United States District Court, D. Maryland
Catherine C. Blake United States District Judge
Bryant-El is incarcerated at North Branch Correctional
Institution (NBCI) in Cumberland, Maryland. On May 24, 2018,
he filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
alleging that state defendants and medical contractor
employees violated his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments. On August 20, 2018, Defendants Tammy Buser,
L.P.N., Ryan Browning, R.N., Dawn Hawk, R.N., and Stacie
Mast, R.N. (collectively, the Medical Defendants) filed a
Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary
Judgment, ECF 10, to which Cortney-El filed an opposition
accompanied by his affidavit, ECF 17; ECF 17-1.
December 14, 2018, Commissioner of Correction Dayena
Corcoran, Lieutenant Walter Iser, Sergeant William Thomas,
C.O. II Brian Fann, C.O. II Bobby J. Ziler, C.O. II Douglas
E. Frazee, CO. E David J. Donaldson, Sr., C.O. II David C.
Robey, and C.O. II Charles L. Barb, (collectively, the State
Defendants) filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative,
Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF 24. On January 9, 2019,
Bryant-El filed a Motion to Extend the Time to File a Reply
to the State Defendants' Motion until February 2, 2019,
ECF 29, which the court granted, ECF 30.
claims against the Medical Defendants are ripe for
disposition and will be considered here. His claims against
the State Defendants will be considered after they become
ripe for adjudication.
January 26, 2016, Bryant-El, then incarcerated at Western
Correctional Institution (WCI), was involved in an incident
during which WCI officers administered pepper spray. ECF 1 at
p. 5. Bryant-El claims that Defendants Browning and Hawk
improperly examined and treated him for pepper spray exposure
on January 26, 2017. He states that Defendants Buser and Mast
falsely reported that he had refused to attend sick call
visits. ECF 1 at p. 26. He further claims
Browning, Hawk, and Buser retaliated against him for his
actions against correctional officers stemming from the
January 26, 2017, incident. ECF 1 at pp. 12, 13, 18. As
relief, Bryant-El is seeking punitive and compensatory
reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a court
"must accept as true all of the factual allegations
contained in the complaint" and must "draw all
reasonable inferences [from those facts] in favor of the
plaintiff." E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v.
Kolon Indus., Inc., 637 F.3d 435, 440 (4th Cir. 2011)
(internal quotations marks and citations omitted). Where, as
here, the plaintiff is self-represented, pro se pleadings are
"to be liberally construed" and are "held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
However, even a pro se litigant's complaint must be
dismissed if it does not allege a "plausible claim for
relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679
(2009) (internal citation omitted).
Supreme Court of the United States explained a
"plaintiff's obligation to provide the
'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief requires
more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation
of the elements of a cause of action will not do."
Bell All Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)
(internal citations omitted). Nonetheless, the complaint does
not need "detailed factual allegations" to survive
a motion to dismiss. Id. (internal citation
omitted). Instead, "once a claim has been stated
adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts
consistent with the allegations in the complaint."
Id. at 563 (internal citation omitted). To survive a
motion to dismiss, "a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570). "A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, at 678
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). "[O]nce a
claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by
showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in
the complaint." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563
(internal citation omitted).
Judgment is granted if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). The Supreme Court has clarified that this does not
mean that any factual dispute will defeat the motion:
By its very terms, this standard provides that the mere
existence of some alleged factual dispute between
the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported
motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be
no genuine issue of material fact.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
247-48 (1986) (emphasis in original).
party opposing a properly supported motion for summary
judgment 'may not rest upon the mere allegations or
denials of [his] pleadings,' but rather must 'set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial.'" Boitchat v. Baltimore Ravens
Football Club, Inc.,346 F.3d 514, 522 (4th Cir. 2003)
(alteration in original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e))
(further internal citations omitted). The court should
"view the evidence in the light most favorable to ...
the nonmovant, and draw all inferences in her favor without
weighing the evidence or assessing the witness'
credibility." Dennis v. Columbia Colleton Med. Ctr.,
Inc.,290 F.3d 639, 645 (4th Cir. 2002) (internal
citation omitted). The court, however, also must abide by the
"affirmative obligation of the trial judge to prevent
factually unsupported claims and defenses from proceeding to
trial." Bouchat, 346 F.3d at 526 (quoting
Drewitt v. Pratt,999 F.2d 774, 778-79 (4th Cir.
1993) and citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 323-24 (1986)) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Against this standard, the court recognizes that ...