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Chisley v. Mallow

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 2, 2014

MALLOW, et al., Defendants.


DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, District Judge.

Self-represented Plaintiff Anthony Chisley filed the above-captioned Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Defendants Sergeant Sawyer, Correctional Officer Broadwater, Correctional Officer Mallow, Correctional Officer Metz, and Correctional Officer Yutzy have filed a Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative for Summary Judgment. ECF Nos. 20 & 28. Plaintiff has responded. ECF Nos. 29 & 30. After review of the papers and applicable law, the court determines that a hearing is unwarranted. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons that follow, the Motion to Dismiss, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, will be GRANTED.


Plaintiff, an inmate currently confined at the North Branch Correctional Institution (NBCI), alleges that on July 18, 2013, at approximately 1:00 p.m., Defendants Mallow, Metz, and Broadwater came to his cell with a tether and handcuffs and ordered him to cuff from the back. Plaintiff states the officers opened his cell door and escorted him to an isolation cell. He states that after he entered the cell, the door was closed and the officers pulled his arms through the door slot backwards, twisting and punching his arms as the cuffs were removed. He states that Mallow sprayed mace into the door and then slammed the door slot, leaving Plaintiff in the cell with the window bolted shut and no air entering the cell. Plaintiff states that after approximately five minutes he was ordered to cuff again with the tether hooked to the cuffs. He states that his cell door was opened and Mallow, Metz, Yutzy, Broadwater and Sawyers kicked and punched him in the head, face, body, and penis as he was forced through the C&D foyer and into the C&D holding cell. He states that an unidentified nurse refused to treat him after he repeatedly told her he had been assaulted and maced and requested medical attention. Plaintiff states that he was forced back through the C&D foyer and onto D tier into the medical unit where an unidentified officer entered and punched and kicked him repeatedly.

Plaintiff states that after showering the mace from his face, body, and private area he was placed in an isolation cell without any clothing. He claims he was denied a mattress, sheets, hygiene items, toilet paper and water and the sink and toilet in the cell were shut off. He states he was denied regular tray meals but instead was provided bag meals. He also states that he was denied his medication which he takes daily for hypertension, high cholesterol, chronic acid reflux, and migraines. He also states that he suffers from epilepsy and mental illness for which he receives medication twice daily. Plaintiff states that he spent 25 hours in the isolation cell before he was taken back to his cell on July 19, 2013. Id.

When he was returned to his regular cell, Plaintiff claims that Defendants Broadwater and Metz went into his cell and removed his property. Plaintiff states he received a property slip but because most of his appliances and other items were not listed, he refused to sign off on the property list. Plaintiff states that the officers threw his property around his cell. Id.

Plaintiff states he did not exhaust his administrative remedies because correctional staff threatened him and told him that they would not process any of his paperwork. Id.

Attached to his complaint are virtually identical affidavits from inmates Derrick Dirton, Bobby Turner, [1] and Warren Chase, who state that on July 18, 2013, they witnessed Defendants Metz, Yutzy, Broadwater, Mallow and Sawyer handcuff Plaintiff with a tether, then take him to the isolation cell (2-D-3) where they twisted and punched his arms while removing handcuffs. ECF No, 1, Attachment, p. 7-9. Dirton and Chase state that Mallow sprayed mace into the cell and then the officers brought Plaintiff out of the cell and punched and kicked him in his head, face and body. Id., pp. 7, 9. Dirton avers that Plaintiff was left in the isolation cell until 7:30 p.m on July 19, 2013. Id., p. 7. He further avers that Broadwater and Metz went into Plaintiff's cell with a yellow cart and removed all of Plaintiff's property and appliances. Dirton states that he heard Plaintiff complain about missing property. ECF No, 1, Attachment, p. 7.

Plaintiff alleges that Defendants are involved in a campaign to harass and assault him and to destroy his ARPs as well as his mail. ECF Nos. 3, 7, & 10. Plaintiff states that on August 16, 2013, Mallow, Broadwater, Metz and Yutzy went into Plaintiff's cell and read his daily legal log. He also claims that they moved him to an unsanitary medical cell in order to harass him for filing the instant case. ECF No. 7.

Defendants deny each of Plaintiff's allegations. Each avers that he did not assault, harass, retaliate or threaten Plaintiff, and did not witness any other officer do so. Id., Ex. 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Defendants further aver that they did not interfere with Plaintiff's medical care on July 18, 2013. Id. Additionally, each Defendant avers that he did not discard, destroy or steal any of Plaintiff's ARPs, mail, or property. Id.

