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Henson v. Smith

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 25, 2015

JAMES A. HENSON, JR., #331-667, Plaintiff,
v.
LT. DALE SMITH, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

ROGER W. TITUS, District Judge.

Pending is a Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Lt. Dale Smith, Lt. William Miller, Sgt. William Gillum, Sgt.Walter Iser, Sgt. Joseph Tindal, Shawn Gainer and John Sindy and Plaintiff's responses thereto. ECF Nos. 25, 27, 28.[1] The Court has reviewed the motions, related memoranda, and applicable law. No hearing is deemed necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges, generally, that Defendants continually place him in harm's way. He states that Defendants refuse to develop an adequate policy to address risks to his health, safety, and welfare. He further alleges that he has been prevented from taking outside recreation since March of 2006, and reiterates his claim that in October 2011 he was brutally assaulted by another inmate.[2] ECF No. 1. Plaintiff does not seek monetary damages; rather, he asks that he be placed on protective custody, that a federal investigation be undertaken, and that the media be notified. Id. Plaintiff supplemented his original filing, claiming a vast conspiracy among unnamed members of judiciary, State, and county officials. ECF No. 4. Plaintiff has filed numerous complaints alleging he is at risk of assassination by a conspiracy of racist correctional officers and gang members. His claims have been investigated and found unsubstantiated, resulting in the dismissal of the claims both administratively and judicially. See, e.g., Henson v. Likin, Civ. No. RWT-11-2719 (D. Md. Aug. 9, 2012); Henson v. Miller, Civ. No. RWT-12-0763 (D. Md. Aug. 16, 2013); Henson v. Lambert, Civ. No. RWT-12-3271 (D. Md. Aug. 2, 2013); ECF No. 25, Ex. 1, Attach. 1, p. 3.

Correctional Case Management Specialist John White, avers that staff at North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI") and Western Correctional Institution ("WCI") have undertaken steps to ensure Plaintiff's safety, such as verifying Plaintiff's Enemy Alert Screen and ensuring Plaintiff is not placed in a cell with a documented enemy. ECF No. 25, Ex. 1, p. 5; Attach. 4, p. 46. White also notes that despite Plaintiff's claims that his safety is in jeopardy, he continuously refuses to cooperate with investigators examining his concerns-frequently declining to be interviewed, to attend team reviews, or to discuss his grievances with investigative staff. Id. at Ex. 1, p. 5; Attach. 5, pp. 112-20; Attach. 6, pp. 122-27, 129; Attach. 9, pp. 145, 147-49; Attach. 11, p. 166.

Plaintiff has been housed in Special Confinement Housing since March 27, 2006, either on disciplinary or administrative segregation, due to his lengthy history of disciplinary violations. Id. at 2-4; Attach. 3, pp. 30-45, 47-55. Plaintiff's infraction history includes several violations for refusing housing, three infractions for failing to provide a urine specimen, one violation for indecent exposure or masturbation, one violation for possessing a weapon, and three violations for assaults on other inmates. Id. at Ex. 1, p. 3. While housed on disciplinary segregation (like all other inmates), Plaintiff does not leave his cell unless he is restrained and escorted by correctional staff. He showers alone and receives all meals in his cell.

From May 16, 2012, when Plaintiff was transferred to NBCI, to the date he drafted this complaint, he was housed with just one other inmate with whom he reported no significant issues or threats. Between the filing of this complaint and the filing of Defendants' dispositive motion, Plaintiff was housed with two other cellmates with whom no significant issues were reported. Id. at 5-6. Records of Plaintiff's segregation confinement sheets from July 2013 to May 2014 reveal that Plaintiff was regularly provided the opportunity for recreation and showers, but that he more often than not refused the opportunities. Id. at 5; Attach. 2, pp. 5-28.

As a result of Plaintiff's frequent and prolific correspondence to judges and law makers claiming that he is in fear for his safety, several investigations into his claims have been undertaken. Id. at Attach. 5, pp. 115-19; Attach. 6, pp. 122-27; Attach. 7, pp. 131-33; Attach. 8, pp. 135-43; Attach. 10, pp. 151-60. The extensive investigations found no evidence of a threat to Plaintiff's safety and culminated in an April 6, 2010 letter from Jon P. Galley, Regional Executive Director, advising that no substantive information was obtained and that there was no indication Plaintiff was in danger. Id. at 2; Attach. 11, pp. 166-71.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

I. 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, legal conclusions couched as factual allegations, or conclusory factual allegations devoid of any reference to actual events. Revene v. Charles County Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989); Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986); United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979).

II. 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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