United States District Court, D. Maryland
DON CRUDUP Plaintiff DIVISION OF CORRECTION EASTERN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION Defendants
K. Bredar United States District Judge.
above-entitled complaint was filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 on January 23, 2017. Plaintiff seeks leave to
proceed in forma pauperis, which shall be granted. For the
reasons set forth below, the complaint must be dismissed.
who is incarcerated at Eastern Correctional Institution in
Westover, Maryland, asserts that on January 9, 2017, a pipe
burst on C-tier causing the area to flood. ECF 1 at p. 3.
Plaintiff states that he was walking through the dayroom
where the flooding occurred and, although he tried to avoid
walking in the flooded area, he slipped and fell.
Id. He states three officers witnessed the accident.
Id. In an administrative remedy complaint plaintiff
filed and submitted with the complaint, he alleges the pipe
burst through the negligence of staff responsible for
maintenance in the prison. ECF 1-1. As relief he seeks
unspecified compensation for “several injuries”
he incurred. ECF 1 at p. 3.
complaint is filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 which provides
that “[e]very person who, under color of any statute,
ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or
Territory . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any
citizen of the United States or other person within the
jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and
laws, shall be liable to the party injured . . .” The
negligence plaintiff attributes to unnamed parties and he
alleges was the cause of the flood does not state a
constitutional claim. Conduct is not actionable under the
Eighth Amendment unless it transgresses bright lines of
clearly-established pre-existing law. See Maciariello v.
Sumner, 973 F.2d 295, 298 (4th Cir. 1992). To establish
a sufficiently culpable state of mind, there must be evidence
that a known excessive risk of harm to the inmate's
health or safety was disregarded. See Wilson v.
Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298-99 (1991). In other words,
“the test is whether the guards know the plaintiff
inmate faces a serious danger to his safety and they could
avert the danger easily yet they fail to do so.”
Brown v. N.C. Dep't of Corr., 612 F.3d 720, 723
(4th Cir. 2010) (quoting Case v. Ahitow, 301 F.3d
605, 607 (7th Cir. 2002)). “These requirements spring
from the text of the amendment itself; absent intentionality,
a condition imposed on an inmate cannot properly be called
‘punishment, ' and absent severity, such punishment
cannot be called ‘cruel and unusual.'”
Iko v. Shreve, 535 F.3d 225, 238 (4th Cir. 2008)
(citing Wilson, 501 U.S. at 298-300). Neglecting to
perform routine maintenance is not an intentional imposition
of cruel and unusual punishment. A slip-and-fall claim, such
as the one alleged in this complaint, does not become a
constitutional claim simply because it occurred in a state
extent plaintiff also claims loss of property because of the
flood, the complaint does not state a claim under the
Fourteenth Amendment. In the case of lost or stolen property,
sufficient due process is afforded to a prisoner if he has
access to an adequate post-deprivation remedy. See
Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 540 (1981),
overruled on other grounds by Daniels v. Williams,
474 U.S. 327 (1986). The right to seek damages and injunctive
relief in Maryland courts constitutes an adequate
post-deprivation remedy. See Juncker v. Tinney, 549
F.Supp. 574, 579 (D. Md. 1982). The Supreme Court extended its
Parratt holding to intentional deprivations of
property. See Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533
(1984). Therefore, assuming Plaintiff's personal property
was destroyed as he alleges, such a claim does not rise to a
complaint shall be dismissed under the provisions of 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e). See Neitzke v. Williams, 490
U.S. 319, 325 (1989); see also Denton v. Hernandez,
504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992); Cochran v. Morris, 73 F.3d
1310, 1315 (4th Cir. 1996); Nasim v. Warden, 64 F.3d
951, 954-55 (4th Cir. 1995). Plaintiff is reminded that under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) he will not be granted in forma
pauperis status if he has “on 3 or more prior
occasions, while incarcerated or detained in any facility,
brought an action or appeal in a court of the United States
that was dismissed on the grounds that it is frivolous,
malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted, unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of
serious physical injury.” A separate order follows.
 Plaintiff may avail himself of
remedies under Maryland's Tort Claims Act and through the
Inmate Grievance Office.
 Although Juncker dealt with
personal injury rather than property loss, its analysis and
conclusion that sufficient due process is afforded through
post-deprivation remedies available in the Maryland courts
also apply to cases of lost or stolen property, given
Juncker's reliance on Parratt in
dismissing plaintiff's due process claim.
 In rejecting a prisoner's Fourth
Amendment claim to an expectation of privacy in his cell, the
Supreme Court stated that denying such a claim did not
“mean that [a prisoner] is without a remedy for
calculated harassment unrelated to prison needs. Nor does it
mean that prison attendants can ride roughshod over
inmates' property rights with impunity. The Eighth
Amendment always stands as a protection against ‘cruel
and unusual punishments.' By the same token, there are
adequate state tort and common-law ...