United States District Court, D. Maryland
W. Grimm United States District Judge
Tyrell Hill is incarcerated at Western Correctional
Institution (“WCI”) in Cumberland, Maryland.
Compl. 1, ECF No. 1. He seeks redress pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for alleged Eighth Amendment violations by
Stephen T. Moyer, Interim Secretary of Public Safety and
Correctional Services, Richard Graham, Warden of WCI, and
Classification Case Managers Richard Roderick and Benjamin
Bradley in their individual and official
capacities.Compl. 1-2. Mr. Hill seeks injunctive,
compensatory, and punitive damages for Defendants'
alleged failure to correct misinformation in his prison base
file that he says has led to his improper classification and
progress through the prison system as well as to him being
assaulted by other similarly classified inmates. Compl. 1-2,
Am. Compl. 2-3, ECF No. 5. Defendants filed a Motion to
Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment.
ECF No. 11. Mr. Hill opposed the Motion, ECF No. 14. A
hearing is unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.
2016). Defendants' Motion, construed as a motion for
summary judgment, will be granted.
of Review and Evidentiary Record
judgment is proper when the moving party demonstrates,
through “particular parts of materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . .,
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials,
” that “there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), (c)(1)(A); see
also Baldwin v. City of Greensboro, 714 F.3d 828, 833
(4th Cir. 2013). If the party seeking summary judgment
demonstrates that there is no evidence to support the
nonmoving party's case, the burden shifts to the
nonmoving party to identify evidence that shows that a
genuine dispute exists as to material facts. See
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475
U.S. 574, 585-87 & n.10 (1986). The existence of only a
“scintilla of evidence” is not enough to defeat a
motion for summary judgment. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986). Instead, the
evidentiary materials submitted must show facts from which
the finder of fact reasonably could find for the party
opposing summary judgment. Id. A
“genuine” dispute of material fact is one where
the conflicting evidence creates “fair doubt”;
wholly speculative assertions do not create “fair
doubt.” Cox v. Cty. of Prince William, 249
F.3d 295, 299 (4th Cir. 2001); see also Miskin v. Baxter
Healthcare Corp., 107 F.Supp.2d 669, 671 (D. Md. 1999).
The substantive law governing the case determines what is
material. See Hooven-Lewis v. Caldera, 249 F.3d 259,
265 (4th Cir. 2001). A fact that is not of consequence to the
case, or is not relevant in light of the governing law, is
not material. Id.; see also Fed. R. Evid.
401 (defining relevance). “In ruling on a motion for
summary judgment, this Court reviews the facts and all
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party.” Downing v. Balt. City Bd. of Sch.
Comm'rs, No. RDB 12-1047, 2015 WL 1186430, at *1 (D.
Md. Mar. 13, 2015) (citing Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S.
372, 378 (2007)).
is no genuine dispute of material fact if the nonmoving party
fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of
his case as to which he would have the burden of proof.
See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986). Therefore, on those issues for which the nonmoving
party has the burden of proof, it is his responsibility to
confront the summary judgment motion with an affidavit that
“set[s] out facts that would be admissible in
evidence” or other similar facts that could be
“presented in a form that would be admissible in
evidence” showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2), (4); see also Ridgell,
2012 WL 707008, at *7; Laughlin, 149 F.2d at 260-61.
have attached to their motion two declarations, Durst Decl.,
ECF No. 11-3, Neverdon Decl., ECF No. 11-12, and verified
records including an email regarding the alleged assault of
an officer, Shearin Email on Assault, ECF No. 11-4, the
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services'
(“DPSCS”) Confidential Notes, DPSCS Notes, ECF
No. 11-6, Security Reclassification Instruments, Sec.
Reclassification Instruments, ECF No. 11-7, Mr. Hill's
Housing and Transfer History, Inmate Traffic History, ECF No.
11-5, a Serious Incident Report, Serious Incident Report, ECF
No. 11-9, and Mr. Hill's administrative remedy procedure
(“ARP”) filings, ARP History, ECF No. 11-11. In
contrast, Mr. Hill has filed an opposition, which he attached
a declaration verifying the records he submitted—mainly
concerning the administrative process of this case—and
his allegations are contained in an unverified complaint.
Pl.'s Opp'n, ECF No. 14-1; Hill Decl., ECF No. 14-3.
Because Plaintiff's Complaint is not verified, its
factual assertions may not be considered in opposition to
Defendants' motion and his exhibits related only to his
administratively exhausting his claims. See Williams v.
Griffin, 952 F.2d 820, 823 (4th Cir. 1991); Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c)(1)(A); see also Abdelnaby v. Durham D & M,
LLC, No. GLR-14-3905, 2017 WL 3725500, at *4 (D. Md.
Aug. 29, 2017) (awarding summary judgment for the defendants,
because the plaintiff could not “create a genuine
dispute of material fact ‘through mere speculation,
'” and “[t]hus, the Court [wa]s left with a
record that [wa]s bereft of evidence supporting any of
Abdelnaby's arguments”) (quoting Beale v.
Hardy, 769, F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985)).
10, 2013, Mr. Hill, who had been housed at the Maryland
Reception Diagnostic Classification Center
(“MRDCC”), was transferred to North Branch
Correctional Institution (“NBCI”). Inmate Traffic
History 5. That same day, when Mr. Hill's transfer
documentation was transmitted, an accompanying email
indicated that “Detainee Hill assaulted Officer Kwame
Ramsey this afternoon at MRDCC by striking the officer in the
mouth with a closed fist after he baited staff into his cell
with the [threat] of suicide.” Shearin Email. The email
added that “Inmate Hill does not suffer from suicidal
ideation.” Id. However, Mr. Hill was not
charged with a rule violation. Am. Compl. 2; Defs.' Mem.
2, ECF No. 11-1.
January 31, 2014, during a substance abuse survey, case
managers asked Mr. Hill about “his assault on
staff” at MRDCC in 2013. DPSCS Notes 9. Mr. Hill denied
that the alleged assault occurred. Id. The case
manager referred to “[d]ocumentation on file”
that described the incident. Id.
sixty days of his arrival at NBCI, Mr. Hill had to be
assessed to determine if he qualified as a Maximum Level II
inmate. Maximum Level II Security Bulletin 1, ECF No. 11-8.
Classification as a Maximum Level II inmate is assessed
according to five factors:
a. Serious assault on staff or inmate within the past five
b. Escape from Secure Confinement housing,
c. Incident resulting in a death of another while