United States District Court, D. Maryland
JAMES A. HENSON, JR. Plaintiff
P. SPEIR, et al., Defendants
K. Bredar Chief Judge.
is a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion for
summary judgment filed by defendants Lieutenant Patrick
Speir, Sergeant Charles Bielanski, Lauren Beitzel, Melissa
Harr and Monica Wilson. ECF 17. Plaintiff has responded. ECF
Upon review of the papers filed, the court finds a hearing in
this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.
Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below, defendants'
dispositive motion will be granted.
case was instituted upon receipt of a civil rights complaint
filed by plaintiff James Henson, an inmate currently confined
at the North Branch Correctional Institution
(“NBCI”). ECF 1. Plaintiff named as defendants
Lieutenant Patrick Speir, Sergeant Charles Bielanski,
“Subordinates in Housing Unit #1”, Jannette
Simmons,  Lauren Beitzel, Melissa Hart and Monica
Wilson. ECF 1, p. 1. He stated that the named defendants
ignore that prison gangs still maintain a “hit”
on plaintiff in retaliation for his using the prison
grievance system. ECF 1 at 4. He claims that from September
5, 2005 through November 14, 2016, unidentified correctional
and psychological staff have filed false reports against him
in order to prevent him from exercising his rights thought
the prison grievance process and in order to keep him in
solitary confinement. Id. Henson also claims he was
assaulted by another inmate on July 28, 2014, with the
assistance of unnamed correctional officers, and remains in
constant pain. Id. He seeks access to the courts,
protective custody, an independent federal investigation, and
medical care. ECF 1 at 3.
filed an administrative remedy on November 14, 2016
(NBCI-2511-16), raising the same allegations presented in the
instant complaint. ECF 17-2, at 13-15. The ARP was dismissed
as repetitive to three other ARP filings. Id. The
instant civil rights complaint was instituted on November 18,
2016. ECF 1. On November 22, 2016, after already instituting
this case, plaintiff took an appeal of the ARP to the
Commissioner of Corrections (“Headquarters
Appeal”). Id. at 11-12. On November 30, 2016,
the appeal was dismissed but plaintiff was allowed to
resubmit the appeal with additional documentation on or
before December 15, 2016. Id. Plaintiff failed to
resubmit the appeal with the requested information but
instead, on December 22, 2016, filed a grievance with the
Inmate Grievance Office (“IGO”), which was
ultimately dismissed. Id. at 10, 16.
Factual Response to Claims
and Speir each aver that they did not ignore any known
threats to plaintiff and that they are not aware of any
documented “hits” or threats against plaintiff.
ECF 17-2 at 2-3. Bielanski and Speir deny permitting or
encouraging other inmates to assault plaintiff. Id.
They further deny falsifying documents or otherwise
retaliating against plaintiff for any reason. Id.
Lastly, they each deny being aware of any other staff
threatening plaintiff, ignoring threats against him, or
otherwise retaliating against him. Id.
their part Wilson, Harr, and Beitzel, advise that they are
mental healthcare providers at NBCI and as such do not
participate in the provision of any medical treatment or the
prescription of medications for plaintiff. ECF 17-2 at 4-9.
Each states that he has never been involved in, interfered
with, or delayed the provision of medical care to plaintiff.
Id. They aver that they have no authority over
plaintiff's cell assignment or segregation time.
Id. They declare that they did not conspire with
correctional staff to maintain plaintiff on segregation
status or willfully ignore any documented threats against
him. Id. They also each state that they have never
filed a false report against plaintiff. Id.
demonstrate that plaintiff has not been prevented from
accessing the ARP process and have provided to the court the
record of plaintiff's ARP filings, which demonstrate that
from August 14, 2009, to April 10, 2017, plaintiff has filed
228 ARPs. ECF 17-2 at 17-27.
plaintiff's allegations regarding his confinement on
disciplinary segregation, defendants explain that from April
25, 2013, through April 12, 2016, plaintiff was found to have
violated NBCI's rule on 12 occasions. ECF 17-2 at 28.
After a hearing, plaintiff received segregation time, as well
as other sanctions. Id. Defendants note that, on
occasion, plaintiff has declined to participate in the
segregation review or disciplinary hearings. Id. at
43, 44, 45. Additionally, they observe that he has also
refused to cooperate with medical examination or treatment.
See Henson v. Weber, Civil Action No. JKB-17-507 (D.
Md.), ECF 9-1 at 13-17. Lastly, defendants indicate that
plaintiff previously admitted that he “chose to remain
housed in solitary confinement, on disciplinary lock-up, from
Monday 27 March 2006 . . . thru present day 2016.”
See Henson v. Bishop, Civil Action No. WMN-16-976,
ECF 1 at 3.
Standard of Review
Motion to Dismiss
purpose of a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the
plaintiff's complaint. See Edwards v. City of
Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). The
dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted does not require defendant to establish
“beyond doubt” that Plaintiff can prove no set of
facts in support of his claim that would entitle him to
relief. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 561 (2007). Once a claim has
been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any
set of facts consistent with the allegations in the
complaint. Id. at 563. The court need not, however,
accept unsupported legal allegations, see Revene v.
Charles County Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir.
1989), legal conclusions couched as factual allegations,
see Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986), or
conclusional factual allegations devoid of any reference to
actual events, see United Black Firefighters v.
Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979).
Motion for Summary Judgment
judgment is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56(a), which provides in part:
The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Supreme Court has clarified that this does not mean that any