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Davis v. County of Jackson

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

December 13, 2017




         BEFORE THE COURT is the Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 63) filed by Defendants County of Jackson Mississippi, Mike Ezell, Wendy Nevals, and Mike Wright. Plaintiff has not filed a response to date. Accordingly, the undersigned proceeds without the benefit of a response from Plaintiff. Having considered Defendants' arguments, the record as a whole, and relevant law, the undersigned recommends that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 63) be GRANTED. Plaintiff's claims against all defendants should be dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiff Shawn LaBarron Davis is a prisoner in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (“MDOC”) housed at the Mississippi State Penitentiary (“MSP”) in Parchman, Mississippi. However, the subject of his lawsuit is the conditions he experienced while incarcerated at the Jackson County Adult Detention Center (“JCADC”) in Pascagoula, Mississippi from May 4, 2015 to December 4, 2015. He filed his Complaint (ECF No. 1) on March 3, 2016, which alleges that Defendants violated his constitutional rights and seeks both monetary damages and injunctive relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis.

         On June 27, 2016, Plaintiff sought leave to amend his Complaint to clarify that he did not assert claims against Defendants Ezell, Nevals, and Wright in their official capacities; he only intended to name them in their individual capacities. Motion to Amend Complaint (ECF No. 23). The Court granted this Motion to Amend Complaint on October 10, 2016. See Order (ECF No. 25). On January 18, 2017, the Court held an omnibus hearing, [1] during which Plaintiff supplemented the allegations in his Complaint. See Minute Entry Jan. 18, 2017; Transcript of Omnibus Hearing (ECF No. 50). Defendants thereafter filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 63) and accompanying Memorandum in Support (ECF No. 64) on May 12, 2017.

         B. Facts

         Plaintiff alleges that, while housed in zone K-E at the JCADC from May 4, 2015 to December 4, 2015, he was subjected to unconstitutional conditions of confinement. See Complaint (ECF No. 1, at 4-7); Omnibus Hearing Transcript (ECF No. 50, at 11). He alleges (1) that the cells on his unit lacked working light fixtures (though the open bay in the zone had functioning lights) and the nonfunctioning light fixtures had exposed asbestos-coated wires, (2) that water constantly leaked onto the floor from the “pipe chase” under the toilet in the neighboring cell, (3) that Plaintiff was at times forced to sleep on wet, moldy mats on the floor due to overcrowding, (4) that the zone became too cold in October and November 2015 because the heater was not turned on or was not working, (5) that certain toilets were broken and were therefore filled with unflushed urine, (6) that certain sinks were broken and the showers had no hot water, and (7) that the main door to zone K-E was broken, such that it could only be opened by physical force (when functioning properly, it operated remotely and electronically). See (ECF No. 1, at 4-7); (ECF No. 50, at 27-40).

         Plaintiff maintains that Defendants were aware of these conditions and failed to remedy them. (ECF No. 1, at 6-7); (ECF No. 50, at 11-27). Moreover, he asserts that Defendants specifically placed certain inmates - including Plaintiff - in zone K-E as punishment for bad conduct. (ECF No. 50, at 20-27). Plaintiff asserts that he was “mentally and physically tortured by being forced to live in these poor and hazardous life threatening conditions at the [JCADC].” (ECF No. 1, at 5).

         However, he identifies only two incidents in which any of these conditions caused him physical injury. In October 2015, he walked out of his cell and slipped on the water leaking out of the adjacent cell and fell on his back. (ECF No. 50, at 32-33). Other inmates helped him get up and staff provided him with “some medical treatment.” Id. at 33, 36. Then, in November 2015 he “got sick because of that cold air” and was moved to a warmer part of the unit before later being given “some cold medicine and a flu shot.” Id. at 39-40. After December 4, 2015, Plaintiff was moved to the new facility built to replace the old JCADC. See Id. at 40.


         A. Legal Standards

         a. Summary Judgment Standard

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows 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). “When the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), its opponent must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “[T]he nonmovant must go beyond the pleadings and ...

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