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Putney v. Likin

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 21, 2014

KORY PUTNEY, #313532 Plaintiff
R. LIKIN, et al., Defendants


GEORGE L. RUSSELL, III, District Judge.

Pending is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 25. Plaintiff opposes the Motion and moves to file an Amended Complaint.[1] ECF No. 29. The Court determines that no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, shall be granted.


Plaintiff, an inmate confined to the custody of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, states that at all times relevant to his Complaint he was confined at Western Correctional Institution ("WCI").[2] Plaintiff was assigned to Housing Unit 4, A-tier on disciplinary segregation on June 28, 2011, when a major shakedown of the Unit occurred. During the search, he states multiple mattresses, including his, were confiscated due to damage done to the mattresses. ECF No. 1 at p. 3.

Inmates from whom mattresses were taken were given the option of paying for the mattress or receiving a Notice of Infraction. Plaintiff refused to pay and was given a Notice of Infraction. Despite the fact that Plaintiff was found not guilty of the charges asserted at the disciplinary hearing on July 1, 2011, he was not provided with another mattress as were all other inmates. Plaintiff alleges that, following his hearing, he asked Property Officer Wilson ("Wilson") for a replacement mattress. Wilson informed Plaintiff that Likin did not want to provide him with a mattress and he was not "going to get [his] ass chewed off for going against Likin's orders." ECF No. 1 at pp. 4-5. Plaintiff states that he asked virtually every officer who walked the tier for a mattress, but he suspects they too were warned by Likin not to provide him with a mattress. Id. at p. 5.

Plaintiff claims that WCI utilizes Unit Managers which decentralizes authority, leaving issues regarding the housing unit to the discretion of the Unit Manager. He further alleges that Likin was the Unit Manager and, as such, became the de facto Warden of that unit. He alleges that Likin ordered a second Notice of Infraction be served on Plaintiff on July 6, 2011, after he was found not guilty. Plaintiff states that at a hearing on July 11, 2011, all charges in the second notice of infraction were dismissed. The not guilty verdict for the July 11, 2011 proceeding was affirmed by the Warden on July 21, 2011. ECF No. 1 at p. 5.

On July 11 and 19, 2011, Plaintiff states he was seen by medical staff in response to a sick call request and claims he was denied treatment. Plaintiff claims that both nurses with whom he spoke were aware of why he was requesting help. Plaintiff alleges that both nurses became hostile or negative toward him and left without providing treatment. Plaintiff further alleges that he believes Likin influenced medical staff not to provide him with treatment Id.

On July 28, 2011, Warden Morgan "decided that [Plaintiff] would not be issued another mattress until [Plaintiff] paid for the mattress that he had been found not guilty of damaging." ECF No. 1 at p. 6. The following day, Plaintiff states that Morgan acknowledged his awareness that Plaintiff was found not culpable for damage to his mattress. Id . On June 28, 2011, Plaintiff submitted the issue of his mattress though the Administrative Remedy Procedure ("ARP"). The administrative response, dated July 28, 2011, states that Plaintiff's mattress was destroyed after staff retrieved contraband Plaintiff had hidden inside of it. The ARP was dismissed as without merit. ECF No. 1 at p. 18.

Plaintiff was again seen by medical staff for complaints of pain on July 26, 2011, and was then prescribed medication to address the pain including, Baclofen, Amitriptyline, Excedrin Migraine, and Ibuprofen. Plaintiff complained of headaches, confusion, and pain in his neck along his spine and his right shoulder. Plaintiff attributed the pain he experienced to being forced to sleep on hard concrete without a mattress. ECF No. 1 at pp. 6 and 13-16. Additionally, Plaintiff later complained of lower back pain due to the deprivation of a mattress.[3] Id. at p. 17.

Plaintiff alleges that during the time he was denied a mattress, his institutional mail was being diverted, delayed, or dismissed due to the method by which the housing units are managed. He claims Likin and Morgan signed routing slips for his requests for ARPs during this time, but he was unable to attach the slips as exhibits. He states he requested a replacement mattress by writing to his Case Manager and Morgan on August 2, 2011, but never received a response. ECF No. 1 at pp. 6 and 22-28.

In addition to diversion of his institutional mail, Plaintiff claims his incoming and outgoing legal mail, was also being diverted or destroyed. He claims much of his outgoing mail was returned or delayed; he states one letter from Prisoner Rights Information System of Maryland ("PRISM") took 17 days to receive. ECF No. 1 at pp. 7 and 29. Additionally, he provides a legal mail envelope that took two weeks to reach him. Id.

On September 15, 2011, Plaintiff states an audit team was touring housing unit 4 at WCI and Plaintiff "yelled out" to the auditors in an attempt to obtain another mattress. He alleges that the inmates were not warned that they could not speak to the auditors, but Likin punished him for contacting them by restricting Plaintiff's outdoor exercise for "much longer than three days, " the maximum sanction authorized by applicable regulations. ECF No. 1 at pp. 7 and 30.

Plaintiff appealed the Warden's denial of his ARP to the Commissioner of Correction on August 22, 2011, and states the appeal was denied because the Commissioner did not respond within the time required. On November 1, 2011, Plaintiff received Commissioner Stouffer's response to the appeal which was signed on October 17, 2011. The response required that a mattress be provided to Plaintiff, but when he showed the response to officers working in the housing unit none of them would comply with the directive. ECF No. 1 at pp. 7 and 32.

On November 3, 2011, Plaintiff claims two Inmate Grievance Office ("IGO") representatives came to North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI") to investigate his grievance regarding the denial of a mattress. The investigators required NBCI officials to provide Plaintiff with a mattress. On December 6, 2011, Plaintiff had an IGO hearing concerning his complaint about being denied a mattress. A decision issued on February 27, 2012, dismissed the complaint. Plaintiff adds that all documents relating to the administrative remedy process were confiscated or mailed out to his mother, who never received them. Plaintiff ...

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