United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
A. SANDERS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter comes before the court on the pro se prisoner
complaint of Jermaine Alexander Ramsey, who challenges the
conditions of his confinement under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
The court conducted a hearing pursuant to Spears v.
McCotter, 766 F.2d 179 (5th Cir. 1985), to
determine whether any claims in this case have sufficient
merit to proceed. For the purposes of the Prison Litigation
Reform Act, the court notes that the plaintiff was
incarcerated when he filed this suit. The plaintiff has
brought the instant case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which
provides a federal cause of action against “[e]very
person” who under color of state authority causes the
“deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws.” 42 U.S.C. §
1983. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants failed to
repair water leaks into his living area, which caused him to
slip, fall, and injure himself. The plaintiff also alleges
that the defendants denied him adequate medical care. For the
reasons set forth below, the plaintiff's claims regarding
the defendants' failure to repair the leaks will be
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief
could be granted. The plaintiff's claims regarding denial
of medical care will, however, proceed.
21, 2018, in Unit 29-L building at the Mississippi State
Penitentiary, Mr. Ramsey slipped and fell in his cell, which
had been condemned on April 4, 2018, before he was placed
there. A leak had formed in the ceiling, and Ramsey had
reported it many times to defendants Timothy Morris, Verlena
Flagg, and Brenda Cox. He requested to be moved, but none of
the defendants took any action, either by having him moved or
repairing the leak. As a result of his slip and fall, he
suffered injuries to his back, right leg, and right shoulder,
which has a permanent lump on it.
requested medical treatment multiple times - on May 21, 24,
27, and 29 - but he never received any treatment while housed
at the Mississippi State Penitentiary. A guard called the
clinic on his behalf, but no one responded, and Mr. Ramsey
never received an explanation for the lack of response.
Indeed, medical personnel at Parchman never responded to his
Medical Service Request Forms. He informed defendant Knighten
of his problems, but did not hear back. Associate Warden
Verlena Flagg signed his sick call requests, but he never
received treatment for his injuries while housed at the
Mississippi State Penitentiary.
transferred to the Marshall County Correctional Facility
(“MCCF”) on June 8, 2018, where he underwent
x-ray testing, but did not see the results. He has received
other treatment for his medical problems while housed at
MCCF. He currently suffers from severe back pain, knee pain,
sleep deprivation, and mental and emotional problems.
Claim for Negligence Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Ramsey's claims regarding failure by the defendants to
maintain the building and repair the leaks sounds wholly in
negligence, which is not a valid claim under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Negligent conduct by prison officials does not rise to
the level of a constitutional violation. Daniels v.
Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 106 S.Ct. 662 (1986),
Davidson v. Cannon, 474 U.S. 344, 106 S.Ct. 668
(1986). As such, Mr. Ramsey's claims regarding water
leaks and dangerous floor conditions must be dismissed for
failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
As Mr. Ramsey's allegations against Warden Timothy Morris
and Deputy Warden Brenda Cox involve only his claims
regarding the leaks, these defendants must be dismissed from
reasons set forth above, the plaintiff's claims regarding
water leaking onto the floor and causing him to slip, fall,
and injure himself will be dismissed for failure to state a
claim upon which relief could be granted. In addition,
defendants Timothy Morris and Brenda Cox will be dismissed
with prejudice from this suit, as the plaintiff's
allegations against them involve only the negligence claims.
The plaintiff's claims for denial of adequate medical
care against defendants Associate Warden Verlena Flagg and
Chief Medical Officer Willie Knighten will, however, proceed.
A judgment consistent with this memorandum opinion will issue