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Dille v. Hinds County

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

March 18, 2019




         This cause is before the Court on Defendants' motions for summary judgment, [40] and [52]. For the following reasons, the Court finds that the motions should be granted in part and denied in part.

         Plaintiff Lincoln Dille, II, was a pretrial detainee in the custody of Hinds County, Mississippi, from February 2014 until August 2018. His suit, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, primarily concerns his time at the Jackson Detention Center. Dille is proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis and has named four defendants: Hinds County, Mississippi, former Hinds County Sheriff Tyrone Lewis, current Hinds County Sheriff Victor Mason, and Captain Sandra Dalton. Each defendant has moved for summary judgment.

         Factual Allegations

          In February 2014, authorities charged Dille with murder. [1] at 4; [52-1] at 36. Hinds County officials initially housed him at the Raymond Detention Center in Raymond, Mississippi. [1] at 4. However, Dille received threats from other Raymond detainees who had known Dille's alleged victim. Id. As a result, Hinds County officials transferred Dille to the Jackson Detention Center, and he was placed in protective custody.[1] [52-2] at 12, 17.

         Each of the events giving rise to Dille's suit took place during the three years he was housed at the Jackson Detention Center. He alleges the following:

         On July 10, 2014, Dille requested that he be allowed to leave protective custody. [52-1] at 29-30. He signed a waiver that same day confirming his request. Id. at 30; [52-2] at 17. In August 2014, a group of inmates assaulted Dille, causing him to lose three teeth. [1] at 4; [52-2] at 7. Although Dille had previously had arguments with some of the inmates involved in the assault, he does not recall reporting problems with them to jail personnel prior to the attack. [52-2] at 9.

         In March 2016, officials moved Dille into a cell without a sink or a toilet. [1] at 5-6. Dille alleges that he was housed in this cell for between one and two weeks. [52-2] at 10. He contends that he had no access to a toilet from 11 p.m. until 5 or 6 a.m. each night, and that he was forced to urinate in a cup. Id. According to Dille, he filed suit against Sandra Dalton relating to this cell assignment because she “was captain around [that] time.” Id. at 15.

         In May 2016, Dille claims an officer, Lt. Irving, and a group of sheriff's deputies used excessive force against him and other inmates. [6] at 5. He alleges that the officers falsely accused him and the other inmates of putting a hole in a cell wall. Id. According to Dille, the officers “demanded [that they] crawl out of [their] cells as they beat [them] with flashlights.” Id. Officers also hit Dille with a nightstick several times. [52-2] at 11. Officers tased two other inmates and “stomped [Dille's] back and beat[] [them] as [they] crawled back in [their] cells.” [6] at 5.

         Dille also alleges that officers at the Jackson Detention Center read and were “faking” his legal mail. [13] at 1. He contends that they threw away some of his letters to the Court. Id. at 2. He bases his allegations on the fact that the Court did not receive some of his letters. [52-2] at 13-14. He alleges that other inmates also reported that some of their letters never arrived at the intended destinations. Id. at 14. Dille filed suit against Sandra Dalton relating to these problems because she was “over the mail, too.” [52-2] at 15. “She had dealings with the mail situation . . . .” Id. Dille also claims that Dalton threatened to transfer him from the Jackson Detention Center back to the Raymond Detention Center because he had written to the ACLU. [13] at 1.

         Procedural History

         Defendants filed their first motion for summary judgment on June 19, 2018, alleging that Dille had failed to exhaust available administrative remedies prior to filing suit. [40]. The Court provided a copy of the motion to Dille at the June 27, 2018, omnibus hearing and set a deadline of July 13, 2018, for him to respond. [52-2] at 22-23. Defendants filed their second motion for summary judgment on November 14, 2018. [52]. Dille did not file a response to either motion.


         Addressing first Dille's claim against Hinds County, “[t]he Supreme Court has held that in order for a local governmental entity to have liability under Section 1983, a plaintiff must prove that a policy, custom, or practice of that local government entity was the ‘moving force' behind the constitutional violation.” Mann v. King, No. 1:13-cv-491-MTP, 2014 WL 808501, at *2 (S.D.Miss. Feb. 28, 2014)(quoting Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978)). At the omnibus hearing, the Court asked Dille his reasons for suing each party. Regarding Hinds County, he responded, “I really kind of investigated, and I really just [came] to understand that I may have to sue ...

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