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Dukes v. Parish

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division

January 29, 2019


         SECTION P




         Before the undersigned Magistrate Judge, on reference from the District Court, is a motion for summary judgment filed by defendants John Lewis and Jerry Ray (“Defendants”) [doc. # 33]. The motion is unopposed. For reasons set forth below, it is recommended that the motion be GRANTED.


         Plaintiff Derrick Dukes, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, is an inmate in the custody of Louisiana's Department of Corrections. On March 29, 2018, he filed the above-captioned lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against “Sheriffs Office Webster Parish, ” John Lewis, and Jerry Ray. [doc. # 1]. Dukes alleges that, on or about February 28, 2018, he was fired from his position at the auto shop at the Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center (“BDCC”) because he is a Muslim and a part of Islam. He claims that prior to his termination, Defendant Ray, a lieutenant at BDCC, stated that he did not want Dukes at the auto shop because he was a Muslim. Further, Dukes claims that Defendant Lewis, the warden at BDCC, passed down orders to confine Dukes in a cell twenty-four hours per day for fifty-eight days in March and April of 2018 and deprive him of his rights. Dukes alleges that he spent eight of those days in freezing temperatures with only a steel bed, no clothes, no lighting, no recreation, and cold food, which caused back pain, hypothermia, constipation, sleep deprivation, hallucinations, and “prayer disruption.” [docs. # 1, 6].

         This Court conducted a preliminary screening of Dukes' Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915A, 1915(e)(2) and dismissed his claims against “Sheriffs Office Webster Parish.” [docs. # 7, 13].

         On December 14, 2018, Defendants filed the instant motion for summary judgment to dismiss Dukes' suit in its entirety. Defendants claim that Dukes' suit should be dismissed because Dukes (1) has failed to exhaust administrative remedies in accordance with 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); (2) has no claim against Defendants in their official capacities as a matter of law; and (3) cannot demonstrate a genuine dispute of material fact for any individual capacity claim. [doc. # 33]. Dukes did not file a response to the motion.[1] Defendants filed a reply on January 14, 2019. [doc. # 41]. This matter is ripe.

         Standard of Review

         Summary judgment is appropriate “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). A fact is “material” if proof of its existence or nonexistence would affect the outcome of the lawsuit under the applicable law in the case. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute about a material fact is “genuine” if the evidence is such that a reasonable fact-finder could render a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.

         The party seeking summary judgment “bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of ‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247). The moving party may meet its burden “by pointing out that the record contains no support for the non-moving party's claim.” Stahl v. Novartis Pharm. Corp., 283 F.3d 254, 263 (5th Cir. 2002). If the nonmoving party is then unable to point to anything in the record to support its claim, summary judgment is appropriate. Id.

         When considering the evidence in a motion for summary judgment, the court will resolve factual disputes in favor of the nonmoving party, but “only when there is an actual controversy, that is, when both parties have submitted evidence of contradictory facts.” Salazar-Limon v. City of Houston, 826 F.3d 272, 277 (5th Cir. 2016) (citations omitted). The court will not assume without proof that the nonmoving party could prove the necessary facts. Id. In such a situation, there is no genuine dispute as to a material fact and the moving party is “entitled to a judgment as a matter of law, ” because “a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.” Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23.

         Discussion I.

         Exhaustion ...

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