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Animashaun v. Kavanagh

United States District Court, D. Maryland

June 8, 2016

AYODEJI KAYODE ANIMASHAUN, Plaintiff
v.
DIR. JACK KAVANAUGH Defendant

          MEMORANDUM

          James K. Bredar United States District Judge

         Pending are Motions to Dismiss or, in the alternative, Motions for Summary Judgment, filed on behalf of defendant Director Jack Kavanaugh. ECF 15 & 27. Plaintiff Ayodeji Kayode Animashaun has responded. ECF 17, [1] 26, 29, 31. Defendant has replied. ECF 30. 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 motions will be granted in part and denied in part.

         Background

         Animashaun, who is a United States Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainee, filed a self-represented complaint, in which he alleges that on May 29, 2014, while housed at the Howard County Detention Center awaiting removal proceedings, he was attacked by another detainee. Animashaun indicates that the assault could have been prevented because he communicated the threat of harm to correctional staff via the in-house intercom prior to the assault. ECF 1, p. 3. Animashaun further states that the officer who responded to his call for help failed to alert other officers of the attack and made no attempt to protect Animashaun from harm. Id. Animashaun states that “due to the negligence of the correction officer” he was assaulted by another detainee and strangled almost to the point of death. Id., p. 4. Animashaun states that the assault lasted over eight minutes and was stopped after corrections officers stumbled upon the scene while performing rounds. Thereafter, Animashaun was kept on administrative segregation until October 1, 2014, when he was transferred to another facility. While housed on segregation, Animashaun was prevented “from seeking legal action in his case.” Id. He states that he required eye surgery as a result of the attack and that his injuries were occasioned “due to the negligence of the staff at the Howard County Detention Center.” Id.

         Animashaun filed a supplemental complaint, after receipt of defendant’s dispositive motion. ECF 20. In the supplemental complaint, Animashaun names “Officer Jane Doe” as the sole defendant. He states:

Officer Jane Doe was working the 4pm-12 midnight shift at the Howard County Detention Center on May 29, 2014. Officer Jane Doe was informed by the Plaintiff of an imminent threat of assault via H.C.D.C. unit W.6 intercom. Officer Jane Doe failed to alert officers to unit W.6 to protect plaintiff from the assault. Officer Jane Doe’s negligent actions caused the plaintiff to suffer a felonious assault which caused him severe injuries requiring eye surgery.

ECF 20, p. 3.

         In his second supplemental complaint (ECF 24), Animashaun specifically invoked the civil rights act as the basis for his action and named Jack Kavanagh, Facility Director for the Howard County Detention Center and Jane Doe as defendants. ECF 24, p. 3. In support of his second supplemental complaint he states:

On May 29, 2014 on unit W-6 of the H.C.D.C., under the direct supervision of the Facility Director Jack Kavanagh and Officer Jane Doe, plaintiff suffered severe injuries to his body, and mainly his eye after being the victim of a felonious assault. This felonious assault was perpetrated by another detainee housed on unit W-6 in the H.C.D.C. The assault which was preventable, occurred due to the negligence of the defendants. The entire incident of assault was recorded on H.C.D.C. Unit W-6 surveillance video camera (archived H.C.D.C. video file: W6fight5292014).

Id., p. 4.

         Animashaun indicates that he advances three separate claims. His first claim concerns the previously raised allegations that correctional staff failed to protect him from a known risk of harm. Id. His second claim concerns his assignment for five months to administrative segregation after the assault where he states he was locked in a cell for 22 hours each day. Id., pp. 5-6. Lastly, Animashaun claims that after he was transferred from the HCDC to a facility in New York, he was advised that the injury to his eye required surgical repair. Id., p. 6.

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), “[a] party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within 21 days after serving it, or if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (f), whichever is earlier.” F.R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1). “In all other cases, a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Rule 15 dictates that “[t]he court should freely give leave when justice so requires.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Although Animashaun did not seek leave to amend his complaint, leave is to be generously granted and defendant has not opposed the amendments.

         Defendant maintains that the case must be dismissed as Animashaun fails to state a civil rights claim, alleging nothing more than a common law negligence claim. ECF 15-1, p. 5l; ECF 27-1. Defendant further indicates that Animashaun failed to comply with the Local Government Tort Claims Act and therefore cannot maintain a negligence claim. ECF 15-2. Moreover, defendant ...


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