United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Hollander United States District Judge.
Marcus Allen McFadden, who is self represented, is a state
inmate incarcerated at North Branch Correctional Institution.
He filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, claiming that
during the time he was incarcerated at the Maryland
Correctional Institution-Hagerstown (MCI-H), defendants used
excessive force against him and deprived him of adequate
medical care, in violation of his rights under the Eighth
Amendment. ECF 1. He also asserts that institutional
procedures were not followed. Id. Defendants,
Correctional Officers Scott Barton, Shane Boggs, and David
Hoffman,  have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF 12), along with
a legal memorandum (ECF 12-1) (collectively, the
“Motion”). In support of the Motion, defendants
have submitted declarations (ECF 12-4, ECF 12-5, ECF 12-6,
ECF 12-8, & ECF 12-9), and verified records, ECF 12-3
& ECF 12-7, including medical records. ECF
12-7. McFadden has filed an opposition (ECF 17),
with exhibits. ECF 17-1. Defendants did not file a reply.
review of the pleadings, exhibits, and applicable law, I find
that no hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion.
See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons
that follow, defendants' Motion, construed as a motion
for summary judgment, shall be granted.
alleges that he was assaulted by defendants on March 2, 2017.
On that day, inmates in the disciplinary segregation unit
where McFadden was housed were being given the opportunity to
take their showers. McFadden asserts that he was not provided
a shower because he “allegedly” covered his cell
window McFadden claims that he put his “arm on the door
slot and asked to speak to a[n] OIC [officer in charge] or
shift supervisor before closing [the] slot.” ECF 1 at
2-3. Officer Hoffman then directed McFadden to close the slot
and told him that he was not going to see anybody.
Id. McFadden acknowledges that he “continue[d]
to have [his] arm on the slot.” Id. at 3.
According to McFadden, Hoffman “[re]peatedly took his
right knee and slammed [plaintiff's] arms in the slot and
then released a burst of mace . . . .” Id.
McFadden asked to see a shift supervisor.
Barton arrived. The officers radioed the control center to
open the cell occupied by McFadden and his cellmate, Johnny
Sinkler. McFadden alleges that Barton entered the cell,
“releasing vicious blows to the left side of [his]
face.” Id. Meanwhile, Hoffman restrained
Sinkler. Officer Boggs arrived to assist Barton “and
released punches to [plaintiff's] mouth which caused
bleeding.” Id. McFadden alleges that while he
lay face down in cuffs, he was threatened and racial slurs
were made. As Barton and Boggs removed McFadden from his
cell, Hoffman “released a vicious heavy knee to the
whole left side of [plaintiff's] face, which caused
bruising and nerve damage to [his] left eye.” ECF 1 at
3. Afterwards, McFadden was taken to speak to Sergeant Khan
and Lieutenant Whiteside. McFadden alleges that during this
conversation he was told that if he sought medical attention,
he would receive a rule infraction. Id. Further,
they told McFadden that “‘Sgt. Khan made a
mistake for opening [plaintiff's] cell and they had to
come up with a good lie to saves [sic] their assess
[sic].'” Id.; see also ECF 17 at
4. Lt. Whiteside promised McFadden he would not be charged
with assaulting the officers. Id.
was escorted to the medical unit and photographs were taken.
Id. Medical personnel evaluated plaintiff for an
injury to his left eye and a “busted mouth.”
Id.  McFadden claims he did not receive proper
treatment for his left eye injury. He alleges that his vision
is blurred and he suffers constant eye pain. Id. at
was served with notice of rule infractions for assaulting the
officers on March 2, 2017, and for covering his cell window.
Id. at 3-4. He avers that proper procedures were not
followed during the incident. Id. Specifically, he
asserts that before his cell door was opened, a shift
supervisor should have been called and the incident should
have been recorded. Id. McFadden requests monetary
damages against each defendant as redress. Id.
Boggs, Hoffman, and Barton deny McFadden's allegations in
their declarations. ECF 12-4 (Boggs); ECF 12-5 (Hoffman); ECF
12-6 (Barton). They also deny that any chemical agents were
used against McFadden before or during the incident on March
2, 2017. Id. They also deny making racial slurs.
Id. Further, defendants state they did not observe
other officers use a chemical agent on McFadden or make
racial slurs. Id. And, defendants deny interfering
with or delaying McFadden's medical care. Id.
Hoffman states that he was not involved in the physical
altercation with McFadden because his actions focused on
restraining Sinkler. ECF 7-5.
assert that “the contents of the Use of Force Incident
Report and the Notice of Inmate Rule Violation which are
dated March 2, 2017 about events surrounding” their
contact with McFadden are “true and accurate.”
