United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Hollander United States District Judge.
Kamara, the self-represented plaintiff, filed a civil rights
suit against a host of defendants, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983, arising out of a seemingly unprovoked and brutal
attack upon plaintiff in 2014, committed by a fellow detainee
at the Prince George's County Department of Corrections
(“PGCDC”). ECF 1; ECF 4. In general, she alleges that
the correctional defendants failed to protect her and that
she was provided inadequate medical care for the injuries she
sustained during the assault.
Abu Kalokoh; Meskerem Asresahegn, M.D.; and David Ijeh, M.D.
(“Medical Defendants) filed a motion to dismiss or, in
the alternative, for summary judgment. ECF 30. It is
supported by a memorandum (ECF 30-1) (collectively,
“Medical Defendants' Motion”) and several
exhibits. Defendants PGCDC; Mary Lou McDonough; Harry L.
Hilton; Adedeji Adewunmi; Corporal Diamon Baker; Corporal
Shayla Stewart; Private First Class Yvette Ford; and Corporal
Dawn Taylor (“Correctional Defendants”) have
moved for summary judgment. ECF 44. Their motion is supported by
a memorandum (ECF 44-1) (collectively, “Correctional
Defendants' Motion”) and exhibits, including a
surveillance or tier video of the assault. See ECF
44-4. Plaintiff opposes both motions. ECF 36; ECF 48; ECF 49.
In sum, her contentions are similar to the allegations in her
suit. The Medical Defendants filed a Reply at ECF 37, along
with another exhibit. ECF 37-1.
status report submitted by plaintiff on November 7, 2016 (ECF
43), plaintiff asserted that she could not download the
surveillance video and thus she was unable to review it.
Id. at 2-3. She asked for the “Win-Media
format.” Id. at 3. By Order of February 3,
2017 (ECF 51), I directed counsel for the Correctional
Defendants, within fourteen days of my Order, to provide
Kamara with the opportunity to review the video. Id.
In a letter of February 15, 2017 (ECF 52), counsel advised
that plaintiff viewed the DVD on that date, from 11:05 a.m.
to 12:25 p.m. Id. Counsel also stated that plaintiff
would be furnished with another copy of the DVD, for her use.
Id. In my Order (ECF 51), I gave plaintiff ten days
to supplement her response after she viewed the video. She
did so on February 23, 2017. See ECF 53.
hearing is necessary to resolve the motions. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow,
defendants' motions, construed as motions for summary
judgment, shall be granted.
November 19, 2014, while Kamara was detained at PGCDC, she
was viciously attacked in the lunch room by fellow detainee
Erika Sellers. Plaintiff claims that she “almost
lost [her] life.” ECF 1 at 3. According to plaintiff,
Sellers is mentally ill and has a history of attacking other
inmates. Id. Further, Kamara asserts that during the
assault she twice lost consciousness, but the officers on
duty during the attack, Baker, Stewart, Ford, and Taylor,
failed to call for the emergency response team
(“ERT”) in a “timely manner.”
Id. Plaintiff also states that when Officer Stewart
wanted to call the ERT, Baker, the lead officer, told Stewart
to let plaintiff get “her ass bit up first . . .
.” Id. In addition, plaintiff asserts that
“the officers did nothing to protect [her] or assist
[her], no [sic] even try to stop it, it was a total negligent
. . . .” Id. Rather, the officers “were
saying fight back Kamara, ” expected her to fight back,
and were “cheering the fight . . . .”
Id. Plaintiff also complains that it took
“about fifteen mins [sic] for the ERT to come and stop
it.” Id. According to Kamara, when the ERT
arrived, she “was on the floor lifeless, hopeless, and
helpless . . . .” Id.
claims that she suffered multiple injuries, including a soft
tissue head injury, and endured extreme pain. Moreover,
plaintiff asserts that she “was never take [sic] to the
hospital even with inter cranial fluid (CF) is coming out of
[her] nose” and her “maxillary artery was open .
