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Broadwater v. Warden of MRDCC

United States District Court, D. Maryland

April 13, 2017

WARDEN OF MRDCC, et al. Defendants



         In response to the above-entitled civil rights action, defendants filed a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment. ECF 15. Plaintiff opposes the motion. ECF18and22. The court finds a hearing unnecessary for the disposition of the motion. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below, defendants' motion, construed as a motion for summary judgment, shall be granted.

         Also pending are defendants' motions for extension of time (ECF 14 and 20), which shall be granted. Plaintiffs motion for default judgment (ECF 17) shall be denied as defendants did not default in responding to the complaint.

         I. Background

         A. Complaint Allegations

         Plaintiff Darrell Alan Broadwater is an inmate committed to the custody of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS). Broadwater states that on October 22, 2015, he was incarcerated at the Maryland Reception Diagnostics and Classification Center (MRDCC) and confined to a cell in segregation housing designated as "3-CM." ECF 1 at p. 5. On the morning of October 23, 2015, Broadwater awoke to discover his body was covered in "bites" which were not on his body the day before. Id. Broadwater knocked on his cell door to get the correctional officer's attention and made her aware of the bites he had sustained. He states the officer "wrote this in her log book, " contacted the medical unit, and called for an escort to take Broadwater to the medical unit. Id.

         Broadwater states that he was forced to wait for 12 hours in his cell, which he maintains was infested with bed bugs, waiting for an escort to the medical unit. ECF 1 at p. 6, He states that he continually asked Sgt. Brown what was going on with his escort and she told him she had called for an escort and that she admitted to seeing bugs crawling on the wall. Id.

         Broadwater was taken to the medical unit at approximately 8:50 p.m., where pictures were taken of his "entire body, " he was given new clothes, and "cream to wash in." Id. He states he was examined by a Physician's Assistant who diagnosed him as suffering from a rash and bed bug bites. Following his examination, Broadwater was taken back to the same cell where he suffered the bed bug bites and he was forced, to stay in the cell another night. Broadwater states he continued to suffer bed bug bites throughout the night of October 23, 2015. On October 24, 2015, Broadwater filed an administrative remedy procedure complaint (ARP). Approximately one-hour after turning in the ARP, Broadwater states that "the Major, Asst. Warden and some other people came to 3-CM." Id. After being in the cell with bed bugs for 30 hours and suffering bites, Broadwater was moved to another cell. Id. He states that within one hour he felt relief from getting bitten. Id.

         B. Defendants' Response

         Defendants do not dispute Broadwater's assertion that he suffered bug bites during the night of October 22, 2015, and that he informed correctional officers about the bites on the following morning at approximately 10:00 a.m. ECF 15 at Ex. 1, pp. 11-12. Officers noted in the log book that Broadwater could be seen at medical and that his "mattress needs to be bagged and exchanged today." Id.

         Throughout the day on October 23, 2015, officers repeatedly checked on the status of Broadwater's escort. At 11:50 a.m., an officer called "via radio" and spoke with Sgt. Christian regarding an escort for Broadwater. ECF 15 at Ex. 11, p. 12. At 2:30 p.m., it was noted that Broadwater was still waiting for an escort officer, but that none were available. Id. at p. 13. Additionally it was noted that "Nurse Thomas called to advise that the the Medcart [was] delayed due to keys being locked in [the] cart." Id. At 3:00 p.m., Corporal Wilson told Lt. Nuffin that Broadwater and his cellmate were complaining of bed bug bites and that they were supposed to go to the medical unit, but the nurse had locked the keys in the medical cart and no escort was available. Id. At 7:50 p.m. an inmate worker came to the housing unit to clean, sanitize, and place new mattresses in Broadwater's cell due to the bed bugs. Id. at p. 14.

         Broadwater was seen on October 23, 2015, at 9:14 p.m., by medical staff in response to a sick call slip he had submitted regarding a painful lump on his lip. ECF 15 at Ex. 3, p. 2. A log entry for Broadwater's housing unit notes, that he would need another shower during the 11 - 7 shift to wash off medication provided for the bed bug bites. Id. at Ex. 1, p. 15. Defendants claim that Broadwater refused the shower. Id. at p. 16.

         Defendants provide a copy of the ARP filed by Broadwater that differs from the allegations raised in the instant complaint. In the ARP Broadwater states that he and his cellmate were given permethrin cream 5% to apply topically and that the bites went away after the first use of the cream. Broadwater also states in the ARP that the cell was cleaned with bleach and new mats were provided; he did not claim that he was put into the same cell where he continued to be bitten. ECF 15 at Ex. 1, pp. 26 - 27.

         C. Administrative Remedies

         Broadwater claims in his complaint that the Warden did not respond to his ARP and that he filed an appeal to the Commissioner of Correction for a lack of response in "the middle of Nov[ember] 2015." ECF 1 at p. 4. His appeal was returned to him by the Commissioner because it was not known what Broadwater was trying to do. Id. Broadwater filed another appeal and he received a copy of the Warden's response dismissing his ARP. Id. Broadwater states that in mid-December 2015, he filed an appeal to the Inmate Grievance Office (IGO) regarding the lack of response to the appeal to the Commissioner filed in November 2015. Id. He states he had not received a response from the IGO as of June 7, 2016. Id.

         Defendants state that Broadwater filed ARP-MRDCC-1627-15 with the Warden on October 29, 2015. ECF 15 at Ex. 1, pp. 26 - 27. The Warden dismissed the ARP on December 3, 2015. Id. at Ex. 2, p. 14. On December 4, 2015, Broadwater filed an appeal to the Commissioner of Correction for lack of a response by the Warden to ARP 1627-15. Id. at pp. 15- 17. The appeal was returned to Broadwater because he had not waited for the Warden's response to his ARP, Id. at Ex. 4. Broadwater signed a receipt for the Warden's response to his ARP on January 8, 2016.

         Broadwater did not appeal the Warden's response to ARP 1627-15 to the Commissioner of Correction; rather, defendants state that he waited until May 11, 2016, to file a complaint with the IGO (No. 20160761) as an appeal of the Warden's denial of ARP 1627-15. Included with his submission to the IGO was his initial ARP; the Warden's December 3, 2015 dismissal; the December 4, 2015 submission to the Commissioner of Correction; the Commissioner's response; and an unsubmitted ARP dated December 8, 2015. ECF 15 at Ex. 2, .pp. 12-19.

         On June 27, 2016, the Executive Director of the IGO sent an order to Broadwater indicating that his IGO complaint was being referred to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH) for a hearing. Id. at Ex. 2, pp. 21 - 24. A hearing was held on August 18, 2016, and a decision denying relief and dismissing the grievance as being without merit was issued on September 7, 2016. Id. at pp. 3 - 9; 37 - 43.

         II. Standard of Review

         Summary Judgment is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) which provides that:

The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         The Supreme Court has clarified that this does not mean that any factual ...

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