United States District Court, D. Maryland
HAMMEL J. CLARK, Plaintiff,
SGT. JASON A. DADDYSMAN, WARDEN RICHARD J. GRAHAM, JR., DENISE GELSINGER, former Assistant Warden, LT. LARRY C. BENNETT, SGT. THOMAS MENGES and C.O. II ALICIA A. CARTWRIGHT, Defendants.
THEODORE D. CHUANG United States District Judge
Hammel J. Clark, a prisoner incarcerated at Western
Correctional Institution (“WCI”) in Cumberland,
Maryland, has brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 against Warden Richard J. Graham, Jr.,
former Assistant Warden Denise Gelsinger, Lt. Larry C.
Bennett, Sgt. Jason A. Daddysman, Sgt. Thomas C. Menges, and
Correctional Officer (“C.O.”) II Alicia A.
Cartwright. Clark alleges that (1) Daddysman wrongfully took
a religious headpiece from him; (2) Daddysman verbally and
physically assaulted him as part of a pattern of harassment;
(3) he was removed from the “honor building” and
placed in a cell covered in human feces in retaliation for
asserting complaints; and (4) his due process rights were
violated when his administrative complaints about Daddysman
and the headpiece's confiscation were mishandled and
denied. Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, for Summary Judgment. Clark has responded with
his own Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, for Summary
Judgment. Having reviewing the pleadings, briefs,
and exhibits, the Court finds that no hearing is necessary to
decide the Motions. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For
the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss or for Summary Judgment is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED
IN PART. Clark's Motion to Dismiss or for Summary
Judgment is DENIED.
I. March 15, 2016 Incident
March 15, 2016 at approximately 9:00 a.m., Clark was in the
WCI Medical Department for an appointment when Sgt.
Daddysman, a correctional officer, noticed him. Clark is a
practicing member of the Moorish Science Temple of America
and regularly wears a kufi, a type of religious headpiece, to
symbolize his faith. On this occasion, Daddysman approached
Clark and asked him for his kufi. When Clark asked why,
Daddysman first told him that it was not allowed because it
was handmade, then after Clark continued to protest, he told
Clark that the kufi was an unapproved color.
to Clark, who uses a wheelchair, at this point Daddysman
pulled out his handcuffs with his right hand, put his left
hand on Clark's right shoulder, pressed down, and told
Clark to hand over the headpiece. Clark held himself up using
his left arm, until his left arm slipped, which caused his
arm to go “on the outside of [the] wheelchair”
and his shoulder to go “down and bent forward.”
ARP WCI-736-16 at 6, Defs.' Mot. Dismiss Ex. 30, ECF No.
39-33. Clark felt “a little pulling something” in
his left shoulder. Id. In the following days,
Clark's shoulder began to hurt, and he could not raise
his arm without pain. Daddysman denies assaulting Clark on
this date, and there is no video footage of this incident.
to Clark, after Daddysman pressed down on his shoulder, Clark
gave him the kufi. He asked to speak to a more senior
officer, but was denied. Daddysman then filled out a
confiscation form, gave it to Clark, and said, “Even if
the hearing officer rule[s] for you, you still is not getting
your shit back, I took it.” ARP WCI-695-16 at 21,
Defs.' Mot. Dismiss Ex. 24, ECF No. 39-27. He then called
Clark a racial slur.
after this interaction, Clark returned to his cell, where he
learned that he was being moved out of the “honor
building” and into a cell in Housing Unit No. 3, which
he considered the worst unit in the prison. Clark alleges
that this new cell had human feces and urine spread around in
different spots, left behind by an inmate known to put his
own feces all over his cell. When Clark refused to go into
the filthy cell, the correctional officers threatened to
place him in lock up. Clark asked to be put in one of the
clean empty cells nearby, but that request was denied.
According to Clark, he spent several days cleaning up the
cell, feces got on his shoes, his wheelchair, and his hands,
and the cell reeked of human waste even after the cleaning,
so that he felt sick and could not eat. When he complained to
Assistant Warden Denise Gelsinger about the conditions and
Sgt. Daddysman's actions, she smiled and said,
“Everybody gets a turn.” ARP WCI-756-16 at 25,
Defs.' Mot. Dismiss Ex. 31, ECF No. 39-34. She also asked
him, “Did you ever stop to think it's just
you?” Compl. at 27, ECF No. 4. Clark remained in that cell
for 14 days before he was returned to his original cell.