. . .” Id. According to plaintiff, she
received inadequate medical care.
indicates that she filed criminal charges against Sellers
regarding the attack but was not transported to court by the
PGCDC on the date of Sellers's trial. Id. at
3-4. Because plaintiff was not present to testify, the
charges against Sellers were dropped. Id. at 4.
Further, plaintiff indicates that she asked for inmate
grievance forms but never received them. Id. at 2-3.
clarified her claims in her amendment to the complaint.
See ECF 4. She asserts that she is at risk of harm
and an easy target due to her background and accent.
Id. at 1. Additionally, plaintiff indicates that she
has sued Mary Lou McDonough as the Director of the PGCDC.
According to plaintiff, McDonough was “grossly
negligent” in managing the correctional officers.
Plaintiff also claims that McDonough was aware of the
violation of plaintiff's rights but did nothing to
correct the situation. Further, she alleges that McDonough is
responsible for housing mentally ill inmates with plaintiff.
Harry L. Hilton was the Chief of Security at the time of the
assault and it was his job to insure the safety of the
inmates. Plaintiff asserts that “he was very
negligent” because he did not seek care for plaintiff
until three days after the attack. Id.
alleges that Abu Kaloko, Medical Administrator, did nothing
“to help meet” her “medical needs . . .
.” Id.at 2. She also alleges that Kaloko
charged plaintiff for medication. Plaintiff states that she
submitted several forms to obtain medical records but never
received anything. Id.
addition, plaintiff complains that Meskerem Asresahegn, M.D.,
the facility physician, did not see her until a week after
the attack. On several occasions, plaintiff requested to be
transported to the hospital, because she was suffering severe
pain in her back, neck, side, and suffered from headaches.
Id. But, Dr. Asresahegn refused to have plaintiff
transported to the hospital for a second opinion.
to plaintiff, David Ijeh, M.D., the psychiatrist for the
institution, knew that Sellers was mentally ill, with a
history of attacking other inmates. However, he did nothing
to prevent the episode. Id. at 2. Similarly,
plaintiff states that the administration at PGCDC knew about
the mental history of Sellers, yet they did nothing to
prevent the attack. Id. at 4.
to plaintiff, Sgt. Adewunmi was the supervisor on duty at the
time of the attack. Id. Plaintiff maintains that he
“did nothing to prevent” this
“attack.” Id. at 2.
Kamara claims that Officer D. Baker was “the lead staff
on duty” on the day of the “deadly attack,
” and “[s]he did nothing to stop the attack. She
was cheering” for plaintiff to fight back. Id.
at 3. Nor did Baker call the ERT “on time, ” and
she advised plaintiff that facility protocol did not allow
her to stop the attack. Id. Plaintiff alleges that
Baker did not follow facility policy and procedure to protect
plaintiff and promote safety. Id.
Stewart, Ford, and Taylor were also on duty at the time of
the attack and allegedly did nothing to stop the fight.
Id. at 3-4. According to Kamara, Stewart encouraged
her to fight back. Id. at 3. Plaintiff also states
that Stewart attempted to call the ERT but was stopped by the
lead officer. Id.
submitted declarations from three fellow detainees who
witnessed the assault. Ashley McCrae avers that when
plaintiff was attacked by Sellers on November 19, 2014, four
correctional officers did not protect Kamara, and the ERT was
not called for “some good amount of time.” ECF 12
at 1. Helene Newsome avers that she saw Sellers attack
plaintiff while the officers “were just standing their
[sic] do nothing to stop the attack.” ECF 12-1 at 1.
She avers that it took “almost 15 min[utes] before the
ERT come to the unit . . . . Id. Further, she
asserts that the staff “neglected to maintain the order
and protect Kamara against the violence . . . .”
