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Quick v. Hodge

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

January 31, 2017

ROSSTON NICHOLAS QUICK, PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF ALEX HODGE, MAJOR ROBERT LITTLE, CAPTAIN DAVID HARE, SERGEANT JACKIE HAYES, OFFICER EASTON, OFFICER MAZINGO, OFFICER LYNCH, OFFICER INGRAM, MANAGER CROSBY, OFFICER JAMES, NURSE CAROL, and SERGEANT HOWARD DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF PARTIAL DISMISSAL

          KEITH STARRETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court sua sponte. Pro se Plaintiff Rosston Nicholas Quick is incarcerated with the Mississippi Department of Corrections, and he challenges his prior conditions of confinement at the Jones County Adult Detention Center. The Court has considered and liberally construed the pleadings. As set forth below, Defendants Captain David Hare and Case Manager Crosby are dismissed, as are all claims except for the Eighth Amendment claim for denial of orthopedic shoes.

         BACKGROUND

         Quick filed this action on October 11, 2016. He claims he was a pretrial detainee at the Jones County Adult Detention Center from January 14, 2016 to August 8. During this time, he complains that there were no sprinklers or fire extinguishers, the officers served food without gloves and dipped tobacco, and his personal property went missing.

         First, Quick challenges the lack of sprinklers and fire extinguishers at the facility. He states that he has an injured hip, which causes difficulty walking. Because he has difficulty walking, he claims he could have been injured had there been a fire while he was at the jail. This allegedly caused him “stress” and “fear.” (Pl.'s 1st Resp. at 2); (Compl. at 6). He contends that he brought this to the attention of Defendants Major Robert Little, Captain David Hare, Sergeant Jackie Hayes, Officers Easton, Mazingo, Lynch, Ingram, and James, Case Manager Crosby, Nurse Carol, and Sergeant Howard.

         Next, Quick accuses Mazingo of serving food on “uncovered trays. . . . He refused to wear gloves . . . and, at time[s], carried a ‘spit cup' in one hand where he would spit the saliva and tobacco from his snuff, ” and get “spit on some trays.” (Pl.'s 1st Resp. at 2); (Am. Compl. at 3-4).

         As for the missing personal property, it allegedly included orthopedic shoes, a religious medal, clothes, toiletries, and Quick's wallet and its contents. He contends that these were taken from him on arrival, by booking officers, and placed in the property room. The booking officers allegedly told him he could not keep his orthopedic shoes. Quick maintains that he “pleaded several time's [sic] a week with” Ingram, James, Lynch, Howard, Hayes, Mazingo, Easton, Little, and Nurse Carol, “to return the orthopedic shoes because of the danger of falling, the severe dif[f]iculty of motion and the extreme pain while trying to walk. Each refused.” (Pl.'s 2d Resp. at 1); (Pl.'s 1st Resp. at 3). Then, on August 8, 2016, Quick was finally transferred from the Jones County to the Marion County Jail and was informed that his property was gone. He alleges that he complained to all Defendants other than Sheriff Alex Hodge about the missing items, but “they refused to acknowledge the theft.” Id. at 1. Quick does not accuse anyone in particular of stealing the property. Eventually Quick was taken to an orthopedist and was prescribed another pair of orthopedic shoes.

         Quick files this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the above Defendants. All are sued in their official as well as individual capacities. Sheriff Hodge is sued both “for his supervisory role and obvious constitutional failings.” Id. at 4. Quick claims cruel and unusual treatment and a deprivation of property. He requests damages and injunctive relief.

         In his Amended Complaint [16], Quick seeks to consolidate this action with his later filed cases: Quick v. Hodge, 2:16cv167-KS-MTP (“Hodge II”); Quick v. Hodge, 2:16cv177-KS-MTP (“Hodge III”); and Quick v. Hodge, 2:16cv178-KS-MTP (“Hodge IV”). That request is denied. The Amended Complaint also adds new claims for an alleged denial of surgery and a wheelchair. Since the motion to consolidate is denied, the Court will consider the surgery and wheelchair claims in Hodge II. Likewise, any additional claims brought in the Amended Complaint and the first Response [17] that are duplicative of those originally brought in the later filed lawsuits will not be considered in the instant litigation.[1]

         DISCUSSION

         The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, applies to prisoners proceeding in forma pauperis in this Court. The statute provides in part, “the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that . . . the action . . . (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The statute “accords judges not only the authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992). “[I]n an action proceeding under [28 U.S.C. § 1915, a federal court] may consider, sua sponte, affirmative defenses that are apparent from the record even where they have not been addressed or raised.” Ali v. Higgs, 892 F.2d 438, 440 (5th Cir. 1990). “Significantly, the court is authorized to test the proceeding for frivolousness or maliciousness even before service of process or before the filing of the answer.” Id. The Court has permitted Quick to proceed in forma pauperis in this action. His Complaint is subject to sua sponte dismissal under § 1915.

         Quick sues all Defendants under § 1983, claiming a deprivation of property and cruel and unusual punishment for lack of fire safety, unsanitary food trays, and denial of orthopedic shoes.

         Fire Safety

         The first Eighth Amendment claim that Quick brings is his complaint that the jail was not equipped with sprinklers and fire extinguishers. He posits that, because of his disability, he might not have escaped in case of a fire. This allegedly caused him to stress and fear for his safety. He brings this claim against all Defendants, and he seeks compensatory, nominal, and punitive damages and an ...


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