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Graham v. Hodge

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

March 14, 2018

TIMOTHY JOEL GRAHAM, PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF ALEX HODGE, ET. AL, DEFENDANTS No.

          ORDER

          F. Keith Ball UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Timothy Joel Graham, a state prisoner, brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Graham alleges a myriad of constitutional violations during his pre-trial confinement at the Jones County Adult Detention Center (“JCADC”). Before the Court are four motions: Defendants' motion for summary judgment [74], Graham's motion for summary judgment [77][1], and two motions to strike, one by Defendants [79][2] and one by Graham [80].

         Graham makes a variety of claims against Defendants and JCADC staff. The vast majority of Graham's claims fail, however, because he did not exhaust available administrative remedies prior to filing suit. Of the three claims he potentially exhausted, each fails to allege actions by Defendants which would amount to a constitutional violation. Accordingly, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on all claims.

         I. Graham's allegations.

         Graham contends that his conditions of confinement while incarcerated at JCADC were unconstitutional. In support of his claim, he cites the jail's assignment of multiple inmates to a cell, his sleeping on a mat on the floor, [3] cell lights being on for twenty-four hours per day, and cigarette and tobacco usage by the guards. [7] at 2-3; [27] at 2-3; [61] at 11-14. He alleges that the other inmates and the guards were too loud, that he was not given enough food, and that prison officials opened his legal mail. [8] at 1-2; [27] at 2-3. Graham claims that Defendants Hare, Hodge, and Johnson failed to respond to his complaints regarding his cell assignments and the overcrowding.[4] [61] at 7, 14, 18-19.

         Graham also makes the following allegations relating to specific incidents which he contends occurred while he was incarcerated at JCADC:

(1) Defendants Howard and Eubanks used excessive force against him by tasing him, macing him, placing him in a restraint chair, and slamming his head against the back of the chair. [16-2] at 1; [61] at 9, 14-15; [7] at 4.
(2) Defendant Howard failed to protect him from harm by forcing him to stay in a cell with an inmate who eventually assaulted him. [61] at 9-10; [27] at 4.
(3) Defendants James, Gainey, Wilkinson, Grayson, and Howard took pictures of his legal documents during a cell search. [16] at 1; [61] at 19-20.
(4) Defendants punished him worse than other inmates after they found two shanks in his cell during a search, and that the punishment amounted to an equal protection violation. [19] at 1-2; [61] at 24-25.
(5) Defendant Eubanks placed him in a holding cell without a mattress, blanket, or proper toilet (the cell contained a grated drain pipe for use as a toilet) for twelve hours. [16] at 1-2; [17] at 2; [61] at 29.
(6) Officers retaliated against him for filing this suit by denying him access to razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, and by “screaming and hollering” at him. [18] at 2-3; [61] at 19.
(7) Defendant Brown, on September 13, 2015, used a knife and “stab[bed Graham] in the face between [his] eyes.” [61] at 23; [17] at 3. He claims that as a result he bled, developed a scab, and has a “little small pink scar” that “you can't really see . . . unless you're standing right up on [him].” [61] at 27.

         Graham made additional claims against two former defendants, Pamela Adkins and Carroll Johnston. However, the Court previously dismissed those claims. See Omnibus Order [53].

         II. The majority of Graham's claims must be dismissed for failure to exhaust available administrative remedies.

         42 U.S.C. § 1997(e) requires that an inmate bringing a civil rights action in federal court first exhaust available administrative remedies. Whitley v. Hunt, 158 F.3d 882 (5th Cir. 1998). This exhaustion requirement applies to all inmate suits about prison life. Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516 (2002). The requirement that claims be exhausted prior to the ...


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