United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
W. Grimm United States District Judge
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).
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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
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.
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.
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.
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.