United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
M. BROWN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is the defendants' motion for summary judgment.
Procedural History and Relevant Background
about August 11, 2015, Joey Montrell Chandler filed a
complaint in this Court against Wexford Health; the
Mississippi Department of Corrections (“MDOC”);
MDOC officials Marshall Fisher, Christopher Epps, and Jerry
Williams; and physicians Juan Santos, Paul Madubuonwu, John
Hochburg, Lorenzo Cabe, “Dr. Lehman, ” “Dr.
Brown, ” and Gloria Perry. Doc. #1 at 1-2, 5-6. At the
time he filed his complaint, Chandler was incarcerated at the
Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi.
Id. at 1.
complaint, Chandler alleged the defendants denied him
adequate care for several medical conditions, including back
pain, foot pain, and a bacterial infection allegedly causing
diarrhea and “fecal leakage.” Id. at
3-4, 14-16. On or about March 9, 2016, Chandler filed a
motion to amend seeking to add Centurion of Mississippi as a
defendant. Doc. #9. The motion to amend was granted on April
13, 2016. Doc. #11.
Spears hearing was held on April 14, 2016. Doc.
#12. On July 20, 2016, United States Magistrate Judge David
A. Sanders issued a Report and Recommendation recommending
that Chandler's “claims regarding denial of
adequate medical treatment should be dismissed for failure to
state a claim upon which relief could be granted. In
addition, [Chandler's] claim of retaliation against
Emmitt Sparkman should be dismissed for failure to exhaust
administrative remedies.” Doc. #16 at 10.
acknowledged receipt of the Report and Recommendation on July
26, 2016. Doc. #18. On or about July 27, 2016, Chandler filed
an untitled document addressed to Judge Sanders stating:
On July 21, 2016 at about 9:00 am Supt. Earnest Lee allow Lt
Nathan Harris to take my walking cane for no reason on penal
logical interest. This action was ill will because of my
ongoing litigation. Attach is a copy of ARP in which I will
give MDOC 14 days to return my medical prescribed can used
during SI Joint flares. If MDOC fails to comply I will file
motion in the court immediately because other inmates are
having to help around.
Doc. #17 at 1.
about October 8, 2016, Chandler filed a document titled,
“Plaintiff's Supplemental Objections.” Doc.
#19. On or about February 2, 2017, Chandler filed a
“Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint
Objection.” Doc. #20. Lastly, on or about March 1,
2017, Chandler filed a “2nd Objection Amendment under
Rule 15(a), ” which in part is a motion to amend. Doc.
11, 2017, this Court rejected the Report and Recommendation
as moot, granted Chandler's motion to amend, and directed
him to file “a single amended complaint with the
amendments allowed by this order.” Doc. #22 at 4. On or
about August 4, 2017, Chandler filed an amended complaint
stating that he “would request the court to add
Defendants: Superintendant Earnest Lee at Parchman State
Prison and Medical Director Hendrik Kuiper and to maintain
all initial defendants.” Doc. #24 at 1. On February 15,
2018, Judge Sanders granted Chandler's motion to amend
but noted that “[a]s the amended complaint neither
names any other defendants nor describes any other claims,
the plaintiff must intend for his ‘amended
complaint' to be a supplement to his original
complaint.” Doc. #26 at 1. On March 7, 2018, Judge
Sanders ordered that process issue for Wexford Health,
Santos, Madubuonwu, Perry, Brown, Cabe, Hochburg, Lehman, and
Kuiper. Doc. #30.
amended complaint, Chandler claims that the defendants failed
to provide him with adequate medical care for (1) sacroiliac
(“SI”) joint dysfunction, which causes pain in
his lower back, leg, and foot; (2) bone spurs and plantar
fasciitis; (3) a recurring infection of his tonsil;
(4) costochondritis,  which causes pain in his chest and
shoulder; and (5) shoulder pain (which medical providers
suspect is related to costochondritis). Doc. #24 at 4.
Chandler also claims that the defendants failed to respond to
his letters and grievances regarding his conditions and
ignored medical orders. Id. at 18-19. Further,
Chandler alleges that Lee improperly searched his belongings
and forced him and other unwell inmates to carry a heavy load
of around seventy-five pounds, despite medical orders that
Chandler not lift more than ten pounds, id. at
14-15; and that medical personnel laughed at his condition
and suggested that they “cut his head off to relieve
him of pain and litigation, ” id. at 20-21.
6, 2018, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment.
Doc. #45. On or about June 20, 2018, Chandler responded in
opposition, Doc. #52; and eight days later, the defendants
replied, Doc. #55.
Standard of Review
“Summary judgment is proper only when the record
demonstrates that no genuine issue of material fact exists
and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Luv N' Care, Ltd. v. Groupo Rimar,
844 F.3d 442, 447 (5th Cir. 2016). “A factual issue is
genuine if the evidence is sufficient for a reasonable jury
to return a verdict for the non-moving party and material if
its resolution could affect the outcome of the action.”
