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Smith v. Management and Training Corp.

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

September 24, 2019

TOREY CORTEZ SMITH PLAINTIFF
v.
MANAGEMENT AND TRAINING CORPORATION, SERGEANT UNKNOWN TRAYLOR, FRANK SHAW, UNKNOWN WALKER, and CAPTAIN UNKNOWN BRIDGES DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          F. KEITH BALL, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This case is before the Court on Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment [65]. Plaintiff Torey Cortez Smith brings this suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He is proceeding in forma pauperis and pro se. He alleges that in May 2017 officials at East Mississippi Correctional Facility (“EMCF”) failed to protect him from an inmate assault, used excessive force against him, and incorrectly found him guilty of a facility rule violation. For the following reasons, the Court finds that the motion should be granted in part and denied in part.

         I. Factual Allegations

         Smith’s complaint concerns two incidents in May 2017. First, he alleges that Officer Jidarron Walker failed to protect him from an assault by another inmate. On or about May 14, 2017, Smith complained to EMCF officials that another inmate, Dewayne Hoskins, [1] had sexually harassed him. [65-1] at 6-7, 33. EMCF officials transferred Hoskins to a different pod within the unit. Id. at 7, 33. On or about May 15, 2017, the facility’s barber visited Smith’s unit, resulting in increased inmate traffic to and from the area. Id. at 7-8, 34-35. During this time, Hoskins reentered Smith’s unit. Smith began trying to get Officer Walker’s attention to let him know that Hoskins was not supposed to be there. Id. at 9. However, before officers could intervene, Hoskins punched Smith in the face. Id. at 12. According to Smith, Hoskins then pulled out a knife. Id. at 36. At that point, another EMCF staff member, Sergeant Dukes “charged [Hoskins], literally ran on the zone and tried to take him down on the ground.” Id.

         According to EMCF medical records, Smith reported being punched in the lower right jaw. [65-2] at 3. He did not require any medical treatment. Id.

         At an omnibus hearing held on July 2, 2018, Smith testified that Officer Walker did not normally on Smith’s unit; he usually worked on the “high risk” unit. Id. at 8. Smith further testified that because it was “barbershop day, ” it was “extremely busy” in the unit, and “traffic [was] extremely constant . . . even with employees and inmates.” Id. at 8, 34. As to why he believed Officer Walker let Hoskins on the zone, Smith testified as follows:

So my understanding - - my belief, just be honest with you, I believe that because [Hoskins] was on the unit prior, probably less than 24 hours [before], I believe Officer Walker mist[ook] him to be still housed on that unit, because he had just left out of that zone that - - you know, the day before or two days before or a day before.
So I - - and my - - my belief, I believe that Officer Walker assumed that he was still on there until the facts came out. He was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, ’ you know, like he [was not] supposed to be there.

Id. at 35. Counsel for Defendants then asked whether Smith believed Officer Walker inadvertently let Hoskins onto the zone. Smith responded,

I think he - - it can be either or. Either or. If you want me to be specific, I’ll say yes, I believe that he intentionally let him on the zone. If you want me to be sympathy with him, I believe that he did not recognize that he was housed on 1 Bravo. So I don’t know his - - I don’t know his mindset, you know.

Id.

         The second incident at issue took place on May 31, 2017. Smith alleges Sgt. Lonnie Traylor used excessive force against him. In the grievance he filed with EMCF, Smith described the incident as follows:

I was trying to explain to Sergeant Traylor that I had a problem [being housed] on Housing Unit 1B. We stood in front of the zone door. He stated to me to move from the door and deal with it shortly. He advised Officer Jenkins to give him the radio. He stuck me in my side. I stated to this sergeant why you doing this. He said explain to the next shift. When I refuse[] to move from the door, he pulled me in the hallway and threw me onto the floor. While I was on the floor, he choked me. I was gagging for air. Well, I was given an RVR for refusing housing. It’s not right for this type of action. If my safety was at stake, why should I be subject to an RVR. ...

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