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Enow v. Foxwell

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 8, 2019

NDOKEY ENOW, Plaintiff,
v.
RICKY FOXWELL, Warden, WALTER WEST, Assistant Warden, STEPHEN ELLIOTT, Lieutenant, MIKE MUIR, Management Supervisor, PAUL KNIGHT, CMS II, [1] Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Paul W. Grimm United States District Judge.

         Ndokey Enow, who now is incarcerated at Roxbury Correctional Institute, formerly was incarcerated at Eastern Correctional Institution (ECI) in Westover, Maryland.[2] Enow claims that, while he was at ECI, he was assaulted on July 25, and July 27, 2017, and these attacks demonstrate a pattern of deliberate indifference to his safety in retaliation for his filing of lawsuits. Comp1. 9 ¶¶ 19-20, ECF No. 1; Feb. 16, 2018 Mem. Op. 29, 33, ECF No. 21. Defendants, Warden Ricky Foxwell, Assistant Warden Walter West, Lt. Stephen Elliot and Case Manager Mike Muir filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 32, with a Memorandum in Support, ECF No. 32-1, and verified exhibits and affidavits, ECF Nos. 32-3 - 32-11. Enow filed an Opposition, ECF No. 35, with declarations, ECF No. 35-2, which he later supplemented, ECF Nos. 36, 37. Defendants filed a Reply to the Opposition. ECF No. 41. The parties have briefed the issues, and no hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). Because the undisputed facts show that Defendants were not personally involved in the alleged assaults on Enow or deliberately indifferent to his need for safety, Defendants' Motion, treated as a Motion for Summary Judgment, will be granted.[3]

         BACKGROUND

         Enow initiated this lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on August 9, 2017, by filing a verified Complaint. Compl. 12. Enow filed a motion for a temporary restraining order related to the allegations in this suit on August 29, 2017. ECF No. 4. Among Enow's allegations was the claim that his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated because prison officials told inmates that Enow is a “snitch, ” which led to assaults against him. Compl. 9-10. Enow states the “most extreme-failure-to protect claim is when prison officials use inmates to do their dirty work by intentionally setting up an inmate to be attacked by other inmates.” Id. at 10. Enow seeks monetary damages against Defendants in their official and individual capacities for pain and suffering and mental anguish. Id. at 1, 12.

         On February 16, 2018, I denied Enow's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order, dismissed claims 1-9 of the original Complaint, [4] and ordered that the following claims would proceed: (1) Enow was allowed to be assaulted at ECI on July 25, 2017; (2) Enow was allowed to be assaulted at ECI on July 27, 2017; and (3) these assaults represent a pattern of deliberate indifference to Enow's safety in retaliation for his filing of other lawsuits. Feb. 16, 2018 Mem. Op. 29, 33; Feb. 16, 2018 Order 3 ¶ 3, ECF No. 22. Additional facts and the applicable standard of review are outlined in the Memorandum Opinion that accompanied that Order and are incorporated here by reference. See Feb. 16, 2018 Mem. Op. 6, 26-33. They are repeated only as necessary to resolve the issues under review here.

         At the time of the assaults at issue, Enow was in ECI segregation Housing Unit 4 due to violations of prison rules. Enow Traffic History, ECF No. 32-4 at 2; Stephen Elliott Decl. ¶ 3, ECF No. 32-3.

         On July 25, 2017 at 5:00 p.m., Enow informed Officer Paul Hudson that his cellmate Mark Jackson had assaulted him. At 5:10 p.m. Enow was taken to the medical unit for evaluation. Nurse Nikki Frey observed that other than a mild facial contusion, Enow did not have any injuries. Elliott Decl. ¶ 10; see also Prison Records, ECF No. 32-4, at 8, 10. After the incident, Enow was moved to another cell. Enow Traffic History, ECF No. 32-4, at 2.

