United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III, United States District Judge
Byers, a Maryland Division of Correction (“DOC”)
prisoner housed at Eastern Correctional Institution
(“ECI”) in Westover, Maryland, filed a civil
rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking money
damages against Tyrone Crowder, the former warden of the
Maryland Reception Diagnostic Classification Center
(“MRDCC”),  and Correctional Officer Michael G.
Williams. (ECF No. 1). Byers alleges that while he was
confined at MRDCC, Defendants were deliberately indifferent
to his safety, resulting in an attack on May 29, 2013 in
which his cellmate injured him. (Id.). Defendants
filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 16), and Byers filed a Response.
(ECF No. 21). No hearing is necessary. See Local
Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow,
Defendants' Motion, construed as a Motion for Summary
Judgment, will be granted.
alleges that around 9:30 a.m. on May 29, 2013, while
Defendant Williams was distributing breakfast trays on the
cellblock, Maurice Richardson began arguing with Byers
concerning the cleanliness of their cell. (Compl. at 4-5, ECF
No. 1). Byers turned to put his tray down and Richardson
jumped on his back, biting Byers's head. (Id.).
Byers states that Williams did not deploy pepper spray toward
Richardson or otherwise attempt to protect Byers.
(Id.). Instead, Williams closed the cell door and
called for officer assistance. (Id.). As a result,
Byers had to defend himself until more officers responded to
the incident, and sustained two cuts on his hands in addition
to the bite on his scalp. (Id.). Byers was not
charged with an institutional infraction as a result of the
incident. (ECF No. 21).
states that both men were bleeding, and that Richardson was
infected with HIV. (ECF No. 1-1 at 2). Byers suffered
emotional distress for a year, until blood tests revealed
that he had not been infected by Richardson's blood. (ECF
No. 21 at 2; ECF 21-1 at 8 n.1).
undisputed that Richardson was assigned to the cell on May
19, 2013 on “house alone” status. (ECF No. 1-1 at
13, Inmate History Report). Inmates are given such a status
when they have certain medical conditions and when the safety
and security of other inmates is threatened. (ECF No. 21-1
¶ 8). It is further undisputed, and supported by the
findings of the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”),
that Richardson “had some issues relating to his mental
stability” and that “the DOC was aware at the
time it assigned . . . Richardson as [Byers'] cell mate
that . . . Richardson had exhibited behaviors that made
sharing a cell difficult for other inmates.” (ECF No.
21-1 at 9). Byers described Richardson as an individual who
“cleans his cell all day, ” “washing the
floors and talking to himself, ” (ECF No. 16-3 at 4),
and asserts that housing him with Richardson amounted to a
violation of the Eighth Amendment. (Compl. at 5).
Standard of Review
Motion to Dismiss
complaint fails to state a claim if it does not contain
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2), or does not state “a plausible claim for
relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007)). “Threadbare recitals of the elements
of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Though the plaintiff is
not required to forecast evidence to prove the elements of
the claim, the complaint must allege sufficient facts to
establish each element. Goss v. Bank of Am., N.A.,
917 F.Supp.2d 445, 449 (D.Md. 2013) (quoting Walters v.
McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012)) (internal
quotation marks omitted), aff'd sub nom.,
Goss v. Bank of Am., NA, 546 F.App'x 165 (4th
pleadings, however, are liberally construed and held to a
less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by lawyers.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976));
accord Brown v. N.C. Dep't of Corr., 612 F.3d
720, 722 (4th Cir. 2010). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6)
motion, the court must construe the complaint in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff, read the complaint as a
whole, and take the facts asserted therein as true. See
Harrison v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d
776, 783 (4th Cir. 1999) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v.
Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)).
Motion for Summary Judgment
matters outside the pleading are presented to and not
excluded by the court, the 12(b)(6) motion shall be treated
as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in
Rule 56.” Laughlin v. Metro. Wash. Airports
Auth., 149 F.3d 253, 260-61 (4th Cir. 1998) (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the Court must grant
summary judgment if the moving party demonstrates there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact, and the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). Generally speaking, however, “[s]ufficient time
for discovery is considered especially important when the
relevant facts are exclusively in the control of the opposing
party.” Harrods Ltd. v. Sixty Internet Domain
Names, 302 F.3d 214, 246-47 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting 10B
Charles A. Wright, Arthur R. Miller, & Mary Kay Kane,
Federal Practice & Procedure § 2741, at 419
(3d ed.1998)). A motion for summary judgment before
completion of discovery can be particularly inappropriate
when a case involves complex factual questions about intent
rely on exhibits attached to their Motion. Because the Court
will consider Defendants' exhibits, the Court must
convert the Motion ...