United States District Court, D. Maryland
XINIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff Ralph Johnston, an inmate presently incarcerated at
the Dorsey Run Correctional Facility in Jessup, Maryland,
brings this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Defendants Ricky Foxwell, Warden of Eastern
Correctional Institution (“ECI”); the Department
of Corrections for Maryland (“DOC”); Brian Frosh,
the Attorney General for the State of Maryland; Correctional
Officer D. Moorse; and Lieutenant Burgess. See ECF
Nos. 1 & 6. Johnston claims that his previous confinement
administrative segregation violated his due process rights.
ECF No. 1 at p. 3. He seeks declaratory and injunctive
relief and monetary damages totaling $151, 500.
Id. at pp. 16, 27.
February 7, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in
the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF Nos. 15,
Johnston responded on February 23, 2018, and supplemented his
response on March 1, 2018. ECF Nos. 23, 25. After review of the
record, exhibits, and applicable law, the Court deems a
hearing unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.
2016). Defendants' Motion, construed as a Motion for
Summary Judgment, shall be granted.
to Defendants, Johnston was assigned to Southern Maryland
Pre-Release Unit (“SMPRU”) from October 7, 2016
until January 4, 2017, when he was transferred to Brockbridge
Correctional Facility (“BCF”) and placed on
administrative segregation. ECF No. 18-2. As this Court
[Johnston] asserts that he did not receive a disciplinary
report, an administrative hearing charging him with any
infractions, or written notice of the reason for his
placement on administrative custody prior to his transfer.
Plaintiff submits that this assignment occurred based on the
“vague and amorphous” fabricated statements of an
informant. ECF No. 1.
Plaintiff complains that his segregation amounted [to]
isolation or placement in a special housing unit (SHU).
Plaintiff maintains that he is or was allowed out of his cell
for only 30 minutes daily from Monday through Friday, has no
outdoor recreation and is not permitted to visit the library,
gym, medical clinic, clothing and bedding exchange, or
“culinary unit.” He contends that his legal
papers were confiscated and he was denied access to
representation. Plaintiff further complains that he was
placed with “members and groups of gang
organizations.” He alleges that the cell had
insufficient ventilation and the conditions of his cell
caused him physical and psychological injury. ECF No. 1 at
ECF No. 6, pp. 2-3 (footnote omitted).
segregation is a special status used to, among other things,
house inmates who require close supervision or segregation
from the general population. ECF No. 18-5, p. 10. It is used
to ensure the safety and security of the facility, staff,
inmate, or general population. Id.
to Defendants, Johnston was placed on administrative
segregation at BCF because “the intel report
indicate[d] Johnston's possible involvement in the
assault of another inmate while housed at SMPRU.” ECF
No. 18-3, p. 10. Specifically, inmate Ravelle Gray stated
that an unidentified inmate entered his assigned dorm and
threw hot liquid on him as he slept, burning his face, hands,
and chest. Id. at p. 8. Gray believed that that
Johnston was a member of the Murder Inc. gang and had ordered
the other inmate to assault him. Id. Gray related
that he and Johnston previously had been involved in a verbal
dispute about a football game. Id. A confidential
source confirmed that Johnston ordered the assault on Gray.
medical records from January 4, 2017 to February 2, 2017 did
not document any history of physical complaints. See
ECF No. 13. On January 10, 2017, Johnston asked to be seen by
medical for depression. Id. at pp. 4-6. Johnston
remained at BCF on administrative segregation until February
2, 2017, at which time he was transferred to ECI. ECF No.
18-2. While at ECI, Johnston was housed in general
population. See ECF No. 9. Johnston remained at ECI
until about March 1, 2018, when he was transferred to Dorsey
Run Correctional Facility. See ECF No. 24.
Standard of Review
seek dismissal or, in the alternative, summary judgment in
its favor. When reviewing a motion to dismiss brought
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the
Court confines its analysis to the four corners of the
Complaint, accepting all well-pleaded allegations as true and
drawing all inferences 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). A complaint must include
“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 conclusory 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
as here, a party seeks summary judgment pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), the movant must show 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). Importantly,
“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 that there be no genuine issue of
material fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis in
original). Rather, a reviewing court has an
“affirmative obligation . . . to prevent factually
unsupported claims and defenses from proceeding to
trial.” Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Football Club,
Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 522 (4th Cir. 2003) (internal
quotation marks omitted) (quoting Drewitt v. Pratt,
999 F.2d 774, 778-79 (4th Cir. 1993), and citing Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24
(1986)). “A party opposing a properly supported motion
for summary judgment ‘may not rest upon the mere
allegations or denials of his pleadings,' but rather must
‘set forth specific facts showing that there is a
genuine issue for trial.'” Id. (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). A dispute ...