Bates v. Mississippi Department of Corrections et al

Filing 9

ORDER DISMISSING MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS: For the reasons set out in the Order, Defendant Mississippi Department of Corrections should be and is hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The remainder of the case shall proceed. Signed by District Judge Daniel P. Jordan III on May 25, 2017.(SP)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI NORTHERN DIVISION CHARLES E. BATES, # 112301 VERSUS PLAINTIFF CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:17cv101-DPJ-FKB MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, CENTURION OF MISSISSIPPI, INC., EX-COMMISSIONER MARSHALL FISHER, DR. GLORIA PERRY, SUPERINTENDENT RON KING, WARDEN BRIAN LADNER, JOHN DOE, OFFICER BROWN, JANE DOES, and NURSE OLIPHANT DEFENDANTS ORDER DISMISSING MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS This pro se prisoner case is before the Court, sua sponte, for consideration of partial dismissal. Plaintiff Charles E. Bates is incarcerated with the Mississippi Department of Corrections (“MDOC”), and he challenges the conditions of his confinement. The Court has considered and liberally construed the pleadings. As set forth below, Defendant MDOC is dismissed. The remainder of this case shall proceed. I. Discussion On February 14, 2017, Bates filed this action, alleging that he has been denied medical treatment for a series of heart attacks. Bates also claims that he was denied an upgrade to his defibrillator, even though such upgrade had been prescribed by his treating physician. Among others, Bates sues MDOC for compensatory and punitive damages. The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996, applies to prisoners proceeding in forma pauperis in this Court. One of the provisions reads, Athe 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 Aaccords 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). A[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). ASignificantly, 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 Bates to proceed in forma pauperis in this action. His Complaint is subject to sua sponte dismissal under ' 1915. Among others, Bates sues MDOC for damages. Section 1983 provides: Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. . . . 42 U.S.C. ' 1983. The State of Mississippi is not amenable to suit under this statute, because Aa State is not a person within the meaning of ' 1983.@ Will v. Mich. Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 64 (1989). This holding likewise applies to Aany governmental entities that are considered >arms of the State= for Eleventh Amendment purposes.@ Id. at 70. MDOC is considered an arm of the State of Mississippi. Miss. Code Ann. ' 47-5-1; Scott v. Miss. Dep’t of Corrs., No. 2:05cv2159-KS-JMR, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43683 at *2 (S.D. Miss. June 12, 2006). Therefore, MDOC is dismissed. 2 II. Conclusion IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED AND ADJUDGED that, for the reasons stated above, Defendant Mississippi Department of Corrections should be and is hereby DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE. The remainder of the case shall proceed. SO ORDERED AND ADJUDGED this the 25th day of May, 2017. s/ Daniel P. Jordan III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE 3

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