Goldsmith v. Strickland et al
ORDER granting in part and denying in part 48 Motion for Summary Judgment. See order for details. Evidentiary hearing regarding exhaustion of certain claims set for 2/22/17 at 11:00 a.m. in Courtroom 5D in U.S. Courthouse, Jackson, MS. Deadline of 3/10/17 is set for motion for summary judgment as to certain claims. Signed by Magistrate Judge F. Keith Ball on 2/7/17. (YWJ)(Copy mailed to Plaintiff.)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
KENNETH RAY GOLDSMITH, #129296
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:14cv626-FKB
DANIEL STRICKLAND, ET AL.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment  and a supporting
memorandum filed by Defendants Daniel Strickland, James Rutland, Ben Blaine, Eddie
Thompson, Bryan Bailey,1 David King, and Pattie Temple (“Rankin County Defendants”). In a
previously entered Memorandum Opinion and Order , the Court granted the motion for
summary judgment based on Plaintiff’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Plaintiff
moved for reconsideration, , , and he attached previously unsubmitted papers that he
argued demonstrated his attempts at exhaustion. Based on these submissions, the Court granted
Goldsmith’s motion for reconsideration, withdrew the Memorandum Opinion and Order , set
aside the Judgment , and re-opened the case. Defendants were given until October 17, 2016,
to file a rebuttal, but made no additional filing.
Having considered the filings, the Court finds that the Motion for Summary Judgment
 should be granted in part and denied in part.
I. Facts and Procedural History
Plaintiff is a former pretrial detainee at the Rankin County Jail (“Jail”), and he is
currently housed at South Mississippi Correctional Institution. According to Plaintiff’s
Although “Brian Bailey” is named as a defendant, counsel makes clear that the proper
spelling of defendant’s name is “Bryan Bailey.” See  at 1.
complaint, the Rankin County Defendants violated his constitutional rights when he was
incarcerated at the Jail in 2013 and 2014, as a pre-trial detainee and after he was convicted.
Defendants are the Sheriff of Rankin County, Bryan Bailey; James Rutland, Chief of Security;
Daniel Strickland, a Jail officer; Ben Blaine, Jail Administrator; Eddie Thompson, Chief Deputy;
David King, Jail shift leader; and Pattie Temple, Jail employee.
The Court held an omnibus hearing2 in this matter, at which time it conferred with
Plaintiff and counsel for all Defendants in this suit founded upon 42 U.S.C. § 1983. At that
hearing, the parties consented to have a United States Magistrate Judge conduct any and all
further proceedings in the case and order the entry of final judgment, and the District Judge
subsequently entered an order of reference. 28 U.S.C. § 636(c); Fed. R. Civ. P. 73. Goldsmith is
proceeding in this matter in forma pauperis (“IFP”) and pro se.
Goldsmith sets forth his claims in his original Complaint , in a Response  to an
Order from the Court, and in his omnibus hearing testimony [48-2], as follows:
1. Goldsmith alleges claims of due process violations related to disciplinary procedures,
resulting in lockdowns and/or periods of isolation, on the following occasions:
a. January 26, 2013, to March 18, 2013.  at 5; [48-3] at 9-19, 89;
b. January 29, 2014, to February 26, 2014.  at 8; [48-2] at 27-28; [48-3] at 89;
c. May 24, 2014, for four days.  at 9; and
d. June 18, 2014, for seven days.  at 9, [48-2] at 29; [48-3] at 113.
2. Goldsmith complains of the conditions of confinement while he was in isolation. He
complains of cold food served without regard to proper food-handling precautions, lack of
See Spears v. McCotter, 766 F.2d 179 (5th Cir. 1985).
exercise, no contact with the outside world, and no communication with family during his
periods in isolation, including lost mail.  at 5, 6, 8, 10.
3. Goldsmith alleges that Defendant Strickland used excessive force against him on
January 25, 2013, for which Goldsmith was given a rules violation. Id. at 5; [48-2] at 17-22;  at 21.
4. Goldsmith complains of his conditions of confinement on March 1, 2013, when he
alleges that Defendant Blaine made him stand outside in inadequate clothing for one-half day in
temperatures around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  at 5;  at 1;  at 2; [48-2] at 30-32.
5. Goldsmith alleges that Defendants denied him adequate medical treatment on
February 13, 2013, when they failed to transport him to a doctor’s appointment that he had made
prior to his arrest.  at 8; [48-2] at 36-37.
