United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
PERCY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
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.
Allegations and Background Facts
was formerly housed at the Marshall County Correctional
Facility (“MCCF”), from June 8, 2018 until September
13, 2018. 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. 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
of Medical Care
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.
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).
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 ...