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Montgomery v. Maryland Correctional Training Center

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 13, 2014

DAVID MICHAEL MONTGOMERY, #412-797 Plaintiff,
v.
MARYLAND CORRECTIONAL TRAINING CENTER, et al. Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

ELLEN L. HOLLANDER, District Judge.

The self-represented plaintiff, David Michael Montgomery, filed a complaint in which he alleged that he was in danger at the Maryland Correctional Training Center ("MCTC"). Plaintiff named as defendants the MCTC, Warden J.P. Morgan, Sergeant T. Richer, and all "AM and PM officers that work Housing Unit #5B since 2/20/14." Thereafter, I ordered an expedited response as to why plaintiff's request for injunctive relief should not be granted. ( See ECF 3).[1] The Response to Order to Show Cause (ECF 10), accompanied by affidavits and other documentary evidence, was construed as a motion for summary judgment, and Montgomery was informed that he was entitled to file a reply with supporting materials. (ECF 11, ECF 12). Montgomery filed correspondence in reply. (ECF 16, ECF 17). Subsequently, a status report on Montgomery's safety and housing placement was filed pursuant to court order. (ECF 18, ECF 23).

After careful consideration of the emergency response, status report, and Montgomery's replies as set forth in his correspondence (ECF 16-17, 19-21), the court concludes that emergency injunctive relief is unwarranted and that defendants are entitled to summary judgment in their favor.

BACKGROUND

Montgomery is currently an inmate at the Roxbury Correctional Institution ("RCI"). He filed this complaint while housed at MCTC, claiming that he is in danger of harm from prison gang members based on past incidents, [2] his cell mate at MCTC is a gang member, and he needs to be assigned to a single cell for his safety. In addition, he alleged that he has asked for protective housing at MCTC, but received no response from correctional officials. (Complaint, ECF 1 at 3-4). Notably, Montgomery did not allege that he has suffered any physical injury as a result of his housing assignment. As relief, he requests $10, 000 damages based on his "tort" claim and also requests assignment to a single cell. ( Id. at 7).

Counsel for the Maryland Attorney General has submitted the Declaration of MCTC's Intelligence Officer, Lieutenant C.J. Conley (Ex. A, ECF 10-1), as well as verified prison records (Ex. B, ECF 10-2). In his Declaration, Conley avers that Montgomery, who is a validated member of the gang Dead Man Incorporated ("DMI"), was placed on administrative segregation upon his arrival at MCTC on May 1, 2013, pending investigation of any known enemies at the facility. One enemy was shown, and that inmate was released from custody in 2009. (ECF 10-1 at 2; ECF 10-2 at 13).

Conley attests that on May 7, 2013, Montgomery asked to be removed from protective custody and stated that he did not believe he was in danger. (ECF 10-1 at 2; ECF 10-2 at 8). Montgomery signed a protective custody waiver form, stating: "I do not fear for my safety." The form was witnessed by Lt. M. Clopper, Manager of Housing Unit 5, and HU 5 staff. Id. On May 9, 2013, Montgomery was placed into general population. (ECF 10-1 at 2).

On February 12, 2014, Montgomery provided information to case manager Craig Leonard about the weapon hidden by his cell partner, Travonte Johnson, an active member of the Blood gang, in their cell, #7A-1-23. Id. Montgomery again signed a protective custody waiver, which was witnessed by case managers Leonard and Holly Fratz. ( Id.; ECF 10-2 at 9). Staff on the 4-12 shift searched Montgomery's cell that night and discovered a home-made weapon. "As protocol both inmates were placed on Administrative Segregation Pending Adjustment." (ECF 10-1 at 2). Plaintiff was placed in segregation cell # 5B-1-14. ( Id. ).

One week later, on February 19, 2014, Montgomery and his cell mate in # 5B-1-14, James Kline, an active DMI member, were searched by staff. ( Id. at 3). Five homemade weapons were discovered in their cell and confiscated. Both inmates remained in the cell after the search. Id.

On February 25, 2014, an adjustment hearing was held for the infractions arising from the discovery of the weapon in the cell Montgomery had shared with inmate Johnson. Neither inmate claimed responsibility for the weapon, and Montgomery was sanctioned with 45 days of segregation, 180 days' loss of visits, and revocation of 30 good conduct credits. (ECF 10-1 at 2; ECF 10-2 at 18-34). On the same day, Kline accepted responsibility for the five weapons discovered in the cell he shared with Montgomery. Montgomery was found not guilty of the adjustment written on February 19, 2014. (ECF 10-1 at 2; ECF 10-2 at 35-42).

At the Warden's direction, Lt. Conley interviewed Montgomery on March 24, 2014, concerning the claims set forth in his complaint. Montgomery informed Conley that he needed the protection of a single cell because several letters he had written to his case manager, informing him of the weapon in Housing Unit 7, may have been "knocked off" and read by another inmate. (ECF 10-1 at 3). Montgomery stated he had no problems with Kline, his cell mate. ( Id. ) Furthermore, Montgomery waived protective custody by marking the block in the waiver form which states, "I have been offered Protective Custody. I do not believe that I am in danger of harm from another inmate." (Id. ) Conley and Sgt. T. Ricker witnessed Montgomery sign the waiver. ( Id.; ECF 10-2 at 10). In his reply, Montgomery states he signed the waiver because Conley promised him a single cell assignment. (ECF 13 and 14). Montgomery further avers that, sometime between February 20, 2014 and March 24, 2014, he gave correctional officers Mac, Sweeney, and Myers letters stating that he feared for his safety and wanted protective custody. (ECF 14).

On April 14, 2014, pending investigation and consideration of whether Montgomery should be placed on voluntary or involuntary protective custody and transferred, Montgomery was placed on administrative segregation, a special housing status that involves greater security measures than general population, and transferred to the RCI in Hagerstown, Maryland. ( See Status Report filed 5/5/14, ECF 23; Corresp. from plaintiff filed 4/29/14, ECF 20). As of May 4, 2014, Montgomery was housed at RCI in a cell by himself. (Corresp. from plaintiff filed 4/24/14, ECF 19; ECF 20). He has no listed enemies at RCI. According to the status report provided by counsel, if protective custody is offered to Montgomery, he will likely be transferred to the regional protective custody unit at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, Maryland. (ECF 23).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Plaintiff was notified that defendants' substantive response will be treated as a motion for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. ( See ECF 12). A motion styled in this manner implicates the court's discretion under Rule 12(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Kensington Vol. Fire Dept., Inc. v. Montgomery County, 788 F.Supp.2d 431, 436-37 (D. Md. 2011). Ordinarily, a court "is not to consider matters outside the pleadings or resolve factual disputes when ruling on a motion to dismiss." Bosiger v. U.S. Airways, 510 F.3d 442, 450 (4th Cir. 2007). However, under Rule 12(b)(6), a court, in its discretion, may consider matters outside of the pleadings, pursuant to Rule 12(d). If the court does so, "the motion must be ...


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