United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
E. Conrad, Senior United States District Judge.
Sanchez, Jr., a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed this
civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, complaining
that he has been held in solitary confinement for weeks and
has been denied access to a prison program. Upon review of
the record, the court concludes that the action must be
summarily dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative
alleges that after he received a non-violent institutional
disciplinary charge, he was placed in solitary confinement on
June 3, 2019, and officials have refused to allow him to
participate in the "Step Down Program." Compl. 2,
ECF No. 1. He contends that these alleged violations
constitute "discrimination against [his] race."
Id. In his § 1983 complaint, executed on July
3, 2019, Sanchez names as the defendants: "ICA Agency
[and] Wallens Ridge State Prison." Id. at 1. As
relief, he seeks compensatory damages at the rate of $100 per
day that he has been, or remains, in solitary confinement.
Prison Litigation Reform Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a),
mandates that a prisoner cannot bring a civil action
concerning prison conditions until he has first exhausted
available administrative remedies at the prison. See Ross
v. Blake. 136 S.Ct. 1850, 1856 (2016). To comply with
§ 1997e(a), an inmate must follow each step of the
established grievance procedure that the facility provides to
prisoners and meet all its deadlines before filing his §
1983 action. See Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 90-94
(2006). Regardless of whether or not the particular form of
relief the inmate desires is available under the
administrative procedure, he must, nevertheless, exhaust
properly all available remedies under that procedure before
bringing a civil action in this court. Porter v.
Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524 (2002). "A court may sua
sponte dismiss a complaint when the alleged facts in
the complaint, taken as true, prove that the inmate failed to
exhaust his administrative remedies." Custis v.
Davis, 851 F.3d 358, 361 (4th Cir. 2017).
§ 1983 complaint form that Sanchez used to file this
case includes this question: "Have you filed any
grievances regarding the facts of your complaint?"
Compl. 1, ECF No. 1. In response, Sanchez checked
"No." Id. He states, "Time spent in
solitary confinement can[not] be resolved by grievance."
Id. In a later submission, he states, "If I put
in an Informal Complaint about the 58 days [I have spent in
solitary] the prison cannot compensate for the 58 days
through the Informal Complaint. If I file a Grievance it will
be the same result. And if I file an Appeal in regards to my
Grievance, it will be the same result. Therefore, I have
automatic merit to file a 1983." Add. Evid. 1, ECF No.
believes that if administrative remedies cannot procure him
the relief he seeks through this lawsuit, he need not exhaust
those remedies. He is mistaken. The exhaustion requirement
under 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) is "mandatory."
Ross. 136 S.Ct. at 1856. The inmate must utilize
every level of the available administrative remedies
procedure before filing his lawsuit, whether or not that
procedure provides for the form of relief he seeks in that
lawsuit. Porter, 534 U.S.at 524. In enacting the
exhaustion requirement, "Congress afforded corrections
officials time and opportunity to address complaints
internally before allowing the initiation of a federal
case" about them. Id. Sanchez's failure to
exhaust has deprived Wallens Ridge officials of that
opportunity to solve his problem without a federal lawsuit.
court finds it clear from the face of Sanchez's
submissions that he did not satisfy the exhaustion
requirement under § 1997e(a) before filing this case.
For that reason, the court will dismiss the case without
prejudice. Such a dismissal leaves Sanchez free to refile his
claim after he has exhausted available administrative
remedies as required by law. An appropriate order will issue
Clerk is directed to send copies of this memorandum opinion
and accompanying order to the plaintiff.
 The court also finds that
Sanchez's complaint fails to state any actionable §
1983 claim against the defendants he has named. Section 1983
permits an aggrieved party to file a civil action against a
person for actions taken under color of state law
that violated his constitutional rights. See Cooper v.
Sheehan. 735 F.3d 153, 158 (4th Cir. 2013). Neither of
the defendants Sanchez has identified qualifies as a
person subject to being sued under § 1983.
Thus, if Sanchez decides to refile his claim, he must name a
person or persons as defendant(s) and state facts about what
each of them has done to violate his constitutional rights.
SeeAshcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662, 676