United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
H. WALKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Robert Warren Triplett, proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 prisoner
civil rights complaint alleging unconstitutional conditions
of confinement at the South Mississippi Correctional
Institution (SMCI). Doc. . The Court permitted him to
proceed on claims of inadequate lighting, unsanitary
conditions, accessibility, improper medical charges,
inadequate medical care, and inadequate food. Doc. .
Medical personnel at SMCI, who also have been named as
defendants, filed a motion for summary judgment. Doc. .
By order dated May 13, 2019, the Court granted the medical
Defendants’ motion for summary judgment and dismissed
Plaintiff’s claims for inadequate medical care and
unauthorized medical charges. Doc. .
the Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by
Defendants Jacqueline Banks, Karen Causey, Mark Davis,
Roderick Evans, Sheneice Evans, Faytonia Johnson, Joy Ross,
Mitcheal Taylor, and Marshall Turner. Doc. . These
Defendants are employees of the Mississippi Department of
Corrections (MDOC Defendants). In the instant motion,
Defendants argue that Plaintiff’s claims with respect
to conditions of confinement should be dismissed. Because
Plaintiff’s claims for inadequate medical care and
unauthorized medical charges have been dismissed, the Court
addresses Plaintiff’s only remaining claims: inadequate
lighting, unsanitary conditions, accessibility, and
filed a response on July 10, 2019. Doc. . In the first
half of his response, he complains primarily about procedural
matters, inadequate discovery, and problems with prison mail
and the Inmate Legal Assistance Program. Doc.  at 1-5.
For example, he contends he did not receive his complete
medical record. Id. at 1. Plaintiff’s medical
claims have been dismissed pursuant to a separate order;
therefore, his complaints regarding medical records are
irrelevant for purposes of the MDOC Defendants’ motion
for summary judgment. Plaintiff also contends he did not
receive discovery responses from the MDOC Defendants. At the
screening hearing, counsel for the MDOC Defendants provided
Plaintiff with 513 pages of documents, which included
Plaintiff’s institutional record, medical records, and
Administrative Remedy Program (ARP) documentation. Doc. 
at 30. As will be addressed in this order, Plaintiff’s
discovery requests were untimely. As noted in the
Court’s order of May 10, 2019, denying
Plaintiff’s untimely motion to compel discovery,
Plaintiff made a general request for discovery and failed
“to explain with any degree of specificity how the
requested information would be relevant or discoverable or
would aid in the prosecution of his case.” Doc. .
The Court finds no reason to deny summary judgment based on
Plaintiff’s general, non-specific complaints about
provides that “[t]he court shall grant summary judgment
if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Sierra Club,
Inc. v. Sandy Creek Energy Assocs., L.P., 627 F.3d 134,
138 (5th Cir. 2010). Where the summary judgment evidence
establishes that one of the essential elements of the
plaintiff’s cause of action does not exist as a matter
of law, all other contested issues of fact are rendered
immaterial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323 (1986); Topalin v. Ehrman, 954 F.2d 1125, 1138
(5th Cir. 1992). In making its determinations of fact on a
motion for summary judgment, the court must view the evidence
submitted by the parties in a light most favorable to the
non-moving party. McPherson v. Rankin, 736 F.2d 175,
178 (5th Cir. 1984).
moving party has the duty to demonstrate the lack of a
genuine issue of a material fact and the appropriateness of
judgment as a matter of law to prevail on its motion.
Union Planters Nat’l Leasing v. Woods, 687
F.2d 117 (5th Cir. 1982). The movant accomplishes this by
informing the court of the basis of its motion, and by
identifying portions of the record which highlight the
absence of genuine factual issues. Topalian, 954
F.2d at 1131. “Rule 56 contemplates a shifting burden:
the nonmovant is under no obligation to respond unless the
movant discharges [its] initial burden of demonstrating
[entitlement to summary judgment].” John v. State
of Louisiana, 757 F.3d 698, 708 (5th Cir.
1985). Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment
is presented, the nonmoving party must rebut with
“significant probative” evidence. Ferguson v.
Nat’l Broad. Co., Inc., 584 F.2d 111, 114 (5th
alleges unconstitutional conditions of confinement at SMCI.
The Constitution does not require that inmates be housed in
comfortable prisons; however, the Eighth Amendment’s
prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment does require
that prisoners be afforded humane conditions of confinement
and prison officials are to ensure that inmates receive
adequate food, shelter, clothing, and medical care.
Herman v. Holiday, 238 F.3d 660, 664 (5th Cir.
2001); Harper v. Showers, 174 F.3d 716, 719 (5th
Cir. 1999); see also Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S.
25, 36 (1993) (holding that the inmate must show that the
risk of which he complains is “so grave that it
violates contemporary standards of decency to expose anyone
unwillingly to such a risk”).
order to establish an Eighth Amendment violation regarding
conditions of confinement, an inmate must establish (1) that
the deprivation alleged was sufficiently serious, i.e. an
official’s act or omission must have resulted in the
denial of “the minimal civilized measure of
life’s necessities”; and (2) that the prison
official possessed a sufficiently culpable state of mind.
Herman, 238 F.3d at 664. The required state of mind
is one of deliberate indifference to inmate health or safety.
Id. Deliberate indifference is established by
showing that prison officials (1) were aware of facts from
which an inference of excessive risk to the prisoner’s
health or safety could be drawn; and (2) that they actually
drew an inference that such potential for harm existed.
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e) provides that “no Federal
civil action may be brought by a prisoner confined in a jail,
prison, or other correctional facility, for mental or
emotional injury suffered while in custody without a prior
showing of physical injury.” The Fifth Circuit, in
interpreting this provision, has held that the phrase
“physical injury” in § 1997e(e) means an
injury that is more than de minimis, but need not be
significant. Alexander v. Tippah County, Miss., 351
F.3d 626 (5th Cir. 2003). Plaintiff does not allege any
physical injury resulting from the conditions of confinement.
Thus, he is limited to declaratory or injunctive relief.
See Harper, 174 F.3d at 719; see also Geiger v.
Jowers, 404 F.3d 371, 375 (5th Cir. 2005).
argues that there is inadequate lighting in his zone at SMCI.
He alleges that the lights are turned on for only 4 or 5
hours a day, if they get turned on at all. On average, he
alleges that the main lights are turned on for about 90
minutes per day. He further alleges that when the main lights
are turned on, they do not meet the constitutional
requirement of 20 lumens. As a result of inadequate lighting,
he alleges he suffers from depression and sleepiness.