United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS'
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
C. GARGIULO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
THE COURT is the Complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 by Plaintiff Tommy Deminto White, a postconviction
inmate in the custody of the Mississippi Department of
Corrections (MDOC) who is proceeding pro se and
in forma pauperis. Defendants are law enforcement
officers working at the South Mississippi Correctional
Institute (SMCI) in Leakesville, Mississippi. An omnibus
hearing, which also operated as a Spears hearing,
was held on December 5, 2016. (ECF No. 29). Defendants have
filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 38) and
Memorandum in Support (ECF No. 39), alleging that Plaintiff
failed to exhaust available administrative remedies with
respect to some of his claims. Regarding Plaintiff's
remaining claims, Defendants assert that Plaintiff has failed
to enunciate a constitutional violation. Plaintiff has
responded to the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF Nos. 40,
41, 42). Having reviewed the submissions of the parties, the
record, and applicable law, the Court finds that
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment should be GRANTED
for the reasons submitted by Defendants.
2009, Plaintiff was convicted of possession of a firearm by a
convicted felon. He was sentenced to ten years in the custody
of MDOC as a habitual offender. Plaintiff has served eight
years of his sentence. This litigation concerns the
conditions of Plaintiff's confinement at SMCI where he
has been housed for at least three years.
professes the Rastafari religion. He objects to MDOC
requiring him to cut his hair. MDOC grooming regulations
prohibit long hair and beards. While at SMCI, Plaintiff has
been held down in a chair to have his hair cut on at least
two occasions. Plaintiff claims that the grooming policy
violates his First Amendment right to freely exercise his
of his religion, Plaintiff has taken a vow to refrain from
eating meat. He wants to be provided a vegetarian diet food
tray. Plaintiff asserts that he has spoken with a chaplain on
several occasions regarding receiving a vegetarian diet tray,
yet Plaintiff continues to be served meals with meat.
was issued eight RVRs by Correctional Officer Linda Smith.
Officer Smith found Plaintiff showering before the showers
opened at 6:00 a.m. on multiple occasions. Plaintiff's
explanation was that he had to be at work early and needed to
shower beforehand. Plaintiff was found guilty of four of the
RVRs, not guilty of three RVRs, and one RVR was dismissed.
The punishment received for each of the four RVRs was 30-days
without privileges. All four RVRs were affirmed on appeal.
Plaintiff asks the Court to expunge the RVRs from his MDOC
was housed in an area of SMCI where he was able to work
making garments and taking night classes. Plaintiff alleges
that he was transferred to a more dangerous area of the
prison in retaliation for making complaints about Officer
Smith. Plaintiff submits that he is not gang affiliated but
has been moved to a dangerous area where he is housed with
gang members. Plaintiff also believes that personal items
were stolen from him by two officers in retaliation for him
complaining about Officer Smith.
Summary Judgment Standard
Judgment is mandated against the 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
has the burden of proof at trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e);
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
A motion for summary judgment shall be granted “if the
movant shows that there is no genuine dispute of material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In evaluating a motion for
summary judgment, the Court must construe “all facts
and inferences in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party.” McFaul v. Valenzuela, 684 F.3d 564,
Plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies with
respect to two of his five claims
The PLRA's exhaustion requirement
the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), Pub. L. No. 104-134,
110 Stat. 1321, H.R. 3019 (codified as amended in scattered
titles and sections of the U.S.C.), prisoners are required to
exhaust available administrative remedies before filing a
No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions
under [42 U.S.C. § 1983], or any other Federal law, by a
prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional
facility until such ...