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Enow v. Dovey

United States District Court, D. Maryland

June 12, 2017

NDOKEY ENOW, # 435845, 1990859 Plaintiff,
v.
RICHARD D. DOVEY, Warden, CPT. YOUNKER, LT. COVINGTON, LT. S. THOMAS, LT. BRYANT, SGT. JACKSON, SGT. M. CUNNINGHAM, SGT. C. BUTTS, SGT. COLLIFLOWER, OFC. C. PETRIE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Paul W. Grimm United States District Judge

         Pending are Ndokey Enow's verified complaint, ECF No. 1, and verified supplement to the complaint, ECF No. 20, filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] Along with his pleadings, he filed his own affidavit, ECF No. 1-1, the affidavit of a fellow inmate, ECF No. 1-2, and exhibits, ECF Nos. 1-3, 1-4. Enow claims that he was denied his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments[2] to the United States Constitution when Defendants failed to protect him from harm by other inmates and denied him medical treatment after an assault. Enow is suing Warden Richard D. Dovey, Lt. Ian Bryant, Lt. Charles Butts, Sgt. John Colliflower, Lt. Kellar Covington, Acting Lt. Michael Cunningham, Sgt. Sydney Jackson, CO II Christopher Petrie, Lt. Steven Thomas, and Captain James Younker. Defendants are correctional administrators and staff at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, Maryland (“MCI-H”), and they are sued in their official and individual capacities.

         Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment ECF No. 22, with a memorandum, ECF No. 22-1, and verified exhibits, ECF Nos. 22-2, 22-3, and declarations, ECF Nos. 22-4 - 22-11, in response to the Complaint. Enow has filed a verified opposition with exhibits, ECF No. 25, 25-1 - 25-6, and he later supplemented the opposition. ECF Nos. 26, 26-1, 27, 27-1, 31-1.[3] Also pending is Enow's Motion to File an Amended Complaint. ECF No. 30. After considering the pleadings, exhibits, and applicable law, I find a hearing unnecessary to resolve the issues pending before me. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). Enow's Motion to File an Amended Complaint will be denied because the proposed amendments are futile. Defendants' Motion will be treated as a Motion for Summary Judgment and granted for reasons to follow.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff's Claims

         Enow is an inmate in the custody of the Maryland Division of Correction and presently incarcerated at the Eastern Correctional Institution (“ECI”). He filed this Complaint on April 22, 2015, alleging that Defendants were negligent[4] by failing to protect him from harm in “January through November of 2015” during the time he was incarcerated at MCI-H. Compl. 1, 5; Supp. Compl. 4. He alleges that Warden Dovey failed to adequately train and supervise prison guards at MCI-H, and that Dovey negligently removed him from protective custody housing. Compl. 10-12; Supp. Compl. 11-12.

         Enow alleges that Defendants assigned him to live in cells with dangerous inmates who assaulted him. Compl. 6; Supp. Compl. 4. Specifically, he alleges that he was attacked on November 19, 2015 and November 25, 2015. Compl. 6; Supp. Compl. 4.[5]

         Enow alleges that on November 19, 2015, his cellmate Rawl Johnson attacked him. Enow alleges that he suffered a concussion, and Defendants Petrie and Cunningham left him alone while he was unconscious and failed to obtain medical treatment for him. Compl. 6; Supp. Compl. 4. Enow claims that Defendants Cunningham, Jackson, Butts, Younker, Colliflower, and Petrie failed to intervene to stop the assault. Compl. 15; Supp. Compl. 13. Further, Enow alleges that Defendants Covington, Thomas, Bryan, and Younker knew that Johnson was violent and had deteriorating mental health, but failed to transfer Enow to another cell. Compl. 14-15; Supp. Compl. 12-13. Enow alleges that Covington failed to come to his aid because Enow was suing the prosecutor and judge who convicted him. Compl. 15. Enow states that he was removed from the cell after the attack, and he alleges that Cunningham then stole his personal property, including photographs and legal reference books. Compl. 7.

