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Hall v. Warden

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 25, 2014

NATHAN CALVIN HALL, #342-790, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, District Judge.

Pending is an unopposed[1] Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Warden Bobby Shearin, [2] Warden Frank B. Bishop, Jr., Case Management Specialist John White, Captain Bradley O. Butler, CO II Brant A. Rice, CO II Robert A. Beeman, CO II Daniel Faulkner, and CO II Randy L. Beal, responding to self-represented Plaintiff Nathan Calvin Hall's ("Hall") prisoner civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. The court finds an oral hearing unnecessary to resolve the issues. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md.2011). For the reasons stated below, Defendants' dispositive motion will be granted.

Background

Hall alleges he was assaulted and his jaw was broken on June 20, 2009, by Western Correctional Institution (WCI) Correctional Officers Rice, Beal, Faulkner, and Beeman. ECF No. 1 at 1-2; see also ECF No. 13, Exh. 1 at 12.[3] Hall claims Officer Rice (Rice) called him a "snitch"[4] and the officers threatened to "get even" with him. Id. at 2. Hall states he is now housed at North Branch Correctional Institution (NBCI) where his rights have been violated, he has been subjected to torture tactics, racial profiling, foul play, false statements and false imprisonment. ECF No. 1 at 5; ECF No. 3 at 3. Hall states he was placed in "lock-up" at NBCI for almost eighteen months without receiving a "ticket." ECF No. 3 at 3. As relief, he requests restoration of his good conduct time and damages of $200, 000.

In support of their dispositive motion, Defendants have submitted exhibits and declarations. These include the Use of Force Report prepared shortly following the June 20, 2009 incident[5] and the March 24, 2010 Report of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Internal Investigation Unit. Exh. 1 at 5-10 and 15-21. The exhibits are summarized as follows.

A. Use of Force Report

The use of force incident was summarized by Shift Commander Brad Butler on June 21, 2009, who determined that after Hall attempted to strike Rice, the officer used pepper spray. Hall was then taken to the ground and handcuffed. Exh. 1 at 18. Hall suffered no injury apart from pepper spray exposure, and was escorted to the medical unit for a shower and evaluation. Id. Butler found the officers' actions appropriate to control the situation and in compliance with Use of Force Directives. Id.

Included in the Use of Force Report is Rice's incident report which states that on June 20, 2009, he was observing inmates returning from the yard. When Officer Beal closed the front slider door to lock the inmates in for a formal count, Hall grabbed the door and pulled it open. Rice called Hall to the lobby area to see his identification card. Rice answered "What the fuck for" and refused to provide the card without an explanation. Exh. 1 at 19. Rice then ordered Hall to place his hands on the wall for a pat down and to find the I.D. card. According to Rice, "[a]s I approached Hall, he turned towards me removing his knit hat and t-shirt and aggressively charged at me with a closed fist. I drew my pepper spray and applied two short bursts to Hall's upper chest and facial area." Officers Faulkner and Beeman responded and "took Hall to the ground and placed handcuffs on him." Id. Hall was then escorted to the medical unit.

B. Investigation Report of June 20, 2009, Incident

Hall notified the Internal Investigation Unit (IIU) of the assault by letter on August 18, 2009. Exh. 1 at 5, 12-13. Hall claimed officers "beat me in the head, face, side, bend my legs back, fracture my jaw." Id.

Detective Sergeant Raymond Wills was assigned to investigate Hall's allegations. In compiling the IIU report, Wills interviewed Hall, the officers involved, and witnesses. Wills found the lobby area at issue was not monitored by video surveillance camera, and Hall's medical file did not evidence that he suffered any injuries apart from pepper spray exposure as a result of the use of force incident. Exh. 1 at 9; Exh. 8 at 156-59. Hall's records demonstrate no evidence of a fractured jaw. Exh. 1 at 23.

1. IIU Interviews

a. Hall

Wills interviewed Hall on February 17, 2010. Hall recounted that on June 20, 2009, while returning to the tier from the recreation yard, the door began to close and he "had to push it a little bit." Exh. 1 at 6. The officers in the unit were laughing at him when this happened. Hall stated aloud "Motherfuckers is crazy, " whereupon Rice called him to the foyer. Id. When Hall walked out to the foyer where Officers Rice, Beeman, Faulkner, and Beal were sitting, Rice taunted, "You ain't so bad without your fucking friends." Id. Officer Beal ordered Hall against the wall for a pat down search.

According to Hall, "Rice starting talking shit again." Id. Hall stated that he informed Rice he was a former boxer and "knocked dudes like you out." Id. Rice then "bum rushed" and sprayed on Hall. Id. Hall either fell or was forced to the floor and was punched and kicked by all four officers "for like 3 minutes." Id. Hall was then escorted to the medical department and later to the segregation unit. Id; see also ECF No. 16, Exhibit 6. Hall reported to Wills that his jaw was fractured but mentioned no other injury. Id. Wills states in the investigation report "I told him [Hall] that I reviewed his dental records and could find no mention of an injury to his jaw, he did not argue. He offered as an explanation that, he suspected the ...


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