United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
William E. Smith Chief Judge.
before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF
No. 7) Plaintiff's Complaint (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff
Andrew Brian Clay (“Plaintiff” or
“Clay”), a prisoner at the Adult Correctional
Institutions (“ACI”), has brought a pro se civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Defendants A. T. Wall, Lieutenant Caverhali, Correctional
Officer Mitchelle, and Correctional Officer Rugs
(collectively “Defendants”),  all of whom are
sued in their individual and official capacities. Defendants
seek dismissal of the Complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) because it fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted due to Clay's failure to exhaust his
administrative remedies at the ACI. For the reasons that
follow, the Motion to Dismiss is DENIED.
an inmate at the ACI in Cranston, Rhode Island. Defendants
are officials of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections
(“RIDOC”) and/or officers at the ACI. In a
“Statement of Claim” (ECF No. 1-1) attached to
his Complaint, Clay alleges that on or about February 25,
2017, correctional officers (“COs”) at the ACI
used excessive force in the process of “cuffing
up” Clay. (Statement of Claim 1.) Clay was injured as a
result and was transported to Rhode Island Hospital, where a
CT scan was performed and he received a total of seventeen
stitches. (Id.) He also lost a tooth. (Id.)
Clay attempted to pursue his allegations regarding this
incident through the RIDOC Grievance Procedure, but, he
states, his attempts to do so were met with opposition from
ACI personnel. (Compl. 8-9, ECF No. 1.)
filed the instant Complaint on October 11,
2017.Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and
memorandum in support thereof (“Defendants'
Mem.”) were filed on December 19, 2017. Thereafter,
Clay filed a response in opposition (“Response, ”
ECF No. 14), and Defendants filed a Reply Memorandum
(“Defendants' Reply, ” ECF No. 17) in support
of their Motion to Dismiss.
Rule 12(b)(6), the Court must construe the complaint in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff, see
Negron-Gaztambide v. Hernandez-Torres, 35 F.3d 25, 27
(1st Cir. 1994), taking all well-pleaded allegations as true
and giving the plaintiff the benefit of all reasonable
inferences, see Arruda v. Sears, Roebuck & Co.,
310 F.3d 13, 18 (1st Cir. 2002); Carreiro v. Rhodes Gill
& Co., 68 F.3d 1443, 1446 (1st Cir. 1995).
“[I]f, under any theory, the allegations are sufficient
to state a cause of action in accordance with the law,
” the motion to dismiss must be denied. Vartanian
v. Monsanto Co., 14 F.3d 697, 700 (1st Cir. 1994).
plaintiff need not plead factual allegations in great detail,
the allegations must be sufficiently precise to raise a right
to relief beyond mere speculation. See Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 561-63 (2007) (abrogating the
“no set of facts” rule of Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 44-45 (1957)). “The complaint
must allege ‘a plausible entitlement to relief' in
order to survive a motion to dismiss.” Thomas v.
Rhode Island, 542 F.3d 944, 948 (1st Cir. 2008)
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 559); see also
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (“When
there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should
assume their veracity and then determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief.”). The
Court of Appeals has cautioned that the
“plausibility” requirement is not akin to a
“standard of likely success on the merits, ” but,
instead, “the standard is plausibility assuming the
pleaded facts to be true and read in a plaintiff's
favor.” Sepúlveda-Villarini v. Dep't of
Educ. of P.R., 628 F.3d 25, 30 (1st Cir. 2010).
considering a motion to dismiss a prisoner's claim that
his constitutional rights have been violated, the court must
be guided by the principle that, while “prison
officials are to be accorded substantial deference in the way
they run their prisons, this does not mean that we will
rubber stamp or mechanically accept the judgments of prison
administrators.” Spratt v. R.I. Dep't of
Corr., 482 F.3d 33, 40 (1st Cir. 2007) (citation and
internal quotation marks omitted). In addition, this Court
has liberally reviewed Plaintiff's allegations and legal
claims since they have been put forth by a pro se litigant.
See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e, provides that “[n]o 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). “Section
1997e requires an inmate to exhaust all available
administrative processes before filing a federal lawsuit
relating to the conditions of his or her confinement, even if
some or all of the relief the inmate seeks is not available
through the administrative process.” Young v.
Wall, No. Civ.A. 03-220S, 2006 WL 858085, at *2 (D.R.I.
Feb. 27, 2006)(citing Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S.
731, 734 (2001)). The “PLRA's exhaustion
requirement applies to all inmate suits about prison life,
whether they involve general circumstances or particular
episodes, and whether they allege excessive force or some
other wrong.” Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516,
532 (2002). In Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81 (2006),
the Supreme Court held that “to properly exhaust
administrative remedies prisoners must ‘complete the
administrative review process in accordance with the
applicable procedural rules'-rules that are defined not
by the PLRA, but by the prison grievance process
itself.” Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 218
(2007)(quoting Ngo, 548 U.S. at 88) (internal
citation omitted); see also Id. (“[I]t is the
prison's requirements, and not the PLRA, that define the
boundaries of proper exhaustion.”).
“Non-exhaustion of administrative remedies is an
affirmative defense, and the defendants bear the ultimate
burden of pleading and proving non-exhaustion.”
Maraglia v. Maloney, Civil Action No.
2001-12144-RBC, 2006 WL 3741927, at *1 (D. Mass. Dec. 18,
2006)(citing Casanova v. Dubois, 304 F.3d 75, 77 n.3
(1st Cir. 2002)); see also Jones, 549 U.S. at 216
(concluding that failure to exhaust is an affirmative defense
under the PLRA).
assert that “there are no genuine issues of material
fact and that the Complaint in this civil action filed by the
Plaintiff, Andrew Brian Clay . . ., should be dismissed as a
matter of law for his failure to exhaust his administrative
remedies under the RIDOC Grievance Procedure.”
(Defendants' Mem. 1, ECF No. 7.) Clay concedes that he
did not exhaust his administrative remedies pursuant to the