United States District Court, D. Maryland
W. Grimm, United States District Judge
Tyree McClellan filed this civil rights action alleging that
he was assaulted by a correctional officer and suffered
various deprivations following the assault. ECF No.
4.Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss
or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 27, and
a Memorandum in Support, ECF No. 27-1. Plaintiff filed a
Motion to Strike, ECF No. 32, and also filed an Opposition to
Defendants' Motion, ECF 34. These motions are now ripe
for review. The Court finds a hearing in these matters
unnecessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For
the reasons that follow, Plaintiff's Motion to Strike is
DENIED, and Defendants' dispositive Motion, construed as
a Motion for Summary Judgment, is DENIED as to Defendant
Monyei and GRANTED as to the remaining Defendants. I will
order the appointment of counsel for Plaintiff for the
limited purpose of representing Plaintiff during the
discovery and dispositive motions (if any) stages of
litigation, but if Plaintiff's claim against Monyei
survives summary judgment, representation may extend to
representing Plaintiff at trial.
Claims and Sworn Opposition
Plaintiff's unsworn Complaint and Amended Complaint
predominately concern a fight that took place between
Plaintiff and Officer Monyei on May 20, 2017, while Plaintiff
was a pretrial detainee at the Maryland Reception,
Diagnostic, and Classification Center (MRDCC). On May 20,
Plaintiff and his cellmate were instructed to switch cells
because their cell door was not closing properly. Am. Compl.
3. Officer Olaleye accused Plaintiff and his cellmate of
tampering with the lock. Id. Plaintiff claims that
Olaleye “show[ed] animosity and dislike towards [him],
” antagonized Plaintiff and his cellmate, and
threatened Plaintiff with serious bodily harm. Id.
However, Plaintiff does not allege that Olaleye physically
touched him. Thereafter, Defendant Monyei came to
Plaintiff's cell and also began antagonizing Plaintiff
and asking Plaintiff “if [he] was trying to
and his cellmate begin complying with the officers'
instructions to move to a new cell. Id. At some
point, Plaintiff left his original cell and then returned to
that cell to pack his property. Id. According to
Plaintiff, after re-entering the cell, he heard the door shut
behind him and turned around, when Officer Monyei punched
Plaintiff twice with a closed fist. Id. at 3-4.
Plaintiff alleges that Monyei
then grabbed me trying to restrain me, being in fear that
something was going to happen I broke loose from his grasp,
in which he threw several more punches in which cause my head
to hit the cell hook used for hanging up clothes, I began to
bleed immediately, I feel to the ground and grabbed on to
Officer T. Monyai because in which [sic] I was balled up in
the fetal position he was still throwing massive blows to my
ribs and elbows to my back.
Id. at 4. Olaleye then opened the cell door and
Sergeant Lewis removed Monyei from Plaintiff. Id. In
his Opposition, Plaintiff clarifies that Officer Olaleye was
responsible for closing and locking the cell door and failed
to promptly call for staff assistance, in contravention of
institutional policy. Pl.'s Opp'n 2-3.
reports that following the assault he was bleeding profusely.
Compl. 4. He states that Captain Braxton restrained him,
escorted him to the medical department, and denied
Plaintiff's request to be transported to an outside
medical facility. Id. Plaintiff also makes
assertions that Braxton was “being very hostile”
toward him during this time and refused to let Plaintiff
write a statement about the incident.
Plaintiff was medically screened, he was placed in
segregation, where Sergeant Kpakiwa was supposed to
“make sure [Plaintiff] got [a] shower, ” but
failed to do so. Id. However, Plaintiff acknowledges
that he received a shower the following morning. Plaintiff
alleges that he also told Kpakiwa that he was “trying
to write statement and that [he] need[ed] to go back to
medical [because his] head was in pain and needed bandage[;]
bandaid didn't help stop the bleeding, ” but
Kpakiwa never gave him a statement form. Id. He
further states that unspecified individuals (Plaintiff merely
says “they”) failed to “keep a check on
[him]” or clean/bandage his wound, so Plaintiff was
forced to use a towel on the wound. Id.
