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Suit vs. county halted: Judge

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a Bedford County inmate for his failure to prosecute the matter.

Jimmy Ray Massey, 38, of Highway 64 East, had filed two hand-written lawsuits -- one claiming at the end of February that jailers were preventing him from filing a suit, and another complaint in May that stated that he was briefly moved out of state without permission.

But U.S. District Judge Harry S. Mattice dismissed the suit for failure to prosecute and comply with the orders of the federal court. Mattice also denied Massey leave to proceed "in forma pauperis" on appeal, meaning that he has no funds to pursue the normal costs of a lawsuit.

The judge had ordered Massey to respond to the court by May 22 about the complaint, but he never did so. The first suit, where he claimed he was prevented from filing, was closed in May.

Claims

In his suit, he claimed a deputy transported him from the county jail to Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute in Chattanooga last month on Interstate 24, which briefly winds into Georgia before returning to Tennessee. In doing so, Massey claims he left Tennessee without his written consent and was "illegally extradited."

He also claimed the alleged illegal extradition occurred again when he was returned to Bedford County along the same route five days later. The handwritten suit had named the jail, sheriff's office, Sheriff Randall Boyce, Southern Health Partners, nurse John Jett, a "Dr. Mathews," and Lt. David Plumley as defendants.

Massey also claimed that he was denied a Phenobarbital prescription for a seizure disorder, due to a "no narcotic policy" at the jail, and wished to sue for $250,000 for pain and suffering. He said was "held incommunicado," and that his mail to the federal courts was confiscated and his phone and mail privileges were restricted.

Charges

Massey was indicted in February on two counts of domestic assault, kidnapping, leaving the scene of an accident, reckless endangerment, DUI (first offense) evading arrest and failure to appear.

The indictment stems from an incident in July 2010, and court officials explained earlier this year that he had been in jail in Florida on other charges, but had made a motion for a speedy trial on the charges here.

Massey was arrested locally following a foot chase after a 911 caller reported an incident in the parking lot of Magnolia Village Apartments on Landers Street. A woman who was in Massey's truck told police that he struck her head, threatened to kill her, forced her into the vehicle and struck another vehicle while leaving.

Officer Jon Cooke reported that Massey "instantly got on the gas and attempted to elude me" after being spotted by police on Coney Island Road, but drove down an embankment and attempted to run into a wooded area. Police reports said Massey was "assisted to the ground" following the foot chase and an attempted Taser shot.