6. Goldsmith alleges that the medical staff denied him adequate medical treatment
related to a rash that he asserts he contracted during a period of lockdown/isolation in January
2014.  at 10; [48-2] at 37.
In a Response  to the Court’s Order  asking for more information about his claims,
Goldsmith asserts that Defendant Bailey violated his constitutional rights when he allowed his
employees to cause physical harm to him.  at 1. He also alleges that Defendant King
allowed his employees to “do as they choose.” Id. In the Response, Plaintiff also asserts that the
Jail staff denied him yard call, and that Defendants King, Rutland, Thompson, and Bailey should
be held accountable for the denial of yard call. Id.
At the omnibus hearing, Goldsmith testified that he wrote letters and grievances related
to his complaints about Jail conditions to the Jail’s administration. [48-2] at 34. He also testified
that he mailed copies of these letters and grievances to his home for safekeeping. Id. at 33. The
remainder of his testimony essentially reiterated the claims he had made in his Complaint  and
the Response .
Having reviewed the grievances and other documents submitted by Goldsmith as a part
of his motion for reconsideration, the Court turns to evaluate Plaintiff’s claims.
A. Summary Judgment Standard
The Rankin County Defendants have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, asserting
several bases for dismissal. Defendants first argue that Goldsmith has failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies, as is required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), and, thus,
this matter should be dismissed. Alternatively, Defendants argue that they are entitled to
dismissal on the merits of Goldsmith’s claims. The Court has considered Plaintiff’s submission
, , in response to the Motion for Summary Judgment.
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states, in relevant part, that “[t]he court
shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). An
issue of fact is genuine if the "'evidence is sufficient to permit a reasonable factfinder to return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.'" Lemoine v. New Horizons Ranch and Center, 174 F.3d 629,
633 (5th Cir. 1999)(quoting Colston v. Barnhart, 146 F.3d 282, 284 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 119
S.Ct. 618 (1998)). Issues of fact are material if “resolution of the issues might affect the
outcome of the suit under governing law." Lemoine, 174 F.3d at 633. The Court does not,
"however, in the absence of any proof, assume the nonmoving [or opposing] party could or
would prove the necessary facts." Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir.
1994)(en banc)(emphasis omitted). Moreover, the non-moving party's burden to come forward
with "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial," Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986), is not satisfied by "conclusory allegations" or by "unsubstantiated
assertions," or by only a "scintilla" of evidence. Little, 37 F.3d at 1075.
Based on the attachments to Goldsmith’s motion to reconsider, , , the Court will
consider whether Goldsmith exhausted his administrative remedies. Statutory and case law
requires a prisoner to exhaust administrative remedies, regardless of the relief sought. The
relevant portion of 42 U.S.C. § 1997e, as amended by the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995
("PLRA"), states the following:
No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of
this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or
other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a)(Supp. 2000). In Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731 (2001), the Supreme
Court held that 42 U.S.C. § 1997e, revised as a part of the PLRA, requires an inmate to exhaust
administrative remedies before bringing an action with respect to prison conditions, regardless of
the relief offered through administrative procedures. Booth, 532 U.S. at 741. The United States
Supreme Court further explained that the PLRA's exhaustion requirement is mandatory and
applies to all inmate suits about prison life, whether they involve general circumstances or
particular episodes, and whether they allege excessive force or some other wrong. See Porter v.
Nussle, 122 S.Ct. 983 (2002); see also Jones v. Bock, 127 S.Ct. 910 (2007)(reaffirming that
exhaustion is mandatory; stating that it is an affirmative defense).
The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has reiterated the principles
found in these cases. In Gonzales v. Seal, 702 F.3d 785 (5th Cir. 2012), the Fifth Circuit
recognized that exhaustion of administrative remedies prior to suit is mandatory, and that district
courts have no discretion to stay § 1983 prisoner cases when they are filed before prisoners have
exhausted administrative remedies. The Fifth Circuit concluded, as follows:
District courts have no discretion to excuse a prisoner’s failure to properly
exhaust the prison grievance process before filing their complaint. It is irrelevant
whether exhaustion is achieved during the federal proceeding. Pre-filing
exhaustion is mandatory, and the case must be dismissed if available
administrative remedies were not exhausted.
