United States District Court, D. Maryland
K. Bredar Chief Judge
Copeland, a former prisoner, filed this self-represented
civil rights action against the Department of Public Safety
and Correctional Services (DPSCS); Deyena Corcoran, DPSCS
Commissioner; Denise Gelsinger, Warden of Western
Correctional Institution (WCI);Lieutenant Smith, an officer at
WCI; Dennis Martin, a nurse at WCI; and the Superintendent of
the Psychology Department at WCI, whom Plaintiff names John
Doe. ECF No. 1. Except for DPSCS, Plaintiff brought suit
against all Defendants in their official and individual
capacities. ECF No. 1 at 3.
Defendants have filed Motions to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, Motions for Summary Judgment. ECF Nos. 26
(Defendant Martin's Motion); ECF No. 30 (Motion from
Defendants DPSCS, Corcoran, Gelsinger, and
Smith). Plaintiff filed a Response in Opposition
to one of the Motions to Dismiss. ECF No. 32 (responding to
ECF No. 30). The matter is now ripe for review. No hearing is
necessary to resolve the motion. See Local Rule
105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow, the court
DISMISSES Defendant Doe and GRANTS Defendant Martin's
Motion to Dismiss. As to the remaining Defendants'
motion, the court GRANTS the Motion to Dismiss as to DPSCS,
Corcoran, and Gelsinger, and GRANTS the Alternative Motion
for Summary Judgment as to Defendant Smith.
filed a verified complaint alleging that:
On February 17, 2016, Defendant Lt. Smith, along with four
other officers, placed me in a cell, cell B2, in Housing Unit
4 pending an adjustment hearing; the cell was heavily
infested with ants and rodents; feces covered the floors and
walls; I was never giv[en] a mattr[e]ss and was forced to
sleep on the floor for 48 hours which worsened my preexisting
back injury, causing me severe back spasms for several weeks.
Though I was prescribed medical treatment in the form of 500
mg Rob[a]xin, on 2/17/2016 the nurse on the 4 to 12 shift
denied me medical treatment and all other medical treatment
ECF No. 1 at 3 (some capitalization altered). Plaintiff
asserted that this treatment constituted cruel and unusual
punishment and deliberate indifference to his medical needs
in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. ECF No.
1 at 3.
declaration that attached to his complaint, Plaintiff stated:
On 2-17-16 I was placed in cell 4-B-2 with no clothes except
for my boxers, socks, and a tank top even though the cell was
cold with minimal heat. There were feces stains throughout
the cell, ants were in abundance along the cracks of the
floor and the wall where I had to stay close in order to
benefit from the little bit of heat present in the cell. At
meal times John Doe officers would throw my food on the floor
of the dirty cell. The food would be in a brown paper bag
that was often wet from the contents within it which would
cause some of the contents to rip through the bag and spill
onto the floor. I was also deprived of my medication for my
back pains, migra[i]nes and rhinitis for 24 hours even though
I wasn't given a mattress, jumpsuit or basic hyg[i]ene
necessities. I made several attempts to make the John Doe
officers that passed by the cell aware of my conditions and
the conditions of the cell but I was ignored.
. . .
Defendants Lt. Smith and other John Doe officers violated my
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to Freedom from Cruel and
Defendants Corcoran and Gelsinger violated my 8th and 14th
Amendments to Freedom from Cruel and Unusual punishment by
failing to hold accountable defendants John Doe and Lt. Smith
and instigating their behavior.
ECF No. 1-4.
March 17, 2016, nearly a month after his 48-hour placement in
cell 4B2 ended, Plaintiff filed an administrative grievance
concerning the cell condition, lack of mattress, and missed
dosage of Robaxin. ECF No. 1-2 at 1-2. Defendant Gelsinger
dismissed Plaintiff's grievance, stating:
Further investigation has revealed that you were placed in
cell 4B2 on Staff Alert Status due to your disruptive
activities while at RCI and circumstances surrounding your
transfer. You were given basic clothing, jumpsuit, and a
mattress. Cells are cleaned numerous times per week when
inmates are not occupying the cell to ensure cleanliness. You
were moved from 4B2 on 2/19/16, at which time you were seen
by medical and reported no injuries or issues. You have been
unable to provide substantial evidence to show that you were
treated unprofessionally in any manner. No further actions
will be taken at this time.
ECF No. 1-2 at 1. Plaintiff appealed the denial of his
administrative grievance, and Defendant Corcoran dismissed
the appeal. ECF No. 1-2 at 3-5.
Martin filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative,
Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 26. Martin argued that
Plaintiff failed to allege that Martin was involved in
placing Plaintiff in cell 4B2 and that “it is entirely
unclear whether Plaintiff's allegations of being denied
medication are even directed at this Defendant.” ECF
No. 26-1 at 2. Further, Martin noted that Plaintiff's
administrative requests submitted in connection with this
claim and filed with Plaintiff's complaint alleged that
Plaintiff was denied medication even though he had
“informed Jane Doe that [he] was to get them.”
ECF No. 1-2 at 2. Thus, Martin contends that Plaintiff's
reference to Jane Doe “establishes that the nurse who
Plaintiff alleges denied him treatment was female, unlike
[Martin] who is male.” ECF No. 26-1 at 2. Although
warned of the possible consequences for failing to do so, ECF
No. 27, Plaintiff did not respond to Martin's Motion.
Martin's motion, Defendants DPSCS, Corcoran, Gelsinger,
and Smith jointly filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 30.
Defendants DPSCS, Corcoran, and Gelsinger argued that they
are entitled to dismissal because they did not personally
participate in the alleged wrongs and Plaintiff failed to
sufficiently plead supervisory liability under § 1983.
ECF No. 30-1 at 9-12. Smith contends that the conditions of
Plaintiff's confinement were not objectively serious
enough to amount to a constitutional violation. ECF No. 30-1
at 13-15. Further, Smith argues that he lacked the requisite
mental state and that Plaintiff's allegations are largely
unrelated to Smith himself. ECF No. 30-1 at 15-17.