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Shiheed v. Gursky

United States District Court, D. Maryland

June 15, 2015

YAHYI SHIHEED, Plaintiff,
v.
CORRECTIONAL OFFICER DUSTIN: GURSKY, et al., [1] Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GEORGE L. RUSSELL, III, District Judge.

THIS MATTER is before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 67). The Motion is ripe for disposition. Having considered the Motion and supporting documents, the Court finds no hearing necessary. See Local Rule 105.4 (D.Md. 2014). For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant the Motion in part and deny it in part.

I. BACKGROUND[2] On August 23, 2012, Plaintiff Yahyi Shiheed, an inmate at

Defendant North Branch Correctional Institution ("NCBI"), was being transferred from Cell 53 on the C-Tier of Housing Unit #1 to a B-Tier cell. A correctional officer escorted Shiheed from Cell 53 to an isolation cell until his new cell became available. When the new cell was ready, Defendant Correctional Officer Dustin Gursky handcuffed Shiheed and informed him that he would be assigned to Cell 19 on the C-Tier. Shiheed objected to the change and asked to speak to a supervisor, but Gursky denied the request.

Gursky placed Shiheed into Cell 19 and closed the door behind him. Shiheed was required to place his hands through the feed-up slot[3] of his metal cell door, but instead rotated his handcuffs from behind his back to the front of his body by stepping through his cuffed hands. Shiheed did so with the intent of having a supervisor called to his cell. Gursky had the cell door opened, and he and Defendant Sergeant Walter Iser (the "Correctional Defendants") attempted to force Shiheed to allow them to remove the handcuffs. In doing so, the Correctional Defendants knocked Shiheed to the ground, punched and kicked him, and called him a racial slur.

During the altercation, the Correctional Defendants attached a tether to Shiheed's handcuffs, exited the cell, and shut the cell door. The Correctional Defendants pulled Shiheed toward the cell door, forcing his hands through the feed-up slot. Shiheed ceased resisting at this point. The Correctional Defendants removed the handcuffs from Shiheed's right wrist. While removing the cuffs from Shiheed's left wrist, the Correctional Defendants slammed the feed-up slot door into Shiheed's wrist and arm.

The sharp metal edge of the feed-up slot door cut Shiheed's arm, causing Shiheed to bleed heavily. The Correctional Defendants walked away, leaving Shiheed in his cell. Iser said he hoped Shiheed would die as he walked away. Later, other correctional officers arrived at the cell, opened it, handcuffed Shiheed, and escorted him to the prison infirmary. Shiheed was eventually transported to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center, where he received thirty-eight stitches.

On July 7, 2014, Plaintiff filed a Fourth Amended Complaint (the "Complaint") alleging violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 (2012) and claims for negligent failure to ensure safety and provide medical care, negligent use of excessive force, and battery against all Defendants. (ECF No. 51).

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

1. Motion to Dismiss

A complaint fails to state a claim if it does not contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), or does not state "a plausible claim for relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id . (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

Though the plaintiff is not required to forecast evidence to prove the elements of the claim, the complaint must allege sufficient facts to establish each element. Goss v. Bank of Am., N.A., 917 F.Supp.2d 445, 449 (D.Md. 2013) (quoting Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012)) (internal quotation marks omitted), aff'd sub nom., Goss v. Bank of Am., NA, 546 F.Appx. 165 (4th Cir. 2013). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, read the complaint as a whole, and take the facts asserted therein as true. See Harrison v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 783 (4th Cir. 1999) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)).

2. Motion for Summary Judgment

"When matters outside the pleading are presented to and not excluded by the court, the 12(b)(6) motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in Rule 56." Laughlin v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., 149 F.3d 253, 260-61 (4th Cir. 1998) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the Court must grant summary judgment if the moving party demonstrates there is no ...


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