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Walker v. Walker

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

July 16, 2014

TYRONE J. WALKER, Plaintiff,
v.
DENNIS WALKER, ET AL., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GLEN H. DAVIDSON, Senior District Judge.

This matter comes before the court on the pro se prisoner complaint of Tyrone 1. Walker, who challenges the conditions of his confinement under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. For the purposes of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the court notes that the plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed this suit. Walker alleges that while he was confined in the Leflore County Jail, officers shot at him with a pellet gun, confined him in Administrative Segregation without a mattress, blanket, or hygiene products, and that he was strip-searched every other day. Walker also alleges that the defendants denied him visitation, phone privileges, access to medical care, and recreation. Finally, Walker complains that the defendants forced him to take his prescribed medication and denied him adequate medical treatment. The defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment, and Walker has responded. Walker has conceded that the facts as set forth in the defendants' motion for summary judgment are accurates. The matter is ripe for resolution. For the reasons set forth below, the instant case will be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and on the merits.

Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. ClV. P.56(c). "The moving party must show that if the evidentiary material of record were reduced to admissible evidence in court, it would be insufficient to permit the nonmoving party to carry its burden." Beck v. Texas State Bd. of Dental Examiners, 204 F.3d 629, 633 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1066 (1988)). After a proper motion for summary judgment is made, the burden shifts to the non-movant to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2511, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Beck, 204 F.3d at 633; Allen v. Rapides Parish School Bd., 204 F.3d 619, 621 (5th Cir. 2000); Ragas v. Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company, 136 F.3d 455, 458 (5th Cir. 1998). Substantive law determines what is material. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted." Id, at 248. If the non-movant sets forth specific facts in support of allegations essential to his claim, a genuine issue is presented. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 327. "Where the record, taken as a whole, could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); Federal Savings and Loan, Inc. v. Krajl, 968 F.2d 500, 503 (5th Cir. 1992). The facts are reviewed drawing all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Alien, 204 F.3d at 621; PYCA Industries, Inc. v. Harrison County Waste Water Management Dist., 177 F.3d 351, 161 (5th Cir. 1999); Bane One Capital Partners Corp. v. Kneipper, 67 F.3d 1187, 1198 (5th Cir. 1995). However, this is so only when there is "an actual controversy, that is, when both parties have submitted evidence of contradictory facts." Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994); see Edwards v. Your Credit, Inc., 148 F.3d 427, 432 (5th Cir. 1998). In the absence of proof, the court does not "assume that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary facts." Little, 37 F.3d at 1075 (emphasis omitted).

Undisputed Material Facts[1]

On March 22, 2011, Tyrone Walker arrived at Leflore County Jail. In the attachment to his Complaint, he states that "Captain Ward" shot him with a pellet gun numerous times and then took him to a cell with no mattress, blanket, property, or hygiene. Walker did not, however, recount the events in their entirety in his complaint or during his testimony at the Spears hearing. In their motion for summary judgment, the defendants have painted a more complete picture of the events as they unfolded. During initial intake, Walker became "loud and boisterous" and attempted to destroy state property. See March 22, 2011, Incident Reports, Exhibit A.[2] The defendants ordered Walker to comply with intake procedures, and he responded by assaulting one of the intake officers. Id. In an effort to quell the assault, Officer Harry Bradfield administered one two-second burst of pepper spray and escorted Walker to the shower for decontamination. Id. Shortly thereafter, Walker threatened to harm himself by tying a towel around his neck. Id. Shift supervisor Reggie Ward directed Walker several times to remove the towel but he refused to comply and threatened to kill himself and anyone who entered the shower area. Id. In response, supervisor Ward fired seven pepper ball rounds at Walker in an effort to gain his compliance. Id. Walker eventually complied, was handcuffed, and then escorted to medical for decontamination. Id. Medical records show that Walker did not suffer any injuries. See March 22, 2011, Medical Records, Exhibit B. The facility physician placed Walker on constant observation because he threatened suicide. Id. After Walker's medical evaluation, an officer escorted him to a segregation cell, and Walker was given a suicide smock and blanket. Id. Walker later received a disciplinary report for assault on a staff member.

Walker also claims that in the first three months of his incarceration at the Leflore County Jail he was kept in lockdown with nothing in his cell and forced to strip naked for a shake down every other day. He alleges that he was denied recreation, phone privileges, and visits. He also claims officers sprayed him on several occasions when he refused to go to medical and forced him to take medication prescribed to him by mental health personnel. Walker remained in lockdown at various points during his incarceration at the Leflore County Jail because he repeatedly threatened and assaulted staff, set fire to blankets in his cell, destroyed property, attempted to escape custody, and displayed suicidal tendencies. As a result of these incidents - for Walker's safety and that of other inmates and jail staff - Walker's privileges were restricted or limited. The following is a summary of incidents involving Walker during his ten-month incarceration at LCJ.

4/29/11 Officers direct Plaintiff to stop popping cell door. He responded by threatening bodily harm to staff with broom handle. Plaintiff escorted to segregation by Tyrone Banks. Plaintiff snatched handcuff and keys from Unit Manager Banks. Once in cell, Plaintiff began kicking door resulting in property damage. Banks directed Plaintiff to stop twice and then administered one two-second burse of pepper spray when Plaintiff did not comply. Plaintiff later reported that he had swallowed keys. See 4/29/11 Incident Reports and Medical Records, collectively Exhibit C.
4/30/11 Plaintiff set fire to a blanket in his cell. Unit Manager Tyrone Banks directed Plaintiff twice to exit cell and get on his knees due to smoke. When Plaintiff refused to comply, Banks administered one burst of pepper spray. Plaintiff later transferred to Greenwood Leflore Hospital for smoke inhalation. See 4/30/11 Incident Reports and Medical Records, collectively Exhibit D.
5/1/11 Plaintiff admitted to Greenwood Leflore Hospital for stomach pain. X-ray reveals metallic foreign bodies in abdomen. See 5/1/11 Medical Records, Exhibit E 6/13/11 Plaintiff assaulted Unit Manager Tyrone Banks. During the assault, Banks administered a one two-second burst of pepper spray. See 6/13/11 Incident Reports and Medical Records, collectively Exhibit F.
7/20/11 Plaintiff kicked door off cell. See 7/20/11 Medical Record, Exhibit G.
11/30/11 Plaintiff broke tray flap to his assigned cell. During his escort to another cell, Plaintiff became hostile and made threatening advances towards officer. Officer administered one burst of pepper spray to gain compliance. See 11/30/11 Incident Reports and Medical Records, collectively Exhibit H.
12/28/11 Plaintiff snatched handcuffs and keys from Unit Manager Tyrone Banks. Banks issued several directives for Plaintiff to return the handcuffs and keys. When Plaintiff did not comply, Banks administered one burst of pepper spray. Plaintiff was later transferred to Greenwood Leflore Hospital after reporting that "he might have swallowed some keys." See 12/28/11 Incident Reports and Medical Records, collectively Exhibit 1.
12/29/11 Reports of Plaintiff beating on door with a brown tray and flooding his cell See 12/29/11 ...

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