         Next, Enow claims that on November 25, 2015, his cellmate Christian Thomas attempted to murder him by tying a rope around his neck while he was asleep. Compl. 8, Supp. Compl. 6. Thomas then stabbed Enow's finger. Enow alleges that Cunningham, Jackson, Butts, Younker, Colliflower, and Petrie acted with deliberate indifference to his safety by failing to intervene during the attack. Compl. 15; Supp. Compl. 13. Thomas allegedly told Enow that officers had instructed him to kill Enow and make it look like a suicide. Compl. 9, Supp. Compl. 7. Enow claims that Thomas is a member of the Bloods, which Enow described as a gang that targets inmates identified as government informants or “snitches” for attack. Compl. 9, Supp. Compl. 7.

         Enow alleges that Defendants knew there was frequent violence at MCI-H but failed to use available classification information to assign compatible inmates as cellmates and to prevent housing him with gang members. Compl. 16; Supp. Compl. 13. He claims that he has filed a copy of an informal inmate complaint dated November 15, 2015, expressing safety concerns about his cellmate Rawl Johnson, whom he alleged suffers “from psychosis or delusional disorder” and had threatened him with violence. Pl.'s Compl. Exs. 56, ECF No. 1-3; Defs.' Exs. 68, ECF No. 22-2. Enow requested that Johnson be placed in a separate cell. Pl.'s Compl. Exs. 56. The informal complaint does not bear a date stamp or signature to show that it was received by correctional staff. Id.

         Enow claims that, as a result of the assaults alleged, he suffered loss of vision in his right eye, a concussion, deep cuts in his mouth, facial lacerations that required stitches, bruises on his face and body, severe pain, migraine headaches, chest pain, ear infection, dizziness, post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), and depression. Compl. 6; Supp. Compl. 4.

         Defendants' Response

         Defendants have filed verified exhibits and declarations to refute Enow's allegations. Enow was incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown, Maryland (“MCI-H”) from May 19, 2015 to December 3, 2015. Traffic History, Med. Recs. 10, 12. Review of MCI-H records failed to produce any Serious Incident or Use of Force Reports. McNamee Decl., ECF No. 22-2.[6]

         Upon arriving at MCI-H on May 19, 2015, Enow was assigned to Housing Unit 5, the intake unit where Defendant Bryant is manager. Bryant Decl. 1, ECF No. 22-9. Defendant Colliflower also works in Housing Unit 5.[7] Enow was in Housing Unit 5 for two days and then “placed on Administrative Segregation 120, which means that he would have expressed fear for his safety.” Id. at 2; see also Seg. Notice, Defs.' Exs. 59. Bryant acknowledges that he cannot recall any contact with Enow after his transfer to administrative segregation. Bryant Decl. 2. Bryant denies he or other officers knew that “Rawl Johnson was violent and had deteriorating mental health.” Id. Bryant further states that “[c]orrectional officers are not in a position to assess the mental health status of an inmate, ” and there was no mental health assessment that Johnson was dangerous. Id. Bryant declares that he has never intentionally placed Enow in danger or assigned him to share a cell with an inmate known to be dangerous. Id. Bryant states that the alleged November 19, 2015 incident occurred in a different housing unit from where he is assigned, and he did not know Rawl Johnson. Id. Bryant asserts that he has “never asked an inmate to assault Mr. Enow, and [has] no knowledge of any other correctional officer asking an inmate to assault him.” Id.

         Enow's medical records do not reflect any sick call requests from November 19, 2015 until December 2, 2015, other than a November 21, 2015 sick call request in which Enow complained of food poisoning but did not mention the concussion he alleges to have suffered two days earlier. Med. Recs. 178. On December 2, 2015, Enow filed a sick call slip, complaining that he had suffered a concussion on November 19, 2015, when he was assaulted by Rawl Johnson, passed out, bled from his nose and mouth. Id. at 177. He asserted that, as a result, he suffers from migraines and headaches. Id. The sick call slip was stamped as received on December 3, 2015. Id.

