United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT BASED ON SOVEREIGN AND QUALIFIED
C. GARGIULO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
CAUSE is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment
Based on Sovereign and Qualified Immunity, filed by
Defendants Marshall Turner, Brenda Sims, and Denise Brewer.
(ECF No. 24). Plaintiff Marcus Flowers has filed a Response
(ECF No. 28), and Defendants have not filed a Reply. Having
considered the written submissions of the parties, as well as
Plaintiff's sworn testimony at the omnibus hearing
conducted on April 15, 2016, the Court concludes that
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment should be
granted. The claims against Defendants in their official
capacities are barred by sovereign immunity. Defendants in
their individual capacities are entitled to qualified
immunity. Further, Plaintiff cannot recover for mental or
emotional injury while in custody because he has not shown a
March 5, 2015, Plaintiff, a postconviction inmate,
commenced this action pro se and in forma
pauperis against numerous Defendants, challenging the
conditions of his confinement at the South Mississippi
Correctional Institution (SMCI) in Leakesville, Mississippi.
Jurisdiction is based upon 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants
are Warden Marshall Turner, former Deputy Warden Brenda Sims,
and Correctional Officer Denise Brewer.
claims that his due process rights were violated when he was
issued a false rule violation report (RVR) on September 6,
2014, by Officer Brewer at the direction of Deputy Warden
Sims. The charge was possession of major contraband, a
cellphone. (ECF No. 24-1, at 2). Plaintiff maintains that
this RVR was issued in retaliation by Deputy Warden Sims
because a previous RVR involving the same incident was
dismissed because it was not delivered to Plaintiff within
twenty-four hours. Plaintiff was found guilty of the second
RVR and punished with a 60-day loss of prison privileges.
Id. Plaintiff appealed the RVR, and the decision was
affirmed by Warden Turner. (ECF No. 1, at 6).
alleges that his due process rights were also violated when
he received a another false RVR on September 25, 2015, for
assaulting another prisoner. (ECF No. 24-1, at 3). Plaintiff
was found guilty of the RVR and punished with a loss of
prison privileges for two months. Id.
Rules of Civil Procedure 56 provides, in relevant part, that
summary judgment “shall be rendered forthwith if the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). This language
“mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate
time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails
to make a sufficient showing to establish the existence of an
element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
party moving for summary judgment bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
for its motion, and identifying those portions of the record
that it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue
of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. The
movant need not, however, support the motion with materials
to negate the opponent's claim. Id. As to issues
on which the non-moving party has the burden of proof at
trial, the moving party need only point to portions of the
record that demonstrate an absence of evidence to support the
non-moving partys' claim. Id. at 323-24. The
non-moving party must then go beyond the pleadings and
designate “specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.” Id. at 324.
judgment can be granted only if the record demonstrates that
no genuine issue of material fact exists. It is improper for
the court to “resolve factual disputes by weighing the
conflicting evidence, . . . since it is the province of the
jury to assess the probative value of the evidence.”
Kennett-Murray Corp. v. Bone, 622 F.2d 887, 892 (5th
Cir. 1980). Summary judgment is also improper if the court
merely believes it unlikely that the non-moving party will
prevail at trial. Nat. Scrren Serv. Corp. v. Poster
Exch., Inc., 305 F.2d 647, 651 (5th Cir. 1962).
The Prisoner Litigation Reform Act
Plaintiff is a prisoner pursuing a civil action seeking
redress from government employees, the Prison Litigation
Reform Act (PLRA), Pub. L. No. 104-134, 110 Stat. 1321, H.R.
3019 (codified as amended in scattered ...