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Watts v. Green

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 5, 2015

TONY MAURICE WATTS, # 318452 Plaintiff,
v.
KATHLEEN GREEN, LT. DONOWAY, CO II MS. WRIGHT, CO II TYLER, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, District Judge.

Pending are the self-represented original, Supplemental, and Amended Complaints filed by inmate Tony Maurice Watts ("Watts") pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. ECF Nos. 1, 3, 6, 10, 12 & 15. Defendants, by their counsel, have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment with Declarations. ECF Nos. 17 & 23. Watts has filed an Opposition response. ECF No. 22. Oral hearing is not needed to resolve the issues. See Local Rule 106.5 (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment IS GRANTED and judgment will be entered in their favor.

BACKGROUND

In his court-ordered Supplemental Complaint Watts, an inmate at the Eastern Correctional Institution ("ECI") in Cumberland, Maryland, claims that his cell was without a working light for approximately sixty (60) days from October 2013 to December 2013.[1] ECF No. 3 at pg. 3. Watts complains that this has had a "serious effect" on his eyes, causing him blurred vision and headaches. He accuses Defendants of "cruel and unusual punishment" and "deliberate indifference" and seeks compensatory damages. Watts later states that he filed a grievance regarding his cell lighting on December 3, 2013, but Lt. Donoway refused to process the remedy. ECF No. 6.

Plaintiff's Allegations

This court reviews the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Such review liberally construes Watts' pleadings in light of the fact that he is self-represented. See Gordon v. Leek, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978).

Lighting Conditions of Cell

Watts alleges that he had no cell lighting for approximately sixty days and informed the Warden, tier officer, and housing unit lieutenant of same without results. Defendants state that on November 14, 2013, Watts was seen by a Registered Nurse for his complains of blurred vision. ECF No. 17, Ex. 1 at Switalski Decl. An eye examination was conducted. Watts' vision was found to be 20/30, which did not qualify him to be seen by an optometrist. Watts was nonetheless referred to a provider and when seen in the Chronic Care Clinic on November 21, 2013, he raised no complaints about his vision problem. Id. On November 14, 2013, a Maintenance Work Order was issued to repair the lighting in Watts's assignment cell. Id., Ex. 1 at Switalski Decl.; Ex. 2 at Donoway Memo.

Defendants further state that on December 3, 2013, Watts gave Lt. Donoway an Administrative Remedy Procedure ("ARP") grievance regarding the non-working light in his cell. Id., Ex. 2 at Donoway Memo. Donoway gave the ARP back to Watts after determining that there was a pre-existing work order to fix the lights. On December 5, 2013, Lt. Donoway gave Watts the opportunity to move to another cell until his light was fixed. Defendants claim that Watts declined the move and decided not to file the ARP because he was "satisfied with the resolution that was set in place." ECF No. 17, Ex. 2 at Donoway Memo. On December 6, 2013, Watts was again seen by a nurse and complained of eye problems. He additionally informed the nurse that his cell light had been broken since October 12, 2013. The nurse notified custody staff that there were no lights in Watts's cell. Id., Ex. 1 at Switalski Decl. On December 16, 2013, a maintenance report shows that the work order for Watts' lighting had been completed. Id.

In December of 2013, Watts filed two separate ARPs against the medical department for not dealing with his headaches and vision problems. Id. Executive Director of the Inmate Grievance Office ("IGO") Scott Oakley maintains that Watts did not file an appeal or grievance with the IGO regarding his cell lighting. Id., Ex. 3 at Oakley Decl.

On December 26, 2013 and January 14, 2014, Watts advised the prison nurse that he had been suffering from a headache and that his reading glasses had broken during a custody search. Id., Ex. 1. On March 7, 2014, Watts was provided with new eyeglasses. Id.

In his Opposition Watts contends that on November 12, 2013, he informed Officer Wright that he had been without cell lights for three weeks. He asserts that Defendants knew he did not have working lights before that date. ECF No. 22 at pg. 2. Watts further maintains that Defendants' Motion contains several untrue facts. He claims that Donoway's memo contains false information in that he gave his ARP to another officer, not Donoway, and maintains that Donoway never gave him the opportunity to move to another cell. Id. at pg. 3. He claims that he wrote an ARP, but Defendant Donoway's interference prohibited it from reaching the Warden's desk. ECF No. 22 at pg. 7.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

I. Motion to ...


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