Frank Dippolito appeals pro se from the District Court's order awarding summary judgment in this
Dippolito initiated this action in 2013 against the United States, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), the American Correctional Association (ACA), and 32 individual Defendants—mostly officials from FCI Fort Dix—alleging that various conditions there constituted cruel and unusual punishment, and that Defendants retaliated against him for grieving these conditions. Dippolito also asserted claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) and the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
In late 2015, the District Court, acting pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), dismissed Dippolito's Eighth Amendment claims with respect to 21 individual Defendants—concluding that they lacked sufficient personal involvement—but permitted him to proceed against 10 other defendants. The Court also dismissed Dippolito's FTCA and RICO claims, and dismissed all but two of his retaliation claims as time-barred.
A year later, the District Court awarded Defendants summary judgment on the remaining Eighth Amendment and retaliation claims—the Eighth Amendment claims because Dippolito failed to exhaust administrative remedies, and the retaliation claims because he failed to establish that the claimed adverse action was causally related to his filing of grievances. This timely appeal ensued.
We have jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. On appeal, Dippolito challenges both orders of the District Court—orders over which we exercise plenary review.
First, we agree with the Appellees that Dippolito failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies for all of his Eighth Amendment claims. The Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) requires that a prisoner exhaust available administrative remedies before filing suit. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). BOP regulations establish a four-stage process,
Appellees argued below, in both their motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment, that Dippolito failed to fully exhaust his administrative remedies for any of his Eighth Amendment claims because he never reached the final appeal stage.
We also agree with the District Court that all but two of Dippolito's retaliation claims are time-barred. In New Jersey, the statute of limitations for a
In March 2011, Bullock denied Dippolito's bottom-bunk request, and Dippolito claimed that he did so in retaliation for Dippolito's filing various grievances. Bullock, on the other hand, claimed that he denied Dippolito's request under a prison policy prohibiting bottom bunks for inmates who had been found responsible for any rules violation within the year preceding the request. In December 2010, Bullock had issued Dippolito a misconduct citation for being present in an unauthorized area, and Dippolito was later found responsible for this violation. The District Court ultimately concluded that Dippolito "cannot show that there was a causal link between his grievances" and the bottom-bunk denial because "Fort Dix had a policy that limited bottom bunks to inmates with demonstrated medical needs and inmates who had not received an incident report less than one year prior to requesting a bottom-bunk pass."
We agree. Because Dippolito has failed to show that Bullock issued the December 2010 citation—which was supported by ample evidence—for a reason "[un]related to legitimate penological interests," the District Court properly awarded summary judgment on this claim.
Finally, Dippolito has waived any challenge to the District Court's resolution of his mail-interference claim by failing to meaningfully address this claim on appeal, or identify any error committed by the District Court.
Accordingly, we will affirm the judgment of the District Court.