Id. at 788. The Court is mindful, however, that because “exhaustion is an affirmative defense,
the burden is on [the movant] to demonstrate that [a prisoner plaintiff] failed to exhaust available
administrative remedies.” Dillon v. Rogers, 596 F.3d 260, 266 (5th Cir. 2010).3
“It is not enough to merely initiate the grievance process or to put prison officials on
notice of a complaint; the grievance process must be carried through to its conclusion.” Walker
v. East Miss. Corr. Facility, 2013 WL 4833901 (S.D. Miss. Sept. 11, 2013)(citing Wright v.
Hollingsworth, 260 F.3d 357, 358 (5th Cir. 2001)(finding that filing an initial grievance, without
more, did not equate to exhaustion)); see also Tompkins v. Holman, 2013 WL 1305580 (S.D.
Miss. Mar. 26, 2013)(dismissing § 1983 complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies
when prisoner filed a grievance, but did not complete the ARP before filing his lawsuit).
Exhaustion is mandatory, “irrespective of the forms of relief sought and offered through
The Court previously denied Defendant Keefe’s Motion to Dismiss  based on lack of
exhaustion of administrative remedies because Defendant Keefe did not meet its burden to
present evidentiary support for its position that Goldsmith did not complete the grievance
procedure. See Order . The Court, however, granted the Motion to Dismiss on other
administrative avenues.” Booth, 532 U.S. at 739.
Despite this seemingly bright line rule, the Fifth Circuit has carved out exceptions. The
Fifth Circuit has recognized as an excuse from the exhaustion requirement “circumstances where
administrative remedies are inadequate because prison officials have ignored or interfered with a
prisoner's pursuit of an administrative remedy.” Johnson v. Ford, 261 Fed. App’x 752, 755 (5th
Cir. Jan. 14, 2008) (citing Holloway v. Gunnell, 685 F.2d 150, 154 (5th Cir. 1982)). Moreover,
when a prisoner’s grievance is denied acceptance into the administrative remedy program of a
facility, the prisoner no longer has an available administrative remedy. Berry v. Wexford Health
Sources, 2016 WL 4030934 (S.D. Miss. Jul. 26, 2016)(citing Dillon, 596 F.3d at 260). A
prisoner's failure to exhaust “may be excused where dismissal would be inefficient or would not
further the interests of justice or the purposes of the exhaustion requirement.” Id. (citing
Underwood v. Wilson, 151 F.3d 292, 296 (5th Cir. 1998), overruled by implication on other
grounds, Jones, 127 S.Ct. at 920-921); see also, McDonald v. Cain, 426 Fed. App’x 332 (5th
Cir. 2011)(vacating dismissal of complaint when prisoner provided documents to support
allegations of inadequacy of prison review process.). Factual disputes related to exhaustion may
be resolved by a judge without resort to a jury. Dillon, 596 F.3d at 272.
The Rankin County Defendants have provided a copy of the grievance procedure at the
Jail. [48-6]. They have also provided evidence demonstrating, and Goldsmith admitted at the
omnibus hearing, that he was familiar with the grievance procedure at the Jail. See [48-2] at 40.
Furthermore, on four different occasions in 2013 and 2014, Goldsmith participated in a Jail
Orientation Program and signed a form acknowledging that he understood Jail procedures. [48-3]
at 122, 124, 130, and 134. The Jail has provided copies of his entire jail record, see [48-3], and it
contains only two grievance letters addressed to Defendant Rutland. [48-3] at 86, 127.
In his motion for reconsideration, Goldsmith presents various copies of grievances and
letters that he presumably claims to have submitted to proper Jail authorities in an effort to
exhaust his administrative remedies. [48-2] at 33-35; ; . In evaluating Goldsmith’s
claims below, the Court will also evaluate his submissions to determine if they relate to his
C. Plaintiff’s Claims
1. Due process claims related to rules violations.
Goldsmith alleges that he was denied due process with regard to the several rules
violations he was given during his time at the Jail. He first argues that his due process rights
were violated in relation to a rules violation he received on January 26, 2013, for the altercation
with Defendant Strickland on January 25, 2013. However, he admits that he did not appeal the
rules violation,  at 27,4 and the Jail records show that Goldsmith chose to “accept the
decision of the hearing Officer,” and not appeal. [48-3] at 9. Accordingly, Goldsmith failed to
exhaust the due process afforded him in the disciplinary proceeding regarding the January 25,
2013, incident. Defendants are, therefore, entitled to summary judgment on this claim.
Goldsmith alleges that he was denied his due process rights with regard to the rules
violation that he received on or about January 30, 2014. According to the record, on that date he
was given a rules infraction for stabbing another inmate with a pen. [48-3] at 26-31, 89.
