United States District Court, D. Maryland
CHRISTIAN THOMAS, et al. Plaintiffs
ACTING WARDEN GWENDOLYN OLIVER ACTING AS ST WARDEN DONNA HANSEN Defendants
J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
consolidated civil rights cases were filed by federal
pre-trial detainees who are, or were at the time the complaint
was filed, confined to the Chesapeake Detention Facility
("CDF") in Baltimore, Maryland claiming the
conditions at the facility violate constitutional standards
and seeking injunctive relief. In response Defendants filed a
Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 72. The
motion is opposed by Plaintiff Donald McDuffin Williams (ECF
No. 76) who also moves for appointment of counsel
(ECF No. 69) and for default judgment (ECF No. 74). The Court
finds a hearing in this matter unnecessary. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow,
and based upon the evidence presented, Defendants' motion
shall be granted, the complaints shall be dismissed without
prejudice for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, and
the motions for injunctive relief shall be denied. Because
the complaints must be dismissed on this basis, the pending
motion for appointment of counsel shall be denied.
assert that Defendants, the acting warden and assistant
warden of CDF, knew about and disregarded environmental
hazards within the prison including the existence of black
mold and dust. ECF No. 1 at p. 3; ECF No. 13 at p. 2; ECF No.
36 at p. 6; ECF No. 39 at p. 6; ECF No. 41 at p. 6; ECF No.
43 at p. 6. Plaintiff Williams asserts that on June 24, 2017,
he notified Defendants that there is waste material,
including human feces, rotting garbage, cockroaches, and mice
in the bottom of “more than one pipe chase” and
that there were stagnant pools of water, clogged drains, mold
and mildew in the showers. ECF No. 1 at p. 4.
response to Williams's complaint, Oliver responded on
July 7, 2017, as follows:
Thank you for your inquiries referencing the facility. As
there are challenges referencing the physical structure due
to age, we have a team of staffers working very hard to
ensure the upkeep of the facility. We are accredited by the
American Correctional Association, Maryland Commission on
Correctional Standards, National Commission on Correctional
Health and the Federal QAR - Quality Assurance Review.
ECF No. 1-2 at p. 1. Williams states that Oliver did not
address any of the particular hazards he noted in his
complaint. ECF No. 1 at p. 4.
September 19, 2017, an annual re-accreditation audit took
place at CDF and Williams claims the facility's Dietary
Department failed to pass inspection because of numerous
violations, notably, the presence of mold. Following that
failure, Williams states that Oliver closed the Dietary
Department as of September 21, 2017, until further notice.
ECF No. 1 at pp. 4-5.
supplemental complaint, Williams states that he is “an
on-call 24 hour service maintenance worker who has been
working in this position since December 13, 2016.” ECF
No. 13 at p. 3. He claims that because Defendants did not
take action to remedy the conditions at CDF about which he
complained in writing, he “is now experiencing
continued nasal irritation, throat and sinus infections,
shortness of breath, and skin rashes.” Id. at
p. 4. He further alleges that he has not been provided proper
medical treatment for these symptoms. Id. Williams
cites Maxie v. Levenhagen, 2014 WL 3828292 at *1
(N.D. Ind. Aug. 4, 2014) for the proposition that the
presence of black mold and mildew satisfies the objective
element of an Eighth Amendment claim provided that the
plaintiff alleges he suffers or is at substantial risk of
suffering an injury or health problem as a result.
complaints filed by Gilbert Davis (ECF No. 36), Mitchell
Brooks (ECF No. 39), Thomas Hearn (ECF No. 41), and DeMarcus
Moore (ECF No. 43), which were consolidated with the lead
case and are identical in content, plaintiffs state they are
double-celled in cells that were designed to house only one
person requiring them to share 30 to 35 square feet with a
cellmate. ECF No. 36, 39, 41, and 43 at p. 2 (hereinafter
“Consolidated Complaints”). They explain that the
bed in the cell, which is a bunk-style bed, takes up
approximately 20 square feet of the space making the actual
floor space approximately 20 to 24 square feet, disregarding
the possible presence of other furniture in the cell.
Id. at p. 3. They allege this violates the American
Correctional Association (ACA) standards as well as the
Department of Public Health (DPH) regulations. Id.
In addition, they claim that “numerous professional and
correctional organizations have promulgated ‘minimum
standards' for cell size” ranging from 49 square
feet to 90 square feet. Id. at pp. 3-4, citing
National Sheriff's Association; Building Officials and
Code Administrators, Inc. BOCA Basis Building Code, 1975,
§201.3; National Clearinghouse for Criminal Justice
Planning and Architecture; ACA, Manual of Correctional
Standards, 49; National Advisory Commission for Criminal
Justice Standards and Goals, Corrections standard 11.1, p.
353; The International Conference of Building Officials,
Uniform Building Code §1307B, p. 83; American Public
Health Association; Federal Standards for Prisons and Jails,
1980, §§2.02-2.06. Specifically, they state that
the Federal minimum standard is 50 square feet in holding
facilities; 60 square feet for regular cells where inmates
are held for less than 10 hours per day; 70 square feet in
detention facilities where inmates are held for more than 10
hours per day; and at least 80 square feet in long term
facilities. Consolidated Complaints at p. 4.
claim that the population at CDF “far exceeds the
ability to allow 35 square feet of day space per
inmate.” Id. They maintain that a day room is
required to provide 35 square feet of floor space per inmate,
excluding lavatories, showers, and toilets, and must provide
sufficient seating, writing and eating surfaces. Id.
At CDF, however, in C Tier, Quad 4, the dayroom which serves
as the dining area does not provide enough tables for the
inmates to sit requiring some to eat their meals in their
cells, near a toilet. Id.
state that CDF does not provide one operable shower for every
16 inmates, as required. Id.
facility is not air-conditioned and Plaintiffs state that
temperatures reach 100 degrees in the Summer. In the Winter
months, it is so cold inside the facility that
“prisoners can see their breath.” Id. at
p. 5. The ventilation system at CDF consists of “a
primitive blower system” that uses a “fan [to]
bring in air from outside while others pull out the internal
claim that CDF is “filled” with vermin, mice,
cockroaches, and flies. Id.
claim the plumbing is antiquated, deteriorated, and needs
replacement. They assert it has “simply broken down
from years of very heavy use without adequate preventative
maintenance.” Id. The drains is the dietary
area are “rotten and frequently clog, causing raw
sewage to back up into the dietary floor.” Id.
Plaintiffs state that the “grease traps/caps are
missing, allowing a nauseating and foul gas to escape into
the prison” causing “disease hazards in the
claim the kitchen at CDF is actively infested with mice,
roaches and flies; contains pools of standing water, and
deposits of grease and grime on exposed surfaces as well as
condensation that drips from surfaces potentially into food.
Consolidated Complaints at pp. 5-6. Further they claim that
food contact surfaces are unsanitary; food preparation
equipment has dried food residue on it; and the tray washing
machine was not operational for approximately six months.
Id. at p. 6.
claim the noise level inside the facility is “annoying
and irritating over time” and is “so intolerable
and intrusive that it renders ...