of Judgment: 03/11/2015
FROM WHICH APPEALED: LEAKE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. VERNON
R. COTTON TRIAL JUDGE.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: PAUL ROBINSON (PRO SE).
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: ANTHONY LOUIS SCHMIDT JR. OFFICE OF
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY: DARRELL CLAYTON BAUGHN.
Paul Robinson filed a pro se action in Leake County Circuit
Court, seeking review of two decisions rendered under the
Mississippi Department of Corrections' (MDOC)
Administrative Remedies Program (ARP). In his petition, he
alleged the MDOC improperly withdrew funds from his inmate
account, and he sought relief in the form of reimbursement,
legal fees, and punitive damages. However, Robinson filed his
complaint against Walnut Grove Correctional Facility (Walnut
Grove), not the MDOC, and he failed to serve process on
either Walnut Grove or the MDOC. The circuit court summarily
dismissed the claims, and Robinson filed this appeal. On June
17, 2016, this Court ordered that Walnut Grove be dismissed
as a party and that the MDOC be substituted in its place.
Finding the circuit court had jurisdiction and cause to
dismiss Robinson's claim sua sponte, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Robinson was convicted of murder in Bolivar County Circuit
Court in June 2003 and was sentenced to life in prison. After
serving time at the Greene County Correctional Facility,
Robinson was transferred to Walnut Grove. On April 11, 2013,
Robinson requested legal mail services in the amount of
$13.88. Since his inmate account balance was only $2.38 at
the time services were rendered, the funds for the services
were later withdrawn automatically from his account on May
21, 2013, when his balance was sufficient to cover the
overdue costs. This withdrawal of funds was in accordance
with the MDOC's policy.On September 3, 2013, Robinson
filed a complaint under the ARP, alleging he was overcharged
by $13.88 on his inmate account. In its first-step-response
form, the MDOC explained to Robinson that he was charged
$13.88 for legal mail services rendered in April 2013.
Robinson proceeded to the second step in the ARP, and his
claim was again rejected. On January 16, 2014, Robinson
acknowledged the MDOC's final decision to reject his
complaint. Robinson did not appeal this decision to the
circuit court within the required thirty days.
Subsequently, on July 10, 2014, Robinson mailed five separate
letters, costing $5.32 each and totaling $26.60 in legal
mailing fees. Again, his inmate account balance was
insufficient to cover the fees; so his account was not
charged until November 16, 2014, after $50.00 had been
deposited into the account. In January 2015, Robinson filed
another complaint under the ARP, arguing the November 2014
charge was incorrect. After his complaint was rejected, he
went through the remaining steps of the ARP process, and on
February 24, 2015, the MDOC entered a final decision, finding
no merit to his claim.
Robinson filed a complaint with the Leake County Circuit
Court on March 9, 2015. He sought reimbursement for the
disputed withdrawals in September 2013 and November 2014.
Although he was disputing the MDOC's decision to reject
his earlier claims, Robinson named Walnut Grove as a party.
The MDOC was not named as a party, nor was it served with
The circuit court summarily dismissed Robinson's claims,
and Robinson timely appealed the court's judgment. On
March 21, 2016, Walnut Grove filed a motion to dismiss based
on the grounds that it was not a legal entity subject to
suit, was never served process, and had no involvement in
handling Robinson's inmate account. On June 7, 2016, this
Court denied the motion to dismiss the appeal. However, we
dismissed Walnut Grove as a party to the suit, the MDOC ...