United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Nathanial Smith, Sr. brings this pro se action
against Correctional Officers at the Maryland Correctional
Training Center (“MCTC”), including C.O. II Brian
Strait and C.O. II Kevin R. Tew (collectively,
“Defendants”),  alleging that Defendants failed
to protect Plaintiff from an assault on the evening of
January 11, 2015. See ECF Nos. 1; 28. Presently
pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment,
ECF No. 24, and Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment,
construed as a response in opposition to Defendants'
Motion, ECF No. 29. No hearing is necessary. Loc. R. 105.6
(D. Md. 2016). For the following reasons, Defendants'
Motion, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, is
January 11, 2015 at approximately 6:00 p.m., Plaintiff was
walking back to his housing unit from the dinner hall along
with a group of other inmates. ECF No. 24-2 at 5 (Serious
Incident Report MCTC # 15-004). At some point along the way, he
was cut on the neck by an unknown assailant. Id.
Plaintiff then approached a correctional officer who was in
the area near Yard Post 4 and stated, “This shit is
crazy.” Id. at 7. Upon noticing that Plaintiff
had a cut along the right side of his neck, the officer
immediately escorted him to the dispensary for medical
treatment. Id. While being escorted to the
dispensary, Plaintiff told the officer that he did not know
who had cut him. Id.
at the dispensary observed that Plaintiff had a 5-inch
laceration along his right jaw line. Id. at 8.
Plaintiff appeared “alert and oriented, speaking in
sentences, in mild distress due to event happening, appears
to be in little discomfort, vital signs stable.”
Id. Medical staff did not consider Plaintiff's
injury to be life-threatening, but given the length of the
laceration and its location, Plaintiff was transported to a
local hospital for stitches. Id. at 5.
Tew was on duty at MCTC on January 11, 2015, working the 4:00
p.m. to 12:00 a.m. shift assigned to Yard Post 2.
See ECF No. 24-3 ¶ 3. When Tew's shift
began at 4:00 p.m., he was stationed at Yard Post 2
monitoring inmate movement as inmates went to and from their
housing units to the dinner hall. Id. ¶ 4. Tew
was standing approximately 15 yards from the paved center
walk the inmates used going to and from the dinner hall.
Id. According to Tew, there was a steady flow of
hundreds of inmates going to and from the dinner hall walking
abreast on the center walk approximately five to six persons
across. Id. at ¶ 5. The inmate movement for
their dinner meal went from approximately 4:10 p.m. to 6:15
p.m. Id. Tew did not witness any assault while he
monitored inmate movement. Id. at ¶ 6.
Moreover, prior to the incident, Tew had no knowledge that
Plaintiff might be the target of assault by another inmate.
Id. Plaintiff never informed Tew of any potential
threat of harm to himself by another inmate. Id.
conducted a search of the Yard Post 2 area at about 6:30 p.m.
and recovered a homemade weapon approximately 30 yard past
where he was stationed during inmate movement. ECF No. 24-2
at 14; ECF No. 24-3 ¶ 7. The weapon was made from a
razor blade clipped to a broken pen, which Tew placed in the
contraband locker. ECF No. 24-2 at 14. Photographs of
Plaintiff's injuries as well as the homemade weapon
believed to be used in the assault were recorded by
correctional staff. Id. at 18-20.
Strait was on duty at MCTC on January 11, 2015, working the
4:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. shift assigned to Yard Post 1. ECF
No. 24-4 at ¶ 3. When Strait's shift began at 4:00
p.m., he was stationed at Yard Post 1, which is the Yard Post
located nearest to the dinner hall on the opposite side of
the paved center walk from Yard Post 2. Id. ¶
4. Strait monitored inmate movement to and from the housing
units to the dinner hall. Id. He was standing
approximately 15 yards from the center walk. Id.
Strait had no knowledge that Plaintiff might be the target of
assault by another inmate. Id. Plaintiff never
informed Strait of any potential threat of harm to himself by
another inmate. Id.
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Tew and Strait
were not at their assigned posts, which Plaintiffs claims
constitutes negligence, misconduct, and deliberate
indifference pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See
ECF Nos. 1; 28.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
motion is styled as a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for summary
judgment under Rule 56. If the Court considers matter outside
the pleadings, as the Court does here, the Court must treat a
motion to dismiss as one for summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(d). When the Court treats a motion to dismiss as a motion
for summary judgment, “[a]ll parties must be given a
reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is
pertinent to the motion.” Id. It is obvious
that when the moving party styles its motion as a motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim or, alternatively,
motion for summary judgment, as is the case here, and the
nonmoving party attaches exhibits to its opposition, the
nonmoving party is aware that materials outside the pleadings
are before the Court, and the Court can treat the motion as
one for summary judgment. See Laughlin v. Metropolitan
Wash. Airports. Auth., 149 F.3d 253, 260-61 (4th Cir.
1998). Plaintiff has filed a response to Defendants'
Motion, attaching additional materials not found within his
Complaint. ECF No. 29.
judgment is appropriate if “materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . .
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials,
” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), show 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); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322 (1986). The party moving for summary judgment bears
the burden of demonstrating that no genuine dispute exists as
to material facts. Pulliam Inv., Co. v. Cameo
Props., 810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). If the
moving party demonstrates that there is no evidence to
support the non-moving party's case, the burden shifts to
the non-moving party to identify specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial. See Celotex, 477
U.S. at 322-23. A material fact is one that “might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing
law.” Spriggs v. Diamond Auto Glass, 242 F.3d
179, 183 (4th Cir. 2011) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A dispute of
material fact is only genuine if sufficient evidence favoring
the non-moving party exists for the trier of fact to return a
verdict for that party. Id. at 248. However, the
nonmoving party “cannot create a genuine issue of
material fact through mere speculation or the building of one
inference upon another.” Beale v. Hardy, 769
F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985). The Court may only rely on
facts supported in the record, not simply assertions in the
pleadings, in order to fulfill its “affirmative
obligation . . . to prevent ‘factually unsupported
claims or defenses' from proceeding to trial.”
Felty v., Grave-Humphreys Co., 818 F.2d 1126, 1128
(4th Cir. 1987) (quoting Celotex, 477 U.S. at
324-25). When ruling on a motion for summary judgment,
“[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed,
and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his
favor.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
argue that Plaintiff's claim does not rise to the level
of deliberate indifference cognizable under § 1983. ECF
No. 24-1. “The Eighth Amendment's prohibition on
‘cruel and unusual punishments' imposes certain
basic duties on prison officials.” Raynor v.
Pugh, 817 F.3d 123, 127 (4th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994)). Those
duties “include maintaining humane conditions of
confinement, including the provision of adequate medical care
and . . . reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the
inmates.” Id. (quoting Farmer, 511
U.S. at 832). “[N]ot every injury suffered by a
prisoner at the hands of another translates into
constitutional liability for prison officials responsible for
the victim's safety.” Makdessi v. ...