Bates v. Mississippi Department of Corrections et al
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)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
CHARLES E. BATES, # 112301
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
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.
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.
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
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