United States District Court, D. Maryland
W. Grimm United States District Judge.
Richard Green is incarcerated at North Branch Correctional
Institution (“NBCI”). Compl. 3, ECF No. 1. He
alleges that Sergeants William Thomas and Christopher
Wedlock, together with Mental Health Counselor Laura Wilson,
retaliated against him by removing him from his role as a
mentor to individuals housed in NBCI's “Special
Needs Unit” (“SNU”) and also by denying him
treatment and single cell housing in the SNU, or
alternatively to a bottom bunk bed. Id. Mr. Green
also alleges that NBCI Psychiatrist Vincent Siracusano- the
sole Defendant employed by the prison health care
provider-was deliberately indifferent to his mental health
needs. Id. Lastly, Mr. Green alleges that Sergeant
Wedlock's deliberate indifference to his medical needs
led to him injuring his right foot.
Thomas and Wedlock and Ms. Wilson (collectively
“Correctional Defendants”) filed a Motion to
Dismiss or, in the alternative, for Summary Judgment. Corr.
Defs.' Mot., ECF No. 21. Mr. Green filed an Opposition to
this motion, Pl.'s Opp'n, ECF No. 23; however, I
deferred resolution of it, and denied it without prejudice,
pending service upon and response from Dr. Siracusano. ECF
No. 26. Subsequently, Dr. Siracusano filed a Motion to
Dismiss. Siracusano First Mot., ECF No. 32. Dr.
Siracusano's Motion did not address Mr. Green's
allegations that Dr. Siracusano violated his Eighth Amendment
rights by having failed to treat his mental health diss. I
therefore ordered Dr. Siracusano to respond to Mr.
Green's Eighth Amendment allegations, Aug. 23, 2017
Order, ECF No. 34. Dr. Siracusano complied with that order by
filing a Motion to Dismiss, or in the alternative, for
Summary Judgment. Siracusano Second Mot., ECF No. 38.
provided notice that he could file an additional response to
Dr. Siracusano's second motion, ECF No. 39, Mr. Green has
failed to do so. A hearing is unnecessary. See Local
Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). Defendants' motions construed
as motions for summary judgment, will be
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.
collectively attached to their motions multiple affidavits,
verified Medical Records, and the administrative filings
regarding Mr. Green's voluminous grievances with NBCI.
Admin. R., 21-2; Med. R., ECF No. 21-3; Wilson Decl., ECF No.
21-4; Thomas Decl., ECF No. 21-5; Wedlock Decl., ECF No.
21-6; Siracusano Decl., ECF No. 38-5. In contrast, Mr. Green
filed an opposition only to the Correctional Defendants'
motion, and has submitted minimal evidence as he relies on
his allegations, which are contained in an unverified
complaint, one sick call request, a “Wellness Therapy
Group Contract” and its associated rules, and a
response from his request for a bottom bunk. Def.'s Exs.,
ECF No. 23-1. Because Plaintiff's Complaint is not
verified, its factual assertions may not be considered in
opposition to Defendants' motion. 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)).
Green initiated this litigation premised on his allegations
that on May 13, 2015, “[i]n retaliation to [his] verbal
and written complaints about the abusive treatment of
NBCI's mentally ill inmates, [he] was falsely accused of
rule violations and removed from [his] (mentoring) of the
Special Needs Unit inmates work detail . . . .” Compl.
3. He further alleges that he was denied adequate care and
treatment for his “mental disorder” by Ms. Wilson
and Sergeant Thomas and that their “actions lead [sic]
to serious injury to my right foot due to the change in my
housing assignment and deliberate indifference to my serious
mental health care treatment by” Dr. Siracusano and
Sergeant Wedlock. Id.
to January 21, 2015, Mr. Green was employed in a skilled
position with the dietary department. Admin R. 7. After
demonstrating “poor work habits, ” Mr. Green was
interviewed for reassignment to a sanitation position. At
that time, Correctional Officer C. Pratt attempted to escort
Mr. Green to a new cell; however Mr. Green refused to be
moved from a single cell to a double cell. Id. at
10, 39. Officer Pratt, a non-party, then filed a
Notice of Inmate Rule Violation based on Mr. Green's
refusal, id. at 10, and Mr. Green was found guilty
of not complying with Officer Pratt's order, id.
at 15. Mr. Green was initially sentenced to 45 days of cell
restriction, which was later reduced to 30 days by Acting
Warden Richard Miller. Id. at 20.
Green unsuccessfully appealed, id. at 19, and on
February 17, 2015, filed a an Administrative Remedy Procedure
form (“ARP”), ARP NBCI-0354-15, alleging that
Officer Pratt filed the Notice of Inmate Rule Violation
against him in retaliation for Mr. Green having filed an ARP
against Officer Pratt previously. Id. at 35, 39-40.
These claims were investigated and dismissed because NBCI had
substantive, non-retaliatory reasons for why Mr. Green was
reassigned from a single cell to a double cell, mainly that
single cell assignments were reserved for those with health
issues or a job requiring housing in that unit. Id.
at 35-41. In addition, Officer Pratt wrote a statement
denying that he acted in retaliation against Mr. Green.
Id. At 40. Mr. Green's appeal to the
Commissioner also was dismissed after being investigated.
Id. at 42- 45.
months after Mr. Green filed the ARP, on April 6, 2015, Mr.
Green was moved to a single cell in Housing Unit #2 to work
as a mentor for the Special Needs Unit (“SNU”).
That day, Mr. Green signed a Wellness Therapy Group Contract,
Mentor Contract, ECF No. 23-1, at 1, and received the Rules
and Regulations for the Wellness Therapy Group, Rules and
Regulations, id. at 2. Mr. Green participated as a
mentor in group therapy on April 13, April 23, May 4, and May
11, 2015, under Ms. Wilson's direction (then known as
Laura M. Booth). Med. R. 73, 78-80.
4, 2015, while still working as a mentor, Mr. Green filed ARP
NBCI-0862-15, which alleged that Acting Warden Richard
Roderick discriminated against SNU inmates by not allowing
them to attend an event featuring Darryl Strawberry. Admin R.
50-51. Mr. Green's allegations were investigated and his
grievance was dismissed because NBCI restricted access based
on security and capacity concerns. Id. at 50, 52-57.
Mr. Green's appeals were then denied as NBCI's
restrictions were deemed legitimate concerns. Id. at
13, 2015, Mr. Green was removed from his role in mentoring
SNU inmates. Compl. 3; Admin. R. 81. According to Ms. Wilson,
Mr. Green was removed from the position after five weeks due
to his inability to establish a positive relationship with
staff and overstepping boundaries [and that h]e persistently
exhibited an adversarial relationship with staff, which ...