Id. Jade Cooper avers that she heard the attack but
did not see it. Cooper recalls that she heard an inmate
screaming for Sellers to stop but officers were urging
plaintiff “to fight back” as plaintiff cried for
help. According to Cooper, the fight went on for about
fifteen minutes before she heard the ERT team. ECF 12-2 at 1.
do not dispute that plaintiff was spontaneously assaulted by
Sellers. Corporal Diamon Garrison (formerly Diamon Baker),
Corporal Shyla Stewart, Private First Class Officer Yvette
Ford, and Corporal Dawn Taylor each aver that on November 19,
2014, they were assigned to Housing Unit 3
(“H-3”) at the PGCDC, where plaintiff was housed.
ECF 44-3 at 2, ¶ 3 (Baker Affidavit); ECF 44-5, ¶ 3
(Stewart Affidavit); ECF 44-6, ¶ 2 (Ford Affidavit); ECF
44-7, ¶ 3 (Taylor Affidavit). As the detainees were
eating lunch, they observed Sellers approach plaintiff from
behind and begin hitting plaintiff with a closed fist. No
loud arguing preceded the assault. ECF 44-3 at 2, ¶ 3-4;
ECF 44-5, ¶ 4; ECF 44-6, ¶ 3; ECF 44-7, ¶ 4.
Stewart immediately called a “Signal 80” over the
radio, requesting the ERT to respond to the unit. Stewart
also ordered the detainees to “lock in.” ECF 44-3
at 2-3, ¶ 5; ECF 44-5, ¶¶ 5 & 6; ECF 44-6,
¶ 4; ECF 44-7, ¶ 5. Ford and Taylor also commanded
the detainees to lock in while Ford operated the control
panel to secure the doors and Taylor went upstairs to make
sure the detainees were secured as ordered. ECF 44-6,
¶¶ 5 & 8; ECF 44-7, ¶ 6. Baker was the
first officer to approach Sellers and plaintiff, when
plaintiff was on the ground. ECF 44-3 at 3, ¶ 12.
and Stewart saw Sellers kick plaintiff after plaintiff fell
to the ground. ECF 44-3 at 3, ¶ 6.; ECF 44-5, ¶ 7.
Both Baker and Stewart approached Sellers and commanded her
to stop kicking plaintiff. Sellers briefly complied and
yelled “Back the fuck up! You bitches know how I go. I
will fuck ya'll up too.” ECF 44-3 at 3, ¶ 7;
ECF 44-5, ¶ 8. Baker and Stewart continued to direct
Sellers to stop the assault upon plaintiff, but Sellers
refused to obey the commands. ECF 44-3 at 3, ¶ 9; ECF
44-5, ¶ 9. The ERT responded to the unit, quelled the
situation, and escorted both detainees to the medical unit.
ECF 44-3 at 3, ¶ 10; ECF 44-5, ¶ 10; ECF 44-6,
Baker, Corporal Stewart, Private First Class Ford, and
Corporal Taylor averred that they had no prior reason to
believe that Sellers would attack Kamara, nor was there any
indication that Sellers harbored ill will towards plaintiff.
ECF 44-3, ¶ 13; ECF 44-5, ¶ 12; ECF 44-6, ¶ 9;
ECF 44-7, ¶ 9. Moreover, plaintiff had never expressed
concern about Sellers prior to the incident. ECF 44-3, ¶
14; ECF 44-5, ¶ 13; ECF 44-6, ¶ 10; ECF 44-7,
¶ 10. This was the first time that they saw Sellers
attack plaintiff. Id. After the incident, Baker
completed an incident report. ECF 44-3 at 3, ¶ 11;
see ECF 44-3 at 21-22.
Stewart, Ford, and Taylor each reviewed the surveillance
video, which is discussed, infra. Each has averred
that it is a fair and accurate depiction of the incident. ECF
44-3 at 3, ¶ 11; ECF 44-5, ¶ 11; ECF 44-6, ¶
7; ECF 44-7, ¶ 8. Baker identified herself as the first
officer who ran to the scene when plaintiff was already on
the ground, by the pay phone. ECF 44-3 at 3 ¶ 12.
