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White v. Mtc

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

February 5, 2015

WILLIAM WHITE, Plaintiff,
v.
MTC, ET AL., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

F. KEITH BALL, Magistrate Judge.

This cause is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. [21]. Having considered the entire record in this matter, the Court concludes that the motion is well-taken and is hereby granted.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed this lawsuit pro se and pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the conditions of his confinement at East Mississippi Correctional Facility ("EMCF"). [1]. Defendants Management & Training Corporation ("MTC"), [1] Warden Jerry Buscher, Ray Rice, Wendell Banks, Derrell Grady, Quincy Dukes and Henry Johnson were assigned to work at EMCF. The Court held an omnibus or Spears hearing in this matter on July 16, 2014, during which Plaintiff was afforded the opportunity to fully explain his claims.[2] At the hearing, all parties consented to the undersigned deciding this case in its entirety. [17].

Plaintiff alleges that while he was incarcerated at EMCF, he was subjected to deplorable living conditions in violation of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff alleges that there were lock downs for extended periods and there were constant problems with heating and cooling in the facility, as well as problems with plumbing, broken lights, excessive noise, and exposure to smoke from fires set by inmates. Plaintiff claims that clean laundry was infrequently provided and the facility was generally unclean. Plaintiff alleges the food was served cold. Plaintiff asserts that inmates received inadequate exercise, had insufficient access to the law library, and suffered delays in receipt of medical care.

Plaintiff also claims that although he was stabbed by another inmate while defending himself, he received two rule violations reports ("RVRs") regarding the incident and received no medical treatment for his stab wound. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants later retaliated against him for reporting the stabbing incident by planting a cell phone in his cell, resulting in another RVR.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

"Summary judgment is appropriate if the moving party can show that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'" United States v. Renda Marine, Inc., 667 F.3d 651, 655 (5th Cir. 2012) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)). "A factual dispute is genuine' where a reasonable party would return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Chiu v. Plano Indep. Sch. Dist., 339 F.3d 273, 282 (5th Cir. 2003) (quoting Lukan v. North Forest Indep. Sch. Dist., 183 F.3d 342, 345 (5th Cir. 1999)). When considering a summary judgment motion, a court "must review all facts and evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party." Juino v. Livingston Parish Fire Dist. No. 5, 717 F.3d 431, 433 (5th Cir. 2013). However, "[u]nsubstantiated assertions, improbable inferences, and unsupported speculation are not sufficient to defeat a motion for summary judgment." Brown v. City of Houston, 337 F.3d 539, 541 (5th Cir. 2003) (citing Bridgmon v. Array Sys. Corp., 325 F.3d 572, 577 (5th Cir. 2003); Hugh Symons Group, plc v. Motorola, Inc., 292 F.3d 466, 468 (5th Cir. 2002)).

EXHAUSTION

Defendants contend that Plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies with respect to his claims in this lawsuit, except with respect to his claims concerning the two RVRs resulting from the stabbing incident and the RVR concerning the cell phone.[3] Plaintiff did not respond to the motion for summary judgment, but in his complaint he indicated that he had exhausted administrative remedies. The complaint states: "The procedure does not answer the steps so it is impossible to complete the process." [1] at 3. Plaintiff has not, however, provided copies of any allegedly unanswered grievances.

The Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997(e), 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." This statute clearly requires an inmate bringing a civil rights action in this Court to first exhaust his available administrative remedies. Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 739 (2001). Exhaustion is no longer left to the discretion of the district court, but is mandatory. Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 524 (2002). Exhaustion will not be excused when an inmate fails to timely exhaust his administrative remedies; the exhaustion requirement also means "proper exhaustion." Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 83-84 (2006). It is not enough to merely initiate the grievance process or to put prison officials on notice of a complaint; the grievance process must be carried through to its conclusion. Wright v. Hollingsworth, 260 F.3d 357, 358 (5th Cir. 2001). This is so regardless of whether the inmate's ultimate goal is a remedy not offered by the administrative process, such as money damages. Id.

Plaintiff admits that he was aware of the grievance process. He successfully completed it with respect to some of his claims. However, as noted supra, he has not responded to Defendants' assertion that he did not complete the process with respect to all claims brought in this lawsuit. In support of their motion, Defendants submitted Plaintiff's grievance file. [21-3]. In addition to the grievances concerning the RVRs and his time in Unit 6, Plaintiff submitted a grievance regarding his requested transfer out of Unit 5B, the unit at issue in this lawsuit. In that grievance, Plaintiff did reference the living conditions of Unit 5B. However, that grievance was submitted on May 26, 2014, well after this lawsuit was filed. [1]. Exhaustion after filing suit is insufficient. Gonzalez v. Seal, 702 F.3d 785, 788 (5th Cir. 2012). Accordingly, the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust administrative remedies, except with respect to his due process claims arising from the three RVRs.[4]

UNIT 6

Alternatively and if Plaintiff is asserting claims in this lawsuit concerning his time in Unit 6 after the altercation, as he alleged during the omnibus hearing, he has failed to state a claim. [21-2] at 25. The Fifth Circuit has described the Eighth ...


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