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Diggs v. Balogon

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 6, 2018

TYRONE DIGGS, Plaintiff,
v.
RAMON BALOGUN and SHAWN HOLLY, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          THEODORE D. CHUANG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Tyrone Diggs, an inmate in the Maryland State Correctional System, has filed this lawsuit against Defendant Correctional Officers Ramon Balogun and Shawn Holly pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his rights under the First and Eighth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Pending before the Court is Diggs's Supplemental Motion for Default Judgment against Officer Holly, who has not filed an Answer or otherwise responded to the Amended Complaint. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion for Default Judgment is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND

         This case arises out of two physical assaults committed by correctional officers against Diggs while he was incarcerated at Maryland Correctional Institution - Jessup (“MCIJ”). The facts underlying this case were detailed in this Court's prior opinion resolving a Motion to Dismiss and Diggs's initial Motion for Default Judgment. Diggs v. Balogun, No. TDC-15-0535, 2017 WL 4921690, at *1-2 (D. Md. Oct. 31, 2017), ECF No. 59. As relevant here, Diggs alleges that he was physically assaulted by Officer Balogun on February 19, 2013. After Diggs reported the attack and filed an inmate grievance against Officer Balogun, other inmates and prison staff began to harass him, culminating in a physical assault by Officer Holly on April 12, 2013. The attack left Diggs with bruises to his head, face, right finger, right arm, and right leg. Since the attack, Diggs has also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), has had difficulty sleeping, and now takes anti-depressants and a sleep aid.

         Diggs filed a Complaint in this Court on February 24, 2015, naming Officers Balogun[1]and Holly as defendants. On August 12, 2016, Diggs filed an Amended Complaint, asserting that his rights under the First and Eighth Amendments had been violated. Although he was properly served, Officer Holly failed to respond to either the Complaint or Amended Complaint, prompting Diggs to file his first Motion for Default Judgment.

         On October 31, 2017, this Court issued a Memorandum Opinion, granting the motion in part. The Court found that Diggs had established that Officer Holly had violated Diggs's First and Eighth Amendment rights by physically assaulting him in retaliation for his filing a complaint against Officer Balogun. However, Diggs had not provided evidence to support his request for damages. The Court therefore entered default judgment against Officer Holly as to liability and granted Diggs leave to file a second motion for default judgment regarding damages.

         DISCUSSION

         The Supplemental Motion for Default Judgment asserts that the Court should, pursuant to its prior grant of judgment in favor of Diggs against Officer Holly, award damages in the amount of $80, 638.[2] Diggs has supported this claim by submitting the following documents:

• Declaration of Tyrone Anthony Diggs;
• Inmate Grievance JCI0421-13, filed by Diggs after Officer Balogun's assault;
Diggs v. Maryland Div. of Corr., No. DPSC-IGO-002V-13-23834 (Md. Office of Admin. Hearings Feb. 12, 2014), a decision in a prison grievance appeal awarding Diggs $200 in compensation for Officer Balogun's assault;
Diggs v. Maryland Div. of Corr., No. DPSC-IGO-002V-13-38793 (Md. Office of Admin. Hearings. Feb. 12, 2014), a decision in a prison grievance appeal awarding Diggs $500 in compensation for Officer Holly's assault;
• Statement of Charges, Maryland v. Holly, No. 1A00273155 (Dist. Ct. Anne Arundel Cty., Md. 2013), reflecting that Officer Holly was charged with second ...

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