Stewart identified herself as the officer behind the desk who
picked up the radio to call ERT. ECF 44-5, ¶ 11. Ford
identified herself as the officer behind the desk working the
control panel. ECF 44-6, ¶ 7. Taylor identified herself
as the officer who walked upstairs. ECF 44-7, ¶ 8.
date of the incident, Adedeji Adewunmi was the Zone Commander
for Zone 4, shift 2, working in a supervisory capacity. ECF
44-8, ¶ 3. He was not present on H-3 when the assault
occurred. However, he heard the Signal 80 for the ERT and
responded to the incident. Id. ¶ 4. When he
arrived on H-3 the ERT was already there. Id. ¶
6. After the incident Adewunmi conducted an investigation,
which included review of the video footage, interviews of the
correctional officers and detainees, and instructions to
Baker to complete an incident/infraction report. Id.
¶ 7. As a result of the investigation, Adewunmi charged
Sellers with rule violations, including Failure to Obey
Orders of Staff, Threat to Staff, and Assault. Id.
¶ 8, ECF 44-8 at 5. Adewunmi also provided plaintiff
with a notification of rights form and plaintiff initiated
criminal charges against Sellers. Id. ¶ 9; ECF
44-7 at 7. Adewunmi maintains that he had no reason to expect
such conduct by Sellers. ECF 44-8, ¶¶ 10 & 11.
Ijeh is employed as a psychiatrist at the PGCDC. ECF 30-4,
¶ 1. He has been licensed in Maryland since 1994.
Id. ¶ 3. Ijeh avers that he personally treated
both plaintiff and Sellers, and “was not aware of any
propensity for violence on the part of Sellerss.”
Id.¶ 5. Nor was he aware that she ever had
attacked other inmates. Id. Ijeh further avers that
he was not aware of a risk of harm to plaintiff. Id.
He also recounts plaintiff's mental health treatment
while detained. ECF 30-4, ¶¶ 6-27.
Prince George's County Correctional Center Policy and
Procedure Manual is relevant. ECF 44-3 at 8. Section D
provides, in pertinent part, that where there is a
disturbance in the housing unit the housing unit officer
1. Notify the Central Control Officer via radio or the
emergency phony system;
2. Order the non-involved inmates to their cells and place
them on lockdown;
3. Attempt to quell a minor disturbance (e.g. fight between
inmates) by issuing verbal commands to the involved inmates;
4. Never place himself between fighting inmates but will wait
for assistance from responding Emergency Response Team (ERT)
officers. . . .
Correctional Defendants submitted as an exhibit the DVD tier
video of the incident. ECF 44-4 (filed separately). The video
has no sound. It is a compilation of six cameras that were in
use, five of which portray different angles of the lunch area
where the assault occurred. The sixth camera focuses on the
location where the ERT entered the area.
noted, plaintiff filed a supplement (ECF 53) based on her
review of the tier video. She asserts: “It was very
clear [in the video] that the officers were negligent,
deliberate and indifferent.” Id. at 1. I
reviewed the video several times. It shows that plaintiff was
suddenly attacked at 10:15:57 a.m., according to the video
timeline. Four female correctional officers were located
behind a counter and they immediately sprang into action when
the fight erupted. One correctional officer immediately got
on the telephone or radio. Within ten seconds, two of the
correctional officers began to move towards the altercation.
By 10:16:15, those two officers and another inmate are seen
next to plaintiff and Sellers. The body language of the
officers suggests that the officers sought to stop the fight,
although they did not attempt physically to restrain Sellers.
The other guards were directing the other detainees in the
area to leave.
10:16:19, one of the correctional officers pulled away a
detainee who was not involved in the fight, but who was
standing next to the assailant. At that moment, Sellers
paused. Two officers were in close proximity to Sellers. They
were then joined by a third officer. It appears that the
correctional officers exchanged words with Sellers from
10:16:19 to 10:16:27, during which Sellers again paused.
