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Resper v. Shearin

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 4, 2015

WAYNE RESPER, Plaintiff,
v.
BOBBY SHEARIN, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

PETER J. MESSITTE, District Judge.

Pending is a Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants, former Warden Bobby Shearin, former Chief of Security Frank B. Bishop, Lieutenant Donna Durst, Lieutenant Jason Harbaugh, and Sergeant Sean McKenzie. ECF No. 13. Plaintiff has not responded.[1] Upon review of papers and exhibits filed, the court finds an oral hearing in this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons stated below, the dispositive motion will be granted.

Background

Plaintiff Wayne Resper, an inmate currently held at the Western Correctional Institution ("WCI"), filed the instant civil rights complaint alleging that on October 7, 2010, while housed at the North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI"), Defendants exposed him to pepper spray for more than 18 hours and failed to provide him medical attention. ECF No. 1. On that same date, Plaintiff alleges Defendants seized his property, including legal materials, medication, medical devices, and a chair. He claims that without the chair he could not safely get in and out of his bunk, resulting in a fall. ECF No. 1.

Defendants offer that on October 7, 2010, an officer was stabbed by an inmate during cell extractions. ECF No. 13, Ex. 1. The stabbing of the correctional officer triggered other inmates to act disruptively throughout the 3-11 shift which resulted in multiple cell extractions and the use of pepper spray. Id. During the incidents several inmates used their cell chairs as weapons against officers and encouraged other inmates to do the same. Id., Ex. 2. In order to gain control of the tier, Captain Stotler ordered all chairs, including Plaintiff's, removed from the cells until the situation was resolved. Id.

The next day, Plaintiff was seen in the medical facility for an infected finger. Id., Ex. 3. He did not offer any complaints regarding exposure to pepper spray. Id. He was seen again by medical personnel on October 20, 2010, requesting new shoe inserts. Id., p. 2. Plaintiff requested renewal of his medication and complained of pain in his left calf. His medication was renewed and he was scheduled for evaluation of his leg pain on October 24, 2010. On that date, however, he refused to be evaluated. Id., p. 5.

On October 25, 2010, Plaintiff was seen in the infirmary complaining of an ankle sprain caused when he was getting down from his bunk. Id., p. 7. He was given ice and instructed to keep his ankle wrapped and elevated. He was seen on October 27, 2010, by Dr. Majid Arnaout, who also diagnosed Plaintiff with severe ankle sprain. Id., p. 9.

Plaintiff filed a complaint with the Inmate Grievance Office ("IGO") complaining that he twisted his ankle after his chair was removed from his cell during the October 7, 2010 incident. Id., Ex. 4. The grievance was dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which administrative relief could be granted. Id. Plaintiff also filed a grievance alleging that some of his personal property, including legal documents, were missing after a cell search conducted on October 7, 2010. A hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge Eileen Sweeney, who ordered that Plaintiff's items be returned to him or he be reimbursed $36.12. Id.

Standard of Review

A. Motion to Dismiss

The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint. See Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). The dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted does not require defendant to establish "beyond doubt" that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 561 (2007). Once a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint. Id. at 563. The court need not, however, accept unsupported legal allegations, see Revene v. Charles County Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989), legal conclusions couched as factual allegations, see Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986), or conclusory factual allegations devoid of any reference to actual events, see United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979).

B. Motion for Summary Judgment

Summary Judgment is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) which provides that:

The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is ...

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