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Short v. Abidogun

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 13, 2019

STANLEY SHORT, #434-581, Plaintiff


          Paula Xinis United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Stanley Short, incarcerated at Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, Maryland, filed suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of Short's right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Short alleges that while housed at Jessup Correctional Institution, Correctional Officers Babatunde Abidogun and Ernest Rose assaulted him without provocation, twisting his arm and hitting him in the head with a walkie-talkie. ECF No. 1 at 2-3.[1] As relief, Short seeks money damages and the prosecution of Abidogun and Rose.[2] Id. at 4.

         Pending is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 16. On January 29, 2019, in conformity with Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309, 310 (4th Cir. 1975), the Clerk of the Court informed Short that the Defendants had filed a dispositive motion, and that Short must file any written response within seventeen days or risk that the motion would be considered without further notice. ECF No. 17. Short did not respond. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion, construed as one for summary judgment, is granted.

         I. Background

         The record evidence, construed most favorably to Short, chronicles the following events.

         On May 22, 2018, Abidogun saw Mr. Short, who was assigned to F-Building, Cell #A-121, walking from the kitchen towards A-Building's side of the compound. Short was carrying a dietary bag in his right hand. ECF No. 16-4 at ¶ 3, Abidogun Decl. Abidogun ordered Short to report to the “Compound Guard Shack” to be strip-searched, with Officers Ernest Rose, Obinna Ohanyere, and Desmond Ross assisting. Id. Short complied. During the search, Short grew angry and non-compliant; he threw his clothes onto the floor rather than handing them to the officers as instructed. Id. at ¶ 4. Short then clenched his left hand into a fist and stated, “If ya'll want to do this, let's do it!” Id. at ¶5. Abidogun ordered Short to unclench his left hand. Short refused, at which point he was taken to the floor by the officers.

         Abidogun retrieved a paper packet from Short's left hand that appeared to contain a controlled dangerous substance. Id. at ¶ 6. Rose handcuffed Short and escorted him to medical department for assessment and evaluation. Id. Abidogun informed Short that he would receive a Notice of Infraction. Short was thereafter placed in the segregation housing unit pending an adjustment hearing. Id. at ¶ 7.

         Abidogun prepared the Notice of Infraction, charging Short with engaging in a disruptive act; use of threatening language disruptive act; interfering with or resisting the duties of staff, or refusing to permit a search of person, property, location, or assigned area; disobeying a direct lawful order; exhibition, demonstration, or conveyance of insolence, disrespect, or vulgar language; and possession, passing, or receiving contraband. Abidogun attests that he and other officers used force necessary to gain control and restrain Mr. Short. Abidogun also attests that he did not witness Rose strike Short in the head with his walkie talkie. Id. Rose corroborates Abidogun's recitation of events and contends that the did not hit Short in the head with his walkie talkie. ECF No. 16-5 at ¶ 5.

         An internal investigation concluded that the officers used only such force necessary to maintain safety and in accordance with established directives and policies regarding response to a disruptive inmate. ECF No. 16-6, JCI Serious Incident Report (SIR) #18-096/JCI Use of Force (UOF) Report #18-029. Similarly, medical records reflect that immediately after the incident, Short was alert and oriented with no signs of confusion or dizziness. ECF No. 16-7 at 39. Short had a minor cut and two bumps to the left and right of his forehead. Id. Short reported that his neck and ear hurt, but denied any dizziness, weakness, back or chest pain, and he was able to move his limbs. Id. Short requested to be discharged to his housing unit, and he was cleared to return to his cell. Id.

         On May 23, 2018, Officer Tahir Bashir tested the substance that Short had been holding and confirmed the presence of Buprenorphine.[3] Short was thereafter charged with violation of inmate rule possession or use of a controlled dangerous substance. ECF No. 16-6. Mr. Short filed a Request for Administrative Remedy, alleging that prison staff assaulted him during the strip-search on May 22, 2018. An investigation was opened under IID No. 18-35-00989. Id.

         On May 29, 2018 Short received an adjustment hearing. Short reached an agreed-upon resolution to the infractions, and he received as a sanction, 90 days of disciplinary segregation, a loss of 75 days of good conduct credits and an indefinite loss of visits. ECF No. 16-8 at 10.

         II. Analysis

         A. Standard of Review

         Pursuant to Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment shall be granted if the movant demonstrates that no genuine issue of disputed material fact exists, rendering the movant entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(d). “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, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986) (emphasis in original). “The 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.” See Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Football Club, Inc.,346 F.3d 514, 525 (4th Cir. 2003) (alteration in original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). The Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the ...

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