Sellers resumed her assault on plaintiff at 10:16:27. Three
correctional officers then stepped several feet away, while
gesturing vigorously at Sellers. The correctional officers
seemed agitated and appeared to be shouting.
then paused again, from about 10:17:04 to 10:17:16. The
officers were still pointing at Sellers, from a distance of a
few feet. At around 10:17:17, the attack resumed. Two
officers move towards the assailant. At 10:17:23, two of the
correctional officers were still within very close range of
the fight, but they did not physically attempt to subdue
Sellers. At 10:17:25, six male ERT officers entered through
doors onto the unit. Sellers submitted to their authority.
Medical Defendants submitted over 160 pages of
plaintiff's medical records. See ECF
30-3. The records show that plaintiff was
evaluated by a nurse at 11:20 a.m. on November 19, 2014,
i.e., shortly after the attack. Id. 2-3.
The entry indicates that she was the “Victim of Violent
Incident.” Id. at 2. Plaintiff was crying and
upset. Id. She complained of head pain, and had a
big knot on her forehead, but she was not found to be in
acute distress. Id. at 2-3. However, her blood
pressure was elevated and, as a result, she was placed on a
three-day blood pressure check. Id. at 2. Plaintiff
requested an x-ray of her head, nose, “sides, ”
and chest. She complained of blurred vision and a headache.
Id. at 4. The nurse gave plaintiff ice and Tylenol.
The nurse also directed plaintiff to contact medical staff if
her symptoms worsened. Id. at 3.
following day, November 20, 2014, plaintiff was seen by a
mental health provider. They discussed the recent incident.
Id. at 36. Plaintiff was oriented to time, person,
place, and situation and exhibited no gross cognitive
defects. She was appropriately groomed and was calm and
cooperative. ECF 30-3 at 36. The diagnosis stated,
id.: “Depression with psychotic
features.” Id. The plan was to “continue
individual therapy.” Id.
November 21, 2014, plaintiff was seen by a physician
assistant due to her complaints of facial bruises and
decreased vision. Id. at 60-61. She also complained
of generalized muscle aches and tenderness. Id.
Significant hair loss was noted and plaintiff's head was
bruised. Id. at 60. However, her pupils were equal
and reactive to light, although moderate swelling and
peri-orbital discoloration was noted. Id. Plaintiff
was diagnosed as suffering from facial bruises, bilateral
peri-orbital edema, musculoskeletal pain, and hair loss. She
was prescribed Loratadine, an antihistamine used to decrease
swelling, for fourteen days. Id.
Asresahegn, M.D., a physician employed at PGCDC and licensed
in Maryland since 1998, submitted two declarations. ECF 30-2;
ECF 37-1. He first saw plaintiff on November 24, 2014, five
days after her altercation with Sellers. ECF 30-2,
¶¶ 3, 5; ECF 37-1, ¶ 5. At that time,
plaintiff complained of muscle pain in various areas of her
body and facial swelling. She had a bruise on her forehead
and hair loss. Id. However, she “did not
present” with any “neurological
abnormalities” indicative of a brain injury. ECF 30-2;
ECF 37-1; see also ECF 30-3 at 62-65. She denied
loss of consciousness, severe headaches, vomiting, or blurred
vision. ECF 30-3 at 62; ECF 37-1, ¶ 5.
were taken that day. Id. at 63. They revealed no
abnormalities in plaintiff's facial bones or eye sockets.
ECF 30-3 at 33; see also ECF 30-2, ¶ 8; ECF
37-1, ¶ 5. Plaintiff was prescribed non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs (“NSAIDs”) and a muscle
relaxer, and it was recommended that she rest and restrict
her physical activity. ECF 30-2, ¶ 5; ECF 37-1, ¶
to plaintiff's assertions (ECF 1 at 3), she “did
not present with an ‘open maxillary' artery or
leaking ‘cerebral fluid' on November 24, 2014 or at
any other time.” ECF 30-2, ¶ 5; see ECF
37-1, ¶ 7. Moreover, Dr. Asresahegn has opined that
“[t]here was no medical necessity for emergent hospital
treatment or more extensive diagnostic testing.” ECF
30-2, ¶ 5; see also ECF 37-1, ¶ 6. He