Clark asked multiple correctional officers if they knew who
had ordered his transfer to another cell. One officer, Lt.
McKenzie, told him: “[I]t came from high up.” ARP
WCI-756-16 at 26. Clark alleges that he was placed there in
retaliation for standing up to Daddysman and for writing up
complaints about Gelsinger in the past.
response, Defendants have submitted the declaration of Lt.
Robert Carder, who states that Clark was moved to a new cell
on March 15, 2016 due to institutional needs and not as
retaliation. Carder denies that the cell was covered in feces
or that Clark ever complained about its condition to
correctional officers in charge of the housing unit, but he
also states that Clark was provided with ample cleaning
supplies when he was moved to the new cell.
March 24, 2016 Incident
he could not lift his arm over his head without pain, Clark
submitted a sick call request on March 22, 2016 and was seen
by medical personnel on March 24, 2016. Daddysman was
assigned to the Medical Department that day. According to
Clark, while he was being evaluated for his injury, Daddysman
listened in. Clark tried to tell the nurses discreetly that
Daddysman had caused his shoulder injury. After the nurses
had examined Clark and given him a sling, they asked him to
wait outside the door for the paperwork to be completed.
Clark asked if he could wait somewhere away from Daddysman,
but before the nurses could answer his request, Daddysman
“violently and aggressively with force grab[bed] the
back of my wheelchair and yanked me and my body, dragging me
backwards.” Compl. at 13-14. Daddysman belligerently
told Clark, “I don't ask nobody nothing, I just do
what [I] am told.” Id. at 14.
response to these allegations, Defendants have submitted a
declaration by Daddysman, who confirms that he was assigned
to the Medical Department on March 24, 2016. He denies,
however, that he violently grabbed Clark's wheelchair and
yanked it around with Clark in it. C.O. II Mark Deatelhauser,
who was also assigned to the Medical Department that day, has
also stated in a declaration that he never saw Daddysman grab
Clark's wheelchair or engage in the alleged conduct.
There is no video footage of an incident between Clark and
Daddysman on March 24, 2016.
April 1, 2016 Incident
April 1, 2016, Clark returned to the Medical Department to
have his shoulder x-rayed. Daddysman was again on duty. While
Clark waited for his test results, Daddysman came by, told
Clark that he could leave, then walked behind Clark as if to
grab the wheelchair. Clark protested, saying, “No get
off me, don't.” Id. at 16. Daddysman put
his hands in the air and then kicked the back of Clark's
wheelchair as Clark began to roll away. In his declaration,
Daddysman denies kicking Clark's wheelchair on April 1,
2016 or ever having physically or verbally assaulted Clark.
assertion, however, is belied by the video evidence. The
record includes surveillance video of the Medical Department
hallway on April 1, 2016 from 10:20:00 a.m. to 10:33:00 a.m.
At 10:22:55, an inmate in a wheelchair, who appears to be
Clark, exits a room into the hallway and stops to put on a
sling. At 10:31:39, as Clark remains in the hallway, a
correctional officer, presumably Daddysman, approaches and
speaks to him. As Daddysman comes behind his wheelchair,
Clark turns the wheelchair so that Daddysman cannot touch the
handles. The officer briefly touches the wheelchair's
right handle as the two appear to exchange words. At
10:31:48, the officer gestures for Clark to go down the
hallway. As Clark turns and begins to move forward, Daddysman
kicks the wheelchair with his right foot. The kick does not
appear to have been delivered with much force, as the
wheelchair does not jerk or change its forward momentum.
Daddysman does not appear to touch Clark or the wheelchair
March 16, 2016, the day after his first incident with
Daddysman, Clark was evaluated by a doctor but did not report
that a correctional officer had injured his shoulder or that
he had shoulder pain. However, between March 22, 2016 and
August 13, 2016, Clark submitted 15 sick call requests about
his shoulder. In the first request, submitted seven days
after the March 15, 2016 incident with Daddysman, Clark
stated, “I had an altercation with one of the officers
on March 15, 16 where as he pressed down on my shoulder
and back. I am having more pain in my spine throughout my
back and now my shoulder is hurting real bad, ” noting
that the pain was in his “left shoulder, throughout my
back and spine.” Med. Records at 169, Defs.' Mot.
