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Quick v. Hodge

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

February 22, 2018



          Michael T. Parker United States Magistrate Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion [56] to Amend Complaint and Defendants' Motions [72][74] for Summary Judgment filed by Daniel Lynch, Alex Hodge, Robert Little, David Hare, Jackie Hayes, James Ingram, Jesse James, and Carol Johnston. Having considered the motions, the record, and the applicable law, the undersigned recommends that Defendants' Motions [72][74] for Summary Judgment be granted, that Plaintiff's Motion [56] to Amend Complaint be denied, and this action be dismissed without prejudice for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.


         Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Jones County Adult Detention Center (“JCADC”) as a pretrial detainee during the events alleged in his complaint. He is currently incarcerated as a post-conviction inmate at Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl, Mississippi. Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed the instant civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on October 11, 2016. Plaintiff currently has four suits before this Court arising out of his stay in Jones County: Quick v. Hodge, 2:16cv166-KS-MTP (“Hodge I”); Quick v. Hodge, 2:16cv167- KS-MTP (“Hodge II”); Quick v. Hodge, 2:16cv177-KS-MTP (“Hodge III”); and Quick v. Hodge, 2:16cv178-KS-MTP (“Hodge IV”).

         Plaintiff filed Hodge I, 2:16cv166-KS-MTP on October 11, 2016, alleging that while he was incarcerated in the Jones County Detention Center from January 14, 2016, until August 8, 2016, there was no fire extinguisher, officers served food without gloves, someone had a tobacco spit cup, he was not allowed to wear his orthopedic shoes, and that he was deprived of certain property. Also on October 11, 2016, Plaintiff filed Hodge II, 2:16-CV-00167-KS-MTP (this suit), alleging that there were no “handicap” toilets, no assist rail, no non-slip product on the shower floor and, no bars for balance or wheelchair access. He also claims the county would not provide a wheelchair and denied him hip surgery. He states in his Complaint that this caused extra strain on his hip, knee, and back.

         Thereafter, on October 17, 2016, Plaintiff filed Hodge III, 2:16-CV-00177-KS-MTP, alleging that during his stay in this facility the lights were not turned off. Additionally, on October 17, 2016, Plaintiff filed Hodge IV, 2:16-CV-00178-KS-MTP, alleging that there was black mold in the facility while he was incarcerated.

         Defendants have moved for summary judgment in all four of Plaintiff's cases seeking dismissal because he failed to exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit.[1]


         A motion for summary judgment will be granted when “the record indicates that there is ‘no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'” Causey v. Sewell Cadillac-Chevrolet, Inc., 394 F.3d 285, 288 (5th Cir. 2004) (citing Fed. R. Civ. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986)). “The moving party must show that if the evidentiary material of record were reduced to admissible evidence in court, it would be insufficient to permit the nonmoving party to carry its burden.” Beck v. Texas State Bd. of Dental Examiners, 204 F.3d 629, 633 (5th Cir. 2000). The court must view “the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Id.

         However, the nonmoving party “cannot defeat summary judgment with conclusory allegations, unsubstantiated assertions, or ‘only a scintilla of evidence.'” Turner v. Baylor Richardson Medical Center, 476 F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir. 2007) (quoting Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994)). In the absence of proof, the Court does not “assume that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary facts.” Little, 37 F.3d at 1075 (emphasis omitted). The nonmovant cannot survive a proper motion for summary judgment by resting on the allegations in his pleadings. Isquith v. Middle South Utilities, Inc., 847 F.2d 186, 199 (5th Cir. 1988); see also Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325-26. Instead, the nonmovant must present evidence sufficient to support a resolution of the factual issues in his favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986).


         Defendants assert that this matter should be dismissed because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), requires prisoners to exhaust any available administrative remedies prior to filing suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. A prisoner cannot satisfy the exhaustion requirement “by filing an untimely or otherwise procedurally defective administrative grievance or appeal” because “proper exhaustion of administrative remedies is necessary.” Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 83-84 (2006). “Indeed . . . a prisoner must now exhaust administrative remedies even where the relief sought-monetary damages-cannot be granted by the administrative process.” Id. at 85.

         Courts have been clear that a prisoner cannot fulfill the exhaustion requirement through general allegations that he notified prison officials of a violation; rather, he must follow the process set forth by the prison. Id., 548 U.S. at 83-84; Johnson v. Ford, 261 Fed. App'x 752, 755 (5th Cir. 2008) (stating that the Fifth Circuit takes a “strict approach” to the PLRA's exhaustion requirement); Lane v. Harris Cnty. Medical Dep't, No. 06-20935, 2008 WL 116333, at *1 (5th Cir. Jan. 11, 2008) (stating that under the PLRA, the prisoner must comply with all administrative procedural rules). “Pre-filing exhaustion is mandatory, and the case must be dismissed if available administrative remedies were not exhausted.” Gonzalez v. Seal, 702 F.3d 785, 788 (5th Cir. 2012). Because exhaustion is an affirmative defense, Defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that Plaintiff failed to exhaust available administrative remedies. Dillon v. Rogers, 596 F.3d 260, 266 (5th Cir. 2010).

         In support of their motions for summary judgment, Defendants submitted the affidavit of Pamela Graham, a copy of the jail's grievance policy, and Plaintiff's grievances he filed while incarcerated in Jones County. See [72-1]. In her affidavit, Pamela Graham states that she is in charge of the administrative remedies program at the jail. According to Pamela Graham, all inmates, including Plaintiff Quick, are made aware of the program and its procedures when they are processed into the jail. The jail ...

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