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Manzur v. Daney

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

March 9, 2017

Le'BRAYYA MANZUR, Plaintiff,
DANESHA DANEY, et al., Defendants.


          Paul W. Grimm United States District Judge

         Pending before the Court is Defendants' Second Motion for Summary Judgment in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action in which Plaintiff Le'Brayya Manzur alleges that correctional officers at the Maryland Correctional Institute for Women (“MCI-W”) violated her Eighth Amendment rights by using excessive force against her and by showing deliberate indifference to her serious medical need when they delayed seeking treatment for her broken arm. ECF No. 69. The Motion is fully briefed. Defs.' Mem., ECF No. 69-1; Pl.'s Opp'n, ECF No. 72; Defs.' Reply, ECF No. 78. No hearing is necessary. Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md.). Genuine disputes of material fact preclude me from finding that qualified immunity shields Defendant Danisha Daney from liability with respect to Manzur's excessive-use-of-force claim (Count I); however, as Manzur has failed to demonstrate that delayed treatment of her broken arm resulted in any additional harm, I will grant summary judgment as to her deliberate-indifference claim (Count II). Additionally, Manzur has failed to plead compliance with the Maryland Tort Claims Act's notice requirements, so I will grant Defendants' Motion as to her battery claim (Count III).


         On the morning of April 23, 2016, three MCI-W correctional officers, Defendants Sgt. Danisha Daney, CO II Tara Barris-Stewart, and CO II Krissie Battle, were escorting inmates housed in disciplinary segregation to showers. Daney Decl. 1, J.A. 628; Battle Decl. 1, J.A. 631; Barris-Stewart Decl. 1, Defs.' Mot. Dismiss Ex. 3, ECF No. 8-5.[1] Around 9:00 A.M., the officers approached cell 312, in which Manzur and her cellmate, Felicia Sheridan, resided. Following MCI-W procedures for escorting prisoners in disciplinary segregation, Barris-Stewart applied handcuffs to Manzur through a slot at the bottom of the cell door. Joint Statement of Facts ¶¶ 5-7, 11, ECF No. 69-2 [hereinafter Joint Statement]. Manzur complained that her handcuffs were too tight. Id. ¶ 12. Daney told Manzur to stop complaining, and Manzur talked back to her, leading Daney to revoke Manzur's shower privileges for that day. Manzur Dep. 36:20-37:20, J.A. 10; Daney Dep. 63:6-17, J.A. 87. Upset that she would not be able to shower, Manzur refused to comply with Daney's order to return her handcuffs. Manzur Dep. 37:18-19, J.A. 10. Daney radioed the prison control center to request that cell 312's door be electronically unlocked. Joint Statement ¶ 14.

         What happened next is a subject of dispute. Manzur and Sheridan contend that Daney pushed Manzur while she was still cuffed, and caused her to trip over a cardboard box and fall to the floor. Manzur Dep. 38:1-2, 44:12-20, J.A. 11; Sheridan Dep. 23:4-5; 30:8-18, J.A. 406; Sheridan Decl., J.A. 632.[2] By Manzur's account, Daney was enraged by Manzur's use of profanity towards her, and Daney pushed Manzur as soon as the door opened. Manzur Dep. 37:18-38:2, 44:12-15, J.A. 10, 12. Sheridan's recollection is that Manzur took two steps outside of the cell before Daney pushed her. Sheridan Dep. 20:12-30:8, J.A. 405-06. Daney and the other correctional officers aver that Manzur was advancing towards the cell door in a manner that suggests that she was trying to exit the cell (but had not yet exited the cell) and that Daney extended her hand, telling Manzur to back up, but did not touch her. Daney Dep. 68:10-15, 69:7-70:20, J.A. 88-89; Barris-Stewart Dep. 104:5-9, J.A. 186; Battle Dep. 97:14-98:9, J.A. 259-60; Daney Decl. 2, J.A. 629; Battle Decl., J.A. 631; Barris-Stewart Decl. But none of the correctional officers believe that Manzur posed a threat to Daney. Daney Dep. 104:3-14, J.A. 97; Barris-Stewart Dep. 183:7-13, 184:8-10, J.A. 206; Battle Dep. 112:1-113-2, J.A. 263. According to Daney and Barris-Stewart, Manzur tripped over the cardboard box as she backed up. Daney Dep. 70:21-71:5, J.A. 89; Barris-Stewart Dep. 107:11-18, J.A. 187; Daney Decl. 2, J.A. 629, Barris-Stewart Decl. Whatever caused the fall, the impact fractured Manzur's left humerus. Joint Statement ¶ 15.

