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Williams v. Myers

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

August 22, 2019



          Michael T. Parker United States Magistrate Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on the Motion [57] for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Alex Hodge, Jones County, Jeff Monk, and Joseph White along with the Motion [69] for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Jason Myers. Having carefully considered the parties' submissions and the applicable law, the Court finds that the Motions [57] and [69] should be granted in part and denied in part.


         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, is a post-conviction inmate in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Plaintiff filed this civil-rights lawsuit on August 29, 2017 and the Court held a Spears[1] hearing to clarify Plaintiff's claims on July 2, 2018. Plaintiff testified at the hearing that his claims stemmed from his arrest in Jones County, Mississippi and his subsequent stay at the Jones County Adult Detention Center.

         According to Plaintiff, on December 14, 2016, Jones County officers stopped his vehicle because they had an arrest warrant for him. Plaintiff pulled his truck into a yard and then attempted to flee on foot but was quickly stopped after exiting his truck by either Jason Myers or Joseph White[2] who “tased” him. Plaintiff claims that once he was hit with the taser he fell to the ground and stopped resisting.

         He claims that Jason Myers then kicked and stomped him several times in the back of the head and Jeff Monk kicked him in the jaw. Plaintiff sues Jason Myers, Jeff Monk, and Joseph White for their use of excessive force. He also claims that Sheriff Alex Hodge and Jones County are responsible for the officers' actions, and that they failed to properly train and supervise the officers. As a result of this force, Plaintiff claims that he now has a speech impediment, suffers from seizures, and has serious headaches, all of which he did not have before the incident.

         Defendants disagree with Plaintiff's representation of the facts. They assert that the force used was reasonable and necessary under the circumstances because Plaintiff was fleeing and continued to resist arrest. Further, Defendant Monk submits that he was not present when Plaintiff was arrested but arrived at the scene later and never used any force against Plaintiff.

         Plaintiff further claims that after the officers used excessive force against him, he was taken to the Jones County Adult Detention Center. Once he arrived at the jail, medical personnel there told the officers to take him to the local medical clinic. At this clinic, his head was x-rayed and he was told that his jaw was not broken.

         Plaintiff was returned to Jones County Adult Detention Center and a few days later he suffered his first seizure. Plaintiff was sent to the doctor where he received a CAT scan, but he did not receive an MRI as recommended by the doctor because the officer transporting him did not have the time to wait. Plaintiff testified that while housed at the jail for approximately two weeks he was visited by healthcare provider Donnie Scoggin on multiple occasions, but that Defendant Hodge and Defendant Jones County denied him medical care by not providing an MRI after his seizure.

         On October 17, 2018, Defendants Hodge, Jones County, Monk, and White moved for Summary Judgment. Mot. [57]. Plaintiff responded on April 19, 2019, and Defendants replied on April 26, 2019. See [66], [67]. On May 23, 2019, Defendant Myers moved for Summary Judgment.[3] Mot. [69]. Plaintiff has not responded to Defendant Myers motion and the time for doing so has run.


         Summary Judgment Standard

         “[S]ummary judgment is proper if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986) (internal quotations omitted). The Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Causey v. Sewell Cadillac-Chevrolet, Inc., 394 F.3d 285, 288 (5th Cir. 2004). If the moving party meets its burden, the “nonmovant must go beyond the pleadings and designate specific facts showing there is a genuine issue for trial.” Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).

         Summary judgment is proper “where a party fails to establish the existence of an element essential to his case and on which he bears the burden of proof.” Washington v. Armstrong World Indus., Inc., 839 F.2d 1121, 1122 (5th Cir. 1988). In the absence of proof, the Court does not “assume that the nonmoving party could or would prove the necessary facts.” Little, 37 F.3d at 1075 (emphasis omitted). “It is improper for the district court to ‘resolve factual disputes by weighing conflicting evidence, … since it is the province of the jury to assess the probative value of the evidence.'” McDonald v. Entergy Operations, Inc., 2005 WL 2474701, at *3 (S.D.Miss. Apr. 29, 2005) (quoting Kennett-Murray Corp. v. Bone, 622 F.2d 887, 892 (5th Cir. 1980)).

         Excessive ...

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