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Stone v. Hall

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

August 23, 2019

TED STONE PLAINTIFF
v.
PELICIA HALL, et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

         This matter comes before the Court on defendant Brad Huffman's motion for summary judgment, Doc. 72; defendants Pelicia Hall and Sonja Stancial's motion for summary judgment, Doc.79; and defendant Willie Knighten's motion for summary judgment, Doc. 83. For the reasons set forth below, Huffman, Hall, and Stancial's motions are denied as moot, and Knighten's motion is granted.

         I. Background

         In this § 1983 action, Plaintiff Ted Stone, a former inmate at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman ("MSP"), sues various individuals for constitutional injuries he maintains they inflicted upon him.[1]

         A. Brad Huffman

         Brad Huffman is the Warden of the Chickasaw County Correction Facility ("CCCF"), where Stone was previously incarcerated. According to the complaint, Stone was incarcerated at CCCF from June 2014 to December 2014. Stone alleges that in December 2014, he threatened to file an official complaint against Huffman for obstructing his mail. Stone claims that, in retaliation for this threat, Huffman transferred Stone to MSP.

         In March 2018, Stone discovered he had not been in trusty status when he arrived at CCCF in June 2014. Stone believed this to be in error, and so he wrote Huffman a letter notifying him of the problem, and threatening legal action against Huffman if the issue was not fixed. According to Stone, Huffman retroactively granted Stone trusty status beginning on June 27, 2014, but also retroactively terminated his trusty status from December 29, 2014. Stone asserts that he should have remained on trusty status from that date onward and that he did not receive certain trusty earned time credit that he should have earned.

         Stone asserts that Huffman retaliated against him in violation of his First Amendment rights by transferring him in 2014 and by retroactively removing his trusty status in 2018. Stone seeks injunctive relief, asking this Court to compel Huffman to void his order removing Stone from trusty status on December 29, 2014. He also asks for declaratory relief that Huffman is not immune from money damages.

         B. Pelicia Hall and Sonja Stancial

         Pelicia Hall is the Commissioner of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Sonja Stancial is the warden of Units 25 and 26 at MSP. Stone alleges that Stancial repeatedly placed Unit 26, where Stone resided, on lockdowns that were "frivolous." Stone states that when he complained about the lockdowns, Stancial transferred Stone to Unit 25 in retaliation.

         Stone alleges that the conditions in Unit 25 were unconstitutional. He asserts that he had no mat for his bunk, that there was no hot water, that there was standing sewage in the bathroom, that bare wires hung from the walls, that the drinking water was contaminated, that kitchen staff refused to provide him with a medically-ordered "lay-in" tray, that there was no generator to provide power during blackouts, and that the cell was so overcrowded that he could not maneuver his walker between bunks.

         Stone asserts that Stancial violated his First Amendment rights by transferring him to Unit 25 in retaliation for his complaints about the conditions of Unit 26, and that the conditions in Unit 25 amount to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Fifth Amendment. He seeks injunctive relief against Hall and Stancial, requesting that they fix the conditions in Unit 25 and transfer him back to Unit 26. He also seeks a declaratory judgment that they are not immune from damages.

         C. Willie Knighten

         Willie Knighten is an employee of a contractor that provides medical services to inmates at MSP. Stone asserts that he suffers from severe migraines and knee pain. Stone asserts that Knighten has refused to provide him a supply of 100 Excedrin tablets or crutches that Stone claims are medically necessary to treat that pain. Stone also claims the MDOC medical staff continuously refused to provide him with dental care. As a result, Stone claims, he has lost most of his teeth, and suffers from dental pain and ringing in his ears. Stone claims that MDOC's failure to provide him with medicine, crutches, and dental care amounts to a deliberate indifference and violates the Eight Amendment and that Knighten should be held liable. Stone seeks injunctive relief in the form of an order compelling the MDOC to provide him 100 Excedrin per month, crutches, and medical treatment by the health care provider of his choosing. Stone also seeks compensatory damages.

         II. ...


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