Goldsmith failed to submit any copies of grievances or letters related to this incident.
Accordingly, the Court finds that Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on this claim for
Goldsmith’s failure to exhaust available administrative remedies.
Goldsmith’s Motion to Object  is duplicated at his Motion for Reconsideration .
For ease of reference, the Court will refer only to the filing at .
Goldsmith alleges that his due process rights were violated when Defendants subjected
him and other inmates to a loss of privileges and lockdown for four days on May 24, 2014, when
authorities found that tobacco had been spit into a garbage can in the zone in which Goldsmith
was housed. In a May 24, 2014, letter addressed to Defendants Blaine, Rutland, and King,
Goldsmith complains of the loss of privileges for four days.  at 43-44. Although this letter is
not in the form of a grievance, it is addressed to officials who might handle the grievance process
at the Jail. Accordingly, in an abundance of caution, the Court will address the merits of this
The Court finds that Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on the merits as to
Goldsmith’s claims that his rights were violated by the subject loss of privileges for four days.
In Pichardo v. Kinker, 73 F.3d 612, 612-13 (5th Cir. 1996), the Fifth Circuit held that "absent
extraordinary circumstances, administrative segregation as such, being an incident to the
ordinary life of a prisoner, will never be a ground for a constitutional claim" because it "simply
does not constitute a deprivation of a constitutionally cognizable liberty interest." A prisoner §
1983 suit making such a due process claim is frivolous under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A. Martin v.
Scott, 156 F.3d 578, 580 (5th Cir. 1998). In his filings, Plaintiff admits that all prisoners were
locked down and lost privileges for a period of four days in response to the discovery of tobacco
in a trash can. Because this can be characterized as administrative segregation with loss of
privileges for a limited period of time – only four days – it can be described as “an incident to
the ordinary life of a prisoner” and does not rise to the level of a constitutional violation.
Accordingly, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on this claim.
Goldsmith alleges Defendant Temple violated his due process rights on June 18, 2014,
when she sentenced him after a hearing on a rules violation for hoarding medication.  at 9,
[48-3] at 113.5 Although Temple sentenced him to twenty days in lockdown, he alleges in his
complaint that he was released after seven days.  at 9.6
In a letter addressed to Defendants Rutland, King, and Thompson, Goldsmith asserted
complaints about the June 18, 2014, hearing, including that his due process rights were violated.
 at 39. Plaintiff did not provide evidence as to when, where, or to whom he submitted this
letter, and the Court, therefore, lacks an evidentiary basis to determine whether Plaintiff
exhausted his administrative remedies on this claim.7 Nevertheless, a review of the merits of the
claim attacking the length of time he spent in isolation on this rules violation demonstrates that it
does not rise to the level of a constitutional violation. Pursuant to Sandin v. Conner, liberty
interests protected by the Due Process Clause “will be generally limited to freedom from
restraint which . . . imposes atypical and significant hardship on the inmate in relation to the
ordinary incidents of prison life.” Sandin, 515 U.S. 472, 483-484 (1995). Although he
ultimately spent seven days in “the hole” in lockdown, this length of time spent in administrative
segregation does not constitute a constitutional violation. See Smith v. Anderson, 2013 WL
1182995 (S.D. Miss. Feb. 13, 2013), adopted, Smith v. Anderson, 2013 WL 1182984 (S.D. Miss.
Mar. 21, 2013)(finding that denial of privileges for three months and placement in administrative
segregation for twenty days did not constitute a restraint which imposed an atypical and
Goldsmith’s claims against Temple are based solely on the rules violation she gave him
on June 18, 2014.
According to the Rankin County Jail Rules signed by Goldsmith on April 14, 2014, the
penalty for hoarding medication is a lockdown period of thirty days. [48-3] at 129.
Other records of disciplinary actions involving Goldsmith are in the record. See, e.g.,
[48-3] at 9-10, 125-126, 132-133. Each of these disciplinary actions states whether he has been
confined to quarters without privileges for a certain period of time, refers to his right to appeal
the decision, and references that a hearing will be conducted on the appeal at the earliest date.
significant hardship under Sandin).
In the letter to Defendants Rutland, King, and Thompson, Goldsmith argues that Temple
violated his due process rights and showed “bias” when she did not conduct the hearing in
accordance with the Rankin County rules and regulations.  at 39. Otherwise, he does not
specify in what manner Temple violated the rules and regulations. See id.