         The medical records show that following the November 25, 2015 incident, Enow was taken to the medical unit for a laceration to a finger on his right hand. Id. at 120-26; 203-10. Enow was transported to an emergency room outside the prison where he received an x-ray and sutures. Id.

         Defendants have filed copies of correctional staff work assignment sheets for November 19, 2015 and November 25, 2015. Id. at 16-56. Those assignment sheets establish that Defendants Covington and Steven Thomas were not on the work schedule for either day. Id. Defendants Butts and Cunningham were not on the schedule for November 25, 2015. Id. Enow does not dispute this assertion.

         Additionally, Defendant Covington states that he was not at work on November 19, 2015 or November 25, 2015. Covington Decl., ECF No. 22-4; see also Work Assignments, Defs.' Exs. 16, 17. Covington states:

Mr. Enow was difficult to place with other inmates and to keep him safe. He considered himself better educated than other inmates, and he would say things to other inmates that would irritate them and instigate altercations. Most, if not all, of Mr. Enow's problems were self-inflicted.
Mr. Enow frequently felt threatened and would go to officers to inform them of feeling threatened. Generally the threat was perceived but not actual. In some instances, Mr. Enow would publically point out the inmates that he considered a threat. On one occasion, Mr. Enow felt threatened in the chow hall, went to correctional officers and began pointing out three inmates.
One of the other inmates was Christian Thomas, who later became Mr. Enow's cell mate. Mr. Enow believed that, as a fellow African, Mr. Thomas should support him, but Thomas was not interested.
The inmates that Mr. Enow accused had to be placed on administrative segregation pending investigation whether they had threatened Mr. Enow. His claims of assault threats from the three inmates were inconsistent. He claimed that there was a weapon, but no weapon was found on any of the inmates. The investigation did not find anyone that had seen the inmates together with Mr. Enow to threaten him. Mr. Enow was assigned to a psychiatric evaluation. The investigation failed to reveal any actual threats, and the three inmates were absolved of any responsibility.
Mr. Enow's habit of publicly pointing out supposed threats, particularly including the chow hall incident, result in the feeling that he was a “snitch.” Correctional officers did not label Mr. Enow a “snitch.” However, his own actions led some inmates to consider him a snitch.

Covington Decl. 2-4.

         Covington notes that Enow was on administrative segregation at least twice for his protection after he instigated altercations. Id. at 3. Covington explains that in October 2015, Enow “was assigned to share a cell with Rawl Johnson . . . specifically because Johnson was passive and non-threatening.” Id. Covington denies that he “knew that Mr. Johnson was violent and of deteriorating mental health, but refused to transfer Mr. Enow” to a different cell. Id. Covington states that Johnson was “not dangerous.” Id. Covington states that he “had no knowledge of [Enow's] ongoing legal actions” and denies that he “failed to help Mr. Enow because he was suing the prosecutor and judge who convicted him.” Id. Further, Covington declares that he never intentionally acted to place Enow in danger or assigned him to share a cell with a known dangerous inmate. Id. Covington notes that “[c]orrectional officers are not in a position to assess the mental health status of an inmate, ” and there was no evaluation by a medical provider indicating that Johnson was dangerous. Id.

         Defendant Christopher Petrie states that Enow “had difficulty with other inmates.” Petrie Decl. 1, ECF No. 22-5. According to Petrie, Enow “was better educated and said things that angered other inmates, and then he would exaggerate the resulting incidents.” Id. Petrie was working as an administrative segregation escort on November 19, 2015 and November 25, 2015. Id. at 2. Petrie denies that he and other officers failed to intervene during the alleged attack on November 19, 2015. Id. Petrie declares that Enow “had a verbal altercation with his cell mate Rawl Johnson” about a food tray. Id. Petrie recalls that he and Sergeant Cunningham, who were “the only correctional officers in the area, ” separated the cellmates. Id. Sergeant Cunningham moved Enow to the recreation room across the hallway. “After feed up, Mr. Enow threatened to fight Mr. Johnson, so [Petrie and Cunningham] relocated him to a different cell.” Id.[8] Petrie also denies depriving Enow of access to medical treatment. Petrie attests that “during the incident, I did not see Mr. Johnson assault Mr. Enow, and there was no indication that he had been assaulted. Mr. Enow did not request to be taken for a medical evaluation.” Id.

