United States District Court, D. Maryland
W. Grimm United States District Judge
Complain,, self-represented Plaintiff Juan Alex Randolph, Jr.
alleges that Defendants used excessive force and failed to
protect him from harm during the time he was a pretrial
detainee at the Prince Georgess County Detention Center. He
also claims that Defendant Parsons threatened to beat him.
Defendants Potter, Parsons, Igwe, Cusseaux, and Montgomery,
through counsel, move for dismissal of the
Complaint and, alternatively for Summary Judgment. ECF NO.7.
Defendants filed the Motion without exhibits or declarations,
and it will be treated as a Motion to Dismiss.
Defendants' Motion is unopposed. For reasons stated herein,
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss will be GRANTED IN PART AND
DENIED IN PART.
alleges that on June 14, 2016, Officers Potter and Parsons
placed him in "4-point restraints, shackles and
handcuffs" from 1:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and refused to
give him breakfast.. Compl. ¶ 1, ECF NO.1. Defendants
Igwe and Montgomery came on shift at 7:00 a.m. and left the
restraints on him. Randolph alleges that he passed out, and
Defendants Igwe and Montgomery took him to the medical unit
for treatment. Id. He claims that Officers Reed and
Cusseaux attacked him. Id. ¶ 2.
also asserts that on July 11 or 12, 2016, Parsons beat him up
in his cell, injuring his head and right eye. Compl. ¶
3. He claims that Parsons said he was beating Randolph up
because he had been suspended for leaving Randolph in
restraints. Id. A week later Parsons threatened to
beat him and said that "this time [Randolph] wont [sic]
live to tell about it." Id.
¶ 4. Further, Randolph alleges that on
July 21, 2016, Officers Cusseaux and Tolbert forced him to
come out for recreation with inmates from whom Randolph was
supposed to be kept separate. Id. ¶ 5. Randolph
states that inmates Miller and McPherson attacked him in
front of Cusseaux and Tolbert on the tier of the housing
unit; it is unclear whether Miller and McPherson were the
ones from whom he was supposed to be kept separate. Randolph
alleges that Officers Cusseaux and Tolbert did nothing when
McPherson chased him with a weapon. Id. ¶ 5. As
relief, he seeks "compensation." Id. at 3.
move for dismissal of the Complaint for failure to state a
claim for which relief may be granted, arguing Randolph's
"generalized claim" that he was placed in
restraints, shackles, and handcuffs from 1:45 a.m. to 8:30
a.m., without being served breakfast, is insufficient to
state a claim for excessive force against Officers Potter,
Parsons, Igwe, and Montgomery. Defendants argue that
Randolph's allegations against Defendants Cusseaux and
Tolbert fail to satisfy the elements required to satisfy the
constitutional standard of deliberate indifference claim.
Further, they argue the allegation that Officer Parsons
threatened to beat Randolph up fails to allege a
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for "the
dismissal of a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted." Velencia v.
Drezhlo, No. RDB-12-237, 2012 WL 6562764, at *4 (D.Md.
Dec. 13, 2012.. This rule's purpose " 'is to
test the sufficiency of a complaint and not to resolve
contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the
applicability of defenses." Id. (quoting
Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480,
433 (4th Cir. 2006)). To that end, the Court bears in mind
the requirements of Rule 8, Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), when considering a motion to
dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). Specifically, a complaint
must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, "
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and must state "a plausible claim
for relief, " as "[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice, " Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678-79; see Velencia, 2012 WL 6562764,
at *4 (discussing standard from Iqbal and
Twombly). "A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
663. In considering a Motion to Dismiss, I accept as true all
of the factual allegations contained in the Complain..
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). I
recognize that Randolph is a pro se litigant, and
have accorded the Complaint liberal construction. See
Gordon v. Leeke, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978);
Erickson, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)) (noting
the pleadings of a pro se plaintiff are held to a "less
stringent" standard than a lawyer).
process rights of a pretrial detainee are at least as great
as the Eighth Amendment protections available to the
convicted prisoner." Hill v. Nicodemus, 979
F.2d 987, 991 (4th Cir. 1992) (quoting Martin v.
Gentile, 849 F.2d 863, 870 (4th Cir. 1988) (emphasis
removed)). The inquiry with respect to the conditions alleged
"is whether those conditions amount to punishment of the
detainee, " because the Due Process Clause proscribes
punishment of a detainee "prior to an adjudication of
guilt in accordance with due process of law." Bell
v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 (1979). "[N]ot every
inconvenience encountered during pretrial detention amounts
to 'punishment' in the constitutional sense."