The Fifth Circuit's case law is clear "that a prison official's failure to follow the prison's
own policies, procedures, or regulations does not constitute a violation of due process, if
constitutional minima are nevertheless met." Myers v. Klevenhagen, 97 F.3d 91, 94 (5th Cir.
1996).  at 9; see Hernandez v. Estelle, 788 F.2d 1154, 1158 (5th Cir.1986) (holding that the
mere failure of a prison official to follow the prison's own regulation or policy does not amount
to a constitutional violation); McGowan v. Peel, No. 3:06cv659–DPJ–JCS, 2007 WL 710154, at
*1–*2 (S.D.Miss. March 6, 2007) (internal citations and quotations omitted) (dismissing
plaintiff's complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 and stating that a “prison official's failure to
follow the prison's own policies, procedures or regulations does not constitute a violation of due
process, if constitutional minima are nevertheless met”).
Even when considering Goldsmith’s version of events, it appears that “constitutional
minima” were met. Goldsmith admits that he had notice of hearing, he had an opportunity to
plead not guilty, he had a hearing, he was sentenced to a period of twenty days in lockdown –a
discipline within the thirty-day limit8 prescribed by the Rankin County Jail Rules –yet only
served seven days, and he disputed or appealed the decision with supervisory officers through a
letter. The record shows that an officer other than Temple found Goldsmith in possession of
several pills, some of which required a prescription; Goldsmith was given notice of his infraction
See  at 8.
of hoarding medications; he had a hearing before Temple, at which he pleaded not guilty; he was
found guilty; and he was sentenced to time in lockdown. [48-3] at 113. Considering these facts,
and based on the record before the Court, the Court finds that this claim does not rise to the level
of a constitutional violation. Accordingly, summary judgment is granted in favor of Temple as
to all of Goldsmith’s claims against her stemming from the June 18, 2014, rules violation.
2. Conditions of confinement while in isolation.
Goldsmith asserts claims regarding his conditions of confinement while in isolation from
January 26, 2013 to March 18, 2013, and from January 29, 2014 to February 26, 2014. He
complains of cold food, lack of exercise, being locked down for twenty-four hours per day for
seven days a week, lack of access to news media, lack of communication with family, and lack
of access to disciplinary due process.  at 5, 8. He alleges that he filed several grievances, but
received no responses. Id. In the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment, they assert that
Goldsmith failed to submit formal grievances on the appropriate paperwork and, instead,
submitted only two informal grievances in the form of letters. [48-3] at 86-87, 127.
Attached to Goldsmith’s motion for reconsideration are several grievances and letters to
Jail authorities related to lockdown and isolation conditions. Goldsmith does not, however,
provide evidence as to when, where, or to whom he submitted the grievances or letters. While
some of the grievances and letters do not relate to claims Goldsmith asserts in this case,9 several
of them do. In a February 9, 2013, grievance, Goldsmith admits that he received medication for
In a grievance at  at 19, dated February 26, 2013, Goldsmith complains that he is not
receiving his “diet.” While he has made claims of cold food in this action, he has not asserted
claims related to the type of food or diet he received while in isolation. See also  at 23, 24,
and 25. There are also several diary entries, memos, and receipts which the Court does not
interpret as attempts to exhaust, and some items that relate to claims dismissed against
Defendant Keefe. See  at 3-6, 20, 21, 23, 24, 26, 29-31, 34-37, 45.
his lungs, but writes concerning conditions in lockdown, including the length of time spent in
lockdown, his health, and his need for “fresh air.”  at 38. In a grievance dated February 13,
2013, he expresses dissatisfaction with the conditions of confinement while in lockdown,
including lack of exercise, lack of communication, and lack of hygiene. Id. at 27-28. A
grievance, dated February 20, 2013, contains Goldsmith’s assertions regarding his diet, which is
not at issue in this action, but also contains accusations of lack of exercise, lack of phone calls,
and lack of hygiene, all included in his complaint. Id. at 17. In the February 20 grievance, he
also complains that officials have not responded to two prior grievances dated February 9 and
February 13, 2013. Id. In a grievance dated March 3, 2013, he writes of denial of visitation by a
preacher and other communication privileges while in isolation. Id. at 22. In a March 14, 2013,
letter addressed to Defendant Blaine, Goldsmith writes of his conditions of confinement in
lockdown and alleges lack of exercise, inadequate medical services, and lack of communication
with the outside world. Id. at 32.
