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Walker v. Western Correctional Institution

United States District Court, D. Maryland

June 13, 2016

NAJIE SHABAY WALKER, Plaintiff,
v.
WESTERN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, SGT. CLARK and CO. OFFICER W. KEISTER, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          THEODORE D. CHUANG, JUDGE

         Plaintiff Najie Shabay Walker, a self-represented inmate at Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, Maryland, has filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Western Correctional Institution ("WCI") and Correctional Officers Lisa Clark and William Keister. Pending is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. No hearing is necessary to resolve the issues. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         The following facts are presented in the light most favorable to Walker, the nonmoving party:

         I. May 13, 2015 Stabbing

         On May 13, 2015, Walker was an inmate at WCI in Cumberland, Maryland. Walker's cell was located in Housing Unit 5. At about 7:00 p.m. that night, he and other inmates in Housing Unit 5 moved in a large group from their cells to the A Tier Upper Recreation Hall. As soon as Walker entered the Recreation Hall, someone stabbed him in the neck. Walker ran out of the Recreation Hall and down a flight of steps to the A Tier desk, which is sometimes staffed by correctional officers. Seeing no one at the desk, Walker continued to run, passing through the A Wing entry door, until he met Clark and Keister in the Housing Unit lobby where they had been observing inmates move to the Recreation Hall. Walker yelled that he had been stabbed. Keister told him to put pressure on the wound and then summoned medical help. Walker was taken first to the prison medical department and then to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. He received two stitches to close a two-centimeter wound in his neck.

         On the night he was stabbed, Walker told an investigator from the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Internal Investigations Division ("IID"), that he did not see who stabbed him and did not want press charges even if his assailant could be identified. The relevant part of Housing Unit 5 had no functioning security cameras. IID investigated the scene but was unable to locate the weapon used to stab Walker or to identify his attacker.

         On May 25, 2015, Walker filed an Administrative Remedy Procedure ("ARP") grievance, claiming that Clark and Keister should have conducted "full body searches" of inmates entering the Recreation Hall. Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 5, ARP Records at 3-4. Walker alleged that their "deliberate indifference" caused his injuries. Id. The grievance also implied that the A Tier desk, which Walker ran past after being stabbed, should have been staffed and that the A Wing door, which Walker ran through, should have been shut.

         On July 1, 2015, Walker still had not received a response to his grievance, so he filed an appeal to the Commissioner of Corrections. On July 8, 2015, the Warden dismissed Walker's ARP grievance. The Warden stated that Clark and Keister had followed prison procedures on the night Walker was stabbed. Their position in the Housing Unit lobby was proper because, during a mass movement of inmates, correctional officers "take a vantage point that gives them the best position for both observation and safety." Id. at 3. Prison policy does not require that inmates be searched before entering the Recreation Hall.

         The Commissioner of Corrections denied Walker's appeal because he had not attached the Warden's decision as required by the prison's grievance procedure.. Walker was instructed to refile the appeal, this time attaching the decision, by July 31, 2015. Walker refiled but did not include the Warden's decision. On July 28, 2015, his appeal was dismissed for that reason. Walker did not appeal the dismissal to the Inmate Grievance Office.

         II. Procedural History

         On July 17, 2015, Walker filed a S 1983 Complaint initiating this case. Like Walker's ARP grievance, the Complaint accuses Clark and Keister of deliberate indifference for failing to conduct full body searches of inmates entering the Recreation Hall, resulting in Walker's injuries. Walker also implies that both Clark and Keister left their posts without being officially relieved or authorized to do so by an immediate supervisor or the designated officer in charge. The Complaint seeks $250, 000 in damages and unspecified "declaratory" and "injunctive orders." Compl. at 5. Neither the Complaint nor Walker's ARP grievance alleged that Clark, Keister, or any other prison official had any reason to suspect that Walker would be attacked.

         On February 5, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. On February 8, 2016, the Clerk of Court mailed Walker a letter informing him that Defendants had filed a motion which, if granted, could result in the dismissal of his case. The letter advised Walker that he could file materials in opposition to the Motion within 17 days and that failure to do so could ...


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