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Triplett v. Banks

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

August 2, 2017

ROBERT WARREN TRIPLETT, JR., # 126566 PLAINTIFF
v.
JACQUELINE BANKS, MARSHALL TURNER, FAYTONIA JOHNSON, LAURA TILLEY, GIA MCLEOD, JOSEPH COOLEY, RONALD WOODALL, NURSE HARDY, JOY ROSS, CAPTAIN R. EVANS, CAPTAIN S. EVANS, CAPTAIN COOLEY, CAPTAIN DAVIS, LIEUTENANT CAUSEY, LIEUTENANT TAYLOR, VALLEY FOODS, ARAMARK, JOHN DOES, CGL, A HUNT COMPANY, DR. C. MCCLEAVE, and NURSE PRACTITIONER G. WOODLAND DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF PARTIAL DISMISSAL

          LOUIS GUIROLA, JR. CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         This case is before the Court sua sponte. Pro se Plaintiff Robert Warren Triplett, Jr., is incarcerated with the Mississippi Department of Corrections (“MDOC”), and he challenges the conditions of his confinement. The Court has considered and liberally construed the pleadings. As set forth below, Defendants Laura Tilley, Gia McLeod, Joseph Cooley, Valley Foods, Aramark, and CGL, a Hunt Company, are dismissed.

         FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Triplett is housed at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution (“SMCI”). The twenty Defendants are all either employed or contracted by MDOC. Defendant Jacqueline Banks is the Superintendent of SMCI, and Defendant Marshall Turner is the Warden. Defendants Faytonia Johnson, Joy Ross, Captain R. Evans, Captain S. Evans, Captain Cooley, Captain Davis, Lieutenant Causey, and Lieutenant Taylor are all correctional officers there. Defendant Laura Tilley works in the prison's law library, and Defendant Gia McLeod is the director of MDOC's Inmate Legal Assistance Program. Defendant Joseph Cooley works for the prison's Administrative Remedy Program (“ARP”). Defendants Ronald Woodall and Dr. C. McCleave are doctors at SMCI, and Defendants Nurse Hardy and Nurse Practitioner G. Woodland work as nurses there. Defendants Valley Foods and Aramark are, respectively, the former and current food vendors for MDOC. Finally, Defendant CGL, a Hunt Company, is alleged to be the maintenance contractor for SMCI.

         Triplett's complaints include lighting, sanitation, and handicap accessibility issues in his housing zone. He also attempts to assert claims concerning the handling of his inmate bank account, the handling of his grievances, medical care; and the amount of food he is being served.

         As for the conditions on Triplett's housing zone, he first alleges that the lighting is so insufficient that it causes difficulty in seeing and doing his legal work and makes him depressed. Triplett accuses Banks and Warden Turner of being deliberately indifferent to the lighting issue.

         Triplett next claims that, since October of 2015, there have been frequent sewage leaks from two of the toilets, coupled with the fact that the drain in the floor is allegedly stopped up. This, he contends causes the sewage to puddle on the floor and be tracked all over the zone. He allegedly reported the issue to Banks, Warden Turner, and Johnson. The issue was turned over to the maintenance contractor, and CGL allegedly attempted repairs to the wax seals under the toilets. The repairs, Triplett contends, have not fixed the issue, which “should have been readily apparent to” Banks, Turner, and Johnson. (Compl. at 14). Triplett claims that Johnson allowed him to write the local CGL supervisor to give a repair procedure that Triplett believes will address the problem, but after the supervisor received it, “nothing has been done.” Id.

         Relatedly, Triplett alleges that there is only one handicap accessible toilet on the zone, which houses 100 inmates. He admits there is no one on the zone who needs a wheelchair; however, he contends that he needs the handicap accessible toilet when his knees become “especially troublesome.” Id. at 13. Triplett accuses Banks and Johnson of being deliberately indifferent to this situation.

         Besides the issues on Triplett's particular housing zone, he also complains about the manner in which his inmate bank account is being handled. Specifically, he accuses Tilley and McLeod of overcharging him for legal postage, which overcharge is “not in accordance with . . . MDOC . . . policies . . . and then failing to address these instances when and [sic] Administrative Remedy Procedure was submitted.” (Resp. at 1). Triplett also complains that Dr. Woodall charged him for chronic care eye appointments, allegedly in contravention of MDOC policy. Triplett further takes issue with the fact that Dr. Woodall handled both the First and Second Steps of the ARP that challenged these medical charges. Triplett claims that there are probably more charges he could dispute but for missing inmate account statements.

         As with Tilley, McLeod, and Woodall, Triplett faults Joseph Cooley for the way Triplett's ARP grievances were handled. Cooley is accused of losing some of the grievances, failing to both process the grievances and forward the responses “in an expedient manner, ” backlogging Triplett's grievances, and sending the grievance to the same person to hear the First and Second Steps. Id. at 1-2.

         Next, Triplett complains about his medical care for his sinuses and a skin condition. He alleges that Nurse Hardy denied him treatment for a sinus condition and that this failure was caused by Dr. Woodall's failure to train the nurses that they, too, were allowed to provide symptomatic relief, pending an inmate's appointment with a doctor. Triplett additionally accuses Dr. Woodall, Dr. McCleave, and Nurse Woodland of not giving him nose spray to relieve his congested nose and ears. Triplett also faults Dr. McCleave and Nurse Woodland for allegedly denying him antibiotics for this. As for Triplett's dermatological concerns, he contends that a dermatologist has prescribed him medicated shampoo, and Dr. Woodall “routinely reduces the number of refills” on this shampoo. Id. at 6.

         Finally, Triplett alleges that he is being denied food through missing items and inadequate portions of the items that are served. As a result, he claims to have lost weight. He maintains that the problem stems from inmate kitchen workers who are stealing food from the kitchen and placing unreasonably small amounts of food on the inmate trays. Allegedly, Banks, Warden Turner, Ross, Captain R. Evans, Captain S. Evans, Captain Cooley, Captain Davis, Lieutenant Causey, and Lieutenant Taylor are all aware of the problem but are deliberately indifferent to it. Triplett believes the missing items and inadequate portions are also the fault of Aramark and the personnel of Valley Foods and Aramark.

         Triplett brings this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, asserting claims for cruel and unusual punishment, denial of handicap accessibility, and violations of due process. He ...


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