These grievances and letter raise questions as to whether Goldsmith attempted to pursue
his administrative remedies on his claims related to the conditions of confinement in lockdown
or isolation from January 26, 2013, to March 18, 2013. Specifically, his grievances and letters
submitted to this Court address his claims of cold food, lack of exercise, being locked down for
twenty-four hours per day for seven days a week, no contact with the outside world, lack of
communication with family, and lack of access to any disciplinary due process. Due to the lack
of sufficient record evidence, the Court finds that an evidentiary hearing should be held to
determine whether Goldsmith exhausted his available administrative remedies for his conditions
of confinement claims related to his administrative segregation from January 26, 2013, to March
18, 2013. But Goldsmith has not submitted evidence as to when, where, or to whom he
submitted these grievances or letters.
However, because the grievances and letter do not relate to his time in isolation from
January 29, 2014, to February 26, 2014, they do not represent any attempt by Goldsmith to
exhaust administrative remedies as to claims related to this time period. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s
conditions of confinement claims based upon the time period from January 29 to February 26,
2014, are hereby dismissed on the basis that Goldsmith failed to exhaust administrative
The Court notes that the Rankin County Defendants did not address the merits of
Plaintiff’s conditions of confinement claim related to the time period from January 26 to March
18, 2013. The deadline for these defendants to file a summary judgment motion on the merits of
that claim is hereby set as March 20, 2017.
3. Excessive force on January 25, 2013.
a. Exhaustion of administrative remedies
Goldsmith alleges that Defendant Strickland used excessive force against him during an
incident that occurred on January 25, 2013. In their motion for summary judgment, Defendants
argue that Goldsmith failed to exhaust his administrative remedies related to this claim. In a
grievance dated February 9, 2013, Goldsmith writes, in reference to the January 25 incident, that
“staff jumped on me for kicking on [the] cell door.”  at 38. In addition, Goldsmith’s letter
addressed to Defendant Blaine, dated March 14, 2013, describes the January 25 incident and his
conditions of confinement while in isolation, and asserts that no one had responded to his
grievances on several matters. Id. at 32-33.
This grievance and letter also raise questions as to whether Goldsmith attempted to
pursue his administrative remedies on this claim. But again Goldsmith has not submitted
evidence as to when, where, or to whom he submitted this grievance or letter. The Court finds,
therefore, that an evidentiary hearing should also be held on whether Goldsmith exhausted his
available administrative remedies on his excessive force claim against Defendant Strickland.
b. Claims against Defendants Rutland, Blaine, Thompson, Bailey, and King
This finding, however, does not preclude the grant of summary judgment in favor of
Defendants Rutland, Blaine, Thompson, Bailey, and King on this claim in their individual
capacities.10 As to these claims, "the plaintiff must allege facts reflecting the defendants'
participation in the alleged wrong, specifying the personal involvement of each defendant."
Jolly v. Klein, 923 F.Supp. 931, 943 (S.D. Tex. 1996). Supervisory officials, moreover, "cannot
be held liable for the actions of subordinates under any theory of vicarious liability." Id.
"Supervisory officials may be held liable only if: (i) they affirmatively participate in acts that
cause constitutional deprivation; or (ii) implement unconstitutional policies that causally result in
plaintiff's injury." Mouille v. City of Live Oak, 977 F.2d 924, 929 (5th Cir. 1992).
Goldsmith does not allege that Defendants Rutland, Blaine, Thompson, Bailey, or King
played any role in the January 25 incident. Goldsmith does not complain that the foregoing
defendants implemented unconstitutional policies that causally resulted in his injury. Moreover,
at the omnibus hearing, Goldsmith testified that he had sued Rutland, Blaine, Thompson, Bailey,
and King because they acted as Strickland’s supervisors. [48-2] at 39-40. Accordingly, because
Goldsmith’s claims against these Defendants sound in respondeat superior, they cannot stand in
this § 1983 action, and Defendants Rutland, Blaine, Thompson, Bailey, and King are entitled to
summary judgment in their favor in their individual capacities.
c. Claim against Defendant Strickland
Plaintiff has not alleged claims against Defendants in their official capacities.
