Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Duncan v. Horning

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 8, 2017

JIMMY J. DUNCAN
v.
D. KENNETH HORNING, et al.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently pending and ready for resolution in this prisoner civil rights case is a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment filed by Defendants D. Kenneth Horning and David Wade. (ECF No. 98). The issues have been briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion, construed as a motion for summary judgment, will be denied.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background[1]

         Plaintiff Jimmy Duncan (“Plaintiff”), a former inmate at the Maryland Correctional Training Center (“MCTC”), was severely attacked by another inmate in the evening on November 4, 2010. The assailant, Raynard Horne, obtained a large rock from a major excavation site on the MCTC compound, put the rock into a sock, and beat Plaintiff with it while they were walking across the courtyard from the gym to their housing unit. (ECF No. 33 ¶¶ 11-13). The assault by Mr. Horne fractured Plaintiff's skull, resulting in the removal of a piece of his skull and bone fragments; Plaintiff continues to experience severe medical complications. (Id. ¶¶ 17-18, 24, 32; see ECF No. 74-5 ¶ 4(d)).

         The excavation site from which Mr. Horne obtained the rock was part of an ongoing construction project at MCTC that included the digging of trenches for an underground steam loop to provide heat to the facility. (ECF No. 33 ¶¶ 6-8; see ECF Nos. 74-1, at 4-6; 74-2 ¶ 2). Construction crews would unearth rocks but leave them unsecured and accessible to anyone using the walkway to the MCTC gymnasium, dining hall, medical department, and various housing units. (ECF Nos. 14-2 ¶ 2; 14-3; 14-4; 14-5). According to Plaintiff, corrections officers guarded the construction site only during the daytime while workers were present. (ECF No. 33 ¶¶ 8-10). Otherwise, the site was left “utterly unsecured and not properly safeguarded, and, thus, accessible to inmates.” (Id. ¶ 9).

         Plaintiff alleges that, at the time of the attack, Defendant Kenneth Horning was the Warden of MCTC and Defendant Wade was the MCTC Chief of Security (collectively, the “Defendants”). (Id. ¶¶ 3-4). The complaint recites that “Defendants were responsible for the operation of [] MCTC in a safe and proficient manner, with a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect the inmates of that institution.” (Id. ¶ 5). Plaintiff alleges that similar attacks occurred previously, and that Defendants “had foreknowledge that the rocks left accessible to inmates at the subject construction site could be used to cause serious harm, had already caused harm, and continued to pose a serious threat to the inmates.” (Id. ¶ 15).

         B. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, commenced this action against Defendants on February 11, 2013, alleging a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1). Defendants moved to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment (ECF No. 12), which was denied, because there existed “a material factual dispute as to what actions were taken by Defendants to safeguard the MCTC site and whether they had constructive notice of safety issues associated with the debris from the site” (ECF Nos. 17, at 7; 18).[2]

         The court appointed pro bono counsel for Plaintiff, who filed an amended complaint. (ECF No. 33). He asserts that Defendants deprived him of his Eighth Amendment rights when they failed to provide reasonable protection at MCTC. (Id. ¶ 28). Defendants filed an answer and amended answer. (ECF Nos. 35; 55). Subsequently, Defendant Wade moved for summary judgment (ECF No. 56), and the court denied the motion because there existed “a genuine dispute of material fact regarding Defendant Wade's employment at the time Plaintiff was attacked, and thus whether Defendant Wade [could] be held liable under § 1983” (ECF Nos. 85, at 9; 86).

         Defendants again moved to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment on January 27, 2017[3] (ECF No. 97), and Plaintiff submitted his opposition on May 10 (ECF No. 109).

         II. Standard of Review

         A motion for summary judgment will be granted only if there exists no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.[4] See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986); Emmett v. Johnson, 532 F.3d 291, 297 (4th Cir. 2008). To prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the moving party generally bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 248-50. A dispute about a material fact is genuine “if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. at 249. In undertaking this inquiry, a court must view the facts and the reasonable inferences drawn therefrom “in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion, ” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)(quoting United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)); see also EEOC v. Navy Fed. Credit Union, 424 F.3d 397, 405 (4th Cir. 2005), but a “party cannot create a genuine dispute of material fact through mere speculation or compilation of inferences.” Shin v. Shalala, 166 F.Supp.2d 373, 375 (D.Md. 2001) (citation omitted).

         III. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.