United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF PARTIAL
CARLTON W. REEVES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court sua sponte. Pro se Plaintiff
Scooter Lynn Robinson is incarcerated with the Mississippi
Department of Corrections (“MDOC”), and he brings
this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging the
conditions of his confinement. The Court has considered and
liberally construed the pleadings. As set forth below,
Defendant Christopher Epps is dismissed.
is housed in the South Mississippi Correctional Institution
(“SMCI”). Defendants are current MDOC
Commissioner Pelicia Hall, Deputy Commissioner Jerry
Williams, SMCI Superintendent Jacquelyn Banks, Warden
Marshall Turner, former Commissioner Christopher Epps, and
Officer Lanecaster. All are sued in their individual and
official capacities, for injunctive relief and damages.
Robinson claims that he has been denied a mattress, clothes,
and recreation and claims retaliation. First, Robinson
contends that, since arriving at SMCI on November 28, 2016,
he has been denied a mattress and state issued clothing. He
claims that he informed Commissioner Hall, Deputy
Commissioner Williams, and Superintendent Banks about the
denial of a mattress and clothes but still has received none.
Robinson also alleges that he filed a grievance concerning
the clothes to Warden Turner, on September 16, 2017, but he
denied the grievance. Finally, Robinson contends that after
filing this lawsuit, Captain Beasley issued him a mattress,
but when Robinson was subsequently transferred from Unit B-2
to Unit C-1, Officer Lanecaster took the mattress from him
and would not issue another one. Robinson appears to allege
that Lanecaster did so in retaliation for this Complaint.
Robinson claims that, while housed on Unit B-2, his housing
unit was placed on lockdown, beginning March 4, 2017, for
forty-five days. A second lockdown occurred in his unit on
June 27, through at least September 23. During the lockdowns,
he alleges that outside recreation was not given to him. He
blames Warden Turner for “implementing a policy . . .
that places inmates on lockdown for months at a time.”
(Compl. at 7). Robinson also alleges that he complained about
the lockdowns to Commissioner Hall, Deputy Commissioner
Williams, and Superintendent Banks.
the above actions are alleged by Robinson to be against
MDOC's policies, as approved by former Commissioner Epps.
October 10, 2017, Robinson filed this Complaint, invoking the
First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. He asserts that the
alleged denials of a mattress, clothes, and recreation are
cruel and unusual punishments. He also contends that the
lockdowns violate Due Process. Finally, he accuses Lanecaster
of retaliation. Robinson wants this Court to remove him from
lockdown, restore all his privileges, give him a “full
set of state issue clothing, ” provide him a mattress,
and award damages. Id. at 11.
Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, applies to prisoners
proceeding in forma pauperis in this Court. One of
the provisions reads, “the court shall dismiss the case
at any time if the court determines that . . . the action . .
. (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim
on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The statute
“accords judges not only the authority to dismiss a
claim based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, but
also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the
complaint's factual allegations and dismiss those claims
whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.”
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992).
“[I]n an action proceeding under [28 U.S.C. §
1915, a federal court] may consider, sua sponte, affirmative
defenses that are apparent from the record even where they
have not been addressed or raised.” Ali v.
Higgs, 892 F.2d 438, 440 (5th Cir. 1990).
“Significantly, the court is authorized to test the
proceeding for frivolousness or maliciousness even before
service of process or before the filing of the answer.”
Id. The Court has permitted Robinson to proceed
in forma pauperis in this action. The Complaint is
subject to sua sponte dismissal under § 1915.
others, Robinson sues Epps, under § 1983, for the
alleged denials of a mattress, clothing, and recreation.
Robinson alleges that Epps was the Commissioner and he
approved policies that the other Defendants are not
is no vicarious or respondeat superior liability of
supervisors under section 1983.” Rios v. City of
Del Rio, 444 F.3d 417, 425 (5th Cir. 2006). Rather, the
supervisor must either be personally involved in the
violation or otherwise have caused the violation.
Id. All that is alleged against Epps is that he is
the former Commissioner and he approved policies that his
subordinates failed to follow. He is not alleged to have been
personally involved in any of the alleged incidents or
otherwise deliberately indifferent to the conditions or
failures complained of in this case. Despite being given the
opportunity to plead more, Robinson fails to state a claim
against Epps upon which relief can be granted.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that, for the
reasons stated above, the claims against Defendant
Christopher Epps should be, and are hereby, dismissed with
prejudice as frivolous and for failure to state a claim
against him upon which relief may be granted. The remainder
of this case shall proceed.