United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MICHAEL T. PARKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on Motion  for Summary
Judgment filed by Defendants Pelicia Hall, Richard
Pennington, Pamela C. Robinson, and Marilyn Sturdivant along
with Motion  for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants
Latoya Burden, Justin Green, and MTC. Having carefully
considered the parties' submissions and the applicable
law, the Court finds that Motion  should be granted and
Motion  should be granted in part and denied in part.
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 January 8, 2018 and the Court held a
Spears hearing to clarify Plaintiff's
claims on October 4, 2018. Plaintiff testified at the hearing
and stated that the events he complained of occurred at the
Mississippi State Penitentiary (Parchman) and Wilkinson
County Correctional Facility (WCCF).
alleges that while incarcerated at Parchman in 2013 he was
improperly placed on lockdown due to a false report. This
occurred because Defendant Marilyn Sturdivant filed an
allegedly false administrative designation recommendation
regarding Plaintiff's custody- classifying him as
dangerous. Plaintiff claims that Defendant Pamela Robinson
violated his due process rights by placing him in long-term
administrative segregation. In relation to this incident,
Plaintiff also sued Defendant Richard Pennington for failing
to adequately investigate Plaintiff's grievances filed
through the prison's administrative remedy program (ARP)
and Defendant Pelcia Hall because he wrote her about this
issue, and she ignored him.
was later transferred to WCCF. On September 11, 2017, while
incarcerated at WCCF, an unknown person emptied a fire
extinguisher into Plaintiff's cell. Plaintiff told
Captain Justin Green about the fire extinguisher and how he
needed medical attention, but Green ignored him. Plaintiff
then filed a grievance via the prison's administrative
also alleges that on September 13, 2017, he had a physical
altercation with Defendant Green. Plaintiff was taking a
shower when Green and Lieutenant Young, who is not a named
defendant, approached him and wanted to search his cell.
Green and Young then searched Plaintiff's cell,
repeatedly hit him, dragged him on the stairs, and yelled
racial slurs at him. As a result of this assault, Plaintiff
allegedly sustained injuries to his face and a chipped tooth.
September 26, 2017, Plaintiff had an asthma attack. A nurse
checked his oxygen and recommend that he go to the medical
unit for a breathing treatment. Allegedly, Defendant Latoya
Burden refused to take Plaintiff for treatment. Burden then
ordered Plaintiff to close his tray hole, but he refused. In
response, two cans of mace were emptied into Plaintiff's
cell. Burden then cut off the water to Plaintiff's cell
so he could not clean the mace off of his body. The chemicals
on his body caused pain and hair loss.
Pamela C. Robinson, Marilyn Sturdivant, Pelicia Hall, and
Richard Pennington filed their Motion  for Summary
Judgment. Plaintiff did not respond to Motion .
Additionally, Defendants Latoya Burden, Justin Green, and MTC
filed a Motion  for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff did file
a Response  is opposition to Motion . Both motions
are now ripe for review.
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).
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)).
 for Summary Judgment
Hall, Robinson, Sturdivant and Pennington moved for summary
judgment on all claims brought against them. Mot. .
Plaintiff did not respond to the motion.
Hall, Robinson, Sturdivant, and Pennington argue that they
are entitled to summary judgment on any claim brought against
them in their official capacity. These Defendants are
employed by MDOC, which is an arm of the State. Claims
brought against defendants in their official capacity are
essentially claims brought against the State, and
“[t]he Eleventh Amendment bars suits in federal court
against a state, or one of its agencies or departments, by
anyone other than the federal government or another
state.” Decker v. Dunbar, 358 Fed. App'x
509, 2009 WL 5095139 at *1 (5th Cir. 2009).
a waiver, the State and its agencies are not subject to suit
in federal court due to the protections of the Eleventh
Amendment. Cox v. Texas, 354 Fed. App'x 901, 902
(5th Cir. 2009). Mississippi has not waived its immunity in
this instance. See Miss. Code Ann. § 11-46-5(4)
(“Nothing contained in this chapter shall be construed
to waive the immunity of the state from suit in federal
courts guaranteed by the Eleventh Amendment to the
Constitution of the Untied States.”) Moreover, State
employees acting within their official capacities are not
“persons” under 42 U.S.C. § 1983- the
vehicle for Plaintiff's claims. See Will v. Michigan
Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989); see
also Ingle v. Pace, 744 Fed. App'x 883, 884 (5th
Cir. 2018). Therefore, to the extent Plaintiff has brought
claims against Hall, Robinson, Sturdivant, and Pennington in
their official capacities, summary judgment should be granted
in Defendants favor.
Hall, Robinson, Sturdivant, and Pennington also argue that
they are entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiff's
claims are barred by the statute of limitations. Plaintiff
did not respond to this argument. In Section 1983 actions,
courts look to the law of the state in which the cause of
action arose to determine the applicable statute of
limitations. Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 387-88
(2007). Specifically, courts look to a state's statute of
limitations for personal-injury torts. Id.;
Owens v. Okure, 488 U.S. 235, 249-50 (1989). In
Mississippi, the ...