         The parties also dispute how Manzur reacted after she broke her arm. Daney contends that, despite being handcuffed behind the back and suffering from a broken left arm, Manzur immediately attempted to stand up and gave no indication that she had been injured. Daney Dep. 71:13-72:6, J.A. 89. Barris-Stewart also testified at her deposition that Manzur immediately stood up, but she acknowledges that Manzur began “screaming” about her arm. Barris-Stewart Dep. 110:18-22, J.A. 188. Battle cannot recall whether or not Manzur ever gave any indication that her arm was injured. Battle Dep. 114:5-115:8, J.A. 264. Manzur testified at her deposition that she began screaming in pain as soon as she fell to the floor and specifically told the officers that her arm was broken. Manzur Dep. 52:16-54:10, J.A. 14-15. She also contends that she did not stand up immediately but that the officers left her laying on the floor and that she eventually was able to stand up by using the cell's toilet to support her body's weight, given that her one functional arm was handcuffed behind her back. Id. at 59:12-61:15, J.A. 16. Statements from other inmates indicate that Manzur could be heard screaming throughout the C-Wing during and after the incident and yelling that her arm was broken. Fulcher Decl., J.A. 633; Downs Decl., J.A. 634.

         Whatever Manzur's immediate reaction to the injury, the officers did not seek medical assistance until at least several minutes after the incident, at which time Daney contacted Lt. Wayne Shareef, who gave permission for Manzur to be taken to the prison infirmary.[3] Daney Dep. 78:2-9, J.A. 91. But the officers did not escort Manzur to the infirmary until at least 10:00 A.M. and perhaps as late as 10:50 A.M.[4] Daney contends that a mass movement of general-population inmates for lunch accounted for the delay, because prison policies prohibit movement of inmates on disciplinary segregation until hallways are clear of other inmates for safety reasons. Daney Dep. 78:19-21, 148:8-16, 158:4-159:1, J.A. 90, 108, 111.

         Once at the infirmary, the medical staff determined that Daney had suffered a fractured humerus, ordered an x-ray onsite, prescribed pain killers, and then transferred her around 12:30 P.M. by Department of Corrections van to Bon Secours Hospital, where she underwent surgery. Medical Records 2-3, Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss Ex. 6, ECF No. 8-8; Joint Statement ¶¶ 18-22; Manzur Dep. 111:9, J.A. 29. Manzur contends that Defendant Cpt. James Webb delayed her transfer to Bon Secours and subsequent treatment by insisting upon an onsite x-ray when the medical staff was prepared to transfer her without one and by insisting that she be taken to the hospital by van, which was not immediately available, instead of by ambulance. Manzur Dep. 100:4-6, 101:15-102:7, 110:13-18, J.A. 26-27, 29. Medical records indicate that the onsite x-ray and van transfer were approved by physician's assistant Emebet Negash, Medical Records 2-3, and Webb testified in his deposition that it was the medical staff's decision, without his input, to order an on-site x-ray. Webb Dep. 94:5-8, J.A. 321; see Id. 95:16-96:19, J.A. 321 (indicating that he was told that Manzur would be transported by van and speculating that the duty lieutenant had arranged the transportation). Despite the surgery, Manzur currently lacks a full range of motion in her left arm. Independent Medical Evaluation 6, J.A. 483.

         Standard of Review

          Summary judgment is proper when the moving party demonstrates, through “particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, 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 also Baldwin v. City of Greensboro, 714 F.3d 828, 833 (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 Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585-87 & n.10 (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, 251-52 (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.



         Defendants previously moved to dismiss, or, in the alternative, for summary judgment on the grounds that Manzur (1) did not exhaust the administrative remedies available to her, as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); and (2) failed to allege facts that could establish violations of her Eighth Amendment rights. Defs.' Mem. Supp. First Mot. Summ. J. 8-19, ECF No. 8-1. I construed the motion as a Motion for Summary Judgment, which I denied. Mem. Op. 2, ECF No. 17. With respect to the exhaustion argument, I specifically held that Manzur had exhausted her administrative remedies because the Department of Public Safety and Correction Services' Internal Investigations Unit (“IIU”) initiated an investigation into the incident, a procedure that terminates the administrative remedies process for the events subject to investigation. Id. at 5. Defendants suggest that the Supreme Court's recent decision in Ross v. Blake, 136 S.Ct. 1850 (2016), demands a contrary outcome. Defs.' Mem. 16-17. But Ross is inapposite. That case held that the PLRA permits no “special circumstances” exception to the statute's exhaustion requirement. Ross, 136 S.Ct. at 1858. I did not excuse non-exhaustion but rather held that Manzur had exhausted her administrative remedies. Mem. Op. 5. Defendants also attempt to re-argue that an IIU investigation does not exhaust administrative remedies. Defs.' Reply 3-7. I already rejected that argument, and the issue is not open to re-litigation. I reiterate: Manzur has exhausted her administrative remedies.

         Qualified ...

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