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Young v. Bishop

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 28, 2017

JAMES FREDERICK YOUNG, III, Prisoner Identification No. 3758409, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN FRANK BISHOP, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Theodore D. Chuang United States District Judge

         James Frederick Young, III, currently confined at North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI") in Cumberland, Maryland, has filed this Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Young alleges that his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Articles 4, 5, 7, and 11 of "Human Rights" were violated while he was housed as a pretrial detainee at NBCI. Compl. ¶¶ 13-21, ECF No. .. Presently pending before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Warden Frank Bishop ("the Warden"). For the reasons set forth below, the Motion is granted.

         BACKGROUND

         On October 7, 205,, Young was charged with first-degree assault, second-degree assault of a law enforcement officer, two counts of second-degree assault, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and failure to obey a reasonable and lawful order. As a pretrial detainee, he was initially held at Baltimore Central Booking and Intake Center ("BCBIC".. While Young was detained there, on October 7, 2015, he refused to comply with direct orders to stay locked in his cell. When a lieutenant, sergeant, and three correctional officers physically escorted him into his cell, he became combative by swinging his fist. The sergeant and correctional officers placed Young on the ground to handcuff him with his arms behind his back. On October 8, 2015, Young was served with a notice of inmate infraction, charging him with violating prison Rules 100 (engaging in a disruptive act), 101 (committing assault or battery on staff), 104 (using intimidating, coercive, or threatening language), 312 (interfering with or resisting the performance of staff duties), and 400 (disobeying an order). As a result of this incident, Young was ordered into administrative segregation pending a hearing. On the morning of October 12, 2015, Young assaulted a sergeant and officer at BCBIC after failing to comply with orders to return to his cell.

         On October 12, 2015, Young was transferred to NBCI and placed in administrative segregation and on staff alert based on concerns that he posed a danger to the "security of the institution and/or inmates and/or staff." Mot. Dismiss Ex. 1 at 4, 5-6, 52, ECF No. 12-2. On November 19, 2015, a formal hearing was held regarding the charges stemming from the October 7, 2015 incident. Young pleaded guilty to violating prison Rules 101, 312, and 400. The hearing officer imposed a sanction of 90 days of segregation and an indefinite suspension of visitation privileges. Young did not formally appeal the decision or the sentence. On December 15, 2015, William Bohrer, on behalf of Warden Bishop, reviewed and affirmed the hearing officer's decision but reduced the visitation suspension from an indefinite period to six months and imposed 60 days of cell restriction. At NBCI, inmates placed in segregation for disciplinary reasons receive out-of-cell recreation five days a week, as well as two showers per week. An inmate on segregation with cell restrictions receives recreation only once per week. Young at times declined the out-of-cell recreation time and showers available to him.

         On March 25, 2016, Young was convicted by a jury in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland of second-degree assault and second-degree assault of a law enforcement officer. He was sentenced on the same date to four years of imprisonment.

         In his Complain,, received by the Court on January 7, 2016, Young claims that his pretrial detention at NBCI constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment because he received only one hour of out-of-cell recreation time each week due to his placement on cell restriction. Young also alleges violations of the Eighth Amendment and his human rights because he was housed as a pretrial detainee in a maximum security facility with convicted inmates, and because, in his view, confinement at NBCI is akin to slavery in that he was subjected to inhumane torture in the form of prison officials allowing an inmate in an adjacent cell to "constantly throw feces" on his cell door and food slot. Compl. ¶¶ 14-19. He further contends that he is subjected to discrimination on a daily basis, in violation of his human rights, because most of the correctional officers are racist and "are out to hurt [him] mentally or physically because [he is] currently incarcerated for assaulting two Baltimore City Police Officers." Id. ¶¶ 20-22. Young seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, "'make-up' recreation, " compensatory and punitive damages, and costs. Id. ¶¶ 33-38.

         The Warden has filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment Pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309, 310 (4th Cir. 1975), Young was sent correspondence notifying him that the Warden had filed a dispositive motion, the granting of which could result in the dismissal of his action. Young was also informed that he was entitled to file materials in opposition to the Motion within 17 days from the date of that letter, and that his failure to file a timely responsive brief to illustrate, through accompanying affidavits or other evidence, a genuine dispute of material fact could result in the dismissal of his case or in the entry of summary judgment without further notice of the Court. Young did not file a Response.

         DISCUSSION

         The Warden seeks dismissal of the Complaint or summary judgment in his favor on several grounds, including that: (1) the Complaint must be dismissed because he is immune from liability under the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution; (2) Young's Human Rights claims do not state a cognizable claim for relief; (3) the Complaint does not allege that the Warden personally participated in the alleged violations; (4) Young failed to exhaust his administrative remedies; and (5) Young has failed to state a plausible constitutional claim arising from his transfer to NBCI and the imposition of a cell restriction limiting his recreation time.

         I. Legal Standards

         A. Motion to Dismiss

         The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has "been unclear on whether a dismissal on Eleventh Amendment immunity grounds is a dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) or a dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1)." Andrews v. Daw, 201 F.3d 521, 524 n.2 (4th Cir. 2000). The Fourth Circuit has noted that "[a]though not a true limit on the subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal courts, the Eleventh Amendment is 'a block on the exercise of that jurisdiction.'" Roach v. W. Va. Reg'Uail & Carr. Facility Auth., 74 F.3d 46, 48 (4th Cir. 1996) (quoting Biggs v. Meadow, 66 F.3d 56, 60 (4th Cir. 1995)). Thus, to the extent that the Warden's Eleventh Amendment immunity argument is most appropriately construed as the subject of a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, it would be governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1). Where, as here, the defendant's Eleventh Amendment argument relies on the pleadings alone, the standard is effectively the same. Under Rule 12(b)(1), when a defendant asserts that the plaintiff has failed to allege facts sufficient to establish subject matter jurisdication, the allegations in the complaint are assumed to be true under the same standard as in a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, and "the motion must be denied if the complaint alleges sufficient facts to invoke subject matter jurisdiction"" Kerns v. United States, 585 F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 2009).

         The Warden's arguments based on the lack of a cognizable claim for Human Rights violations and the failure to allege unconstitutional conduct by the Warden personally are properly construed as the subject of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). To defeat a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the complaint must allege enough facts to state a plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A claim is plausible when the facts pleaded allow "the Court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. Although courts should construe pleadings of self-represented litigants liberally, Erickson v. Pardus,551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), legal conclusions or conclusory statements do not suffice, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The Court must examine the complaint as a whole, consider the factual allegations in the ...


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