United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF PARTIAL
GUIROLA, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
case is before the Court sua sponte. Pro se
Plaintiff Jordaan Jairrion Tillman is a pretrial detainee at
the Harrison County Adult Detention Center, and he brings
this action alleging an attack by fellow inmates. The Court
has considered and liberally construed the pleadings. As set
forth below, Defendants Harrison County Adult Detention
Center and Harrison County are dismissed.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
alleges that on May 20, 2018, Defendant Officer David
Dunkin-Hobbs placed him on lockdown, in a cell with two other
inmates-Rashad Lee and Billy Hamilton. Defendant Officer
Helveston was allegedly the officer on duty in the lockdown
Tillman left the cell to speak with his attorney, Tillman
claims that his two cellmates informed Helveston that they
were going to beat Tillman if he returned to the cell.
Helveston allegedly informed Defendant Officer Brandon
Smotherman. Additionally, Tillman maintains that the
Defendant officers were further aware that Lee and Hamilton
had previously attacked another cellmate. According to the
Complaint, these officers did not move Tillman despite being
aware of the specific threat made against him.
Tillman returned to the cell, he alleges that his two
cellmates began attacking him. He claims he screamed for help
for two minutes, then Helveston arrived and intervened. As a
result of the alleged altercation, Tillman contends his jaw
was broken in two places.
brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He asserts
Eighth Amendment claims against Smotherman, Dunkin-Hobbs, and
Helveston. Tillman also sues the Jail and the County because
they employed these officers.
Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, applies to prisoners
proceeding in forma pauperis in this Court. The
statute provides in pertinent part that, “the court
shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines
that . . . the action . . . (i) is frivolous or malicious;
(ii) fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted;
or (iii) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). The statute “accords judges not only the
authority to dismiss a claim based on an indisputably
meritless legal theory, but also the unusual power to pierce
the veil of the complaint's factual allegations and
dismiss those claims whose factual contentions are clearly
baseless.” Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25,
32 (1992). “[I]n an action proceeding under [28 U.S.C.
§ 1915, a federal court] may consider, sua sponte,
affirmative defenses that are apparent from the record even
where they have not been addressed or raised.” Ali
v. Higgs, 892 F.2d 438, 440 (5th Cir. 1990).
“Significantly, the court is authorized to test the
proceeding for frivolousness or maliciousness even before
service of process or before the filing of the answer.”
Id. The Court has permitted Tillman to proceed
in forma pauperis in this action. His Complaint is
subject to sua sponte dismissal under § 1915.
others, Tillman sues the jail and County for the alleged
failure to protect, because they employed the other
the capacity of the jail to be sued is determined according
to Mississippi law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 17(b)(3). Under Mississippi
law, a county jail is not a separate legal entity which may
be sued; rather, it is an extension of the county. Tuesno
v. Jackson, No. 5:08cv302-DCB-JMR, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
61416 at *2-3 (S.D.Miss. Apr. 30, 2009). See also Brown
v. Thompson, 927 So.2d 733, 737 (¶12) (Miss. 2006)
(sheriff's department). Therefore, the Harrison County
Adult Detention Center will be dismissed.
a municipality may be held liable under § 1983 when its
official policies or customs violate the Constitution.
Monell v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658,
690-91 (1978). The policy or custom must cause the
constitutional tort. Id. at 691. “[A]
municipality cannot be held liable under § 1983 on a
respondeat superior theory.” Id.
Thus, to state a claim against the County under § 1983,
Tillman must allege (1) the existence of a policymaker, and
(2) an official policy or custom (3) which is the moving
force behind a constitutional violation. Piotrowski v.
City of Houston, 237 F.3d 567, 578 (5th Cir. 2001).
County is sued merely because it employed other Defendants.
This is insufficient to state a claim against the County.
IS THEREFORE ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that, for the
foregoing reasons, the claims against Defendants Harrison
County Adult Detention Center and Harrison County should be,
and are hereby, DISMISSED WITHPREJUDICE as frivolous and for ...