting in Part and Denying in
Part Mot. to Dismiss, ECF No. 34 at 20. All of his claims
arise from his confinement in restrictive housing for
twenty-two days after giving a drawing and poem to a
Correctional Officer. Defendants have moved for summary
judgment on all remaining claims.
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(a), imposes a requirement that inmates exhaust
their administrative remedies before filing an action in
federal court concerning any aspect of prison life.
Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002). Section
1997e requires exhaustion of any available administrative
remedies, regardless of whether they provide the relief the
inmate seeks. See Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731,
741 (2001). A claim is not exhausted until the inmate
complies with all administrative deadlines and procedures.
See Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 90 (2006).
Informal efforts to put prison officials on notice of inmate
concerns do not satisfy the exhaustion requirement. See
Marcias v. Zenk, 495 F.3d 37, 43 (2d Cir. 2007). If the
deadline to file a grievance about an issue has passed,
claims concerning that issue are unexhausted and barred from
federal court. See Woodford, 548 U.S. at 95. In
addition, the inmate must exhaust his administrative remedies
for each claim he asserts in federal court. See Baldwin
v. Arnone, No. 3:12cv243(JCH), 2013 WL 628660, at *5 (D.
Conn. Feb. 18, 2013).
inmate may be excused from the exhaustion requirement only if
administrative remedies were not in fact available. Ross
v. Blake, ___ U.S. ___, 136 S.Ct. 1850, 1858 (2016). In
Ross, the Supreme Court identified three
circumstances where an administrative remedy, although
officially available, cannot be used by inmates to obtain
relief. Id. at 1859. First, the administrative
remedy process may operate as a “dead end” where
the office to which inmates are directed to submit all
grievances disclaims the ability to consider them.
Id. Second, the procedures may be so confusing that
no ordinary prisoner could be expected to “discern or
navigate” their requirements. Id. And third,
prison officials may “thwart inmates from taking
advantage of a grievance process through machination,
misrepresentation, or intimidation.” Id. at
require inmates to take advantage of each step of an
administrative appeal procedure in order to exhaust their
administrative remedies. Neal v. Goord, 267 F.3d
116, 122 (2d Cir. 2001) (“[G]rievances must now be
fully pursued prior to filing a complaint in federal
court.”); Houston v. Cty. of Westchester Dep't
of Corr., 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 89051, at *4-5 (S.D.N.Y.
Dec. 5, 2006) (“It is well established that to exhaust
a prisoner must grieve his complaint about prison conditions
up through the highest level of administrative
inmate at a Connecticut Department of Correction facility who
wishes to file a grievance must follow the procedure
established in Connecticut Department of Correction
Administrative Directive 9.6 (“Directive”).
See Defs.' Mem. Ex. 4, Attachment A, ECF No.
47-7 at 6-18. Under the Directive, full administrative review
generally occurs in three steps. First, an inmate must seek
to resolve his or her complaint informally by depositing an
Inmate Request Form (CN 9601) in a designated collection box.
If the inmate is dissatisfied with the response to his or her
Inmate Request Form or does not receive a response within
fifteen days, the inmate may proceed to the second step,
which is termed “Level One Review.” To initiate
Level One Review, an inmate completes the Inmate
Administrative Remedy Form (CN 9602). At this point, the
inmate is required to provide evidence that he or she
attempted to informally resolve his or her grievance by
attaching the Inmate Request Form (CN 9601) to CN 9602.
Id. at 9.6(6)(C). The inmate also has the option of
submitting CN 9602 without attaching CN 9601 and providing a
“valid reason” why he or she could not obtain the
form. Id. Level One Review is undertaken by the Unit
Administrator, who must respond to the grievance in writing
within thirty days. Id. at 8. An inmate may proceed
to the third step, Level Two Review, if he or she disagrees
with the Unit Administrator's judgment or does not
receive a timely response. Id. at 9.6(6)(K).
Generally, Level Two Review takes place before a District
Administrator. The Administrator's response, which must
be delivered in writing within 30 business days of the
receipt of the appeal, must include a statement saying
whether the grievance was upheld or compromised or was denied
or rejected. Id. Level Three appeals are restricted
to challenges to department policy or the integrity of the
grievance procedure and to appeals of Level Two grievances to
which the District Administrator has failed to respond in a
timely manner. See Id. at 9.6(6)(L).
move for summary judgment on one of the remaining claims on
the ground that Mr. Williams failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies. In support of their argument,
Defendants have submitted a copy of the grievance and appeal
filed regarding the issues in this case. See
Defs.' Mem. Ex. 4, Attachment B, ECF No. 47-7 at 20-24.
In the grievance, Mr. Williams challenges the duration of his
stay in restrictive housing and the conditions of the cell.
He argues that the length of time was too long for the
alleged investigation and he was not provided required
reviews of his status. Mr. Williams also contends that he was
sent to restrictive housing in retaliation for showing his
drawing and poem to defendant Beaulieu. The grievance was
denied and Mr. Williams appealed the denial. Id. at
23. Mr. Williams attached a statement to the grievance appeal
form stating that he is appealing the length of time he was
held on Administrative Detention status and the fact that
procedures for review of his detention were not followed. Mr.
Williams concedes that he was wrong to attempt to convert his
professional relationship with defendant Beaulieu to a
personal one and decries the loss of his prison job.
Id. at 21.
District Administrator received Mr. Williams' appeal form
on April 3, 2013 but, citing an “administrative error,
” did not respond until March 17, 2014. Defs.' Mem.
Ex. 4, Att. B, 20. The response focused on the placement and
duration of Mr. Williams' restrictive status, and
concluded that: “your placement/duration of restrictive
status may not have been followed in accordance with
Administrative Directive 9.4 Restrictive Status.”
Id. at 20. The Administrator added that
“Warden Farrell has been directed to have all
appropriate staff review the AD 9.4 to ensure further
compliance with Department policy” and formally
concluded that the appeal was “compromised.”
Id. The Level 2 reviewer indicated that Mr.
Williams could appeal the disposition to Level 3.
Id. at 20. Neither party presents evidence of a Level 3
Williams did not reference the conditions in the restrictive
housing cell in his statement of reasons for the appeal. In
addition, he stated that he was not appealing the fact that
he was sent to restrictive housing. Thus, it appears that he
has not exhausted his administrative remedies on the
retaliation or conditions claims.
requires an inmate to comply with all administrative
procedures. See Woodford, 548 U.S. at 90.
Accordingly, the parties are directed to submit supplemental
briefing addressing whether Mr. Williams has exhausted his
administrative remedies with regard to any of the remaining
claims, including whether he appealed the Prison's
decision that his Level 2 grievance was
“compromised.” The parties shall file their
briefs on or before March 3, 2017.
 The Administrative Directive notes
that when a grievances or request for remedy is
“compromised, ” “the application for
administrative remedy has sufficient merit that some
modification of the existing decision is warranted.”
Id. at 3(C). Because prison officials did not reach
this conclusion until March 2014, over a year after Mr.
Williams was released from the RHU, it is unclear how
defendants could have resolved his ...