United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT CENTURION'S MOTION FOR
H. WALKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Johnny Milton Holton, proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 prisoner
civil rights complaint alleging that Defendants failed to
protect him from assault by inmate O.D. Washington on April
7, 2017, at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility
(EMCF). Doc. . Plaintiff and inmate Washington were both
incarcerated at EMCF at the time of the alleged incident.
Defendant Centurion of Mississippi provided health care
services for EMCF at the time of the assault. Doc.  at 1.
Plaintiff alleges that Centurion failed to adjust inmate
Washington's medication to “control his frequent
violent behavior.” Doc.  at 5; Doc.  at 1. On
January 5, 2018, Centurion filed a motion to dismiss. Doc.
. On February 20, 2018, the Court conducted a screening
hearing. Doc. . Centurion then filed a motion for summary
judgment on April 17, 2018. Doc. . Plaintiff has not
filed a response to the motion to dismiss or motion for
provides that “[t]he court shall grant summary judgment
if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Sierra Club,
Inc. v. Sandy Creek Energy Assocs., L.P., 627 F.3d 134,
138 (5th Cir. 2010). Where the summary judgment evidence
establishes that one of the essential elements of the
plaintiff's cause of action does not exist as a matter of
law, all other contested issues of fact are rendered
immaterial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323 (1986); Topalin v. Ehrman, 954 F.2d 1125, 1138
(5th Cir. 1992). In making its determinations of fact on a
motion for summary judgment, the court must view the evidence
submitted by the parties in a light most favorable to the
non-moving party. McPherson v. Rankin, 736 F.2d 175,
178 (5th Cir. 1984).
moving party has the duty to demonstrate the lack of a
genuine issue of a material fact and the appropriateness of
judgment as a matter of law to prevail on its motion.
Union Planters Nat'l Leasing v. Woods, 687 F.2d
117 (5th Cir. 1982). The movant accomplishes this by
informing the court of the basis of its motion, and by
identifying portions of the record which highlight the
absence of genuine factual issues. Topalian, 954
F.2d at 1131. “Rule 56 contemplates a shifting burden:
the nonmovant is under no obligation to respond unless the
movant discharges [its] initial burden of demonstrating
[entitlement to summary judgment].” John v. State
of Louisiana, 757 F.3d 698, 708 (5th Cir.
1985). Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment
is presented, the nonmoving party must rebut with
“significant probative” evidence. Ferguson v.
Nat'l Broad. Co., Inc., 584 F.2d 111, 114 (5th Cir.
Centurion asserts that Plaintiff failed to exhaust
administrative remedies prior to filing suit. In order to
exhaust a claim, a prisoner's grievance need only provide
prison officials with “fair notice” of the
problem that will form the basis of the prisoner's
later-filed lawsuit. Moussazadeh v. Texas Dep't of
Criminal Justice, 703 F.3d 781, 788 (5th Cir. 2012);
Johnson v. Johnson, 385 F.3d 503, 516 (5th Cir.
2004). The grievance must be sufficient in detail to give
prison officials time and opportunity to address complaints
internally before allowing the initiation of a federal
lawsuit. Moussazadeh, 703 F.3d at 788. An inmate
need not present a full-fledged legal theory in his
grievance. Johnson, 385 F.3d at 518. Prisoner
grievances are not required to allege a specific legal theory
or facts that correspond to all of the required elements of a
particular legal theory. Burton v. Jones, 321 F.3d
569, 575 (6th Cir. 2003).
Administrative Remedy Program grievance filed by Plaintiff,
he complained of the assault by inmate Washington and the
injuries received by Plaintiff in the assault. Doc. [35-2].
Plaintiff also requested that inmate Washington “be
segregated under observation in medical until such time as he
has been properly treated with a medication regime to control
his violent out burst before he is allowed to return to
general population.” Id. at 4-5. He alleges
that the “medical dept.” is responsible for the
assault because they left inmate Washington, “a proven
unstable and severly [sic] violent psychocit [sic] inmate in
general population” without “any attempt to
reduce the imminent threat caused by this inmate.”
Id. Whether Plaintiff's ARP put Defendant
Centurion on fair notice of the claim is a close question.
Regardless, as will be discussed below, the Court finds that
Plaintiff's claims against Centurion lack any
screening hearing, Plaintiff testified under oath that he
received prompt medical treatment for his injuries from the
April 7, 2017, incident. Doc.  at 16. He further admitted
that he has no complaints about medical treatment received
subsequent to the incident. Id. Hence, by his own
admission, Plaintiff does not state a cause of action for
deliberate indifference or inadequate medical care for
treatment of his own injuries. To the extent Plaintiff
alleges that Defendant Centurion failed to provide
constitutionally adequate medical care to inmate Washington
for treatment of his psychotic condition, Plaintiff lacks
standing to assert a constitutional claim on behalf of inmate
Washington. See Barrows v. Jackson, 346 U.S. 249,
255 (1952); Coon v. Ledbetter, 780 F.2d 1158, 1160
(5th Cir. 1986).
is a private corporation; nevertheless, it may be sued under
§ 1983 by a prisoner who has suffered an alleged
constitutional injury. See Rosborough v. Mgmt. &
Training Corp., 350 F.3d 459, 461 (5th Cir.
2003). Although not subject to vicarious liability for the
constitutional torts of its employees, a private corporation
such as Centurion may be held liable under § 1983 when
an official policy or custom of the corporation causes, or is
the moving force behind, the alleged deprivation of federal
rights. See Rouster v. County of Saginaw, 749 F.3d
437, 453 (6th Cir. 2014); Rice ex rel. Rice v.
Correctional Medical Servs., 675 F.3d 650, 675
(7thCir. 2012); Austin v. Paramount Parks,
Inc., 195 F.3d 715, 728 (4th Cir. 1999).
complaint and testimony fail to identify an official policy
or custom of Centurion that was the moving force behind the
alleged constitutional injury. At the screening hearing,
Plaintiff acknowledged that his claim against Centurion
relates only to medical treatment as prescribed to inmate
Washington. Doc.  at 13. Plaintiff further admitted that
he did not know what kind of medical treatment inmate
Washington received, what medications he has been prescribed,
or whether any of inmate Washington's medications have
been changed. Id. at 12-13. At most, Plaintiff
states a claim against employees of the medical department
for failing to adjust inmate Washington's medication,
which in turn caused inmate Washington to assault Plaintiff.
In other words, Plaintiff alleges vicarious liability of
Centurion based on the conduct of its employees. As such,
Plaintiff fails to state a constitutional claim against
Centurion. The Court finds that Defendant Centurion's
motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment should be
THEREFORE ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that Defendant Centurion's
 Motion to Dismiss and  Motion for Summary Judgment
are GRANTED. Plaintiff's claims against ...