Hughley v. Jones et al (JOINT ASSIGN)(MAG+)
ORDERED as follows: 1. Mr. Hughley's 27 Objection is OVERRULED. 2. The 24 Recommendation is ADOPTED. 3. Sheriff Jones's 17 Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED. 4. Mr. Hughley's claims against Sheriff Jones are DISMISSED with prejudice. 5. Mr. Hughley's supplemental state-law claims against East Alabama Medical Center are DISMISSED without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Signed by Chief Judge William Keith Watkins on 7/20/2015. (kh, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
JAY JONES and EAST ALABAMA
CASE NO. 3:15-CV-162-WKW
On June 11, 2015, the Magistrate Judge filed a Recommendation (Doc. # 24),
to which Plaintiff Johnny Hughley filed a timely Objection (Doc. # 27). Upon an
independent and de novo review of those portions of the Recommendation to which
objection is made, the Objection is due to be overruled, the Recommendation is due
to be adopted, Sheriff Jay Jones’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 17) is due
to be granted, Mr. Hughley’s claims against Sheriff Jones are due to be dismissed
with prejudice, and Mr. Hughley’s claims against Defendant East Alabama Medical
Center are due to be dismissed without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
On March 13, 2015, Mr. Hughley filed an amended 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Complaint (Doc. # 2), against Sheriff Jones and East Alabama Medical Center,
alleging that Defendants provided him with inadequate medical treatment during his
confinement at the Lee County Jail. East Alabama Medical Center answered Mr.
Hughley’s complaint, and Sheriff Jones filed a motion to dismiss or, in the
alternative, motion for summary judgment.
Sheriff Jones contended that Mr.
Hughley’s claims against him were due to be dismissed in light of the exhaustion
requirements of the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Sheriff Jones’s entitlement to
qualified immunity, and Mr. Hughley’s failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. Mr. Hughley filed a response in opposition to Sheriff Jones’s motion,
arguing that Mr. Jones has a “history of abusing his power and authority,” that
Sheriff Jones offered “Affidavits of lies” in support of his motion, that Mr. Hughley
did in fact exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing this § 1983 action, and
that Sheriff Jones is not entitled to qualified immunity. (Doc. # 22.)
Reviewing the arguments of the parties’ and the evidence submitted from both
sides, the Magistrate Judge determined that, to the extent Mr. Hughley was suing
Sheriff Jones in his official capacity, Sheriff Jones is a “state actor entitled to
sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment for claims seeking monetary
damages from him in his official capacity.” (Doc. # 24.) The Magistrate Judge also
concluded that, absent sovereign immunity, Mr. Hughley’s claims against Sheriff
Jones were also due to be dismissed because Mr. Hughley had failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies prior to filing suit. While the Magistrate Judge noted that
Mr. Hughley provided copies of three grievance forms he completed during his
confinement, the Magistrate Judge explained that none of the grievance forms
incorporated a complaint regarding a lack of medical treatment for a blood clot or
for swelling in Mr. Hughley’s right leg.
In his Objection, Mr. Hughley explains that, while sovereign immunity bars a
suit against Sheriff Jones in his official capacity, Mr. Hughley can pursue his claims
against Sheriff Jones in his individual capacity. Mr. Hughley also argues that the
affidavits upon which the Magistrate Judge relied contain falsehoods. He argues
that Sheriff Jones’s affidavits include perjurious testimony and faults the court for
not addressing Sheriff Jones’s perjury.
Mr. Hughley fails, however, to provide any evidence that he exhausted his
administrative remedies prior to filing his § 1983 suit. And while he vehemently
argues that the affidavits submitted by Sheriff Jones incorporate factual inaccuracies,
the Eleventh Circuit has explained that “mere verification of a party’s own
conclusory allegations is not sufficient to oppose a motion for summary judgment.”
Fullman v. Graddick, 739 F.2d 553, 557 (11th Cir. 1984); see also Lambert v. United
States, 198 F. App’x 835, 839 (11th Cir. 2006) (explaining that a plaintiff “could not
rely on his own conclusory allegations to survive summary judgment”).
Accordingly, it is ORDERED as follows:
Mr. Hughley’s Objection (Doc. # 27) is OVERRULED.
The Recommendation (Doc. # 24) is ADOPTED.
Sheriff Jones’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 17) is
Mr. Hughley’s claims against Sheriff Jones are DISMISSED with
Mr. Hughley’s supplemental state-law claims against East Alabama
Medical Center are DISMISSED without prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
DONE this 20th day of July, 2015.
/s/ W. Keith Watkins
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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