         Enow's next cellmate was William Spicer. While conducting rounds on July 27, 2017 at 8:10 p.m., Officer Hudson observed Enow bleeding from his left eye. Notice of Rule Violation, ECF No. 32-4, at 11. Enow was escorted to the medical unit where Bruce Ford, P.A., noted a shallow laceration on the left eye and a laceration on the upper lip. Medical Records 2, ECF No. 36-5. Enow's lip was sutured. Enow was also provided ice and Tylenol. Id. Spicer was moved to a different cell after the incident. Spicer Traffic History, ECF No. 32-4, at 5. Spicer and Enow were placed on each other's enemy list. Enemy Alert, ECF No. 32-4, at 6-7. At 8:55 p.m. on July 27, 2017, Enow completed an inmate statement about the assault. Inmate Statement, ECF No. 32-4, at 13. Enow claimed the fight arose because Spicer was interfering with his reading. Enow wrote: “This guy is suffering from mental illness and I don't think he was conscious of the action.” Id. Of import, Enow's contemporaneous statement made no mention of retaliation for filing lawsuits, Defendants' involvements in the assault, or his purported status as a “snitch” as a cause of the incident. Id.

         With his opposition to Defendants' dispositive motion, Enow filed two declarations. The first is a declaration dated March 1, 2018, from inmate Antron Taylor, DOC #402078. Relevant here, Taylor declares there are “some allegations or rumors going around in the housing unit made by some correctional staff and other inmates that Enow is a government snitch.” Taylor Decl. ¶ 3, ECF 35-2, at 2. The second declaration, dated March 23, 2018, is from Inmate Aruis K. Marcelin, DOC # 442-472. Marcelin declares there are rumors around the housing unit made by correctional staff that Enow is a government snitch. Marcelin Decl. ¶ 3, ECF No. 35-2, at 5. Neither declarant, however, identifies any Defendant as the source of the rumor. See Taylor Decl. ¶ 3, ECF 35-2, at 2; Marcelin Decl. ¶ 3, ECF No. 35-2, at 5.

         DISCUSSION

         Defendants move for dismissal of the claims against them or for summary judgment in their favor, asserting they did not personally participate in the wrongdoings alleged and Enow fails to demonstrate they acted with deliberate indifference. Defs.' Mem.

         Warden Foxwell and Assistant Warden West

         Personal fault is necessary to establish liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, whether based on the defendant's own conduct or another's conduct in executing the defendant's policies or customs. See Monell v. New York City Dep't of Social Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978); West v. Atkins, 815 F.2d 993, 996 (4th Cir. 1987), rev'd on other grounds, 487 U.S. 42 (1988) (no allegation of personal involvement relevant to the claimed deprivation); Vinnedge v. Gibbs, 550 F.2d 926, 928 (4th Cir. 1977) (for an individual defendant to be held liable pursuant to § 1983, it must be “affirmatively shown that the official charged acted personally in the deprivation of the plaintiff's rights”) (quoting Bennett v. Gravelle, 323 F.Supp. 203, 214 (D. Md. 1971), aff'd, 451F.2d 1011 (4th Cir. 1971)). An individual cannot be held liable under § 1983 under a theory of respondeat superior.[5] See Monell, 436 U.S. at 690; Love-Lane v. Martin, 355 F.3d 766, 782 (4th Cir. 2004) (no respondeat superior liability under § 1983). Thus, to establish § 1983 liability, a plaintiff must show that a defendant was personally involved in the alleged deprivation of his constitutional rights, Vinnedge, 550 F.2d at 928-29, or establish the defendant's liability as a supervisor, see Shaw v. Stroud, 13 F.3d 791, 799 (4th Cir. 1994). A defendant may be liable under the theory of supervisory liability in a § 1983 action if (1) the defendant had actual or constructive knowledge that a subordinate was engaged in conduct that posed a pervasive risk of a constitutional injury; (2) the defendant's response to that knowledge was so inadequate as to show deliberate inference to or tacit authorization of the alleged offensive practices; and (3) there was an affirmative causal link between defendant's inaction and the alleged constitutional injury. Shaw, 13 F.3d at 799.

         Enow alleges that on July 25, 2017, he was assaulted by his cellmate Mark Jackson based on allegations he is a government snitch. Compl. 5, 9. He also alleges that two days later, after he was assigned a new cellmate, he was assaulted by his new cellmate William Spicer, again due to allegations that Enow is a government snitch. Id. at 9-10. Enow faults Warden Ricky Foxwell because he is “responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of prisoners under his supervision.” Id. at 3. Similarly, Enow faults Assistant Warden Walter West because he is “responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of prisoners under his supervision.” Id. Importantly, nowhere does Enow specifically claim ...


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