ECF 12-4, ECF 12-5, ECF 12-6. Defendants have also filed
verified copies of the Serious Incident Report, ECF 12-3 at
5-7; Use of Force Report, ECF 12-3 at 8-22; and Notice of
Inmate Disciplinary Hearing, ECF 12-3 at 23-28. Several of
the reports were made soon after the incident.
the information below is gleaned from the exhibits.
date in question, Barton and Hoffman offered showers to
inmates on the segregation tier. At approximately 9:20 a.m.,
they approached McFadden's cell. Barton observed the cell
door window was covered with paper. ECF 12-3 at 7 (Serious
Incident Report of Todd Young); id. at 9 (Boggs'
Narrative, Use of Force Report); id. at 11
(Investigative Report); id. at 12 (Boggs' Use of
Force Incident Report); id. at 14 (Barton's Use
of Force Report). Barton asked McFadden and Sinkler to remove
the paper and inquired whether they wanted showers. Neither
inmate responded. Id. at 7, 9, 11. Barton then
informed McFadden and Sinkler that covering the window
jeopardized their safety and institutional security and that
refusal to remove the cover would result in an adjustment
report. Id. Nevertheless, the inmates did not remove
the window covering. Barton then ordered the inmates to
remove the paper from the window. Id. Again, there
was no response. Barton called on his radio to open the cell
door to check on the inmates' welfare. Id.
the door opened, McFadden attempted to step out of the cell,
but Barton ordered him to step back into the cell. Barton
extended his arm to prevent McFadden from exiting. McFadden
grabbed Barton's arm, pulled him into the cell, and
“threw several closed fist punches” to
Barton's face. Id. Barton reported that McFadden
landed two punches on Barton's left check, directly below
his eye, causing swelling and redness for approximately one
hour. Id. at 14.
Boggs “heard a commotion” and went to the scene.
ECF 12-3 at 12. Boggs reported that McFadden threw punches to
his face, as well. Id. Hoffman attempted to handcuff
Sinkler, who initially resisted and then complied.
Id. at 11. McFadden was placed on the ground to gain
control. Id. Barton handcuffed McFadden,
id., and other officers escorted McFadden from the
area. Id. at 11.
R. Sartin promptly escorted plaintiff to see medical
personnel. ECF 12-9 at 2. Sartin photographed McFadden at
approximately 9:40 a.m. ECF 12-3 at 18. At approximately 9:30
a.m., Officer R. Wigfield, III photographed Barton, Boggs,
and Hoffman. Id. at 20-22.
Morrison, R.N., evaluated McFadden after the incident, at
approximately 10:12 a.m. ECF 12-7 at 2. Morrison observed
that McFadden walked without assistance or signs of distress.
Morrison observed a bruise on McFadden's upper left cheek
near his eye, measuring approximately 3 cm x 2 cm. McFadden
denied having other concerns. Id. McFadden offered
no statement about the assault. Id.
Brian Whiteside avers in his Declaration (ECF 12-9) that he
had a brief conversation with McFadden at approximately 9:30
a.m. on March 2, 2017, to find out his view of the incident.
Id. at 1. Whiteside denies telling McFadden that
“he would only receive an infraction if he sought
medical attention.” Id. at 2. Further,
Whiteside denies that he told McFadden that Barton, Boggs,
and Hoffman had to lie to cover up their actions.
Id. And, Whiteside denies offering to withhold
assault charges against McFadden in exchange for
McFadden's promise not to press charges against Barton,
Boggs, and Hoffman. Id. Whiteside notes that he
agreed with and approved the decision to charge McFadden with
rule violations based on the incident of March 2, 2017.
Id. Whiteside denies that he hindered or delayed
McFadden's medical treatment. Id.
and Sinkler declined to be interviewed about the incident or
to provide statements. ECF 12-3 at 11. Following a Use of
Force Investigation, the investigator, Cheryl Williams,
submitted a summary to Ronald Brezler, Chief of Security,
concluding that the force used was “justified and
applied in good faith to gain control of the situation and to
keep the incident from escalating . . . .” ECF 12-3 at
March 3, 2017, Ronald B. Brezler, MCI-H Chief of Security,
determined after reviewing the Serious Incident and Use of
Force Reports completed after the incident of March 2, 2017,
that the amount of force accorded “with established
directives and policies. However, the decision to enter the
cell was made without notifying a supervisor or with the
appropriate amount of back-up.” ECF 12-3 at 4; s ...