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Williams v. Shearin

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

May 23, 2013

BOBBY P. SHEARIN, et al, Defendants.


ALEXANDER WILLIAMS, Jr., District Judge.

Pending is a Motion to Dismiss, or in the alternative, for Summary Judgment filed on behalf of Defendants McAlpine, [1] Grubb and Shearin.[2] ECF No. 15. Plaintiff has responded. ECF No. 17 & 18. Upon review of papers and exhibits filed, the Court finds an oral hearing in this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the reasons that follow, the Motion to Dismiss, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, will be GRANTED.


Williams, a self-represented inmate housed at the Western Correctional Institution ("WCI"), initiated these proceedings alleging that he was denied access to hygiene items and that Defendant King failed to protect him from an assault by another inmate. ECF No. 1.

A. Hygiene items

Plaintiff states that on October 23, 2011, Plaintiff gave Defendant Grubb a welfare commissary order form. Plaintiff did not receive his commissary. He states that he filed an administrative remedy request to the Warden which was not signed by an officer until October 29, 2011. Plaintiff states that on October 27, 2011, he mailed a request form to Defendant McAlpine. Plaintiff received a response from McAlpine on October 29, 2011, informing him that he should request welfare items from the 7-3 shift tier officers. Plaintiff states that he requested but never received personal hygiene items including soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap for washing clothes, deodorant, and stationary items. Plaintiff states he was unable to shower for a month and three weeks, and developed skin infections which spread over his body. He states that he was unable to brush his teeth resulting in infected and bleeding gums. He states that the denial of hygiene items also created a problem in his cell because he had to wear and keep dirty clothing in his cell. ECF No. 1.

The documentary evidence demonstrates that in October, 2011, Plaintiff was housed at the North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI"). NBCI requires indigent inmate welfare requests to be turned in by the third Sunday of each month. ECF No. 15, Exs. 2, 3 & 4. Plaintiff was aware of the deadline. Moreover, the commissary form indicates it is "due on the third Sunday of the month." Id., Ex 2 & 3. In October of 2011, the third Sunday of the month fell on October 16. On October 23, 2011, Plaintiff turned in a welfare package request to Officer Grubb who followed protocol and turned the form in to be processed.[3] Id., Ex. 1 & 2. The Commissary received the request the same day. It is undisputed that Plaintiff filed his indigent commissary request a week late. Id., Ex. 1 & 3. Inmate welfare packages are delivered on the Friday of the first full week of the month after they are received. Id., Ex. 4. Late requests are processed for the following month. Id., Ex. 6.

Segregation confinement records for October and November, 2011, demonstrate that Plaintiff took two showers a week through the month of October. Id., Ex. 5. Records also demonstrate that when Plaintiff transferred from NBCI to WCI he had thirty hygiene items, the maximum allowed. Id., Ex. 10. It is unclear to the Court whether Plaintiff actually had access to these items while he was housed on segregation status, or whether these items were stored during his segregation confinement and released to him upon his transfer.

Plaintiff was transferred to the WCI on November 10, 2011. Exs 5, 7 & 8. When Plaintiff entered WCI he received an inmate care pack containing a bar of soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, a razor, shaving cream, deodorant, shampoo, a towel, and other hygiene items. Id., Exs. 9-11. Officer Lambert of NBCI attempted to deliver Plaintiff's welfare commissary package to him on December 2, 2011, but Plaintiff's transfer had already occurred.

Medical records indicate that although Plaintiff was seen by medical staff during the time he was without hygiene items he neither complained of, nor received, any treatment for oral or skin infections.[4] No oral or skin problems were mentioned during his medical intake following his transfer to WCI. Id., Ex. 14.

B. Failure to Protect

Plaintiff claims that on July 18, 2010, he was attacked by another inmate wielding a battery in a sock. Plaintiff was charged by Defendant King with an inmate rule infraction. King wrote on the Notice of Rule Violation that at the time of the incident he was stationed inside the control desk during mass movement of inmates returning from meal service and that he observed Plaintiff and another inmate exchanging punches. Plaintiff states that King was assigned to the D-tier desk and should not have been at the control desk. Plaintiff states that King's failure to be at the D-tier desk meant that his safety was not properly protected during the mass movement. Id.

Standard of Review

A. Motion to ...

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