In support of their dispositive motion, Defendants offer the following information. Plaintiff is a Maximum Security Administrative Segregation Special Needs Unit Assessment Inmate. Id., Ex. 3, p. 3. On July 18, 2013, at approximately 1:05 p.m., Broadwater, Metz and Mallow were transferring Plaintiff from housing unit 2-D-17 to cell 2-D-2, due to Plaintiff's disruptive behavior. Id., Ex., 3, 4, & 5. Plaintiff was placed in hand restraints and a tether and was escorted from the old cell to the new cell without incident. Plaintiff was placed in the new cell, the door was secured, and the restraints removed. As officers attempted to secure the security slot in the door, Plaintiff pushed the slot open and attempted to grab Mallow's keys. While Officers continued their efforts to close the slot, Plaintiff successfully pushed the security slot open and grabbed Metz's keys which were attached to Metz. Metz stated to the other officers that Plaintiff had his keys and Mallow applied pepper spray into the security slot. Plaintiff released his grip. Id., Ex. 3, 4, 5, & 7, p. 9-18, 25-43, Ex. 8, p. 3-134, 71-90. Metz immediately left the area because he had been exposed to the pepper spray.[2] Id., Ex. 5.

Sawyers arrived at the cell after the pepper spray had been used. Id., Ex. 8, p. 11. Sawyers and Mallow escorted Plaintiff to the C/D holding cell. Id., Ex. 3, p. 4. Plaintiff was evaluated by medical staff, treated for pepper spray exposure, cleared to return to his assigned housing, and taken to the shower for decontamination. Id., Ex. 7, p. 25. Photographs were taken of Plaintiff. Id., Ex. 7, p. 38-39.

At approximately 1:40 p.m., while Plaintiff was showering in the Unit 2-D Wing, Lieutenant Llewellyn attempted to obtain a statement from Plaintiff regarding the incident. Id., Ex. 10. Plaintiff declined to give a verbal or written statement. Llewellyn did not observe any injuries on Plaintiff. Llewellyn wrote a statement on that date.[3] He avers that neither he nor any other officer in his presence assaulted or threatened Plaintiff. Id., Ex. 10; Ex. 7, p. 35; Ex. 8, p. 82.

Defendants indicate that Cell 2 does not have a mattress because it is a de-escalation cell. Id., Ex. 7, p. 14. The cell Plaintiff was moved into in August was cleaned with bleach prior to Plaintiff's placement in the cell. Id.

On July 19, 2013, Broadwater and Metz inventoried Plaintiff's property. Id. Ex. 3 & 5. They aver that they did not steal or destroy any of Plaintiff's property, nor did any other correctional staff do so in their presence. Broadwater and Metz recall Plaintiff having a box for a Play Station but there was no Play Station in the box. Broadwater states that he reviewed the property sheet and it was accurate. Id. Plaintiff's property records show that he received a Play Station 2 on March 26, 2011. Id., Ex. 7, p. 107. Records reflect that on January 12, 2013, Plaintiff claimed his Play Station and controllers were stolen. Id., Ex. 11, p. 40.

As a result of Plaintiff's complaints, he was interviewed by Sergeant Peterson of the Internal Investigation Unit on September 17, 2013. Plaintiff stated that was escorted to Cell 2-D-2 where Defendants kicked and punched him. Id., Ex. 8, p. 6-8. During his interview with Peterson, Plaintiff did not claim, as he does here, that he had been assaulted in the shower. During his interview Plaintiff told Peterson that Nurse Bruno treated him for injuries after he was taken to 2-D-2. Plaintiff requested that he be transferred to the Patuxent Institution. Peterson reviewed the security camera recording and noted that it did not show Plaintiff was assaulted by staff. Id., Ex. 8, p. 9, 10, 14; Ex. 10.

A second Internal Investigation[4] was undertaken as a result of Plaintiff's claim of excessive force. Detective Sergeant Kandace Mills was assigned to investigate Plaintiff's allegation that he was assaulted on July 18, 2013. Id., Ex. 7. Mills reviewed the video surveillance. She noted that the video started at approximately 1:05 p.m. and three officers were observed at the cell where there appeared to be a struggle while the cell door was closed. She noted that the inmate appeared to be in the cell. She indicated that Metz was observed leaving the area and Plaintiff had one of his arms out of the slot. At approximately 1:08 the inmate was taken out of the cell and escorted off the tier. At no time did Mills observe the officers assault Plaintiff. The video did not show Plaintiff falling or the officers assaulting him as he alleged. Id., Ex. 7, p. 10. Mills interviewed Plaintiff on November 25, 2013. Plaintiff advised Mills that the video would show the officers beating him and kicking him when they brought him out of cell 2-D-2 and that he fell to the floor. Id., Ex. 7, pp. 10-13.

