United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER OF PARTIAL
CARLTON W. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court sua sponte. Pro se Plaintiff
Jarrett Romero Nelson is a pretrial detainee at the
Lauderdale County Detention Facility, and he challenges his
arrest and conditions of confinement. The Court has
considered and liberally construed the pleadings. As set
forth below, Defendants Thomas Vann and Tonya Anderson are
is currently being held at the Lauderdale County Detention
Facility on charges stemming from a domestic incident. The
ten Defendants include Sheriff Billy Sollie and his
employees, arresting officer Thomas Vann of the Meridian
Police Department, and two jail nurses. Nelson claims he is
being held on false charges and in unconstitutional
conditions. He alleges denials of medical and dental
treatment, contaminated food, and leaking water.
Nelson alleges that Officer Vann arrested him and charged him
with felony stalking and aggravated assault-domestic
violence. Nelson complains that the charges were false and
based solely on the complainant's word. Nelson claims the
charges were originally dropped but Vann brought them back
again based on the same evidence. This time, Nelson was
indicted. In addition, he contends Sheriff Sollie had
“prior knowledge to [sic] [his] case.” (Resp. at
arriving at the jail, Nelson claims that Defendant Nurses
Mary Joe and Daphne Bar will not give him all of his
prescribed psychiatric medicines. Nurse Mary Joe is also
allegedly denying him dental treatment. He claims that he has
painful broken teeth that she has said need to be pulled, but
he contends she refuses him the treatment because of his
inability to pay for it.
the medical and dental issues, Nelson alleges that, four
times a week, the food trays have rocks and hair in them. He
claims the trays are contaminated in this manner because the
officers do not wear hairnets. Defendants Officer Tonya
Anderson, Lieutenant Gowdy, and Officers Shaffer and Eagan
have all allegedly served him such trays, but “I have
not eaten them. They sometime[s] trade me out.”
Id. at 4.
Nelson alleges that the toilets and windows are constantly
leaking water in the cells. Officers Shaffer and Eagan,
Lieutenant Dowdy, and Sergeant Freeman allegedly told him
“they couldn't do anything but give me a flood
blanket . . . to help with the water coming from the
windows.” Id. The water has caused Plaintiff
to fall, injuring his back.
brings this action under § 1983, claiming violations of
the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments. He brings false arrest
claims against Sheriff Sollie and Officer Vann. Nelson
asserts his denial of medical treatment claims against
Sollie, Major Melissa McCarter, and Nurses Mary Joe and Bar
and a denial of dental treatment claim against Sollie,
McCarter, and Nurse Mary Joe. The food claims are brought
against Sollie; McCarter; Officers Anderson, Shaffer, and
Eagan; and Lieutenant Gowdy. The flooding claims are against
Sollie, McCarter, Gowdy, Shaffer, Eagan, and Sergeant
Freeman. Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages.
Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, applies to prisoners
proceeding in forma pauperis in this Court. One of
the provisions reads, “the court shall dismiss the case
at any time if the court determines that . . . the action . .
. (i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim
on which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary
relief against a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The statute
“accords judges not only the authority to dismiss a
claim based on an indisputably meritless legal theory, but
also the unusual power to pierce the veil of the
complaint's factual allegations and dismiss those claims
whose factual contentions are clearly baseless.”
Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992).
“[I]n an action proceeding under [28 U.S.C. §
1915, a federal court] may consider, sua sponte, affirmative
defenses that are apparent from the record even where they
have not been addressed or raised.” Ali v.
Higgs, 892 F.2d 438, 440 (5th Cir. 1990).
“Significantly, the court is authorized to test the
proceeding for frivolousness or maliciousness even before
service of process or before the filing of the answer.”
Id. The Court has permitted Nelson to proceed in
forma pauperis in this action. The Complaint is subject
to sua sponte dismissal under § 1915.
sues Officer Vann for arresting him on allegedly false
charges based on the complainant's statement.
“is no freestanding constitutional right” to be
free from false charges. Castellano v. Fragozo, 352
F.3d 939, 945 (5th Cir. 2003). On the other hand, the knowing
use of fabricated evidence may violate procedural due process
or other constitutional rights. Id. at 953-54, 958.
Officer Vann is not alleged to know that the charges are