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Moore v. Warden

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 3, 2018

ROBERT GARY MOORE, #402-576, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          JAMES K. BREDAR CHIEF JUDGE

         Self-represented Plaintiff Robert Gary Moore, presently incarcerated at the North BraNch Correctional Institution (“NBCI”) in Cumberland, Maryland, brings this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant Frank B. Bishop, Warden of NBCI. See ECF No. 1. Through the Complaint filed on September 18, 2017, and supplemented on October 19, 2017, and October 20, 2017, Moore alleges that Defendant is “forcing” him into a “dangerous and risky environment” in violation of his constitutional rights. Id.; ECF Nos. 4 & 6. He seeks $250, 000 in monetary damages and requests that he be placed in protective custody. ECF No. 4, pp. 5 & 7.

         On February 14, 2018, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 14. Moore filed a response on February 28, 2018. ECF No. 16. After review of the record, exhibits, and applicable law, the Court deems a hearing unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). Defendant's Motion shall be construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment and shall be granted.

         Background

         Moore states that while housed at NBCI, he has refused to enter the general population “due to the extreme violence.” ECF No. 4, p. 1.[1] Specifically, he alleges that he is a “civilian amongst an infested prison of gang members that are likely to target him for his solo status.” Id. at p. 5. Moore claims that, in response, the NBCI staff has placed him in disciplinary segregation for over seven months. Id. at p. 1. He alleges that the institution has responded this way because there is no specific prisoner threatening him. Id.

         On August 21, 2017, Moore sought relief through the Administrative Remedy Procedure (“ARP”). ECF No. 4-1. In his ARP request, Moore alleged that there had been constant stabbings, assaults, and murders at NBCI since his incarceration. Id. at p. 3. According to Moore, the Defendant is aware of the serious crimes being committed. ECF No. 4 at p. 4. He thus sought to be placed in protective custody. ECF No. 4-1, p. 3. On August 28, 2017, Moore's ARP request was dismissed for procedural reasons, as inmates are not permitted to seek relief through ARP regarding Case Management recommendations and decisions.[2] Id.

         Defendant notes that Moore has one verified enemy at NBCI, inmate Maurice B. Stewart. ECF No. 14-2. Both Moore and Stewart are housed in Housing Unit 1-C, which is a disciplinary segregation tier. See ECF No. 14-3. While housed on disciplinary segregation, inmates are separated from general population. Id. at ¶4. When a disciplinary segregation inmate is removed from his cell, he is handcuffed and escorted by an officer. Id. Further, when inmates on disciplinary segregation are enemies, correctional officers will not allow them to come into contact with one another even when they are being escorted. Id.

         The American Correctional Association (“ACA”) has accredited NBCI since January 23, 2017. ECF No. 14-5 at ¶3. An ACA audit was conducted from 2014-2017. Id. at ¶4. According to Defendant, an ACA audit involves assessments that cover issues and concerns that affect the quality of life at a facility such as staff training, adequacy of medical and mental health services, sanitation, use of segregation and detention, incidents of violence, crowding, offender activity levels, programs, and provision of basic services that may impact the life, safety, and health of inmates, as well as staff. Id. at ¶3. The ACA audit is a rigorous peer review process based on national standards. Id.

         Standard of Review

         I. Motion to Dismiss

         In reviewing a complaint in light of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the Court accepts all well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and construes the facts and reasonable inferences derived therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Venkatraman v. REI Sys., Inc., 417 F.3d 418, 420 (4th Cir. 2005); Ibarra v. United States, 120 F.3d 472, 474 (4th Cir. 1997). To survive a motion to dismiss, “a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. Although courts should construe pleadings of self-represented litigants liberally, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), unsupported legal conclusions, Revene v. Charles Cty. Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989), and conclusional factual allegations devoid of any reference to actual events, do not suffice, United Black Firefighters of Norfolk v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979).

         II. Motion for Summary Judgment

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), “[t]he 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.” The court should “view the evidence in the light most favorable to . . . the nonmovant, and draw all reasonable inferences in her favor without weighing the evidence or assessing the witnesses' credibility.” Dennis v. Columbia Colleton Med. Ctr., Inc., 290 F.3d 639, 645 (4th Cir. 2002). The Supreme Court has clarified that this does not mean that any factual dispute will defeat the motion:

By its very terms, this standard provides that the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is ...

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