Burton v. Freescale Semiconductor, Inc., 798 F.3d
222, 226 (5th Cir. 2015) (quotation marks omitted). In
evaluating a motion for summary judgment, a court must
“consider the evidence in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in its
favor.” Edwards v. Cont'l Cas. Co., 841
F.3d 360, 363 (5th Cir. 2016).
seeking summary judgment, “[t]he moving party bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the
record which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine
issue of material fact.” Nola Spice Designs, L.L.C.
v. Haydel Enters., Inc., 783 F.3d 527, 536 (5th Cir.
2015) (quotation marks and alterations omitted). If the
moving party satisfies this burden, “the non-moving
party must go beyond the pleadings and by her own affidavits,
or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, designate specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Id.
(quotation marks omitted). “Where the nonmoving party
bears the burden of proof at trial, the moving party
satisfies this initial burden by demonstrating an absence of
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case.”
Celtic Marine Corp. v. James C. Justice Cos., Inc.,
760 F.3d 477, 481 (5th Cir. 2014).
Chandler claims that the defendants provided him with
inadequate medical treatment for several of his ailments
which evinced deliberate indifference and that several of his
grievances complaining of his improper treatment were
rejected. See Doc. #24 at 4, 8, 18-19.Specifically,
Chandler claims he endured an unsuccessful tonsillectomy,
id. at 6; a delayed referral to specialists and
prison medical staff's refusal to follow specialists'
treatment plans, id. at 7-10, 13; generalized delays
in providing medical treatment, id. at 11-12;
carrying seventy-five pounds of weight after prison security
demanded he pack and move his property despite medical
professionals' order that he not lift more than ten
pounds, id. at 14-17; improper handcuffing and
confiscation of his walking cane, id. at 17;
doctors' joking that they should “cut his head off,
” id. at 21; and the failure to prescribe him
the proper medication, id. at 23.
No Constitutional Right to Prison Administrative Grievance
brings this case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which provides
a federal cause of action against every person who, under
color of state authority, causes the “deprivation of
any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws ….” To begin, there is no
constitutional entitlement to the existence-or adequacy-of
prison grievance procedures. See, e.g., Antonelli v.
Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1430-31 (7th Cir. 1996) (any
right to inmate grievance procedure is procedural rather than
substantive right and thus state's inmate grievance
procedures do not give rise to liberty interest protected by
due process clause); Adams v. Rice, 40 F.3d 72, 75
(4th Cir. 1994) (no constitutional right to participate in
grievance procedures); Flick v. Alba, 932 F.2d 728,
729 (8th Cir. 1991) (same). The Fifth Circuit has held that
“a prisoner has a liberty interest only in freedoms
from restraint imposing atypical and significant
hardship on the inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents
of prison life.” Geiger v. Jowers, 404 F.3d
371, 374 (5th Cir. 2005) (alterations and quotation marks
omitted). A prisoner “does not have a federally
protected liberty interest in having these grievances
resolved to his satisfaction.” Id.
extent Chandler challenges the adequacy of the prison
grievance process, including the thoroughness of the
investigation of his grievances or the lack of official
response to them, those allegations will be dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
Statute of Limitations
no specified federal statute of limitations exists for §
1983 suits, federal courts borrow the forum state's
general or residual personal-injury limitations period,
… which in Mississippi is three years.”
Edmonds v. Oktibbeha Cty., 675 F.3d 911, 916 (5th
Cir. 2012) (citing Miss. Code Ann. § 15-1-49). However,
“[f]ederal law governs when a cause of action under
§ 1983 accrues.” Redburn v. City of
Victoria, 898 F.3d 486, 496 (5th Cir. 2018). Under
federal law, “[t]he limitations period begins to run
when the plaintiff becomes aware that he has suffered an
injury or has sufficient information to know that he has been
injured.” Id. (quotation marks omitted). In
this case, Chandler became aware of the level of his medical
care at the time he received it or should have received it.
Clerk of the Court docketed Chandler's original complaint
on August 13, 2015; he signed it on August 11, 2015. Doc. #1
at 6. Under the prison mailbox rule, a prisoner's federal
complaint is deemed filed when he delivers the petition to
prison officials for mailing to the district court.
Spotville v. Cain, 149 F.3d 374, 376-78 (5th Cir.
1998) (relying on Houston v. Lack, 487 U.S. 266
(1988), and its progeny). The Court presumes Chandler
delivered his complaint to prison officials on the date he
signed it-August 11, 2015. Thus, any claims arising before August
11, 2012-three years before Chandler signed his
complaint-would fall outside the statute of limitations for a
case filed under § 1983. For this reason, Chandler's