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Lynch v. Kenion

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 5, 2014

JESSE LYNCH a/k/a JESSE LANGLEY, #1868635, Plaintiff,


GEORGE L. RUSSELL, III, District Judge.

Pending before the Court are Defendants', Sergeant Kimberley Lewis, Sergeant Ahmed Yousuf, Correctional Officer Olabode Akinroyeje, and Correctional Officer Stephen Kenion[1], Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 20), and Plaintiff's, Jesse Lynch, a/k/a James Langley, Motion for Extension of Time (ECF No. 22) and Motion to Proceed (ECF No. 23)[2]. After review of the pleadings and applicable law, the Court determines that a hearing is unwarranted. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, will be granted.

I. Background

Plaintiff, an inmate currently confined at the Roxbury Correctional Institution, alleges he was assaulted by staff on three occasions in March of 2013, while a pretrial detainee housed at the Maryland Reception Diagnostic and Classification Center ("MRDCC"). ECF No. 1.

First, Plaintiff alleges on March 4, 2013, he was assaulted by Akinroyeje who pulled, bent, and ripped his arm in the cell door feed slot while Yousuf held his arm in place. Id . Defendants dispute Plaintiff's allegations and offer the following facts in opposition. On the morning of March 4, 2013, Akinroyeje and Yousuf were securing Plaintiff into his cell after Plaintiff's shower. ECF No. 20, Exs. B & C. After placing Plaintiff in the cell, Akinroyeje opened the feed slot in the door and directed Plaintiff to step to the door and place his hands through the slot so the handcuffs could be removed. Id . Plaintiff refused to step to the door and demanded to speak to Lieutenant Ragin. Ex. B. Akinroyeje advised Plaintiff that Ragin would see him during his normal rounds and again ordered Plaintiff to step to the door to be handcuffed, but Plaintiff refused. Id., Ex. B. Yousuf then ordered Plaintiff to step to the door so the handcuffs could be removed. Id . Plaintiff complied, stepping to the door and extending his hands though the feed slot. Id., Exs. B & C. As Akinroyeje removed the cuff from Plaintiff's right wrist, Plaintiff pulled back forcefully with his left wrist, attempting to snatch the handcuffs from the officer who kept hold of them. Akinroyeje directed Plaintiff to stop resisting. Id.

Yousuf stepped in, took hold of the handcuffs, and directed Plaintiff to stop resisting. Yousuf removed the handcuffs and the slot was secured without further incident. Akinroyeje and Yousuf aver they neither struck Plaintiff nor took any action other than what was required to prevent Plaintiff from pulling the handcuffs into his cell. Id.Plaintiff did not ask for medical attention after the incident. Id., Ex. C.

Within an hour of the incident, Lt. Ragin, MRDCC's Intelligence Officer, entered Plaintiff's housing tier for rounds where he noticed Plaintiff acting aggressively. Ragin attempted to learn why Plaintiff was upset. Plaintiff responded that he did not want a shower but would prefer more time on the telephone. Ragin advised Plaintiff that all of the inmates on the unit received the same shower and telephone privileges and assured Plaintiff he would have an opportunity to use the telephone. Plaintiff did not report to Ragin that he had been assaulted by Yousuf and/or Akinroyeje. Id.

Plaintiff first reported the alleged assault during the next officer shift soon after being served with an unrelated disciplinary infraction. Id.Ex. A, p. 5. Upon report of the incident, Plaintiff was taken to MRDCC's Medical Unit for an evaluation. Plaintiff complained of "minimal pain." Id., p. 13. There were no lacerations, however, redness of the left wrist was observed. Photographs were taken which showed no sign of injury. Id., p. 15. Plaintiff was provided Tylenol. Id., p. 13. A Use of Force Report was prepared and the matter referred to the Internal Investigation Unit ("IIU"). Id., Ex. A.

The investigator found no credible evidence that Plaintiff was assaulted as alleged. The injury to Plaintiff's wrist was consistent with his pulling against the handcuff attached to the wrist, rather than with his claim that his arm was punched repeatedly with fists and keys by two correctional officers. Id . Additionally, during a recorded telephone call between Plaintiff and his wife, placed approximately 15 minutes after the incident, Plaintiff reported that he "bucked and zapped out on these bitches" and the officer "grabbed his arm and banged it with a pair of cuffs." Id., Ex. E.

Plaintiff filed a request for administrative remedy ("ARP") regarding the incident. Id., Ex. A, pp. 18-26. Plaintiff advised the ARP investigator that another inmate, Cassone Taylor, witnessed the incident. Taylor was interviewed and asserted that he saw the handcuff removed from Plaintiff's wrist and Plaintiff pull his hands into the cell. He recalled that once Plaintiff was persuaded to return to the slot and placed his hand through the slot, Yousuf held Plaintiff's arm down while removing the handcuff. Taylor also indicated that he did not witness either officer strike or punch Plaintiff. Id., 24-25.

Next, Plaintiff alleges on March 21, 2013, Kenion punched him in the face and body while he was handcuffed and that Correctional Officer Lashika Camara intervened to stop the beating. Camara avers, however, that she did not witness Plaintiff being assaulted by Officer Kenion, any other correctional officer, or any other inmates.[3] Id . Camara also avers that Plaintiff had a reputation for causing problems with staff while detained at MRDCC. Id., Ex. F. On March 21, 2013,

Upon reporting the alleged assault on the same day, Plaintiff was taken to the medical unit. Id., Ex. A., pp. 55-59. The nurse observed no acute distress, swelling, cuts, or bruising. Plaintiff complained of swelling under his left eye, but the nurse observed no swelling. Further, Plaintiff was observed to be "laughing and joking during assessment." Id., p. 56.

Finally, Plaintiff alleges on March 30, 2013, he was assaulted by Lewis and Kenion on an elevator while he was in full restraints. He asserts the officers punched him, threw him into a food cart, and pushed him, head first, into the elevator wall many times. Id.

Sgt. Lewis avers that on March 30, 2013, she was boarding an elevator at MRDCC when she saw Plaintiff, who was already on the elevator with several other officers. Lewis does not recall who the other officers were. Id., Ex. G. Lewis avers that when Plaintiff saw Kenion he began speaking angrily to Kenion and threatened to cause trouble for him. Kenion did not board the elevator with Plaintiff and Lewis avers that ...

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