Plaintiff's Complaint, Plaintiff's Opposition to
Defendants' Motion is sworn. Pl.'s Opp'n 4. The
majority of the Opposition presents legal conclusions, such
as that Defendants violated the Division of Corrections'
(DOC) use of force manual. Id. at 1-4. For example,
Plaintiff contends that Olaleye should have called for staff
assistance before closing the door on Plaintiff and Monyei,
and that Monyei and Olaleye should have called their
supervisor as soon as Plaintiff became non-compliant with
their orders. Id. at 2-3. Further, Plaintiff
contends that DOC policy states that any inmate who receives
a head injury is supposed to taken to the hospital for
further evaluation, yet Plaintiff was not. Id. at 4.
Plaintiff also alleges (in conclusory fashion), for the first
time in his Opposition, that Kpakiwa should be held liable
under principles of supervisory liability because he
“was well aware of the situation, but chose to ignore
the police and procedure of the use of force manual, and told
[Olaleye and Monyei] to handle the situation.”
Id. at 4. However, none of Plaintiff's filings
explain why he believes Kpakiwa had knowledge of the force
that Monyei was going to use.
facts within his personal knowledge, Plaintiff asserts in his
Opposition that he “clearly showed that [he] was not a
threat to the officers Mr. Olaleye or Mr. Monyai” and
that Plaintiff's cellmate “did not pose [a] threat
to [Monyai and Olaleye], he was only showing concern for
[Plaintiff] who was being assaulted by Officer Monyai inside
the cell.” Id. at 3-4.
through sworn affidavits, describe the incident differently.
Monyei asserts that after receiving a radio call from Officer
Olaleye requesting assistance in moving Plaintiff to another
I arrived at the cell and directed Mr. McClellan and cellmate
to pack and move cells. After I gave several orders to move,
the cellmate moved while Mr. McClellan refused. Initially,
Mr. McClellan briefly came out of the cell then returned and
refused to leave. I entered the cell to assist the Plaintiff
with his move. As soon as I entered the cell, Mr. McClellan
struck me in my right eye and then in my mouth. Officer
Olaleye shut the door to prevent the escalation of the fight
and curtail the cellmate from joining the fight. We continued
to tussle until additional officers arrived and could secure
the cellmate and Mr. McClellan.
Monyei Aff., ECF No. 27-6. Olaleye's affidavit echoes
As Officer Monyei entered the cell, the Plaintiff struck him.
I shut the door to prevent the escalation of the fight and
curtail the cellmate from joining the fight. I radioed for
officer assistance to help detain the cellmate so I could
open the cell door and assist Officer Monyei. The cellmate
became animate[d] and blocked my access to the cell door. I
attempted to push the cellmate away to unlock the door and
gain access to the cell. When the other officers arrived,
they restrained the cellmate. I was able to unlock the cell
door at which point officers restrained Mr. McClellan.
Olaleye Aff., ECF No. 27-5.
who states that he was responding to Olaleye's radio call
for assistance, asserts that he “entered the cell and
proceeded to cuff Mr. McClellan, escorting him to medical.
The nurse treated Mr. McClellan for a small laceration to the
head.” Braxton Aff. 2, ECF No. 27-7. Braxton further
asserts that “McClellan refused to provide a written
statement of the incident” but that Braxton “took
photographs of Mr. McClellan . . . while in the medical
the Defendants states that he did not deny Plaintiff access
to medical attention and did not harass or threaten
Plaintiff. Monyei Aff.; Olaleye Aff.; Braxton Aff.; Kpakiwa
Aff., ECF No. 27-4. Kpakiwa and Olaleye insist that they did
not have any physical contact with Plaintiff, while Braxton
insists that the only contact he had with Plaintiff was in
connection with handcuffing him and escorting him to medical.
Olaleye Aff.; Braxton Aff.; Kpakiwa Aff.
certified medical records reflect that he was seen by
Registered Nurse Kathleen Doebling shortly after the
altercation. Med. Recs. 3, ECF No. 27-10. According to
Doebling's medical notes, Plaintiff was actively bleeding
and had a wound on his left scalp that was two centimeters in
length, though, at a subsequent medical appointment, the
wound was described as three centimeters long. Id.
at 3, 7. Doebling, who did not note any evidence of infection
and did not observe other wounds, cleaned all visible blood
from Plaintiff and applied ointment. I ...