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Carr v. Gaston

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

February 9, 2015

MAURICE WILLIAMS CARR, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
MILTON GASTON, Sheriff; PERCY MILES, Major; MARY L PIPPINS, Warden; CHIEF WILLIAM CLAY; LT. DARREN ADDISON, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DEBRA M. BROWN, District Judge.

Maurice Williams Carr, Sr., proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants subjected him to conditions of confinement constituting cruel and unusual punishment. Defendants have moved for summary judgment. Doc. #35. Having reviewed the submissions and arguments of the parties, as well as the applicable law, the Court finds that Defendants' motion should be granted.

I

Background and Procedural History

On July 30, 2013, Carr was admitted to the Washington County Regional Correctional Facility ("WCRCF") as a pretrial detainee. On or about February 26, 2014, Carr filed suit against Sheriff Milton Gaston, Major Percy Miles, and Warden Brian K. Payne (hereinafter "Defendants"), claiming that they violated his Eighth Amendment rights by denying him adequate clothing and hygienic materials while he was housed at WCRCF.[1] Defendants have moved for summary judgment, arguing that Carr has failed to state a constitutional claim, and that he failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies prior to filing this action. Despite being provided an opportunity to do so, Carr has not responded to Defendants' motion.

II

Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is proper only when the pleadings and evidence, viewed in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party, illustrate that no genuine issue of material fact exists and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), (c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). A fact is deemed "material" if "its resolution in favor of one party might affect the outcome of the lawsuit under governing law." Sossamon v. Lone Star State of Texas, 560 F.3d 316, 326 (5th Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). Once the motion is properly supported with competent evidence, the nonmovant must show that summary judgment is inappropriate. Morris v. Covan World Wide Moving, Inc., 144 F.3d 377, 380 (5th Cir. 1998); see also Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. The nonmovant cannot rely upon "conclusory allegations, speculation, and unsubstantiated assertions" to satisfy his burden, but rather, must set forth specific facts showing the existence of a genuine issue as to every essential element of his claim. Ramsey v. Henderson, 286 F.3d 264, 269 (5th Cir. 2002) (citation omitted); Morris, 144 F.3d at 380.

Because Carr is proceeding pro se, his pleadings are construed liberally. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).

III

Discussion

A. Conditions of Confinement

Carr claims that, upon his arrival at WCRCF in July 2013, he had to wait several days to obtain a mat, toothpaste, towels, and clothes. Carr alleged at the time of his Spears hearing that he had not been provided toilet paper for two weeks prior to the hearing, although he admitted that, through rationing, he had not yet exhausted his supply of toilet paper. He also complained that WCRCF refused to provide inmates with deodorant. Defendants maintain that Carr's allegations fail to state a constitutional claim under § 1983, as he has not demonstrated a sufficiently serious deprivation of a minimum of life's necessities, and he has not alleged that Defendants acted with the requisite deliberate indifference to Carr's health and/or safety.

The prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment "imposes minimum requirements on prison officials in the treatment received by and facilities available to prisoners." Woods v. Edwards, 51 F.3d 577, 581 (5th Cir. 1995). Jails must provide inmates with "humane conditions of confinement, " which include adequate clothing and "basic elements of hygiene." Palmer v. Johnson, 193 F.3d 346, 351-52 (5th Cir. 1999). To demonstrate a constitutional violation due to the conditions of confinement, a prisoner must show (1) the alleged deprivation was "objectively, sufficiently serious, " such as would "result in the denial of the minimal civilized measure of life's necessities, " and that (2) ...


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