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Simpson v. Sims

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

May 26, 2015

BRENDA SIMS, ET AL., Defendants.


MICHAEL T. PARKER, Magistrate Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment [54] filed by Defendants Brenda Sims, Hubert Davis, Ronald King, and Joy Ross; and the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [56] filed by Plaintiff Patrick Simpson. After careful consideration of the motions, the entire record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that Defendants' Motion [54] should be GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART, and that Plaintiff's Motion [56] should be DENIED.


Plaintiff Patrick Simpson, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 on or about September 19, 2013.[1] Simpson is a post-conviction inmate currently incarcerated at Wilkinson County Correctional Facility. However, the alleged events giving rise to this lawsuit occurred while Simpson was housed at South Mississippi Correctional Institution ("SMCI"), a state prison that is operated by the Mississippi Department of Corrections ("MDOC").

Simpson's claims and requested relief were clarified and amended through his sworn testimony at a Spears [2] hearing held on July 2, 2014.[3] Simpson alleges acts of deliberate indifference to his medical needs, lack of due process in a disciplinary hearing, and the failure to protect him from harm. The undersigned will discuss each claim more fully below.

First, Simpson alleges that on May 15, 2013, he was attacked by fellow SMCI inmate Wayne Sanders. According to Simpson, Sanders later informed him that Defendant Brenda Sims, who is a correctional officer at SMCI, specifically ordered the attack. Simpson alleges that Defendant Sims was deliberately indifferent to his injuries, including a laceration on his right eye and a fractured nose, that he suffered as a result of the attack. Although the injuries later healed, Simpson alleges that Sims initially refused to send him to the medical unit. Simpson was taken to the medical unit the next morning.[4]

Next, Simpson alleges that he received a Rule Violation Report ("RVR") relating to the May 15 incident, despite the fact that he did not instigate the attack. He alleges that Sanders did not receive an RVR. Simpson alleges that the disciplinary hearing later held before hearing officer Joy Ross violated his due process rights. He alleges that he was not allowed to call witnesses, and that Ross wrongfully found him guilty by relying solely on the incident staff report. As a result of the ruling, Simpson lost telephone and prison canteen[5] privileges for sixty (60) days.[6]

Simpson also asserts that Defendant Hubert Davis, the Warden of SMCI Area I, "signed off" on the guilty ruling despite the alleged deficiencies of the disciplinary hearing. Simpson appealed the guilty ruling, and claims that Defendant Davis wrongfully denied his appeal.[7]

Finally, Simpson claims that SMCI Superintendent Ron King failed to properly supervise his subordinates. Specifically, Simpson alleges that King should have intervened to prevent Defendant Sims from ordering another inmate to assault him, and should have corrected the due process failures of Defendants Ross and Davis.[8]

Simpson seeks monetary damages for these alleged constitutional violations.[9]


A motion for summary judgment will be granted only when "the record indicates that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'" Causey v. Sewell Cadillac-Chevrolet, Inc., 394 F.3d 285, 288 (5th Cir. 2004) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)). The moving party for summary judgment has the burden of proving the lack of a genuine issue as to all the material facts. Id. at 323. The nonmovant is not required to respond to the motion until the movant properly supports its motion with competent evidence. Russ v. Int'l Paper Co., 943 F.2d 589, 591 (5th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 503 U.S. 987 (1992).

In the event the moving party has made an affirmative showing that it is entitled to summary judgment, the burden shifts to the non-moving party to come forward with evidence that creates a genuine issue for trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 330. In deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view "the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party." Id. However, the nonmoving party "cannot defeat summary judgment with conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated assertions, or only a scintilla of evidence.'" Turner v. Baylor Richardson Medical Center, 476 F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007) (quoting Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994)). 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). The nonmovant cannot survive a proper motion for summary judgment by resting on the allegations in his pleadings. Isquith v. Middle South Utilities, Inc., 847 F.2d 186, 199 (5th Cir. 1988); see also Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325-26. Instead, the nonmovant must present evidence sufficient to support a resolution of the factual issues in his favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986).


Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment

Defendants claim they are entitled to sovereign and qualified ...

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