The Court now turns to the merits of Plaintiff’s excessive force claim against Defendant
Strickland based on the January 25, 2013, incident. “The core inquiry in an . . . excessive use of
force claim is ‘whether force was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline,
or maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.’” McClyde v. Jackson, 405 F. App’x 891, 893 (5th
Cir. 2010)(per curiam)(quoting Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 7 (1992)). In determining
whether force is applied in a “good faith effort to maintain or restore discipline” and not
“maliciously and sadistically” to cause harm, the Court must consider several factors: “(1) the
extent of the injury suffered; (2) the need for the application of force; (3) the relationship
between the need and the amount of force used; (4) the threat reasonably perceived by the
responsible officials; and (5) any efforts made to temper the severity of the forceful response.”
Rankin v. Klevenhagen, 5 F.3d 103, 107 n.6 (5th Cir. 1993). The Court has found that the
"degree of force exerted and the extent of physical injury inflicted that together amount to a
constitutional deprivation must, of course, be determined by the facts of a given case." Id.
(quoting Shillingford v. Holmes, 634 F.2d 263, 265 (5th Cir. 1981)). Furthermore, after Hudson,
some injury is still required to show a constitutional violation. Id. at 108.
Goldsmith asserts that Strickland physically “attacked” him after Goldsmith knocked or
kicked on the door of the cell in which he was housed.  at 5; [48-2] at 17-20. At the omnibus
hearing, Goldsmith testified that he had hit the cell door in an effort to get help because he was
having trouble breathing. [48-2] at 17. Goldsmith testified that Strickland unlocked and opened
the cell door, told him to stop beating on the door, punched him in the face and body, jumped on
him, and took him to the floor. Id. at 18. He testified that at least two other officers, not named
as defendants, also participated in the attack, but that an Officer Spears intervened to stop the
altercation. Id. at 18, 20.
Goldsmith asserts that immediately after the event, officers dragged him out of the cell,
put him into a wheelchair, and escorted him to the Jail’s nurses for medical attention. Id. at 20.
Within minutes, the nurses administered a breathing treatment in an effort to return his breathing
to normal. Id. at 21. The nurses also gave him some type of pain reliever and examined him for
injuries. Id. As for his injuries, Goldsmith testified that he “was basically sore” and “had a few
small scratches” on his face, but did not need to go to the hospital, and he did not seek any other
medical treatment. Id. at 21-22.
A Jail Incident Report (the “Report”), completed by Defendant Strickland one day after
the incident, paints a different picture of events. The Report is contained in the records at [48-4]
at 4, and Strickland has submitted an affidavit that adopts the Report’s description of the incident
as a “truthful and accurate description” of the January 25 incident. [48-4] at 1. According to the
[W]hile I Officer Strickland was working in booking inmate Goldsmith was
saying he was going to “piss and shit on the floor” since we haven’t taken him to
the bathroom. I Officer Strickland tried to explain to inmate Goldsmith that we
just brought him back from the bathroom cell. Inmate Goldsmith kept arguing so
I went to open the door to speak to him and he pushed the door back on me and
slammed it on my right arm. I Officer Strickland pushed the door back open and
inmate Goldsmith grab[bed] me by the throat. I Officer Strickland used the least
amount of force neccessary [sic] to get inmate Goldsmith off of me[.] I Officer
Strickland then used the least amount of force neccessary [sic] to get inmate
Goldsmith restrained and to the ground. Sergeant Spears came to the situation
and also help[ed] restrain inmate Goldsmith.
[48-4] at 1-2. Strickland avers that he did not use any force against Goldsmith once he was
restrained. Id. at 2. The affidavit also states that based on Strickland’s observations, Goldsmith
“did not suffer any bruises or abrasions during this incident.” Id. As a result of the incident,
Goldsmith was charged with and found guilty of the rules violation of assault on a law
enforcement officer. [48-3] at 9-10; [48-4] at 5-6.
While Goldsmith testified that as a result of the incident, he was only sore with a few
scratches to his face and that he did not need to go to the hospital for treatment, his injuries are
only part of the inquiry. “Injury and force, however, are only imperfectly correlated, and it is the
latter that ultimately counts. An inmate who is gratuitously beaten by guards does not lose his
ability to pursue an excessive force claim merely because he has the good fortune to escape
without serious injury.” Wilkins v. Gaddy, 559 U.S. 34, 38 (2010).
