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Williams v. Green

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

July 25, 2017

LAMARR D. WILLIAMS, #370-175, Plaintiff,


          GEORGE J. HAZEL United States District Judge

         Lamarr D. Williams, a Maryland Division of Correction ("DOC") prisoner housed at Maryland Correctional Institution-Jessup ("MCI-J"), filed a self-represented civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking money damages against Kathleen Green, the former warden of Eastern Correctional Institution ("ECI"). Williams alleges that while he was confined at ECI, Green was deliberately indifferent to his safety, resulting in an August 21, 2015 attack during which he was stabbed in the neck. ECF No. 1 at 3.[1] Presently pending is Defendant Green's unopposed Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 21.[2] No hearing is necessary. Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, shall be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Plaintiffs Allegations

         Williams states that during May 2015 he was placed on administrative segregation "due to numerous threats made on [his] life." ECF No. 1 at 3. On August 20, 2015, he alleges that he was placed in a housing unit with known enemies. Id. He claims that due to his Security Threat Group ("STG") status, he should not have been placed in that housing unit. Id.

         Williams states that on the following morning, August 21, 2015, he was allegedly ambushed by unnamed assailants and stabbed in the neck while on the way back from the "chow hall." ECF No. 1 at 3; ECF No. 21-2 at 17. Williams claims to have been emotionally traumatized by the incident. ECF No. 1 at 3-4.

         In the Complaint, Williams acknowledges that he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Id. at 2. He states that he wrote a statement and signed an incident report, and "was told that would be enough for an investigation." Id.

         B. Defendant's Response

         The parties agree that Williams has repeatedly expressed concern for his safety, both before the incident alleged in this matter, see ECF Nos. 21-2 at 11, and since that date. See e.g. Id. at 19-20, 21, 22-23, 26-27, 53. As a result, Williams was moved between various housing units at ECI, and on occasion placed in administrative segregation and protective custody. See e.g. Id. at 11-12.

         Although Williams had previously claimed that he was at risk because he had attempted to disassociate from his STG and feared retribution, id. 11-12, prison records do not show that Williams ever reported known enemies to prison authorities. Id. at 7. Moreover, on August 11, 2015, Williams advised the correctional staff that he could safely be housed in Housing Unit 6, id. at 13, which he was assigned to on August 20, 2015. Id. at 4.

         The day after his assignment to Housing Unit 6, Williams reported that he had been assaulted and had been told that "if [he] didn't leave it will be worse next time." Id. at 17. Medical treatment was provided that afternoon by Charlotte Townley, RN, who noted a break in his skin on the back of his neck and a scabbed area. Id. at 16. No other injuries were noted and RN Townley reported that Williams denied being in pain. Id. Williams' medical records reflect no medical attention on or after August 21, 2015 as a result of the alleged incident. ECF No. 21-3.[3]

         In response to Williams' allegations of an assault, an Administrative Segregation Investigation Report was issued that same day. Id. at 15. The investigator wrote that Williams had "a mark on the back of his head" and that Williams had informed him that he was "STG '[Gangster's Disciples]' but dropped his flag and has been moving around ever since." Id. The investigator recommended that Williams be transferred from ECI because he had already been placed in several units in the facility. Id.

         On August 21, 2015, the same day as the attack, Williams was moved out of the housing block where the incident occurred and into Administrative Segregation within ECI. Id. Williams was eventually transferred from ECI to Roxbury Correctional Institution (RCI) in April 2016. Id. at 3.

         Green argues that Williams' allegations are insufficient to state a claim based on supervisory liability, and there is no 42 U.S.C. § 1983 liability under the doctrine of respondeatsuperior. ECF No. 21-1 at 7-11. She also argues that Williams did not exhaust his administrative remedies regarding the incident, submitting in support of this argument the declaration of Susan Shumaker, Litigation Coordinator at ECI, who stated that a review of ECF s Administrative Remedy Procedure ("ARP") index for August and September confirms that Williams failed to file an ...

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