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Johnson v. Jackson

United States District Court, Fifth Circuit

August 30, 2013



LINDA R. ANDERSON, Magistrate Judge.

Defendant Christopher Epps, Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections, filed a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) and 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [45]. Marcus Jermaine Johnson [hereinafter "Plaintiff"] has not responded to the motion or otherwise objected to the relief requested. This motion is now before the Court.

I. Facts and Procedural History

Jurisdiction of this case is based upon 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff was incarcerated in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections ("MDOC") in the East Mississippi Correctional Facility ("EMCF") in Meridian, Mississippi, during the pertinent period.

Plaintiff contends that prison officials at EMCF used excessive force on him and retaliated against him after he complained. His claim against Defendant Epps is only that Epps responded to the grievance Plaintiff filed through the Administrative Remedy Program ("ARP") in an unsatisfactory manner. Plaintiff admitted at the omnibus hearing conducted by the Court that Commissioner Epps had no personal involvement in his complaints; Plaintiff was not pleased with the results of the ARP proceedings.

In the Complaint [1-10], paragraph 8, Plaintiff states as follows:

Defendant Christopher B. Epps after hearing of the complaint after it reached Parchman, MS, he should have made recommendations about (Defendant Sgt. Jackson) in this facility going by MDOC policy to reduce assaults that occur within this facility. Defendant Epps does not enforce the policy of MDOC and letting inmates rights be violated by employees of MDOC/EMCF/GEO. This violates Plaintiff's right to be free from harm, protection from discrimination, free from harassment while working under the 8th Amendment & 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

In his prayer for relief, Plaintiff requests that Epps "enforce the special training of the GEO Group Inc. so MDOC inmates [are] not around employees of unexperienced handling of mental[ly]-ill inmates." [1-12].

At the omnibus hearing, when asked to explain his claims against Epps, Plaintiff only stated that he was not pleased with Epps's handling of his ARP- but that Epps was not personally involved in his claims.

II. Standard of Review

In considering a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), the "court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true, viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.'" Martin K. Eby Constr. Co. v. Dallas Area Rapid Transit, 369 F.3d 464, 467 (5th Cir.2004) (quoting Jones v. Greninger, 188 F.3d 322, 324 (5th Cir.1999)). To overcome a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, Plaintiff must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Id. at 555 (citations and footnote omitted). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). It follows that "where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not show[n]'-that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Id. at 1950 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

III. Analysis

When questioned by the Court, Plaintiff replied that his only claim against Defendant Epps is that Epps's response to his grievance in the ARP proceedings was inadequate. But Plaintiff has no constitutional right to a grievance procedure, and he has no due process liberty interest right to have his grievance resolved to his satisfaction. See Geiger v. Jowers, 404 F.3d 371, 374-75 (5th Cir. 2005). Even if Epps failed to adequately investigate Plaintiff's grievance, this would still not give rise to a constitutional claim under Geiger. See also Dehghani v. Vogelgesang, 226 F.Appx. 404, 406 (5th Cir. 2007) (allegation that warden failed to adequately investigate a grievance did not amount to a constitutional violation).

"To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 28 (1988). Furthermore, there is no liability under section 1983 under a theory of ...

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