United States District Court, D. Delaware
CEDRIC L. BRYANT, a/k/a Joseph Fooks, Plaintiff,
plaintiff Cedric L. Bryant ("Bryant"), a former
inmate at the Sussex Correctional Institution
("SCI") since released, appears pro se and
was granted permission to proceed in forma pauperis.
(D.I. 5., 26.) Bryant filed this lawsuit alleging violations
of his civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983.(D.I. 3.) Before the court is the
defendant's motion to dismiss filed January 30, 2018.
(D.I. 18.) Bryant has not filed a response to the motion.
raises medical needs claims. Upon screening, all the
defendants were dismissed with the exception of Connections
Community Services Program, Inc. ("Connections").
The court liberally construed the complaint as alleging a
relevant Connections' policy or custom, and that the
policy caused the delay or denial of medical care. See
Natale v. Camden Cty. Corr. Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 584
(3d Cir. 2003). (D.I. 8, 9.) Connections moves for dismissal
on the grounds that Bryant failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies as is required under the Prison
Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), and the complaint
fails to state a claim upon which may be granted. (D.I. 18.)
STANDARDS OF LAW
reviewing a motion filed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the
court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as
true and take them in the light most favorable to plaintiff.
See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
Because Bryant proceeds pro se, his pleading is
liberally construed and his complaint, "however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers."
Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94. A court may consider the
pleadings, public record, orders, exhibits attached to the
complaint, and documents incorporated into the complaint by
reference. Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights,
Ltd. , 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion
maybe granted only if, accepting the well-pleaded allegations
in the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most
favorable to the complainant, a court concludes that those
allegations "could not raise a claim of entitlement to
relief." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 558 (2007).
'detailed factual allegations' are not required, a
complaint must do more than simply provide 'labels and
conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action.'" Davis v.
Abington Mem'l Hosp., 765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir.
2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). The court
is "not required to credit bald assertions or legal
conclusions improperly alleged in the complaint." In
re Rockefeller Ctr. Props., Inc. Sec. Litig., 311 F.3d
198, 216 (3d Cir. 2002). A complaint may not be dismissed,
however, "for imperfect statement of the legal theory
supporting the claim asserted." Johnson v. City of
Shelby, ___ U.S. ___ , 135 S.Ct. 346, 346
complain must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has
"substantive plausibility." Id. at 347.
That plausibility must be found on the face of the complaint.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "A
claim has facial plausibility when the [complainant] pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the [accused] is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Id. Deciding whether a claim is
plausible will be a "context-specific task that requires
the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and
common sense." Id. at 679.
moves for dismissal for Bryant's failure to exhaust his
administrative remedies. The form complaint used by Bryant
contains a section regarding exhaustion of administrative
remedies. The complaint indicates that there was an
administrative process available to Bryant, that he filed a
grievance, but that at time he filed the complaint, the
grievance process was not completed. (D.I. 3 at 8.) Bryant
explains it was not completed at the time he commenced this
action "because medical refuses to allow me to be seen
by a doctor inside or outside of medical."
PLRA prohibits an inmate from bringing a civil rights suit
alleging specific acts of unconstitutional conduct by prison
officials until he has exhausted available administrative
remedies. 42 U.S.C. § l997e(a). "Proper exhaustion
of administrative remedies is necessary" to satisfy the
PLRA's exhaustion requirement. Woodford v. Ngo,
548 U.S. 81, 84 (2006). In order to properly exhaust, the
prisoner must complete the administrative review process in
accordance with the procedural rules governing the prison
grievance system. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 218
(2007) (quoting Woodford, 548 U.S. at 88) (citation
omitted). "Substantial compliance" with the
statutory exhaustion requirement is insufficient. Harris
v. Armstrong, 149 Fed.Appx. 58, 59 (3d Cir. 2005). In
addition, failure to employ the system of administrative
remedies, even if the administrative process would be
inadequate to grant full relief, procedurally defaults any
federal claim. See Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218,
222-26 (3d Cir. 2004).
to exhaust remedies under the PLRA, is an affirmative defense
to be pleaded by the defendant. Ball v. Famiglio,
726 F.3d 448, 458 (3d Cir. 2013). The defense can be raised
as a basis for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) if the
inmate's failure to exhaust is apparent from the face of
the complaint. See Id. If exhaustion is incomplete
when an inmate files suit, dismissal is mandatory. Ryder
v. Bartholomew, 715 Fed.Appx. 144, 149 (3d Cir. 2017).
clear from the face of the complaint that Bryant failed to
exhaust his administrative remedies before commencing this
action. He states that the grievance process was not
complete. While it appears Bryant believes the administrative
process is inadequate to grant him the relief he seeks, he
was still required to fully exhaust his administrative
remedies before filing this action. He did not. In light of
his failure to properly exhaust his claims, the motion to
dismiss will be granted and the complaint will be dismissed.