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Gant v. Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 13, 2018




         In response to Plaintiff Brandon Davon Gant's civil rights complain,, ECF No. 1, Defendants Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Sergeant Robert Jordan, Correctional Officer II Adele Olakanya and Correctional Officer II Oluwasegun Fashae filed a Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 13. Plaintiff Brandon Gant was advised of his right to file an Opposition and of the consequences of failing to do so, ECF No. 14, but has not filed anything in response to the Defendants' motion. For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motion, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, shall be granted. No. hearing is necessary to resolve the matters pending. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016).


         Gant, a prisoner confined to Jessup Correctional Institution (JCI), alleges that on the morning of October 24, 2017, he was taken to a room where disciplinary hearings are held and strip-searched without explanation by Defendants Jordan, Olakanye and Fashae. Compl. 2-3. Gant admits he "protested a little" and as a result was placed in handcuffs and told by Jordan if he refused again "it would be done for [him]." Id. at 3. Gant states he followed the orders given because he did not want "to be violated any further." Id. He claims that, despite his compliance, all three officers then "slammed [Gant] on [his] neck and shoulder and began twisting [his] arms and legs," causing him "extreme pain." Id. Gant states that he had been stabbed six months prior to this incident in his neck and shoulder area. Id. He also claims that the officers physically searched him, which made him feel "sexually violated." Id. Although he states that the officers recovered nothing, he also states he was placed on lock-up and issued a ticket at 2:00 p.m. for "a green leafy substance," which he claims he did not possess. Id.

         Defendants do not dispute Gant's allegation that he was escorted to the adjustment hearing room where a strip search was conducted, but insist that they did not touch him other than to remove and replace his handcuffs, and that he declined any medical examination after the search. Jordan Deck, ECF No. 13-3; Olakanya Deck 2, ECF No. 13-4; Fashae Deck 2, ECF No. 13-5. They also assert that they conducted the strip search in accordance with established directives. See Fitch Deck & Prison Recs. 44, ECF No. 13-2 (excerpt of Executive Directive OPS 110.0047).

         Fashae issued a notice of inmate rule violation for possession of contraband, which was determined to be synthetic cannabis. Fitch Deck & Prison Recs. 2, 11, 28, 30, ECF No. 13-2. At the disciplinary hearing, Gant pled guilty to possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute. As a result he received a sentence of 90 days segregation and 90 days lost good conduct time. Mat 32-41.

         Gant claims that the next morning he awoke with severe pain and numbness on his left side and he filed a sick call slip and an administraiive remedy procedure (ARP) complain,, but was not seen until two weeks later. Compl. 3. Yet the medical records show that Gant was seen by medical staff on the day following the incident and did not complain about injuries sustained day before. Med. Recs. 27, ECF No. 13-7. He did complain on November 7 and 8, 2017, however. Id. at 22, 25. According to Gant, when he was seen by the doctor, he was told he had severe nerve damage and would need an x-ray. Compl3. He alleges that, as of the date he filed the complaint (November 15, 2017,, he had not received "proper medical attention." Id.

         The record shows that Gant did file an ARP, claiming that Defendants physically searched his rectum and forced his buttocks apart. Fitch Deci. & Prison Recs. 3-7. His claim was investigated on November 7, 2017 and determined to be without merit. Id. Gant did not appeal the dismissal of his ARP to the Inmate Grievance Office (IGO). Fitch Decl. & Prison Recs.

         Gant alleges that the named Defendants used excessive force in violation of his Eighth Amendment right to remain free from cruel and unusual punishment. Compl. 4. He claims Defendants sexually assaulted him in violation of his Fifth Amendment rights and exhibited deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. As relief, Gant seeks monetary damages. Id. at 2.

         Defendants argue that Gant has failed to allege a claim of constitutional rights violation regarding use of force; that the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) is entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity; the complaint must be dismissed due to Gant's failure to exhaust administrative remedies; and Gant has failed to demonstrate that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need. Defs.' Mem.

         Standard of Review

         Summary 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 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). When considering cross-motions for summary judgment, "the court must view each motion in a light most favorable to the non-movant." Linzer v. Sebelius, No. AW-07-597, 2009 WL 2778269, at *4 (D. Md. Aug. 28, 2009); see Mellen v. Bunting, 327 F.3d 355, 363 (4th Cir. 2003). I view the relevant facts in the light most favorable to Gant as the party opposing summary judgment. See Mellen v. Bunting, 327 F.3d 355, 363 (4th Cir. 2003); Lynn v. Monarch Recovery Mgmt., Inc., No. WDQ-11-2824, 2013 WL 1247815, at *1 n.5 (D. Md. Mar. 25, 2013).


         Claims against DPSCS Gant brings his claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. S 1983. Section 1983 provides a remedy for individuals who have been deprived of their constitutional rights under color of state law. See 42 U.S.C. S 1983 (2012); City of ...

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