United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Oxford Division
MICHAEL P. MILLS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
atter comes before the court on the pro se prisoner
complaint of Daniel Wood, who challenges the conditions of
his confinement under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. For the purposes
of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, the court notes that the
plaintiff was incarcerated when he filed this suit. The
plaintiff has brought the instant case under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, which provides a federal cause of action against
“[e]very person” who under color of state
authority causes the “deprivation of any rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and
laws.” 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The defendants have filed
three motions , ,  for summary judgment, each
of which has been fully briefed. The matter is ripe for
resolution. For the reasons set forth below, the motions by
the defendants for summary judgment will be granted, and
judgment will be entered for the defendants in all respects.
Plaintiff's Remaining Claims
Wood's allegations occurred during the time he spent at
the DeSoto County Jail awaiting prosecution on criminal
charges beginning July 2, 2014. One claim remaining in this
case is that defendants Chad Wicker, April Box, and Dr.
Kenneth Thompson failed to provide the plaintiff with
adequate medical care on four occasions. First, Wood alleges
that defendants Dr. Thompson and “Head Nurse”
April Box “refused to give antidepressant or
anti-anxiety medications” during the first month of his
stay at the DeSoto County Jail. Doc. 22, Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation. Second, Wood claims
that “during the 29-day placement on suicide watch
(from September to October 2014)” he was provided no
medical treatment. Id. Wood's third claim of
denial of medical treatment is that “the tower officer
would not open his door to receive his medications from the
on-duty nurse (from July to August 2015).” Id.
According to Wood, “during med pass, the tower officer
would open the cells of every inmate on the medication list
except him.” Id. Wood's fourth claim
regarding medical treatment is that defendant Chad Wicker
improperly removed him from suicide watch. Docs. 52, 54.
also alleges that during the “29-day placement on
suicide watch (from September to October 2014), ” there
was water in his cell from a leaky toilet and that he
suffered periods of extended cold. Doc. 22. He alleges that
defendant Chad Wicker should have noted the conditions and
had them corrected.
finally alleges that Chad Wicker “allow[ed]
[Wood's] legal and religious mail but not any personal
mail from family or friends.” Doc. 60.
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)).
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 (5thCir. 1992).
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).
very purpose of summary judgment is to “pierce the
pleadings and assess the proof in order to see whether there
is a genuine issue for trial.” Advisory Committee Note
to the 1963 Amendments to Rule 56. Indeed, “[t]he
amendment is not intended to derogate from the solemnity of
the pleadings[;] [r]ather, it recognizes that despite the
best efforts of counsel to make his pleadings accurate, they
may be overwhelmingly contradicted by the proof available to
his adversary.” Id. The non-moving party (the
plaintiff in this case), must come forward with proof to
support each element of his claim. The plaintiff cannot meet
this burden with “some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts, ” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd.
v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct.
1348, 1356 (1986), “conclusory allegations, ”
Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871,
871-73, 110 S.Ct. 3177, 3180 (1990), “unsubstantiated
assertions, ” Hopper v. Frank, 16 F.3d 92
(5th Cir. 1994), or by a mere
“scintilla” of evidence, Davis v. Chevron
U.S.A., Inc., 14 F.3d 1082 (5th Cir. 1994).
It would undermine the purposes of summary judgment if a
party could defeat such a motion simply by “replac[ing]
conclusory allegations of the complaint or answer with
conclusory allegations of an affidavit.” Lujan v.
National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 888, 110
S.Ct. 3177, 3188 (1990). In considering a motion for summary
judgment, a court must determine whether the non-moving
party's allegations are plausible.
Matsushita, supra. (emphasis added).
“[D]etermining whether a complaint states a plausible
claim is context-specific, requiring the reviewing court to
draw on its experience and common sense.” Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009)
(discussing plausibility of claim as a requirement to survive
a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)).
considering a motion for summary judgment, once the court
“has determined the relevant set of facts and drawn all
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party to the extent
supportable by the record, [the ultimate decision
becomes] purely a question of law.” Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 381 (2007) (emphasis in original).
“When opposing parties tell two different stories, one
of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no
reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt
that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on the
motion for summary judgment.” Id. at 380.
facts set forth below are not in dispute, as they are
supported by overwhelming documentary evidence in the record.
The plaintiff relies almost exclusively on statements in his
motions and pleadings, while the defendants have provided
authenticated documentary evidence, often from multiple
sources. For the purposes of the instant motions for summary
judgment, the court will construe them in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party (the plaintiff in this
Regarding Denial of Medical Treatment
first alleges that the defendants failed to treat him
“for the first month of his incarceration at the DeSoto
County Jail.” Report and Recommendation, Doc. 22 at 5.
Mr. Wood alleged that he “received no medication for
anxiety and depression for a month.” Id. at 1.
Wood mistakenly states that defendant April Box was the
“Head Nurse” and that she refused to give
antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications.”
Id. at 2. Wood entered the DeSoto County Adult
Detention Facility on July 2, 2014. April Box is not a nurse,
but a secretary. She states:
I work at the DeSoto County, Mississippi Adult Detention
Center . . . . My job title is Medical Administrator. I
prepare paperwork, do filing, order supplies, set up
appointments, process grievances, and perform general
secretarial work. I worked at this job in 2014 and 2015 when
inmate Daniel Nathan Wood, also called Daniel Wood, was held
at the Detention Center. I prepared a summary of medical
treatment provided to Wood attached as pages 34-35.
I am not now and I have never been a nurse. I perform
secretarial and clerical support functions for health care
services or providers in the Detention Center.
Doc. 77, Exh. 1, pages 34-35. Ms. Box also states “I am
not now and I have never been a nurse. I perform secretarial
and clerical support functions for health care services or
providers in the Detention Center.” In addition, she
states that from
July through August 2014 inmate Daniel Wood received health
care services at the Detention Center. This covers the first
month of his incarceration at the Detention Center. Wood
arrived at the Detention Center on July 2, 2014. He was
provided treatment on July 2, 2014 by being placed on suicide
protocol. See page 1. Wood was again placed in suicide
protocol for proper treatment on July 8, 2014. See page 2.
Region 4 was contacted and a hold placed on Wood. Region 4
refers to a regional health care facility. Region 4 was again
contacted for Wood on July 23, 2014. See page 3.
Doc. 77-1 at 1. Further:
[i]n July through August 2014 inmate Daniel Wood received
health care. See pages 8-11 for multiple entries of health
care doctors visit history. See pages 14-27 for the
medication dispensed to Wood history and specifically pages
14-17 for July through August 2014. The medication detail
record pages 28-29 reflect the prescriptions obtained for
Wood and dispensed. For July through August 2014 see entries
on page 28 from July 9, 2014 through August 15, 2014.
Id. at 2.
the defendants requested Wood's medical records from
Parkwood, they did not receive those records:
Wood claimed he had been treated at health care facility
Parkwood before incarceration at the Detention Center. He was
provided a consent form and signed same so the Detention
Center could get a list of current medications. This was sent
to Parkwood on or about July 2, 2014. See page 16. Parkwood
was contacted but had not sent health care records to the
Detention Center on Wood by July 9, 2014. On this date Wood
began a prescription for Risperdal ordered by Dr. Thompson.
See my entry at p. 30 first paragraph. See p. 36 for July 9,
2014 prescription medicine from Funderburk's Pharmacy ...