         Petrie explains that because the altercation was verbal and there was no indication of physical assault, there was no need to file a serious incident report or escort either inmate to the medical unit for evaluation. Id. at 2-3. Petrie states that, as the escort officer, he “remember[s] taking Mr. Enow for a medical evaluation for a cut finger, ” but cannot remember “any details or whether there was an actual assault.” Id. at 3. Petrie recalls that “Thomas was there and was relocated, ” and “to the best of [his] knowledge, there is no record of an assault.” Id. Petrie attests that he never intentionally acted to endanger Enow and “never assigned him to share a cell with a known dangerous inmate.” Id. Petrie attests that he has “never asked an inmate to assault Mr. Enow and [has] no knowledge of any other correctional officer asking any inmate to assault Mr. Enow.” Id.

         Defendant Charles Butts denies Enow's allegations against him. Butts Decl., ECF No. 22-6. On November 19, 2015, Butts was a timekeeper working out of an operations center in the main building, which is separate from the administrative segregation unit. Butts was not on the tier and had no interaction with Enow or his cellmate. Id. Butts was not at work on November 25, 2015. Butts attests that he has never intentionally acted to endanger Enow, “never assigned him to share a cell with a known dangerous inmate[, ] . . . never asked an inmate to assault Mr. Enow, and [has] no knowledge of any other correctional officer asking an inmate to assault Mr. Enow.” Id.

         Defendant James Younker is a shift commander. Younker Decl. 1, ECF No. 22-7. He works in an office adjacent to the operations center in the main building at MCI-H, which is separate from the administrative segregation housing unit. Id. Younker asserts that on November 19, 2015, he was not on the tier and had no interaction with Enow or his cell mate. Id. at 1-2. Younker was not at work on November 25, 2015. Id. at 2. Younker denies that he knew Rawl Johnson was violent or that his mental health was deteriorating, and states that correctional officers do not assess inmate mental health status and that no medical professional had assessed Johnson to present any danger. Id. Younker states that when he assigns cell mates, he “evaluate[s] safety issues, including gang affiliation.” Id. Members of different gangs are not assigned together, but non-gang members are assigned “to share cells with gang members because there is no gang conflict.” Id. He attests that he never intentionally acted to endanger Enow, “never assigned him to share a cell with a known dangerous inmate[, ] . . . never asked an inmate to assault Mr. Enow, and [has] no knowledge of any other correctional officer asking an inmate to assault Mr. Enow.” Id.

         Defendant Steven Thomas denies Enow's allegations and states he was not at work on November 19, 2015 or November 25, 2015. Thomas Decl. 1, ECF No. 22-8. Thomas attests he has “no recollection of any interaction with him.” Id. at 2. Thomas denies that he and other officers knew Rawl Johnson was dangerous and had deteriorating mental health, and states that he has never intentionally endangered Enow, assigned him to share a cell with a known dangerous inmate, asked an inmate to assault Enow, and has no knowledge of any officer asking an inmate to assault Enow. Id. Thomas states that correctional officers do not assess inmate mental health status and no medical professional had assessed Johnson to present any danger. Id.

         Defendant Michael Cunningham denies that he and other officers failed to intervene when Enow was allegedly attacked on November 19, 2015. Cunningham Decl. 1, ECF No. 22-10. Cunningham states “Enow had a verbal altercation with his cell mate, Rawl Johnson . . . over who would get which food tray.” Id. at 2. Cunningham recalls that he and Officer Petrie “were the only correctional officers in the area.” Id. The officers separated Enow and Johnson, and Cunningham moved Enow to the recreation area. Id. Cunningham states that he “did not see Mr. Johnson assault Mr. Enow, and there was no indication that he had been assaulted.” Id. Moreover, “[h]e could not have been speaking to another inmate in the ...


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