United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. RUSSELL, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on pro se Plaintiff Nathaniel
Lekai Hart’s Motion for Leave to File an Amended
Complaint (ECF No. 16). Also pending before the Court are
three motions from Defendants: (1) Bobby Shearin’s,
former Warden at North Branch Correctional Institution
(“NBCI”), Keith Arnold’s, Former Chief of
Security at NBCI, and Correctional Officer Sergeant Gregory
Forney’s (collectively the “State
Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative,
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 12); Wexford Health
Sources, Inc.’s (“Wexford”) Motion to
Dismiss (ECF No. 14); and (3) Kristi Cortez, R.N.’s
(“Nurse Cortez”) and Colin Ottey, M.D.’s
(Dr. Ottey”) (collectively the “Medical
Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 21). Having
considered the Motions and supporting documents, the Court
finds no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6
(D.Md. 2014). For the reasons outlined below, the Court will
grant Defendants’ Motions and grant in part and deny
without prejudice in part Hart’s Motion.
who is an inmate in the custody of the Maryland Division of
Correction, is incarcerated at NBCI. Hart alleges Defendants
failed to protect him from a serious risk of harm by housing
him with a cellmate, Donte Green, who was infected with
Hepatitis C. (ECF No. 1). Hart asserts he was exposed to the
virus because he was bitten numerous times by Green in
November 2013. (Id.). Hart maintains “prison
officials should have never housed an infected person
together with a non-infectious person.” (Id.
at 3). He seeks $2 million in damages. (Id.).
Medical and Institutional Records
State Defendants have filed verified and uncontroverted
copies of Hart’s institutional and medical records.
Hart described the alleged assault in an Inmate Statement
(ECF No. 12-4). According to his Statement, Hart was
exercising when Green physically interfered with Hart’s
movement. (Id.). Hart asked Green to move so that he
could continue exercising, but Green refused. (Id.).
Green then charged at Hart and attacked him by repeatedly
punching, biting, and choking him. (Id.). Hart
sustained multiple bite marks, abrasions, and a chipped
Cortez treated Hart for his injuries on November 7, 2013.
(ECF No. 12-7). Hart reported to Nurse Cortez that five days
prior, his cell mate choked him, bit him multiple times, and
stabbed him with a pen. (Id.). Cortez observed
superficial scratches on Hart’s left middle finger, one
bite on his right wrist, two bites on his right inner thigh
near the groin, and a chipped tooth. (Id.). The bite
wounds were scabbed over and were healing well.
(Id.). Cortez indicated she would refer Hart for
further medical evaluation and a dental assessment.
(Id.). Hart was tested for Hepatitis C on December
16, 2013; the results were negative. (ECF No. 12-9).
filed his Complaint on July 13, 2015. (ECF No. 1). The State
Defendants filed their unopposed Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment on December 1, 2015
(ECF No. 12), and Wexford filed its unopposed Motion to
Dismiss on December 20, 2015 (ECF No. 14). Hart filed his
unopposed Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint on
December 24, 2015. (ECF No. 16). Finally, the Medical
Defendants filed their unopposed Motion to Dismiss on March
31, 2016. (ECF No. 21).
Eighth Amendment Standard
Hart does not identify any specific causes of action, the
Court will construe his Complaint as raising a § 1983
claim for violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United
States Constitution stemming from Defendants’ failure
to protect Hart from violence committed by his cellmate.
See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832–33
(1994) (explaining that the Eighth Amendment’s
prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment imposes a duty on
prison officials to protect prisoners from violence at the
hands of other prisoners).
establish an Eighth Amendment violation based on the failure
to prevent harm to a prisoner, the prisoner must demonstrate
two elements: (1) the prisoner “is incarcerated under
conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm;”
and (2) a prison official acted in “deliberate
indifference” to the substantial risk of serious harm.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). A court
assesses the first element using an objective standard and
the second using a subjective standard. See id. at
834, 837. A prison official acts in deliberate indifference
when he has actual knowledge that a prisoner “faces[s]
a substantial risk of serious harm and disregards that risk
by failing to take reasonable measures to abate it.”
Id. at 847. Constructive knowledge ...