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Holloway v. Alcorn County

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

June 17, 2015

JASON HOLLOWAY, Plaintiff,
v.
ALCORN COUNTY, ET AL., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

NEAL B. BIGGERS, Senior District Judge.

This matter comes before the court on the pro se prisoner complaint of Jason Holloway, 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. The defendants have moved [87] under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c) for judgment on the pleadings, arguing, among other things, that judgment should be entered for the defendants because Holloway had not exhausted administrative remedies prior to filing the instant suit. Holloway has responded to the motion; the defendants have replied, and Holloway has filed a surrebuttal brief. The matter is ripe for resolution. For the reasons set forth below, the defendants' motion [87] for judgment on the pleadings (construed as a motion for summary judgment) will be granted, and the case will be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

Construing the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings as a Motion for Summary Judgment

As both parties have presented documents outside the pleadings, under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d), the court will construe the instant motion as one seeking summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Rule 12(d) states:

If, on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56. All parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent to the motion.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d). The sole issue the court will consider in the instant motion is whether the plaintiff exhausted his administrative remedies prior to filing the instant case.

Summary Judgment Standard

Summary judgment is appropriate if the "materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials" show that "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a) and (c)(1). "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. Allen, 204 F.3d at 621; PYCA Industries, Inc. v. Harrison County Waste Water Management Dist., 177 F.3d 351, 161 (5th Cir. 1999); Banc 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).

Allegations

Jason Holloway alleges that the defendants used excessive force against him, denied him adequate medical treatment, tampered with his mail, and denied him access to the courts. Alcorn County, Mississippi, Sheriff Charles Rinehart, Jail Administrator Pat Marlar, Lt. Steve Odle, Warden Doug Mullen, Sergeant Hudson, Officer Tate, and Nurse Lee Holder are the defendants remaining in this case.

After Holloway's arrest on February 15, 2012, he was taken to the Alcorn County Jail, where he was immediately escorted to segregation because he was under the influence of drugs. After the officers closed the door in segregation, he began cursing and kicking the door. In response, Sergeant Hudson opened the door, sprayed him in the face with mace, then shut the door. Holloway was able to wash his face and eyes, but the defendants did not allow him any fresh air.

Later on, Holloway and Sergeant Hudson had an argument; afterwards, Holloway was placed in segregation by Hudson and Officer Tate. Holloway began cursing at Sergeant Hudson from segregation, and Hudson opened the door, grabbed Holloway by the throat, and choked him. Tate saw the incident but did not intervene. Holloway was then stripped naked and did not receive his clothes back until later that night.

On another occasion, Holloway informed Administrator Marlar, Lt. Odle, and another officer, that Officer Tate was bringing contraband into the facility. After Holloway divulged this information, jail staff then accused him of lying and started harassing him. Holloway demanded to call his mother, and he was permitted to do so. During the call to his mother, Holloway threatened to harm himself if she did not get him out of jail. As a result, Marlar, Odle, and Tate placed Holloway in segregation and put him on suicide watch, where he continued to make suicidal statements. He was then stripped naked, handcuffed to the bed, and left alone until he calmed down.

Holloway has a history of asthma, seizures, and depression. He claims that Nurse Holder would not provide him his seizure medication and breathing treatments; instead she informed him that his family would have to pay for them. Holloway eventually received his medicine, but the charges were placed on his inmate account. Later, he refused the seizure mediation because he believed the dose was too high. On December 10, 2013, Nurse Holder examined Holloway and told ...


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