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Jones v. Randle

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

May 23, 2013

MARVIN JONES, #339-164 Plaintiff
v.
M. RANDLE, et al. Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GEORGE L. RUSSELL, III, District Judge.

Pending is Marvin Jones' ("Jones") civil rights Complaint under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Defendants, M. Randall, [1] CO II Scarpelli, CO II Shroyer, and CO II Wilburn, by their counsel, move pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) to dismiss the Complaint or, in the alternative, move pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 for summary judgment. Plaintiff has filed a "Motion to Dismiss" (ECF No. 20).[2] The matter has been briefed, and a hearing is deemed unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For reasons to follow, the Court will grant summary judgment in favor of Defendants.

BACKGROUND

A. Plaintiff's Claims

Jones, who is presently incarcerated at Jessup Correctional Institution, claims he was subjected to excessive force by corrections officers at Western Correctional Institution ("WCI") on August 11, 2011, after he acknowledged assaulting an officer earlier on the same day.[3] ECF No. 1, pp. 8-9; see also ECF No. 17, Ex. A, pp. 16-18, 22, 58-60.

Jones presents the following sequence of events. On August 11, 2011, Jones was waiting to receive his medication in the medical unit when Officer Scarpelli ("Scarpelli") ordered him to remove his hands from inside his pants. Jones claims that after he complied, his pants fell to his knees because they were too big. Scarpelli then asked Jones whether he was trying to be a "wise ass." Plaintiff asked Scarpelli, "Why are you always harassing me?" Scarpelli then "reached out with both hands" for Jones' neck. Fearing for his safety, Jones "push-punched" Scarpelli, who "hit the floor." Complaint, ECF No. 1, pp. 8-9.[4]

Additional officers responded to the scene. Although some of the responding officers were unsure whether Jones or another inmate, James Johnson, had struck Scarpelli, Jones voiced responsibility for the assault. ECF No.1, p. 8; see also ECF No. 17, Ex. A, p. 15). Jones was placed on the floor and handcuffed. He was taken to a holding cell where he was, while stripped, kicked about the face and body. His legs and fingers were twisted and pulled back. ECF No. 1, p. 9. Jones asserts he then was left in the cold cell for 45 minutes.

Jones' clothes were returned and he was taken by Officer Randall ("Randall") and Sergeant Daddysman[5] to a cell in the special observation housing area, Segregation Unit 4, where he was stripped by Officers Coulter, Shroyer, Wilson and Wilburn. He alleges Randall made threatening remarks such as, "You like putting your hands on our officer?" Id . Jones claims that Randall asked the sergeant, "Ain't you gonna beat him up?" to which Sergeant Daddysman replied, "No." Id . Jones was ordered to get on his knees and face the wall, whereupon he was punched and kicked on his head and back. His clothes were thrown in the toilet and he was put in a cold cell for 72 hours and refused food by Officer Wilburn. Jones avers he was later placed in a cell with a racist prison gang member so that "the racial torture can continue" Id . Five months of "torcher [sic] and harassment" followed before he was transferred to the Jessup Correctional Institution. Id.[6]

B. Defendants' Response

In support of their dispositive pleading, Defendants have submitted affidavits and verified exhibits. They are summarized below in pertinent part:

Officer Scarpelli's Declaration On August 11, 2011, Scarpelli was assigned to the Medical Unit. Scarpelli observed Jones being loud and causing a disturbance, so he instructed him to step back into the line and stop yelling to other inmates. Jones got back into the line and put his hands down the front of his pants. Scarpelli told Plaintiff to remove his hands from his pants in order to be sure he had no weapon. Plaintiff said, "Scarpelli, why you always getting on me?"
Scarpelli instructed Jones to go into the secure waiting room and wait there, but Jones continued to be loud and cause a disturbance. Scarpelli stepped around the panel separating him from the inmates and took Plaintiff by the arm to escort him to the secure waiting area. At that time, Plaintiff punched Scarpelli in the face and he fell to the floor. Scarpelli heard the "officer down" code called, but due to his groggy condition was unable to observe any happenings.
Scarpelli was transported to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center for x-rays and evaluation. He suffered a black eye, bloody nose and lacerations to the inside of his mouth. After he was treated at the hospital, he returned to WCI to write the incident report and then went home.
Scarpelli does not recall any prior contact or interaction with Jones. Approximately three months after the incident, he was assigned to work a shift in Housing Unit 4, where Jones was housed, and he saw Jones but had no ...

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