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Ramsey v. Management Training & Corporation

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

October 15, 2019

JERMAINE ALEXANDER RAMSEY PLAINTIFF
v.
MANAGEMENT TRAINING & CORPORATION, et al. DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          ROY PERCY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Jermaine Alexander Ramsey, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Management Training & Corporation (“MTC”), Warden Patricia Doty, Deputy Warden Harold Taylor, and Dr. Hunter Williamson, alleging that they denied him appropriate medical care-and did so in retaliation for an old case he unsuccessfully prosecuted against MTC. Defendants have moved for summary judgment. Having reviewed the submissions and arguments of the parties, as well as the applicable law, the Court finds that Defendants' motions should be granted.

         Plaintiff's Allegations and Background Facts

         Ramsey was formerly housed at the Marshall County Correctional Facility (“MCCF”), [1]from June 8, 2018 until September 13, 2018.[2] Ramsey claims that on the evening of July 19, 2018, he advised prison security staff that he was having trouble breathing, dizziness, and severe chest pains.[3] Ramsey further alleges that despite these symptoms, the MCCF medical clinic refused to see him because he had already been examined and treated earlier that day. Later that same evening, Ramsey asserts that he “collapsed face first in his cell, ” and sustained injuries to his head, jawbone and neck. According to Ramsey, he received no medical treatment following his alleged fall until a week later, and that treatment was for a “totally different” issue.

         Ramsey filed the instant lawsuit on August 27, 2018, alleging that Warden Doty, Deputy Warden Walker, and Dr. Williamson were personally responsible for the alleged denial of medical care. Ramsey further contends that Defendants' actions were taken in retaliation for a lawsuit he unsuccessfully prosecuted against MTC in 2016. He asks the court to award him monetary damages and an order directing that he be released from custody. On July 25, 2019, Defendants filed separate motions for summary judgment. Doc. #s 97, 99. Ramsey filed his responses in opposition on September 4 and September 11, 2019. Doc. #s 105, 106. Dr. Williamson filed his reply to Ramsey's response on September 11, 2019. Doc. # 107.

         Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate only when the pleadings and evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, illustrate that no genuine issue of material facts exists, and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), (c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). A fact is deemed “material if its resolution in favor of one party might affect the outcome of the lawsuit under governing law.” Sossamon v. Lone Star State of Texas, 560 F.3d 316, 326 (5th Cir. 2009) (citation and internal quotation mark omitted). “The moving party must show that if the evidentiary material of record were reduced to admissible evidence in court, it would be insufficient to permit the nonmoving party to carry its burden.” Beck v. Texas State Bd. Of Dental Examiners, 204 F.3d 629, 633 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1066 (1988)).

         Once the motion is properly supported with competent evidence, the nonmovant must show that summary judgment is inappropriate. Morris v. Covan World Wide Moving, Inc., 144 F.3d 377, 380 (5th Cir. 1998); see also Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. In other words, the non-movant must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986); see also Beck, 204 F.3d at 633. The plaintiff cannot meet this burden with “some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986), “conclusory allegations, ” Lujan v. National Wildlife Federation, 497 U.S. 871, 871-73(1990), “unsubstantiated assertions, ” Hopper v. Frank, 16 F.3d 92 (5th Cir. 1994), or by a mere “scintilla” of evidence, Davis v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 14 F.3d 1082 (5th Cir. 1994). It would undermine the purposes of summary judgment if a party could defeat such a motion simply by “replac[ing] conclusory allegations of the complaint or answer with conclusory allegations of an affidavit.” Lujan, 497 U.S. at 888.

         Thus, in considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must determine whether the non-moving party's allegations are plausible. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. Once the court has “determined the relevant set of facts and drawn all inferences in favor of the nonmoving party to the extant supportable by the record, . . . [the ultimate decision becomes] . . . a pure question of law.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 381 n.8 (2007) (emphasis in original). Moreover, “[w]hen opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on the motion for summary judgment.” Id. at 380.

         Denial of Medical Care

         Ramsey claims that Defendants committed a constitutional violation in failing to provide him adequate medical care. This claim fails for a multitude of reasons. First, Ramsey has not demonstrated that Defendants Doty, Walker, or Dr. Williamson had any personal involvement in the alleged denial of medical care. Moreover, Defendant MTC, as a private corporation, cannot be held vicariously liable under these circumstances. Finally, the evidence clearly negates Ramsey's contention that Defendants acted with deliberate indifference.

         Supervisor Liability

         A plaintiff proceeding under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 cannot establish that a government official violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights simply by virtue of the official's role as a supervisor. Monell v. Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978). Instead, to state a viable claim under § 1983, the plaintiff must “identify defendants who are either personally involved in the constitutional violation or whose acts are causally connected to the constitutional violation alleged.” Woods v. Edwards, 51 F.3d 577, 583 (5th Cir. 1995) (citing Lozana v. Smith, 718 F.2d 756, 768 (5th Cir. 1983)). There are only two scenarios in which a supervisor may be held liable under § 1983: (1) when he affirmatively participates in the incident, or (2) when he implements an unconstitutional policy that results in the constitutional injury. Wernecke v. Garcia, 591 F.3d 386, 401 (5th Cir. 2009). Consequently, a supervisory official “can be held liable only for his own misconduct.” Carnaby v. City of Houston, 636 F.3d 183, 189 (5th Cir. 2011).

         In this case, Ramsey has failed to demonstrate that Warden Doty, Deputy Warden Walker, or Dr. Williamson had any personal involvement or were causally connected to the alleged denial of medical care in any way. Instead, Ramsey merely asserts that an unidentified prison guard told him that Warden Doty and Deputy Warden Walker made the alleged decision to deny his request for medical care. Ramsey additionally contends that another unidentified prison official advised him that Dr. Williamson was personally responsible for his medical treatment on the date in question. As these are out-of-court statements used to prove the truth of the matter asserted, they constitute hearsay and cannot be used to support the plaintiff's claim during consideration of the summary judgment motion. Ramsey has produced no evidence demonstrating that Defendants Doty, Walker, or Dr. Williamson were physically present during the alleged incidents, nor is there any evidence that these defendants ever interfered with, or were personally involved in, the alleged inadequate medical treatment provided to the plaintiff. Moreover, Ramsey has failed to identify an unconstitutional policy ...


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