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Ryan v. Hall

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

September 21, 2018

BRENT RYAN PLAINTIFF
v.
PELECIA HALL, et al. DEFENDANTS

         ORDER OVERRULING PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTIONS [66]; ADOPTING MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [62]; GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION [44] FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT; DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION [24] TO SHOW CAUSE; DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION [26] FOR A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION; AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION [28] FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          HALIL SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         BEFORE THE COURT are Plaintiff Brent Ryan's Objections [66] to the Report and Recommendation [62] of United States Magistrate Judge John C. Gargiulo, entered in this case on July 30, 2018, regarding four motions: (1) Plaintiff's Motion [24] to Show Cause; (2) Plaintiff's Motion [26] for a Preliminary Injunction; (3) Plaintiff's Motion [28] for Summary Judgment; and (4) Defendants' Motion [44] for Partial Summary Judgment. Based upon a review of the submissions of the parties, the record, and relevant legal authority, the Magistrate Judge recommended that Defendants' Motion [44] for Partial Summary Judgment be granted for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and that Plaintiff's Motion [24] to Show Cause, Motion [26] for a Preliminary Injunction, and Motion [28] for Summary Judgment be denied. R. & R. [62] at 11-12.

         After thoroughly reviewing Plaintiff's Objections [66], the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation [62], Plaintiff's Motion [24] to Show Cause, Plaintiff's Motion [26] for a Preliminary Injunction, Plaintiff's Motion [28] for Summary Judgment, Defendants' Motion [44] for Partial Summary Judgment, the record, and relevant legal authority, the Court finds that Plaintiff's Objections [66] should be overruled and that the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation [62] should be adopted as the finding of the Court. Defendants' Motion [44] for Partial Summary Judgment should be granted for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, and all of Plaintiff's claims should be dismissed without prejudice, except for Plaintiff's claims regarding adequate ventilation and exercise time. Plaintiff's Motion [24] to Show Cause, Motion [26] for a Preliminary Injunction, and Motion [28] for Summary Judgment should be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Plaintiff's claims

         Plaintiff Brent Ryan (“Plaintiff” or “Ryan”) filed a Complaint [1] pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 in this Court on April 26, 2017, followed by an Amended Complaint [5] on May 12, 2017. At that time, Plaintiff was incarcerated at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution (“SMCI”) in Leakesville, Mississippi.[1] Amend. Compl. [5] at 2. The Amended Complaint [5] names the following Defendants in both their individual and personal capacities: (1) Pelicia Hall, Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (“MDOC”); (2) Marshall Turner, warden at SMCI; (3) Jacqueline Banks, superintendent at SMCI; (4) Richard Pennington, the Administrative Remedy Program (“ARP”) Director for the MDOC; (5) Joseph Cooley, ARP investigator; (6) Pearlie Smith, a captain at SMCI; and (7) Sheneice Hartfield Evans, a captain at SMCI. Id. at 2-4.

         Plaintiff asserts that unconstitutional conditions of his confinement and abusive institutional practices violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and have blocked his access to the courts. See Id. at 11-12, 21. With respect to his allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants failed to provide adequate dining facilities and sanitation; mattresses and bedding; outside exercise time; proper ventilation; and adequate security. Id. at 4-17. Plaintiff further lists two allegedly abusive institutional practices, specifically incidents involving Defendants Smith and Evans' interactions with other inmates, and claims that Defendants Pennington and Cooley denied and rejected Plaintiff's ARPs without investigation. Id. at 17-22. Plaintiff asks the Court to grant him declaratory and injunctive relief declaring that Defendants' actions and omissions violated Plaintiff's rights, ordering Defendants to provide security and “necessities, ” and awarding him compensatory and punitive damages. Id. at 24.

         Plaintiff titles section five of his Amended Complaint [5] “Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies, ” id. at 22, and asserts that he “utilized the Administrative Remedy Program, ” id. Plaintiff attaches as exhibits two separate first-step rejections for ARPs that he submitted, SMCI-17-0221 [5-4] and SMCI-16- 2174 [5-7], as well as an ARP filed by another inmate, SMCI-16-1810 [5-6]. Plaintiff contends that he filed and appealed two additional ARPs, ARP SMCI-16-1262 and ARP SMCI-16-1444, which were each rejected at step one and two of the ARP procedure. Id. at 22-23.

         B. Pending motions

         Presently before the Court are four motions: (1) Plaintiff's Motion [24] to Show Cause; (2) Plaintiff's Motion [26] for a Preliminary Injunction; (3) Plaintiff's Motion [28] for Summary Judgment; and (4) Defendants' Motion [44] for Partial Summary Judgment. Plaintiff's Motion [24] to Show Cause argues that SMCI is understaffed and unsafe and seeks an injunction and sanctions. Pl.'s Mot. [24] to Show Cause at 2-3. The Motion [26] for a Preliminary Injunction asserts that Plaintiff was assaulted and threatened, Pl.'s Mot. [26] for Prelim. Inj. at 1-2, and claims that in retaliation for reporting the assault, Plaintiff was moved to a more violent area and was provided no bedding, clothing, or shoes, id. at 2. Finally, Plaintiff has filed a Motion [28] for Summary Judgment, which reiterates the claims contained in the Complaint [1], Amended Complaint [5], and the aforementioned motions. Pl.'s Mot. for Summ. J. [28] at 1-14. Defendants did not respond to Plaintiff's Motions [24] [26] [28].

         On February 13, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion [44] for Partial Summary Judgment for Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies, to which Plaintiff did not respond. Defendants contend that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e, mandating dismissal of Plaintiff's claims for inadequate bedding and mattresses; inadequate security; windows being screwed shut; fire doors being welded shut; inadequate dining facilities and sanitation; general abusive institutional practices; and the ARP process and/or conduct of Joseph Cooley and Richard Pennington. Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J. [44] at 1; Defs.' Memo. Br. in Supp. [45]. In support of this Motion [44], Defendants submit a sworn affidavit [44-1] of Joseph Cooley and Plaintiff's MDOC grievance detail reports, which list the following ARPs numbered and dated as follows:

(1) SMCI-16-1262: On June 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed an ARP requesting more fans for the unit. It was rejected at step one and two.
(2) SMCI-16-1444: On July 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed an ARP asserting that he did not get yard call. It was rejected at step one and two.
(3) SMCI-16-1949: On October 25, 2016, Plaintiff filed an ARP requesting access to a law library. It was rejected at step one and two.
(4) SMCI-16-2174: On November 29, 2017, Plaintiff filed an ARP objecting to a rule or policy. It was rejected at the first step, and records show that Plaintiff did not proceed to step two.
(5) SMCI-17-0221: February 15, 2017, Plaintiff filed an ARP regarding abuse/conflicts with staff. It was rejected at the first step, and records show that Plaintiff did not proceed to step two.
(6) Sensitive Request ARP: February 21, 2017, Plaintiff filed a sensitive issue ARP requesting a mattress and bedding.[2] The ARP Director denied the request finding it did not meet the criteria for sensitive treatment and provided the Plaintiff five days to submit an ARP through ...

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