DENNIS JOBE A/K/A DENNIS JAMES JOBE JR. A/K/A DENNIS JOBE JR. A/K/A DENNIS J. JOBE JR. A/K/A DENNIS JAMES JOBE APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND EARNEST LEE APPELLEES
OF JUDGMENT: 03/16/2018
SUNFLOWER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. MARGARET CAREY-McCRAY
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DENNIS JOBE (PRO SE).
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
DARRELL CLAYTON BAUGHN.
Dennis Jobe (Jobe) appeals two circuit court orders
concerning his complaints of facility conditions and
deprivation of medical treatment by the Mississippi
Department of Corrections (MDOC). The Mississippi Supreme
Court has held that these orders are final and appealable and
that Jobe's appeal to this Court was timely filed. After
reviewing the circuit court opinions, we affirm them but also
remand for further action given the circumstances.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Jobe is incarcerated at the Mississippi State Penitentiary
where he is serving a nine- year sentence for possession of
marijuana with intent to distribute and a concurrent
twenty-year sentence for aggravated assault.
Jobe served in the military until 1990. As a veteran, he was
entitled to and received treatment at the Veterans
Administration Medical Center prior to his incarceration. He
alleges that he contracted Hepatitis-C there. Jobe contends
that the Veterans Administration will not treat him because
they do not treat inmates.
Requests for Medical Treatment with Harvoni
After Jobe's conviction and incarceration, Harvoni, a new
treatment for Hepatitis-C, became available in 2014. When he
learned about Harvoni, Jobe began requesting the treatment.
Jobe made an initial request to MDOC's medical
contractor, Health Assurance, on May 13, 2015. It responded
that it did not have the authority to make that decision and
it would refer the request to MDOC.
After hearing nothing about the "referral," Jobe
sent his first request to MDOC for Harvoni on October 6,
2015. From the forms in the record, it appears that MDOC had
thirty days to reply; Jobe received his response from MDOC
eighty-six days later on December 27, 2015. In that response,
MDOC replied: "Harvoni is not yet on our Pharmacy
formulary. It is however being evaluated by executive
officials. If and when its use is approved at this facility,
we will begin arranging to evaluate eligible patients."
Jobe appealed this decision on January 26, 2016. He explained
that the response was late due to the holidays and because
the ILAP/Legal personnel did not come to pick up the mail.
MDOC's response was quick this time. On January 29, it
sent Jobe a letter denying his appeal as untimely.
Nearly eight months later, Jobe made a second request for
Harvoni in an August 8, 2016 Administrative Review Process
(ARP) filing. It should be noted that MDOC had not denied
Jobe the treatment previously; it merely said the Harvoni
treatment was under evaluation. Thus, Jobe initiated his
request again. MDOC responded on August 15, 2016, saying that
it had received Jobe's request but because he had made a
previous request on the matter which was closed, he could not
make the request again. MDOC specifically said:
"Therefore, since this matter has already been accepted
and closed, this particular request is being returned to you
and will not be processed."
Whether an appeal of this decision or a further request, Jobe
submitted another request on September 28, 2016. On October
3, 2016, Jobe received MDOC's response which said the
same thing as the August 15 response, namely, that MDOC would
not process any further requests on this matter.
Within the thirty-day deadline, on October 28, 2016, Jobe
began his appeal to the Circuit Court of Sunflower County. He
filed a motion in Sunflower Circuit Court for an extension of
time within which to prepare his motion for judicial review.
He certified that he had mailed a copy of this motion to
MDOC's attorneys. He then completed his motion for
judicial review, and it is undisputed that he dropped it in
the prison mailbox on November 2, 2016. The clerk received it
and filed it on November 9, 2016.
Thereafter, on November 22, 2016, MDOC filed a motion to
quash the summons based on lack of personal jurisdiction over
MDOC because of improper service of process (i.e., Jobe had
failed to have the Attorney General served with process).
MDOC also filed a motion to dismiss on the same grounds. It
also argued that the case was frivolous; that the statute of
limitations had expired; and that MDOC was immune from suit
based on Mississippi Code Annotated section 11-46-9 (Rev.
2012). MDOC also filed an answer to Jobe's petition.
On November 25, 2016, Jobe responded to MDOC's answer in
the circuit court. In the "Relief" request, Jobe
raised for the first time that he had been deprived of
outside exercise. Thereafter, on March 14, 2017, Jobe filed a
"Declaration in Support of Plaintiff's Motion for a
Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction"
in which he sought relief on the same Harvoni treatment issue
but also raised for the first time MDOC's failure to
provide him with an MRI for a back problem and being
subjected to group punishment.
On March 16, 2018, the Sunflower County Circuit Court issued
two orders. The court denied the Motion for Temporary
Restraining Order concerning medical treatment for Jobe's
back problem, denial of exercise time, and subjection to
group punishment because Jobe had failed to exhaust his
internal remedies on these issues. Because of this failure to
exhaust, the circuit court found it had no jurisdiction and
denied the motion. In that same order, the court found Jobe
had exhausted his administrative remedy on the Harvoni