United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Jackson, pro se.
Friedrich A.P. Siekert, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE,
Patrick J. Schiltz United States District Judge
James Jackson was formerly incarcerated at the federal
correctional institution in Sandstone, Minnesota
(“FCI-Sandstone”). On August 13, 2014,
Jackson's cell was searched as part of a unit-wide
“shakedown, ” and prison officials confiscated a
large collection of swimsuit and lingerie photos. Jackson
complained about the confiscation and filed a tort claim
against the Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) and two of
its employees: defendants Amie Santini and Daniel Gravdahl.
and Gravdahl met with Jackson on June 8, 2015. According to
Jackson, Santini and Gravdahl offered to return part of his
photo collection if he would withdraw his tort claim. Jackson
also alleges that Santini and Gravdahl threatened that, if he
did not withdraw his tort claim, they would cite him for
possession of pornography. Jackson agreed to withdraw his
claim and signed a waiver that was allegedly prepared by
defendant Jake Bush, a paralegal employed by the BOP.
Bivens action,  Jackson contends that Santini,
Gravdahl, and Bush coerced him to withdraw his tort claim and
thereby deprived him of his constitutional rights to
“due process, equal protection and access to
courts.” ECF No. 1 at 5. In addition, Jackson seeks to
hold liable defendant Denese Wilson, the warden of
FCI-Sandstone, because she “create[d] an environment,
policy or custom under which these unconstitutional practices
occurred” and because she “was grossly negligent
by not preventing . . . [the constitutional violations]
through proper training and/or education.” Id.
moved to dismiss Jackson's complaint or, in the
alternative, for summary judgment. ECF No. 30. In a Report
and Recommendation dated November 10, 2016, Magistrate Judge
Tony N. Leung treated defendants' motion as one for
summary judgment (because both parties relied on materials
outside of the complaint) and recommended that the motion be
granted. ECF No. 48 at 5-6, 20. Judge Leung also recommended
that Jackson's motion to strike an allegation in
defendants' brief be denied. Id. at 20. Jackson
filed a lengthy objection to the R&R after seeking-and
being granted-two extensions of the deadline for filing
Court has conducted a de novo review. See 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). Based on that
review, the Court overrules Jackson's objection and
adopts Judge Leung's R&R, except as follows: Judge
Leung recommended that Jackson's claim against Wilson
should be dismissed without prejudice because it is
inadequately pleaded under Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662 (2009); that Jackson's access-to-courts claim
should be dismissed with prejudice and on the merits; and
that the remainder of Jackson's claims should be
dismissed without prejudice for failure to exhaust
administrative remedies. The Court does not disagree with
Judge Leung's analysis, but the Court finds that
all of Jackson's claims must be dismissed
without prejudice because he did not exhaust his
administrative remedies with respect to those claims. See
Benjamin v. Ward Cty., 632 F. App'x 301, 301-02 (8th
Cir. 2016) (requiring courts to determine whether an inmate
has exhausted his administrative remedies before addressing
the merits of the inmate's claims).
Prisoner Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires prisoners to
exhaust their administrative remedies before bringing an
action to challenge the conditions of their confinement.
See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). This exhaustion
requirement is mandatory; courts do not have discretion to
“excuse a failure to exhaust.” Ross v.
Blake, 136 S.Ct. 1850, 1856-57 (2016).
determine whether a prisoner has exhausted his administrative
remedies, a court must look to “the prison's
requirements, and not the PLRA.” Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 218 (2007). The BOP has adopted a
“four-part process for resolving an inmate's
grievance.” DeBrew v. Atwood, 792 F.3d 118,
126 (D.C. Cir. 2015). An inmate must first try to resolve his
grievance informally by submitting a BP-8 to the prison
staff. If that does not resolve the inmate's concern, the
inmate must file a BP-9 with the prison warden. If the warden
does not provide satisfactory relief, the prisoner must file
a BP-10 with the regional director and then, if that is
unsuccessful, a BP-11 with the BOP's General Counsel.
See Id. (citing 28 C.F.R. §§ 542.13-.15).
An inmate has not fully exhausted his administrative remedies
until he files a BP-11 with the BOP's General Counsel.
See 28 C.F.R. § 542.15(a) (describing the
appeal to the BOP's General Counsel as the “final
important to note that, in this lawsuit, Jackson is not
challenging the confiscation of his photo collection on
August 13, 2014-an incident that Jackson alleges caused him
about $175 in damages. ECF No. 1 at 2. Rather, Jackson is
challenging the actions taken by defendants on June 8,
2015-specifically, the alleged coercion of Jackson to
withdraw his tort claim and the resulting deprivation of
Jackson's right to access to the courts, to due process,
and to equal protection. Jackson himself emphasized this
distinction in his objection to the R&R:
[T]he sum and substance of Plaintiff's case is not based
on the BOP's refusal to reimburse him the value of the
confiscated property. Rather, the entire weight of
Plaintiff's case rests four-square on the actions of the
Defendants when Plaintiff attempted . . . to resolve the
matter using the process mandated by the Federal Bureau of
Prisons's Administrative Remedy Procedure . . . .
54 at 9. Jackson seeks $5 million “for damages suffered
as a result of defendants['] actions.” ECF No. 1 at
objection, Jackson discusses his administrative challenge to
the confiscation of his property. He alleges, for example,
that he filed a BP-8 and a BP-9, and he explains why he did
not fully exhaust ...