Martin, 849 F.2d at 870 (citing Bell, 441
U.S. at 537).
Force The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment
"protects a pretrial detainee from the use of excessive
force that amounts to punishment, " Graham v.
Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 395 n.l0 (1989), and is not simply
"an incident of some other legitimate governmental
purpose." Bell, 441 U.S. at 538. The Supreme
Court held in Kingsley v. Hendrickson that "the
appropriate standard for a pretrial detainees excessive force
claim is solely an objective one." - U.S. --, 135 S.Ct.
2466, 2473 (2015). It is enough that a pretrial detainee show
that the "force purposely or knowingly used against him
was objectively unreasonable, " id, regardless
of an officer's state of mind, id. at 2472
(quoted in Dilworth v. Adams, 841 F.3d 246, 255 (4th
Cir. 2016); Duff .. Potter, 665 Fed.Appx. 242, 244
(4th Cir. Nov. 3, 2066)). Randolph's allegation that he was
placed in restraints, shackles, and handcuffs for nearly
seven hours and then he passed out is sufficient to state a
plausible claim of excessive force. Randolph's allegation
that he was beaten by Parsons and suffered head and eye
injuries also states a plausible Fourteenth Amendment claim
and survives the Motion to Dismiss. But, his allegation that
Officers Reed and Cusseaux attacked him, without any details
about the alleged attack or the injuries he may have
suffered, is insufficient to state a claim, especially given
that the date is illegible, such that it does not put the
defendants on notice as to when the incident occurred or what
transpired. Plaintiff will be granted twenty-one days to
amend to state a claim regarding this attack. If he fails to
do so, his claim will be subject to dismissal under Rule
to Protect The right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment includes the right to be protected from a
substantial risk of serious harm at the hands of other
inmates. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825 (1994);
Makdessi v. Fields, 789 F.3d 126 (4th Cir. 2015). A
failure-to-protect claim brought by a pretrial detainee
constitutes a due process claim under the Fourteenth
Amendment. The same standards apply as for an Eighth
Amendment claim brought by a convicted prisoner. See,
e.g., Brown v. Harris, 240 F.3d 383, 388 (4th Cir.
2001); Kamara v. Prince George's County Deptt of
Corr., No. ELH-15-3952, 2017 WL 735549, at * 12 (Feb.
24, 2017) (collecting cases).
Eighth Amendment's prohibition on 'cruel and unusual
punishments' imposes certain basic duties on prison
officials." Raynor v. Pugh, 817 F.3d 123, 127
(4th Cir. 2016) (citing Farmer, 511 U.S. at 832).
These duties "include maintaining humane conditions of
confinement, including the provision of adequate medical care
and . . . 'reasonable measures to
guarantee the safety of the inmates'' "
Id. (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at 832). But,
"not every injury suffered by a prisoner at the hands of
another 'translates into constitutional liability for
prison officials responsible for the victim's
safety.'" Makdesi, 789 F.3d at 133
(citation omitted). "[Corrections officers have 'a
duty to protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other
prisoners'' for '[b]eing violently assaulted in
prison is simply not part of the penalty that criminal
offenders pay for their offenses against society.'"
Raynor, 817 F.3d at 127 (citation omitted)
(alteration in Raynor).
establish a constitutional violation, the prisoner must
satisfy a two-part test, consisting of an objective and a
subjective component. See Danser v. Stansberry, 772
F.3d 340, 346-47 (4th Cir. 2014). Objectively, the prisoner
"must establish a serious deprivation of his rights in
the form of a 'serious or significant physical or
emotional injury, '" id. (quoting Brown
v. N.C. Deptt of Corr.,612 F.3d 720, 733 (4th Cir.
2010)), or a "sufficiently imminent danger, "
Helling v. McKinney,509 U.S. 25, 34 (1993).
Subjectively, a prisoner must establish that the prison
official involved had "a sufficiently culpable state of
mind" amounting to "deliberate indifference to
inmate health or safety." Farmer, 511 U.S. at
834. To establish a culpable state of mind, there must be
"evidence suggesting that the prison official had actual
knowledge of an excessive risk to the [inmate's or
detainees]] safety." Danser, 772 F.3d at 347.
That is, there must be evidence that prison officials ...