In this case, Strickland asserts that he used “the least amount of force” necessary to
restrain and control Goldsmith. [48-4] at 1-2. However, similar to the facts in Wilkins and
Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1 (1992), Goldsmith alleges that Strickland and other officers
punched him in the face and body, then took him to the floor. Goldsmith admits that he had been
striking the cell door in some manner in an effort to gain the attention of officers. While both
accounts agree that Defendant Strickland opened Goldsmith’s cell door, from that point the
descriptions of the ensuing physical confrontation significantly differ. Strickland also argues
that Goldsmith’s injuries were minimal and that the “conclusive proof” of the need for the
application of force is evidenced by Goldsmith’s conviction, in a disciplinary proceeding, of a
rules violation for assaulting an officer.  at 17. Nevertheless, Wilkins directs that the “core
judicial inquiry” is whether the nature of the force “was nontrivial and ‘was applied . . .
maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.’” Wilkins, 559 U.S. at 39 (quoting Hudson, 503 U.S.
at 7). Based on differing accounts of the manner in which the physical confrontation began and
of the amount of force that was applied, the Court finds that there is a genuine dispute of material
fact as to whether the force was applied in a “good faith effort to maintain or restore discipline”
or “maliciously and sadistically” to cause harm. Accordingly, Defendant Strickland’s motion for
summary judgment on the merits of Goldsmith’s excessive force claim is denied. If this claim is
not dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, the Court will set this claim for a
4. Exposure to elements on March 1, 2013.
Goldsmith complains that on March 1, 2013, Defendant Blaine caused him to stand
outside for four hours in inadequate clothing while Blaine and others conducted a training
exercise in his housing unit. Goldsmith complains that the temperatures were around 60 degrees
Fahrenheit. The Court has reviewed all of the documents Plaintiff attached to his motion to
reconsider, and Goldsmith has failed to submit any grievances or letters that relate to this claim.
One grievance, dated March 3, 2013, discusses denial of visitation and other communication
privileges while in isolation, but makes no mention of the alleged March 1 incident.  at 22.
Accordingly, Defendants are entitled to summary judgment on the basis of failure to exhaust
administrative remedies as to this claim.
5. Denial of medical treatment claims.
Plaintiff has alleged that Defendants denied him adequate medical treatment in two
respects. First, Goldsmith alleges that Defendants denied him adequate medical treatment for a
rash that he contracted while in isolation. Second, Goldsmith alleges that Defendants failed to
transport him to a doctor’s appointment for a lung condition on February 13, 2013, that he had
made with a doctor before he became incarcerated.
Having reviewed the grievances and letters submitted by Plaintiff to this Court, the Court
finds no grievance or letter addressing inadequate medical treatment for a rash. Accordingly,
Defendants are entitled to summary judgment for failure to exhaust administrative remedies on
Goldsmith’s inadquate medial care claim related to a rash.
Goldsmith’s March 14, 2013, letter to Defendant Blaine does, however, state that he
“wrote the Captain and Sheriff about doctors appointments on a grievance form” but received
“[n]o answer” and that he “assume[d]” an officer “destroyed them.”  at 33. Considering
these allegations in the March 14, 2013, letter, the Court finds that the evidentiary hearing
should include whether Goldsmith exhausted available administrative remedies for his
inadequate medical care claim in relation to the February 13, 2013, doctor’s appointment.
Again, the Court notes that the Rankin County Defendants did not move for summary
judgment on the merits of these claims. The deadline for Defendants to file a summary judgment
motion on Plaintiff’s inadequate medical care claim related to the February 13, 2013,
appointment is March 10, 2017.
For the reasons explained in this Opinion, the Court finds that the Motion for Summary
Judgment filed by the Rankin County Defendants should be granted in part and denied in part.
The Court finds that an evidentiary hearing should be held on whether Plaintiff exhausted his
available administrative remedies on the following claims:
(1) conditions of confinement while in administrative segregation from January 26, 2013,
to March 18, 2013;
(2) excessive force against Defendant Strickland in relation to the January 25, 2013,
(3) inadequate medical care related to the February 13, 2013, doctor’s appointment.
The evidentiary hearing is hereby set for February 22, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. before the
undersigned in Courtroom No. 5D of the United States Courthouse, 501 East Court Street,
Jackson, Mississippi 39201.
In addition, the Court hereby sets a deadline of March 10, 2017, for Defendants to file a
summary judgment motion on the merits of Plaintiff’s following claims:
(1) conditions of confinement while in administrative segregation from January 26, 2013,
to March 18, 2013; and
(2) inadequate medical care claim related to the February 13, 2013, doctor’s appointment.
Summary judgment is hereby granted on all other claims asserted by Plaintiff in this case,
and all such claims are hereby dismissed with prejudice.
SO ORDERED, this the 7th day of February, 2017.
/s/ F. Keith Ball
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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