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Oladokun v. State, Calvert County

United States District Court, D. Maryland

December 10, 2014

STATE OF MARYLAND CALVERT COUNTY, MIKE EVANS, Sheriff, Calvert County Detention Center, Defendants.


DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, District Judge.

Oladayo Ade Oladokun is suing Calvert County and Mike Evans, Sheriff of Calvert County, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1).[1] Defendants, by their counsel, filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, or Alternatively, Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 13). Plaintiff has filed an opposition (ECF No. 15) to which Defendants replied. (ECF No. 16). After considering the filings, the court deems a hearing unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014).

I. Plaintiff's Allegations

Plaintiff's claims arise from the time he was a pre-trial detainee and later an inmate serving a state imposed sentence[2] at the Calvert County Detention Center (Detention Center).[3] He alleges that beginning in November 4, 2013, he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment by Defendants, who placed him "on the cell floor in booking that can only housed [sic] two inmates, then place [sic] plaintiff in K-unit without any heat at all during the whole winter season." (ECF No. 3, Part III). Plaintiff claims he went without a medical exam for eye glasses, was exposed to unhealthy living conditions, and Defendant Evans failed to properly care for him. Id. Plaintiff claims his body ached from placement in a cell with temperatures below freezing. (ECF No. 3 at 4). Additionally, Plaintiff faults Defendants for failing to provide proper medical testing for tuberculosis and other infectious diseases while he was housed with other inmates, contends there was mold in the showers and on his dinner rolls, and asserts the charges for phone calls were excessive. He also complains he was denied access to a "proper legal standing library" and has been unable to order books or newspapers from "well known established publications like Amazon or USA Today. " ECF No. 3 at 3; ECF No. 12. As relief, Plaintiff sought punitive damages of $500.000, as well as injunctive[4] and declaratory relief.

Plaintiff avers he attempted to raise his concerns through the prison grievance process. (ECF No. 1, p. 1). He maintains that on several occasions he "turned in the in house [sic] grievance or request form" on the issues that are now before this court. (ECF No. 15, p. 8). He states the grievances or request forms were submitted to the "officer's [sic] in the bubble in the housing unit." (ECF No. 1, p. 14).[5]

Mindful that Plaintiff is self-represented, the court must liberally construe his pleadings. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (pleadings filed by a pro se litigant are held "to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers).[6] Against this background, the court treats Plaintiff's claims as arising under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.[7]

II. Respondents' Exhibits

Defendants have filed an affidavit and verified copies of Plaintiff's prison and medical files. The records show that Plaintiff was brought to the Calvert County Detention Center after his arrest on November 14, 2013. (ECF No. 13, pp.4-7; Ex. 1).

A. Plaintiff's Administrative Grievances

During his confinement, Plaintiff presented some fifty-seven pages of requests and complaints to detention center staff (ECF No. 13, pp. 7-12; ECF No. 13, Ex. 2, pp. 1-57). None concerned matters specifically at issue in this § 1983 proceeding, with the exception of a grievance concerning moldy dinner rolls and bug infestation. The grievances included:

November 17, 2013, Plaintiff requested a Bible.
November 21, 2013, Plaintiff requested copies of the Maryland Criminal Law and Motor Vehicle Handbook. He was told he could view the pages as often as he liked, but copies were not made for inmates at the Detention Center.
December 15, 2013 Plaintiff requested to see the psychological counselor about mental health concerns. His request was allowed. (ECF No. 13, Ex. 2 at 43).
April 3, 2014 Plaintiff filed a complaint against "the medical department of [the] mental health division" for failure to provide a court ordered evaluation. He was informed that the delay was at the State level, not within the Detention Center. (ECF No. 13, Ex. 2, p. 38).
April 22, 2014 Plaintiff requested a "legal call" to his attorney. He was informed that a call was impossible because he had been placed in segregation due to a disciplinary infraction. He was told to write the attorney instead. (ECF No. 13, Ex. 2, p 33).
May 6, 2014 Plaintiff complained about the size of the food portions served in L Block. The complaint was forwarded by staff to administration and a formal written response was issued by Captain C.B. Cross, Deputy Director, on May 15. 2014. The response established that there was no difference in the portion size or caloric value between the L Block and general population trays. Plaintiff had made no complaint to any medical staff member about feeling undernourished. (ECF No. 13, Ex. 2 pp. 20-22).
May 9, 2014 Plaintiff complained of unsanitary conditions in his housing unit. He stated that he had seen small worms and black flies in the shower and black flies in the day room. He stated the bugs crawled into his nose and ears while he slept. Staff notified maintenance of the complaint and referred the matter to the Deputy Administrator for resolution. (ECF No. 13, Ex. 2, p. 30). On May 14, 2014, Captain K.B. Cross, the Deputy Administrator, responded. The written resolution established the actions taken by the Detention Center beginning in 2009 and still ongoing. (Exhibit 2 at 23-24). These actions included three documented self-initiated visits by the Calvert County Health Department to ensure sanitary living conditions, as well as an increase in visits by pest control services due to the warmer weather. (ECF No. 13, Ex. 2, pp. 23-24).
May 27, 2014 Captain K.B. Cross, Deputy Administrator, formally responded to Plaintiff's May 27, 2014 complaint of mold on a bread roll. Instead of replacing his entire tray of food as Plaintiff requested, two new rolls were given to him. Plaintiff refused to eat the new rolls and, instead requested that his entire meal tray be replaced. A supervisor came to the location and advised him that the bread exchange was the only option. (Ex. 2, p. 11).

B. Sheriff Evans' Affidavit

Defendants have also filed an affidavit executed by Evans. (ECF No. 13, Ex. 5). Evans attests: 1) he "had no personal contact or interaction with Mr. Oladokun during his incarceration, " Id. at 4; 2) the Detention Center "has a comprehensive legal library" (ECF No. 13, Ex. 5, p. 2); and 3) "[m]edical, dental, and mental health matters involving clinical judgments are the sole province of the Detention Center Physician." (ECF No. 13, Ex. 5, p. 3).

Evans declares that pest control and sanitation at the Detention Center is increased in warmer weather. Complaints of unsanitary shower conditions, including the presence of mold, are "met with an aggressive response from the Detention Center." (ECF No. 13, Ex. 5, p. 4). Inmates are given cleaning materials in their housing units daily. Id.

Evans attests that each individual committed to the custody of the Calvert County Detention Center is provided an Inmate Handbook.[8] The rules and regulations contained in the Inmate Handbook, and pertinent to this case, are summarized by Evans as follows.

Inmate calls are limited to fifteen minutes in length. With the issuance of a telephone identification number, an inmate is permitted to make two toll-free phone calls. Telephone calls from the booking area are on a ...

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