United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
EARL LEWIS ANDERSON, JR. PLAINTIFF
MAURICE FLEMMING, ET AL. DEFENDANTS
P. Jordan III CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff Earl Lewis Anderson, Jr., proceeding in forma
pauperis, filed this civil-rights suit based on events
related to his February 2, 2014 arrest in Holmes County,
Mississippi. For the reasons that follow, the Court finds
that Anderson has said enough to move forward with his
excessive-force claims against Defendants Maurice Flemming,
Eddie Edison, and Faben Riley. All other claims are
filed his original Complaint on January 25, 2016, offering a
fairly concise statement of his claims. He generally said
that Defendant Patricia Watts Dean had attempted to extort
money from him by claiming that Anderson was the father of
her daughter, and that Dean conspired with the other
Defendants to force Anderson to pay. All of that allegedly
culminated on February 2, 2014, when Officer Flemming
arrested Anderson and then, with the help of other
Defendants, used excessive force against him. See
Compl.  at 2-3.
that seemed clear enough, Anderson's claims got murkier
when he filed his Amended Complaint , wherein he added
new defendants and new allegations that went beyond the
February 2 arrest; most notably, Anderson says that on August
8, 2014, officers fired 40 rounds into Anderson's car and
trailer before arresting him. Am. Compl.  at 3. He then
asserts various grievances related to the resulting criminal
Court referred Anderson's case to United States
Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball on August 31, 2017, a
Spears hearing followed, and Judge Ball then entered
a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”)
. In the R&R, Judge Ball recommended
that the Court deny Anderson's Motion for Summary
Judgment and to Consolidate , his Motion for Transfer
into Federal Custody , and his Motion to Amend ; that
Defendant Joshua Macko's Motion to Dismiss  be
granted; that the Court dismiss “all remaining claims
except for Anderson's claims of excessive force against
Defendants Maurice Flemming, Eddie Edison, Faben Riley, and
Marcus [Barnett] arising out of the incident of February 2,
2014”; and that those claims be stayed pending
resolution of the related criminal proceedings. R&R 
at 2. Anderson filed two documents following the entry of the
R&R, which the Court construes together as constituting
his objections thereto. See Aff. ; Objection
. For the reasons that follow, the R&R is adopted as
Analysis of Objections
discursive objections are difficult to follow, and in many
ways he fails to offer substantive arguments regarding Judge
Ball's recommendations. Nevertheless, the Court has
thoroughly reviewed his submissions and will address the
Recommendation to Dismiss Claims
Ball recommended that the Court dismiss all claims except for
the excessive-force claims against Flemming, Edison, Riley,
and Barnett relating to the February 2, 2014 incident.
Anderson has not offered any reason to reject that
recommendation as to most Defendants. For example, there is
nothing in the record plausibly suggesting liability for
Defendants Jerry Davis, Charles Lawrence, Albert Santa Cruz,
Ken Brown, Chris Simmons, Robert Adkins, Lillie Simmons, or
Attorney General Jim Hood related to the events of February
2, 2014. Those Defendants are dismissed.
does, however, press his conspiracy claim throughout his
objections. See Aff.  at 5-6. On this claim,
Judge Ball concluded that Anderson offered nothing more than
conclusory allegations that Defendants conspired against him.
R&R  at 6. That observation is generally true.
“The essence of a conspiracy is an understanding or
agreement between the conspirators.” Holdiness v.
Stroud, 808 F.2d 417, 425 (5th Cir. 1987). And an
agreement cannot be established with “[m]ere conclusory
allegations”; instead, Anderson “must plead the
operative facts upon which [his] claim is based.”
Id., quoted in Body by Cook, Inc. v.
State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins., 869 F.3d 381, 390 (5th Cir.
2017). Anderson has not met that burden even after multiple
submissions and live testimony.
that is not the only reason why this claim fails. Most
notably, civil-rights conspiracies fall under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1985(3), and to state such a claim, the conspiracy
“must have a ‘racially based animus.'”
Jabary v. City of Allen, 547 F. App'x 600, 610
(5th Cir. 2013) (quoting Lockett v. New Orleans
City, 607 F.3d 992, 1002 (5th Cir. 2010) (citing
Hilliard v. Ferguson, 30 F.3d 649, 652-53 (5th Cir.
1994)). Here, Anderson says Defendants conspired against him
because he refused Defendant Dean's attempts to extort
money from him. See, e.g., Compl  at 2. He has
not alleged racial animus, and the civil-rights conspiracy
claim must therefore fail.
these reasons, Judge Ball's recommendation regarding the
claims will be adopted, but with one modification. Judge Ball
correctly concluded that the excessive-force claims against
Joshua Macko and Lonnie Griffin are time-barred, a point
Anderson did not dispute. R&R  at 7-8. That said, the
analysis applies equally to Defendant Marcus Barnett. During
the hearing, Anderson testified that he sued Barnett because
Barnett attacked him on February 2, 2014, based on
Flemming's orders. Tr.  at 25. Yet Anderson did not
add his claims against Barnett until June 22, 2017, more than
three years after the claims accrued. Anderson's claims
against Barnett are time-barred and therefore dismissed.
See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (stating that