United States District Court, D. Maryland
VICTOR WINEGARDNER,  #311177, #1196002, a/k/a Victor Winegardener, Plaintiff
KATHLEEN GREEN, WARDEN,  DAVID ALDERS, Maintenance Supervisor, MIKE HUNTEMAN, CMO, ROBERT MARSHALL, CMO, Defendants
W. GRIMM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Plaintiff Victor Winegardner is incarcerated at Eastern
Correctional Institution (ECI) in Westover, Maryland. On
October 12, 2017, he filed an unverified complaint pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. S 1983, alleging that Defendants Warden Kathleen
Green, Officer David Alders, Officer Mike Hunteman, and
Officer Robert Marshall acted with gross negligence and
deliberate indifference to his safety. Compl. 3, ECF No. 1.
Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment, ECF No. 12, along
with a Memorandum in Support, ECF No. 12-1, and supporting
verified exhibits, ECF Nos. 12-2, 12-3, and declarations, ECF
Nos. 12-4 - 12-7. Winegardner was provided an opportunity to
file a response and subsequently granted three extensions of
time to do so. ECF Nos. 13, 15, 17, 19. The latest deadline
has passed without a response. See Docket. I find a
hearing unnecessary to resolve the issues. See Loc.
R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). Defendants' Motion will be
treated as a Motion for Summary Judgment and granted for
reasons to follow.
worked in the maintenance shop at ECI but had "zero
training or experience" in heating, ventilation, and air
conditioning ("HVAC".. CompI. 3. On October 15,
2014,  he was "told to grab a grease
gun" and help Officer Hunteman, who works with HVAC.
They went to a mechanical room in an attic area with which
Winegardner was not familiar. Id; Incident Rep. 2,
ECF No. 12-2. According to Winegardner, Hunteman, who had
forgotten his flashlight, "comp1ain[ed] about the
burn[t] out lights, and poor visibility" in the
mechanical room. CompI. 3. Hunteman instructed Winegardner
"to grease the motor attached to a big air handler"
and asked him to "check and see if the motor came to a
stop." Id. Winegardner states:
I could not hear if the motor was moving or not. Due to the
poor lighting, all I could see was the sillouette [sic] of a
belt that appear to be stopped. I attempted to tap the belt,
and my hand was pulled into the motor.
Id. Winegardner gave the same description of the
incident in his October 16, 2014 Inmate Statement. Inmate
Statement, Incident Rep. 18.
his hand caught in the motor, portions of his index and
middle fingers were severed. Compl. 3; Incident Rep. 19-20;
Intelligence and Investigative Division ("IID")
Rep. 1, 2, 11, ECF No. 12-3. Winegardner claims that he also
injured his right thumb, neck, back, and hip as a result of
this incident. Compl. 3.
account of the incident differs in one important detail.
Specifically, Hunteman states that after Winegardner reported
that he could not hear if the motor was moving, he told
Winegardner "that's fine we'll take the cover
off. Don't put your hands in there," but
"seconds later Victor [Winegardner] started screaming
and had stuck his fingers in the pully [sic]." Notice of
Incident, Incident Rep. 11; Hunteman Decl. ¶ 3, ECF No.
12-7 (stating that he adopts the statements attributed to him
in the Serious Incident Report and IID
Report). Additionally, Hunteman stated that he "had
recently killed the power to both air handlers that [the
maintenance workers] were serving." Notice of Incident,
Incident Rep. 11.
Martin Czosnowski, Blain Blackburn, and William Davis were
working with Hunteman and Winegardner in the mechanical room
at the time of the incident, Incident Rep. 11, 15, 16117.
Czosnowski's statement of the incident corroborates
Hunteman's account. He states that Hunteman told
Winegardner "not to put his hand into belt's area
until it was completely stop [sic] so we could take off
cover. But he had already tried to check belt's [sic]
before it was stop [sic]." Incident Rep. 17.
Sergeant William Sage interviewed Winegardner at the ECI
infirmary on October 16, 2014 as part of the incident
Inmate Winegardner stated he was in the process of greasing
the motor of the air handler when CMO Hunteman asked him if
the motor had stopped. Inmate Winegardner advised [Sage] that
he had put his ear against the air handler to determine if
the motor had stopped but was not able to ascertain if it had
due to the amount of noise from the actual unit. Therefore,
he stated he then reached underneath, near the cover, to
touch the bottom of the belts. When asked why he would do
this, Inmate Gardner [sic] stated he has done this in the
past with belts and pulleys where he would reach up and under
and touch the belt from underneath to determine if the belt
was still moving. In addition, he stated that it was dark in
his location and that he could not observe the light as he
did not have a flashlight. According to Inmate Winegardner,
the belt would normally just brush over his fingers if it was
still running. Inmate Winegardner believes that there were
two belts underneath the cover and when he touched one belt,
the ' other had grabbed his right
fingers and forced it into the unit causing them to be
severed at the index and middle fingers of his right hand at
the first joint. Inmate Winegardner stated that he was unable
to see because of the lack of light and that he should not
have touched the belt without having a flashlight. He further
stated that the motor had been shut off earlier but he
assumed that it had stopped completely. Inmate Winegardner
stated, "it was my fault. Nobody did it to
me. I can't blame Michael (CMO Hunteman) for it. He
wasn't pressing me. I'm relentless
sometime.. If somebody says do it, I do it Maybe I'm
being too gung ho."
Rep. 3. Sage's completed IID report recommended no
further action be taken. Id. at 4.
alleges that two years before, Officer K. Glasco was injured
in a similar accident; Glasco was a supervisor at the time of
Winegardner's accident. Compl. 3. He does not allege,
however, that any Defendant was aware of that incident, and
he does not name Glasco as a defendant.
is suing Defendants in their official and individual
capacities. Id. He seeks to hold them liable for his
injuries because they "were aware of the risk/threat of
injury, and did nothing to remedy the situation."
Id. He claims that "proper safety procedures
were not followed such as lock out-tag out" to ensure
the machine was properly shut off and not able to start up
before completion of the work. Id. Winegardner
asserts that he "was not trained, and therefore never
should have been working with this machine/equipment."
Id. As relief, he seeks future medical expenses,
compensatory damages of$1500000, and punitive damages of $80,
000. Id. at 4.
judgment is proper when the moving party demonstrates,
through "particular parts of materials in the record,
including depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations ...,
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials,"
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), (c)(1)(A); see Baldwin v.
City of Greensboro,714 F.3d 828, 833 (4th Cir. 2013).
If the party seeking summary judgment demonstrates that there
is no evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, the
burden shifts to the nonmoving party to identify evidence
that shows that a genuine dispute exists as to material
facts. See Celotex v. Catrett,477 U.S. 317 (1986).
The existence of only a "scintilla of evidence" is
not enough to defeat a motion for summary judgment.