351 F.3d 626 (5th Cir. 2003), 02-61033, Alexander v. Tippah County, Miss.

Docket Nº:02-61033
Citation:351 F.3d 626
Party Name:Alexander v. Tippah County, Miss.
Case Date:November 17, 2003
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 626

351 F.3d 626 (5th Cir. 2003)

Tyrone ALEXANDER; Kevin Carroll, Plaintiffs-Appellants,


TIPPAH COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI; James Page, In Both His Official and Individual Capacities; Paul Gowdy; Gary Welch, In Both His Official and Individual Capacities, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 02-61033.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

November 17, 2003

Page 627

Matthew Yarbrough Harris (argued), Rutledge & Davis, New Albany, MS, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Daniel J. Griffith (argued), Griffith & Griffith, Cleveland, MS, for Defendants-Appellees.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi.

Before KING, Chief Judge, and DAVIS and EMILIO M. GARZA, Circuit Judges.


Plaintiffs-Appellants Tyrone Alexander and Kevin Carroll, both Mississippi state inmates, bring suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for two incidents that occurred during their stay at the Tippah County Detention Facility. The first incident led Alexander to bring an Eighth Amendment claim for use of excessive force. The second incident, which involved both Alexander and Carroll, gave rise to claims for unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Alexander and Carroll brought these Eighth Amendment claims before the district court pursuant to § 1983. The district court dismissed Alexander's use-of-excessive-force claim for failure to exhaust administrative remedies and granted summary judgment on Alexander's and Carroll's conditions-of-confinement claims. For the following reasons, we affirm.


A. Facts

On February 6, 2001, Alexander and Carroll, inmates in the Mississippi state prison system, were transported from the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, Mississippi to the Tippah County Detention Facility ("the Detention Facility").

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Alexander and Carroll were housed in the Detention Facility for ten days while awaiting appearances in the Tippah County Circuit Court. Upon arrival, they were each provided with an Inmate Handbook outlining the Detention Facility's policies and procedures, including its grievance procedures.

The day after arriving at the Detention Facility, a dispute arose between Alexander, Carroll, Defendant Deputy Paul Gowdy, and two prison guards, which lead to a physical altercation. As a result, Alexander and Carroll were both charged with simple assault of a law enforcement officer and assigned to twenty-four hour administrative segregation in an isolation cell known to the prisoners as "the hole."

The isolation cell is a sparse eight-by-eight concrete room, meant to house one person. There is no running water and no toilet in the room; the only sanitary facility is a grate-covered hole in the floor, which can be "flushed" from outside the room. The only "bed" in the cell is a concrete protrusion from the wall wide enough for one person. The cell contains no mattress, sheets, or blankets. Alexander and Carroll concede that the cell was clean and dry when they arrived. When first placed in the hole, Alexander and Carroll were stripped of all their clothes; eventually, they were given their boxer shorts to wear.

Approximately one hour after being placed in the cell, Alexander and Carroll were dressed in jumpsuits, handcuffed and shackled, and transported to the courtroom for arraignment on three counts of assault on a law enforcement officer. Inside the courtroom, Alexander attempted to approach the bench, and interrupted the judge numerous times. Defendant Sheriff James Page told Alexander to "shut up" and to step back from the bench. Alexander disobeyed this order, so Defendant Deputy Gary Welch placed his gloved hand over Alexander's mouth. Alexander continued to interrupt the judge, so Page ordered him removed from the courtroom. Alexander alleges that Page punched him, and that Welch shoved him out of the courtroom. Once outside, according to Alexander, Welch shoved him, causing his forehead to hit the concrete wall. Alexander alleges that he developed a knot in the center of...

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