Dismiss Ex. 15, ECF No. 39-18. This request also states that
his pain started “at this level” on March 17,
2016. Id. In these sick call requests, Clark
consistently complained of extreme shoulder pain and that his
shoulder kept popping out of its socket.
March 24, 2016, the first time that Clark saw medical
personnel for his shoulder, Clark reported to them that he
was experiencing left shoulder pain and that Daddysman had
assaulted him by pressing down on his shoulder on March 15,
2016. The nurse who saw Clark on that date noted that Clark
was not moving his arm and gave him a sling. Clark was seen
again on April 1, 2016, where medical personnel again noted
that Clark blamed his shoulder pain on a March 15, 2016
altercation with a correctional officer. At this time, x-rays
of the left shoulder were ordered. The x-rays revealed no
evidence of an acute fracture or dislocation.
next several months, Clark continued to be evaluated
regularly and was provided both pain medication and physical
therapy. Clark consistently told medical providers that his
left shoulder pain had been caused by a March 2016 incident
with a correctional officer. For example, notes from a June
18, 2016 medical appointment state:
[Clark] states injury first occurred in March 2016. [H]e
reports altercation occur[red] with officer, he state[s] the
officer leaned against the opposite shoulder . . . inmate
reports he pushed up with his affected side to get officer
off him[.] [U]ltimately he states his left . . . arm slipped
off [wheelchair] arm rest, he states 2 days later his
shoulder spontaneously dislocated but resolved with manual
assistance that he does himself. [H]e states his shoulder has
dislocated over 25 times since first happened.
Id. at 53.
November 28, 2016, Clark underwent magnetic resonance imaging
(“MRI”) on his left shoulder. The MRI found
“[p]rominent arthritic change at the glenohumeral joint
and mild arthritic change at the AC joint.” Supp. Med.
Records at 419, Defs.' Mot. Dismiss Ex. 8, ECF No. 70-8.
His rotator cuff was intact. On February 28, 2017, Clark was
examined by an orthopedist, who ordered additional x-rays and
suggested that Clark may need surgery to repair his rotator
cuff if it was torn. An x-ray on March 2, 2017 showed
“mild degenerative changes” in Clark's left
shoulder joint. Id. at 418. Clark underwent
arthroscopic shoulder surgery on May 23, 2017 to address his
arthritis and to repair a torn left rotator cuff.
Administrative Remedy Procedure
further alleges that the correctional personnel at WCI who
respond to prisoners' administrative complaints filed
under the Administrative Remedy Procedure
(“ARPs”) have denied him his due process rights.
He alleges that they unnecessarily require him to re-write
and re-submit his ARPs, impose additional requirements on
him, switch the numbers on his cases, and intentionally delay
their responses to his complaints.
has filed a sizable number of ARPs. His ARP Index shows that
from August 18, 2008 to January 17, 2017, he filed 59 ARPs at
WCI. Seven of the ARPs, filed from March 2016 to April 2016,
related to the three alleged assaults by Daddysman, the
confiscation of Clark's religious headpiece, and the
March 15, 2016 cell transfer. In April 2016 and June 2016,
Clark filed two ARPs against the ARP coordinators for the
manner in which they processed his complaints. In June 2016,
WCI limited Clark to filing two ARPs a month because, after
he had filed 22 ARPs in the preceding six months, none had
been found meritorious.
response to Clark's claims that WCI personnel have
undermined his use of ARP complaints, Defendants have
submitted declarations from WCI's ARP Coordinators, Sgt.
Menges and C.O. II Cartwright, who both affirm that all ARPs
received at WCI are logged and investigated in accordance
with Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional
Services (“DPSCS”) Directives. Menges and
Cartwright also assert that they have never attempted to
hinder or stop Clark from pursuing the ARP process.
Clark alleges that the ARP coordinators thwarted his
complaints, his ARPs about the March 15, 2016 and March 24,
2016 incidents resulted in an Internal Investigation Division
(“IID”) investigation. The investigator
interviewed Clark, Daddysman, and personnel who were in the
Medical Department on March 15, 2016. The investigator also
interviewed a security official who reviewed surveillance
video of these incidents. The investigator concluded that
there was no evidence to support Clark's allegations. The
surveillance video from those dates was no longer available,
the individual who reviewed the surveillance video after
Clark's complaints ...