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Thomas v. Eastern Correctional Institution

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 27, 2017

GUY THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
EASTERN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          George Levi Russell, III United States District Judge.

         In this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action, Plaintiff Guy Thomas alleges that Defendants Eastern Correctional Institution (“ECI”) and ECI Correctional Officer Dominick Timmons[1](“Officer Timmons”) violated his federal constitutional rights when they (1) failed to protect him from harm from fellow inmates and then (2) denied him constitutionally adequate medical care for his resulting injuries. Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 14). Thomas filed a Response in Opposition (ECF No. 16), to which Defendants filed a Reply (ECF No. 18). The Court finds no hearing necessary to resolve the pending Motion. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant the Motion.[2]

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. The Incident

         On July 18, 2016, Thomas sued ECI only, alleging that on June 18, 2016 at approximately 6:00 p.m., he was at recreation when unknown inmates assaulted and stabbed him in his arm, back, and chest (the “Incident”). (Compl. at 3, ECF No. 1). Thomas asserts that the Incident occurred while Officer Timmons was “working the tier.” (Id.). On August 3, 2016, the Court directed Thomas to supplement the Complaint to name the individual responsible for failing to protect him and to provide supporting details. (ECF No. 4). Thomas filed an Amended Complaint in which he added Officer Timmons as a defendant. (Am. Compl., ECF No. 6).

         Thomas alleges that Officer Timmons escorted him to the medical department at approximately 11:00 p.m. on June 18, 2016. (Id. at 2). Thomas asserts that the nurses were careless and unhelpful, only placing a bandage on his arm. (Id.). Thomas alleges that he received no stitches, pain medicine, or tetanus shot because a nurse was rushed due to a shift change.[3] (Compl. at 4; Am. Compl. at 2, 4). According to Thomas, when he awoke the following morning, the bandage was soaked with blood and no one changed his dressing. (Compl. at 4). Thomas asserts that he wrote sick-call slips but did not receive medical treatment. (Id.). Thomas alleges that the Medical Department sent a nurse on July 13, 2016 to ask him to sign a “waiver, ”[4] but he refused because he had not received treatment. (Compl. at 2, 4-5).

         B. ARPs

         Thomas states that on June 27, 2016, he submitted an Administrative Remedy Procedure (“ARP”) request. (Id. at 4). According to Thomas, he wrote in the ARP that he “did not seek any medical treatment, that [he] was in pain, and that he was seeking an [sic] lawsuit.” (Id.). It is unclear why Thomas' states that he “did not seek any medical treatment” as this statement appears to contradict his claims. The ARP reads:

I was sent to medical on 6/18/16 for getting stabbed. I was placed in Bld. 5 without any bandages or ointment after nurses concealed my wound. After showers, I have no type of medical treatment. I put in sick calls but they got ignored. I'm seeking an [sic] lawsuit due to the negligence.

(ARP ECI 1430-16, ECF No. 14-7 at 3).

         After investigation, the Warden determined that Thomas' allegations were unfounded and dismissed the ARP on July 21, 2016. The Warden wrote:

Your request for Administrative Remedy has been investigated and is hereby Dismissed; on 6/18/16, you were seen by nursing after being stabbed. At this time an assessment was done. Per the nurse's documentation, you were uncooperative during the visit. Upon examination, you were asked have you ever had a tetanus shot. You replied “I don't need it, I told you I fell on rocks.” You had a steri strip and a pressure dressing applied at that time and then released to custody.

         Thomas neither appealed the Warden's decision nor filed a grievance with the Inmate Grievance Office (“IGO”). (Donnelly Decl, . ECF No. 14-8; Neverdon Decl., ECF No. 14-9).

         On August 12, 2016, Thomas filed a second ARP request, ECI-1826-16, this time stating that he had submitted “request slips” but received no response. Thomas also wrote in the ARP that “a situation happened with me getting stabbed on 6-18-16. You wrote me back and dismissed my A.R.P. stating that the nurse said I refused medical treatment. I never refused any medical treatment. I have not yet gotten an answer or a response.” (ECF No. 16-1 at 1-2). The ARP continued, “I am asking for the info of the nurse and c.o's [sic] that were involved on that night of 6/18/16.” (Id.). The ARP was dismissed for procedural reasons, referencing ECF 1430-16. Thomas neither appealed the disposition of the second ARP nor filed a grievance with the IGO. (Donnelly Decl., ECF No. 14-8; Neverdon Decl., ECF No. 14-9). Thomas alleges that the “prison” was aware he was filing a lawsuit and refused to identify the officer and the nurse to “cover it up.” (Am. Compl. at 4-5).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Stand ...


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