The court has reviewed the surveillance video. Id., Ex. 10. While the officers are not identified in the video, Mills' reporting of events at the cell door comports with the images on the video. The video shows a struggle at the cell door and officers removing an inmate from the cell and escorting him off the tier. The inmate does not fall and there is no assault. Id. There is no evidence that Yutzy was on the tier or in any way involved with the events complained of.

Plaintiff stated in his interview with Mills that when he was escorted to cell 2-D-2, as he backed up to the slot so that the cuffs could be removed, Officer Mallow sprayed mace through the slot. Id., Ex. 7, p. 10. He stated that the officers then released the tether and let him go and that Mallow sprayed a second burst of spray into the cell and slammed the slot closed while Plaintiff was still handcuffed. He claimed they left him there for maybe a minute before they released him. Plaintiff claimed that when he was removed from the cell he fell to the tier. He states that he was escorted to the C/D holding cell where he was placed on a bench. He heard a female ask if he was okay. He told her he was not because he had been punched and kicked but reported that the unidentified person did nothing for him. Plaintiff advised Mills that he was then taken back to the D-tier where he was placed in the shower and assaulted by officers. Id. He stated that after the shower he was taken to cell 2-D-3 where he had no mattress and the water was turned off.[5] He also stated he received a bag lunch with only bread. He reported remaining in the cell for approximately 25 hours. Id.

Plaintiff further reported that on an unspecified date Sawyers moved him from Cell 17 to Cell 20 which had feces on the floor. He indicated his belief that this was a retaliatory move. Id., p. 12. Plaintiff was moved from cell 2-D-17 to 2-D-20 on August 16, 2013, for unspecified institutional reasons. Id., Ex. 1, Ex. 2. Defendants offer that 2-D-20 would have been cleaned prior to Plaintiff moving into the cell. Id., Ex. 2. Defendants further offer that Plaintiff was not moved in retaliation for any complaints he made. Id., Ex. 7, p. 14

As a result of the altercation between Plaintiff and staff on July 18, 2013, he was served with a Notice of Inmate Rule Infraction, Id., Ex. 7, pp. 51-63. Plaintiff was found guilty of violating Rule 101 (assault on an officer), Rule 116 (possess, misuse, tamper with, damage or destroy security equipment or property, detention equipment, etc.) and Rule 312 (interfere with or resist the performance of staff duties.) Id. Plaintiff requested Ms. Holwager, his psychologist, as a witness at his adjustment proceedings. Holwager testified that Plaintiff was manipulative and attempted to "split staff." Id.

Counsel offers that Plaintiff has an extensive mental health history. Id., Ex. 11, Ex. 13. Relevant to the instant complaint, Plaintiff complained to psychology staff on June 10, 2013, that he was fearful that there was abuse of mental health inmates by general population inmates and staff. Id., Ex. 11, p. 49-50. Plaintiff complained of his reassignment to housing unit 2 from housing unit 1, where he felt safer. Psychology staff noted that Plaintiff suffers from, among other things, Borderline Personality Disorder which they note creates a tendency in its sufferers to split staff and attempt to win favor from staff in order to manipulate them. Individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder hope to use the staff member to retaliate against other staff whom the sufferer perceives as doing him harm. It was noted that Plaintiff may benefit from treatment in the Special Needs Unit. Id.

On July 18, 2013, at 1:46 p.m. Jennifer Bruno, LPN, evaluated Plaintiff, after the altercation with staff. Id., Ex. 13, pp.48-49. Plaintiff reported shortness of breath and that his chest hurt. Plaintiff's lungs were clear and his oxygen saturation was 97% on room air. Plaintiff complained that his face hurt; however, no injuries were noted. A red area on Plaintiff's back was observed but no other injures noted. Id. Plaintiff's medications chart indicates he received prescribed medications daily throughout July, 2013. Id., Ex. 13. pp. 44-47.

On July 24, 2013, Plaintiff refused to leave his cell for a scheduled psychology appointment but was seen at his cell door. Id., Ex. 13, pp. 50-53. Mental health staff notes reflect Plaintiff's tendency to split staff, ...

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