United States District Court, D. Maryland
Frederick Motz, United States District Judge
February 4, 2016, Martin Washington, who is confined at the
North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI",,
filed this 42 U.S.C. S 1983 civil rights action for
declaratory and injunctive relief and compensatory and
punitive damages against several correctional officers in
their individual and official capacities. ECF
NO.1. He claims that he was transferred to
Maryland from Ohio confinement pursuant to the Interstate
Corrections Compact ("ICC").
alleges that on July 27, 2015, he was subject to excessive
force when an officer slammed the cell door metal food slot
onto his left hand, fracturing it. He also contends that on
October 12, 2015, a series of excessive force incidents
occurred at the hands of officers. Washington claims that:
(1) he was sprayed with a full can of mace inside his cell;
(2) on his way to the medical department an officer squeezed
his neck and arm "until [he] almost passed out;"
(3) after being seen in the medical department he was placed
in "the cage" and officers took turns punching him
in the lower and upper body; (4) he was again grabbed by the
neck and had his neck squeezed by an officer; (5) he was
taken to the shower where officers rammed his head into the
back wall; (6) officers punched him in the face and body; and
(7) he was again choked by an officer. ECF NO.1. Washington
asserts he was left in a cell for several hours without
receiving a decontamination shower or medical care. He
contends that during the afternoon of that same day he
received stitches above his eyes.
Washington claims that several defendants continue to deny
him meals, institutional passes and recreation in response to
his filing complaints against them and have, on more than one
occasion, promised to kill him. He alleges that he has
recently been finding foreign objects in his lunch meals.
Officers Rounds, Sr., Rounds, Jr., Murray, and Durst
("defendants") have filed a motion to dismiss or,
in the alternative, for summary judgmen,, construed as a
motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 22. Washington has filed
an opposition and defendants have filed a reply. ECF Nos. 24,
25, & 28. For reasons that follow, the court will deny
defendants' summary judgment motion.
judgment is proper when the moving party demonstrates through
"particular parts of materials in the record, including
depositions, documents, electronically stored information,
affidavits or declaration,, stipulations ..., admissions,
interrogatory answers, or other materials, " that
"there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), (c)(1)(A); see Baldwin v. City of
Greensboro, 714 F.3d 828, 833-34 (4th Cir. 2013). If the
party seeking summary judgment demonstrates that there is no
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, the
burden shifts to the nonmoving party to identify evidence
that shows that a genuine dispute exists as to material
facts. See Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986).
The existence of only a "scintilla of evidence" is
not enough to defeat a motion for summary judgment..
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251
(1986). Instead, the evidentiary materials submitted must
show facts from which the finder of fact reasonably could
find for the party opposing summary judgment.. Id.
alleges that he was subject to excessive force on a number of
occasions in July and October of 2015, and sustained injuries
to his hand, the mid-section of his body, his head and neck.
Defendants provide a different factual background concerning
the incidents. They affirm that Washington has a habit of
placing his arm in his cell door's slot at
"inappropriate times." ECF No. 22-2, 22-3, 22-4
& 22-5. Defendants maintain that one of the
reasons that Washington was housed in his particular cell in
October of205,, was because it was more difficult to stick
his hands and arms through that cell slot than most cell
slots. They contend that it is possible for an inmate to
seriously injure an officer by assaulting him through a cell
door's slot. Id.
of July 27, 2015
referring to a notice of infraction written by Rounds, Jr.,
state that Correctional Officer Rounds, Jr. escorted
Washington back to his cell after a shower. ECF No. 22-3.
After Washington's cell door was secured, he was ordered
to place his arms thorough the door's security slot so
that his handcuffs could be removed. Id. He did so
and his right cuff was removed without incident. Before his
left cuff could be removed, however, Washington pulled both
arms back inside his cell. Rounds, Jr. decided to advise the
Officer-in-Charge ("OIC") of the situation and
pushed the slot shut so he could do so. Rounds, Jr. claims
that as he closed the slot, Washington stuck his left hand
through the slot and the slot accidentally closed on his left
arm. Id. The infraction notice indicates that the
medical department was contacted to treat Washington, and
Rounds, Jr. escorted Washington to the medical department
where he was treated for an abrasion to his arm. ECF No.
Jr. affirms that he was not disciplined following the July
27, 2015 incident and the Internal Investigative Division
("IID") of the Department of Public Safety and
Correctional Services ("DPSCS") did not investigate
Rounds, Jr. following the event. According to the medical
record provided by defendants, Washington's abrasion was
cleaned, bacitracin was applied and a bandage was placed on
the wound. ECF No. 22-6. He was provided with additional
bacitracin and bandages. Washington was also instructed to
place a sick-call slip the had any further problems. He
voiced no further complaints and was returned to his cell.
One week later, on August 4, 205,, Washington was examined by
Nurse Moyer and complained of pain to his left thumb, which
he claimed was injured when "his arm was caught in the
slot." Id. Washington complained that he could
not move his thumb without pain.
of October 12, 2015.
to the IID report, at 8:52 p.m. IID was notified of an
incident that had occurred earlier that same day involving
Washington. ECF No. 22-7. IID reported that Correctional
Officers Durst, Rounds, Jr., Rounds, Sr., Peters and Mallow
were accused of assaulting Washington. The IID conducted an
interview of the five officers and Washington. Durst reported
that Washington had stuck his arm in the cell door's
security slot upon his return to the cell. When questioned if
there was a problem, Washington indicated that he wanted to
be moved to a different cell. He was informed that he would
have to submit the request to the tier officer. Durst advised
Washington that his request may not be granted because
Washington was known to be a compulsive slot holder.
Officer Murray, the tier officer, arrived at the cell and
informed Washington that his request for a cell change would
not be satisfied that day. Durst asserted that Washington
then lunged at him, and Murray sprayed Washington with a
chemical agent. Washington was then escorted out of his cell
by Durst and Peters. Durst claimed that medical personnel
evaluated Washington and he was strip searched in the
property room's strip cage. Following the strip search,
Washington was taken to a decontamination shower where the
chemical agent was rinsed off before he was further escorted
without further incident to a contingency cell. ECF No. 22-7.
Murray asserts that ...