United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
CASANDRA JOINER and MYRON POWELL, individually and as the wrongful death beneficiaries of TYMARIO JOINER, deceased, and the estate of TYMARIO JOINER, by and through its representative CASANDRA JOINER PLAINTIFFS
MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, SOUTH MISSISSIPPI CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, GREENE COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI, and GREENE COUNTY SOLID WASTE DEPARTMENT, DIVISIONS OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, and JOHN DOES 1-10 DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER DENYING PLAINTIFFS'
MOTION  TO REMAND AND GRANTING DEFENDANTS MISSISSIPPI
DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND SOUTH MISSISSIPPI CORRECTIONAL
INSTITUTION'S MOTION  TO DISMISS
SULEYMAN OZERDEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
THE COURT are two Motions: 1) a Motion  to Remand filed
by Plaintiffs Casandra Joiner, Myron Powell, and the estate
of Tymario Joiner (collectively, “Plaintiffs”);
and 2) a Motion  to Dismiss filed by Defendants
Mississippi Department of Corrections (“MDOC”)
and the South Mississippi Correctional Institution
review of the parties' motions, the record, and relevant
legal authority, the Court finds that Plaintiffs pled in
their First Amended Complaint a federal claim under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 1983 and 1988, State Ct. R. [1-1] at 16, such
that removal was proper and this Court has federal question
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
Plaintiffs' Motion  to Remand should be denied.
the Court finds persuasive the argument set forth in the
Motion  to Dismiss filed by Defendants MDOC and SMCI.
Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint is subject to
dismissal as to these two Defendants, because MDOC and SMCI
are not “persons” within the meaning of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. In addition, Plaintiffs' state law claims
against these Defendants should be dismissed because the
State of Mississippi has not waived sovereign immunity for
claimants who were incarcerated at the time at which the
claim arose. The Court will grant the Motion  to Dismiss
the claims against Defendants MDOC and SMCI.
March 7, 2017, Tymario Joiner (“Tymario”) was an
incarcerated inmate participating in the public work service
program at SMCI. State Ct. R. [1-1] at 19. The program was
operated by Defendant SMCI. Id. Unfortunately, at
10:30 am, as Tymario was performing his duties as a
participant in the program, a garbage truck struck
Id. Plaintiffs allege that MDOC and Greene County
officials notified SMCI of the incident, Id. at 20,
and that about 20 minutes later, they transported Tymario to
SMCI where they questioned him regarding his injuries.
Id. After approximately one and a half hours, an
ambulance arrived and transported Tymario to the hospital.
Id. He sustained numerous injuries from the incident
and was pronounced dead at the hospital at 3:57 pm.
filed a Complaint on September 7, 2018, in the Circuit Court
of Greene County, Mississippi, Notice of Removal  at 1,
followed by a First Amended Complaint on December 17, 2018,
Id. at 2. The First Amended Complaint advances
causes of action against Defendants under the Mississippi
Tort Claims Act, Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-1, et seq., and
42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988. State Ct. Record [1-1]
at 22. Process was served on Defendants Greene County and
Greene County Solid Waste Department on December 27, 2018,
Notice of Removal  at 2, and on January 11, 2019,
Defendants Greene County and Greene County Solid Waste
Department filed a Notice of Removal in this Court,
Id. at 1. Defendants MDOC and SMCI joined the Notice
of Removal on January 16, 2019. Joinder of Notice of Removal
 at 1.
Plaintiffs' Motion  to Remand
argue that this case should be remanded to the Circuit Court
of Greene County, Mississippi, because the claims are
“largely based on violations of state law.” Mem.
in Supp. of Mot. to Remand  at 1. They contend that the
issues of state law are complex and predominate over the
federal law claims. Id. at
U.S.C. § 1441 provides for the removal of civil actions
brought in a state court when the district courts have
original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. § 1441(a). Under 28
U.S.C. § 1331, federal district courts are granted
original jurisdiction over civil actions arising under the
Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States. 28
U.S.C. § 1331. A suit arises under federal law only when
a plaintiff's statement of his own cause of action in the
complaint shows that the action is based upon federal law.
Vaden v. Discover Bank, 556 U.S. 49, 60 (2009).
Under the well-pleaded complaint rule, “unless the
plaintiff's complaint establishes that the case arises
under federal law, ” a defendant may not remove a case
to federal court based on federal question jurisdiction.
Franchise Tax Bd. of Cal. v. Constr. Laborers Vacation
Trust for S. Cal., 463 U.S. 1, 10 (1983) (emphasis in
28 U.S.C. § 1367, when district courts have original
jurisdiction in a civil action, they also have supplemental
jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to
claims over which the court has original jurisdiction that
they form part of the same case or controversy. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1367(a). Claims form part of the same case or
controversy when they arise from a “common nucleus of
operative fact” such that a plaintiff “would
ordinarily be expected to try them all in one judicial