United States District Court, D. Maryland
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Tracey Hawes, a Maryland prisoner, filed a 42 U.S.C. §
1983 action against former Eastern Correctional Institution
(“ECI”) Warden John Wolfe and eleven ECI officers
alleging that he was kept under unconstitutional conditions
of confinement when housed on “staff alert”
status between May 4 and May 13, 2016. ECF No. 1. In his
unverified complaint, Hawes seeks compensatory damages of
$200, 000.00 and punitive damages of $350,
does not contest the propriety of the cell search that
preceded his removal from general population housing, nor
does he complain about disciplinary sanctions imposed after
contraband was uncovered during the search. Instead, his
claims focus on the restrictions and conditions imposed upon
him during the ten days during which he was confined on staff
move to dismiss or alternatively for summary judgment in
their favor, arguing inter alia that Hawes'
Eighth Amendment and due process rights were not violated.
ECF No. 21. To date, Hawes has not opposed Defendants'
dispositive motion. The motion may be decided without a
hearing. See Local. Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For
reasons set forth herein, summary judgment will be entered in
favor of Defendants.
Plaintiff's Statement of Facts
contends that on May 4, 2016, he was escorted from Housing
Unit #6 to Housing Unit #4, a segregation unit, for violation
of an institutional rule. ECF No. 1, p. 6. Once there, he was
stripped of clothing, given one sheet, and left to sleep on a
floor infested with bacteria. Id., pp. 6-7. Hawes also
states that he was not provided a mattress, toiletries, soap,
clothing, mail, stationary, legal documents,  mail,
stationery in violation of ECI Institutional Directive
(“ID”) 110.0006.1. Id. When he inquired
why he was in a cell in such condition, he was informed that
when on staff alert status, a prisoner's clothing was
removed for five days. Id. at 8.
protested the conditions to which he was subjected by holding
open his feed slot. Id. at 8. He complains that food
was occasionally withheld between May 4 and May 9, 2016, by
Defendants Hall, Harris, Christopher, Collins, Waters and
Fontaine because he kept the feed slot open and refused to
walk to the back of the cell. Id. Hawes states that
he never refused his meals, and that in addition to an Eighth
Amendment violation, the withholding of food violated ID
110.0006.1, which states, “food shall never be used as
a form of punishment.” Id.
also claims that from May 4, 2016, through May 13, 2016, he
was not permitted to take a shower or have a daily hour of
recreation in violation of state law, federal law, and
institutional rules. Id.
alleges that he was denied proper medical care and access to
sick call slips and did not receive his .81 mg of daily
aspirin taken for a heart condition and treatment for chest
pain. Id. at 8-9. As a result, he claims to suffer
now from depression, anxiety, and insomnia for which he now
takes Doxepin. Id. at p. 9.
Defendants' Statement of Facts
action represents Hawes' second lawsuit concerning events
arising out of the May 4, 2016, search of his cell, located
on Housing Unit #6. On that date, three ECI
officers conducted a search of Hawes' cell, and
found Hawes wearing a prohibited cell phone watch. A charging
cable also was discovered. ECF No. 21-3, Notice of Inmate
Rule Violation #2016-015; see also Hawes v. Foxwell, et
al., Civil Action No. DKC-17-2598 (D. Md.)
(“Hawes I”),  ECF No. 11-2 at 4-5
(Notice of Inmate Rule Violation); ECF No. 11-3, ¶ 4
(Blake Decl.); ECF No. 11-4, ¶ 4 (Clayton Decl.); ECF
No. 11-5, ¶ 4 (Arndt Decl.). The three officers escorted
Hawes to the dayroom to be strip-searched. Hawes I,
ECF No. 11-2 at 4. While in the dayroom, Hawes threatened
staff and the prisoner who had informed staff about the cell
phone watch. ECF No. 21-3; see also Hawes I, Id. He
received a notice of inmate rule violation for possessing the
contraband and for threatening staff and other inmates, and
was taken to Housing Unit #4, where he was placed on
administrative segregation pending adjustment on a level one
staff alert due to his behavior, threats, and violation of
inmate rules. ECF No. 21-3; see also Hawes I, ECF
No. 11-2 at 5-6, 11. Hawes later pleaded guilty to three rule
violations and received ninety days in disciplinary
segregation. Hawes I, id., ECF No. 11-2 at 9-11.
was taken to Cell B1 in Housing Unit 4 on May 4, 2016, and
placed on “Staff Alert Level I” status. ECF No.
21-4, Record of Segregation Confinement at 1; ECF No. 21-5,
Traffic History; ECF No. 21-6, Staff Alert Memorandums at 5.
As defined in ECI Directive ECI.110.0006, staff alert status
is “[a] temporary custody status for the retention of
assaultive or aggressive inmates on disciplinary or
administrative segregation, who have exhibited behavior that
is a threat to the security and order of the institution or
who threaten harm to themselves, others or property.”
ECF No. 21-7, Facility Directive Number ECI.110.0006 at 3.
Under the Directive, Staff Alert Restriction Levels I, II,
and III are used for progressive control of aggressive or
assaultive prisoners and a worksheet (id.,
Attachment B) is provided as a guideline that does not
restrict the sanctions that may be imposed. Id. at
12, 16. A prisoner's behavior is evaluated every day and,
if he is compliant, he goes to the next level of staff alert
(from Staff Alert Level I to Staff Alert Level II to Staff
Alert Level III) and will be removed from Staff Alert Status
completely in five days. ECF No. 21-8, Declaration of Michael
Daugherty, ¶ 7. If non-compliant (e.g., by refusing to
move to the back of the cell or holding open the feed-up
slot), he will remain on Staff Alert Status for a longer
prisoners are strip-searched after being transferred to a
Staff Alert cell, then receive a cool down period of roughly
half an hour before staff attempt to interact to provide the
paper gown and booties provided to those on Staff Alert Level
I. Id. at ¶6. If a prisoner does not comply
with officers' orders to move to the back of the cell,
the officers will not open the slot to give him the paper
gown and booties, thus avoiding a situation where the
prisoner could assault them. Id.
is no bunk or mattress inside the Staff Alert cell, although
Staff Alert Level II prisoners may receive a mattress at the
discretion of the officer in charge. Id., ¶ 8.
Medical personnel walk by the Staff Alert cells daily to
provide necessary medical attention. Id., ¶ 9.
Prescription medications are handed out if prisoners comply
with officers' orders. Id. If a prisoner does
not comply with officers' orders (e.g., to move to the
back of the cell and close the feed-up slot), the officers
will not open the slot and put themselves in a situation
where they are subject to assault. Id., ¶ 12.
Prisoners are ordered to the rear of ...