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Stewart v. Walley

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

May 17, 2018




         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [54]. Having considered the Motion [54], the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that the Motion [54] should be granted and that this action should be dismissed with prejudice.


         On March 30, 2017, Plaintiff Jermaine Stewart, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The allegations in Plaintiff's complaint occurred while he was a post-conviction inmate at the Wayne County Jail in Waynesboro, Mississippi.[1] Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the South Mississippi Correctional Institution. In his complaint and as clarified by his testimony at the Spears hearing, [2] Plaintiff asserts claims against Defendants concerning the excessive use of force, the conditions of his confinement, and the denial of due process.

         According to Plaintiff, on April 8, 2016, Defendant James T. Walley searched Plaintiff's cell and discovered white shirts, boxers, and socks. Walley began gathering these clothing items, and Plaintiff asked Walley why he was taking the clothes. Walley informed Plaintiff that the additional clothes were contraband items. Walley attempted to throw the clothes in the trash, but Plaintiff grabbed them. Thereafter, Walley allegedly pushed Plaintiff two or three times toward the cell door. Walley and Defendant Jason Purvis began escorting Plaintiff down the hall to an isolation cell. According to Plaintiff, Walley pushed him again, and Plaintiff threw his shoulder back and told Walley to “get off me; I'm walking on my own free will.”

         Thereafter, Purvis allegedly sprayed Plaintiff with pepper spray, and one of the officers placed him in a chokehold.[3] Walley and Purvis then placed him in a medical evaluation cell. Plaintiff requested that the officers clean the pepper spray off him, so the officers returned with a water hose and sprayed him. Plaintiff allegedly asked Walley and Purvis to take him to the medical unit, but the officers refused.

         According to Plaintiff, he was wearing only underwear and socks and requested clean clothes, but none were provided. Allegedly, Plaintiff was held in the medical evaluation cell, which did not have a shower, mattress, or blanket, for three or four days. According to Plaintiff, he was not injured as a result of being pushed or placed in a choke hold, but was in pain for two days as a result of the pepper spray.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Sheriff Jody Ashley failed to properly train Walley and Purvis and failed to properly respond to his grievances regarding the actions of Walley and Purvis.

         Finally, Plaintiff claims that all Defendants violated his due process rights. According to Plaintiff, as a result of the incident with Walley and Purvis, he was placed in a medical evaluation cell for three or four days and then held in an isolation cell for approximately one month. Additionally, Defendants allegedly restricted his privileges for approximately one month. Specifically, Plaintiff was unable to use the telephone, have visitors, use the canteen/commissary, participate in church services, or visit the law library for about one month.[4]Plaintiff alleges that these disciplinary actions were taken against him without a proper hearing. See Omnibus Order [36].

         On January 26, 2018, Defendants Walley, Purvis, and Sheriff Ashley filed their Motion for Summary Judgment [54].


         A motion for summary judgement 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 is not permitted to make credibility determinations or weigh the evidence. See Deville v. Marcantel, 567 F.3d 156, 164 (5th Cir. 2009) (citing Turner v. Baylor Richardson Med. Ctr., 476 F.3d 337, 343 (5th Cir. 2001)). When deciding whether a genuine issue of fact exists, “the court must view the facts and the inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.” Sierra Club, Inc. v. Sandy Creek Energy Assocs., L.P., 627 F.3d 134, 138 (5th Cir. 2010).

         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).


         Excessive ...

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