Porter v. Peterson et al
ORDER DISMISSING HARRISON COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT: Harrison County Sheriff Department should be and is hereby Dismissed. The remainder of the case will proceed. Signed by Chief District Judge Louis Guirola, Jr. on 1/31/2017 (wld)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
KEITH LA-DALE PORTER, # 392940
CAUSE NO. 1:16CV430-LG-RHW
TROY PETERSON, EVAN HUBBARD,
JOHN RICHARD, HARRISON
COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT,
and HARRISON COUNTY,
ORDER DISMISSING HARRISON COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT
This case is before the Court sua sponte for consideration of partial dismissal.
Pro se Plaintiff Keith La-Dale Porter is a pretrial detainee at the Harrison County
Adult Detention Center, and he brings this action challenging the conditions of his
confinement. The Court has considered and liberally construed the pleadings. As
set forth below, Defendant Harrison County Sheriff Department is dismissed.
Porter alleges that from July 18, to November 3, 2016, the light in his cell
was constantly on. As a result, he contends that he suffered from headaches and
sleep deprivation. Allegedly, there were “numerous cells where the lights stayed on
24 [hours] a day, 7 days a week,” and this problem had existed since at least May,
2016. (Aff. 1, ECF No. 5). After filing a grievance in August, he claims he was told
by Defendant Sergeant John Richard that “maintenance had corrected as many of
the lighting issues as possible,” a computer malfunction was to blame for the
remaining lights, and outside help was needed to correct the glitch. (Compl. 5, ECF
No. 1). Because of “the lengthy process of having this” problem fixed, Plaintiff
maintains that Richard and Defendant Warden Evan Hubbard gave inmates
permission to cover the lights in their cells during “lights out” at night. (Id. at 5-6).
Nevertheless, according to Porter, neither the County nor the staff provided the
inmates with the materials needed to do so. Porter faults Defendant Sheriff Troy
Peterson with allowing him to be housed under these conditions. Porter sues
Peterson, Hubbard, Richard, the Sheriff’s Department, and Harrison County,
alleging cruel and unusual punishment.
However, the Sheriff Department’s capacity to be sued is determined by
Mississippi law. Fed. R. Civ. P. 17(b)(3). In Mississippi, a sheriff’s department is
not a separate legal entity which may be sued, rather it is an extension of the
county. Brown v. Thompson, 927 So. 2d 733, 737 (¶12) (Miss. 2006). Therefore, the
Court dismisses the Sheriff Department. The allegations against the Sheriff
Department will be construed as allegations against the County. The remainder of
the case will proceed.
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that, for the reasons
stated above, Defendant Harrison County Sheriff Department should be and is
hereby DISMISSED. The remainder of the case will proceed.
SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED this the 31th day of January, 2017.
Louis Guirola, Jr.
LOUIS GUIROLA, JR.
CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
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