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Wright v. Shearin

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 16, 2014

MICHAEL D. WRIGHT, #353261, Plaintiff,


PAUL W. GRIMM, District Judge.

Invoking the civil rights statute, 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983, Michael D. Wright ("Wright") is suing Bobby Shearin, former Warden of North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI"), Case Manager Richard Roderick, and Correctional Officer Henderson (the "correctional defendants"), as well as Registered Nurse Kristie Cortez and Physician Assistant Gregory Flury (the "medical defendants").[2] (ECF 1). Defendants have filed motions to dismiss or, in the alternative for summary judgment with verified exhibits (ECF 14, 15, 20, 23, 29 and 30); Wright's opposition response (ECF 32);[3] and the medical defendants' reply thereto. (ECF 34). No hearing is needed to resolve the issues. See Local Rule 106.5 (D. Md. 2014).


Wright alleges (1) he is in physical danger from a known enemy; (2) he has been denied appropriate medical treatment for an injury inflicted by that enemy; and (3) his religious books were wrongfully confiscated in retaliation after he voiced the first two problems to corrections officials.

Specifically, Wright claims he was deprived of his Eighth Amendment right to protection from violence when the correctional defendants at NBCI failed to comply with a Circuit Court order requiring him to be kept separate from co-defendant Edmonds, who attacked him on July 20, 2013. He further states that: Warden Shearin made false statements in his response to Wright's Administrative Remedy Procedure ("ARP") complaint (ECF 10) and has retaliated against him by acting in concert with Officer Bennett and Sergeant Harris to deny him access to religious books he had purchased using money from his prison account. (ECF 13); Officer Henderson later placed him in a cell near his attacker (ECF 6 and 7); and Case Manager Roderick disregarded base file information stating that Wright and his co-defendant were enemies. (ECF 6 and 7). Wright also claims that the medical defendants failed to provide adequate medical care for an eye injury he sustained in the attack. He seeks money damages of $2, 000, 000 plus court costs. (ECF 1, p. 3).


A. Correctional Defendants

1. Warden Shearin

Correctional defendant Bobby Shearin, Warden of NBCI at the time of the incident alleged, asserts that prior to the July 20, 2013 incident, he had no personal knowledge that a court order had been entered to keep Wright and Edmonds apart. Shearin further states that he played no role in providing medical treatment to prisoners. Shearin contends that he dismissed Wright's ARP complaining that his book order was mishandled and advised Wright that pursuant to Division of Correction Directives ("DCD"), he did not receive the books because they arrived while he was on disciplinary segregation, but could request a refund from the company from which the books had been ordered. (ECF 14-11, p. 8). Shearin seeks dismissal of the claims against him or entry of summary judgment in his favor. (ECF 14).

In support of his dispositive motion, Shearin has submitted his declaration in which he attests that he defers to the expertise of the medical authorities with regard to complaints involving prisoner medical care. (ECF 28-11).[4] Shearin argues that he did not consciously disregard the risk of harm to which Wright was subjected and did not subject him to retaliation. Shearin further contends that Wright did not properly exhaust Administrative Remedy Procedure ("ARP") complaints concerning his claims as required under the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"); that he cannot be held liable as a supervisor for alleged wrongdoing on the part of others; and that he is entitled to qualified immunity from suit. (ECF 14).

2. Defendants Roderick and Henderson

Wright alleges Case Management Supervisor Roderick subjected him to violence by disregarding information concerning his enemies located in his base file. (ECF 6, p. 3 and 7, pp. 2-3). He further claims that Officer Henderson ignored his fears after the attack occurred, instead telling him that "prison is hard." (ECF 6, p. 3-4 and 7, p. 3).

The correctional defendants have submitted records to support their arguments. Wright was committed to the custody of the DOC in Case Number CT080453A. (ECF 14-4, Circuit Order CT080453A; ECF 14-5, Declaration of Randy Durst, 3). The October 6, 2008, commitment order stated "[Wright] shall be kept separate and apart from the co-defendant Jonathan Edmonds." (ECF 14-4, p. 1).

Wright entered the Maryland Reception, Diagnostic, and Classification Center ("MRDCC") on October 7, 2008. (ECF 14-5, 3). The Initial Security Classification conducted at MRDCC lists no ...

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