United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
P. JORDAN III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
pro se § 1983 action is before the Court on the Report
and Recommendation  of Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball.
Judge Ball recommended granting Defendants' motions for
summary judgment [86, 90] and dismissing this action with
prejudice. Plaintiff Thomas Earl Ellis did not object;
instead, he moved to amend his complaint . The Court,
having considered each of these filings, finds that the
Report and Recommendation should be adopted in part.
Ellis's motion to amend is denied.
Facts and Procedural History
1991, Ellis pleaded guilty in the Circuit Court of Hinds
County, Mississippi, to one count of sexual battery. After
serving time, he was again indicted in 2009 in state court
for sexual battery and gratification of lust. He was tried
and convicted on those counts in March 2011. The court
sentenced Ellis as a habitual offender, using his 1991
conviction to enhance his sentence. His 2011 convictions were
affirmed in March 2014, and his application for
post-conviction relief was denied seven months later.
filed suit in this Court on December 23, 2014, alleging,
among other things, that Defendants failed to keep accurate
records, falsified records, and refused to produce records.
Because Ellis is a prisoner proceeding in forma
pauperis, his Complaint was subject to the screening
procedures of 28 U.S.C. § 1915. As part of that process,
the Court dismissed Ellis's case in part. See
Order . All that is left are Ellis's
federal-law claims against Defendants Barbara Dunn, Alicia
Box, Tyrone Lewis, and Robert Schuler Smith regarding their
alleged failure to provide records Ellis allegedly requested.
Ball conducted an omnibus hearing on August 31, 2016, to
question Ellis concerning these claims and to address other
case-management issues. Omnibus Order  at 1. Based on
Ellis's testimony, Judge Ball clarified Ellis's
claims as alleging a failure to produce records regarding his
previous 1991 conviction in Hinds County, Mississippi.
Ellis's claims against the remaining Defendants were
clearly framed, Defendants Dunn, Lewis, Box, and Smith moved
for summary judgment. Motion ; Motion . Judge Ball
issued a Report and Recommendation , recommending the
Court grant their summary-judgment motions and dismiss this
action with prejudice. Ellis did not file an objection,
choosing instead to file a motion to amend his complaint
. The Court has personal and subject-matter jurisdiction
and is prepared to rule.
judgment is warranted under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56(a) when evidence reveals no genuine dispute regarding any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. The rule “mandates the
entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery
and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing
sufficient 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] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Id. at 323.
The nonmoving party must then “go beyond the
pleadings” and “designate ‘specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'”
Id. at 324 (citation omitted). In reviewing the
evidence, factual controversies are to be resolved in favor
of the nonmovant, “but only when . . . both parties
have submitted evidence of contradictory facts.”
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
Cir. 1994) (en banc). When such contradictory facts exist,
the court may “not make credibility determinations or
weigh the evidence.” Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing
Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000). Conclusory
allegations, speculation, unsubstantiated assertions, and
legalistic arguments have never constituted an adequate
substitute for specific facts showing a genuine issue for
trial. TIG Ins. Co. v. Sedgwick James of Wash., 276
F.3d 754, 759 (5th Cir. 2002); Little, 37 F.3d at
1075; SEC v. Recile, 10 F.3d 1093, 1097 (5th Cir.
Court will first examine the grounds for dismissal as set
forth by Judge Ball and then turn to Ellis's motion to
Failure to State a Claim
Report and Recommendation, Judge Ball observed that
“the only constitutional right implicated by
[Ellis's] allegations is that of access to the
courts.” R&R  at 3. Ellis never objected to
this description ...