United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD D. BENNETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Plaintiff Demetrius Harris filed this action for monetary
damages for injuries he sustained when he was attacked by
other pre-trial detainees at the Baltimore Central Booking
and Intake Center. (ECF No. 1). Officer Bamba has filed a
Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. Harris was notified that a
dispositive motion was filed in this case and of his right to
file a response (ECF No. 10), but he has not done so. The
case is now ripe for review and a hearing is unnecessary. See
Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow,
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss IS GRANTED.
November 30, 2017, Harris was stabbed several times in the
head and face. He was dragged out of his bed at 4:00 a.m. by
three detainees, none of whom he identifies. The incident was
recorded on the prison security camera located in the
dormitory. Harris is wheelchair-bound. (ECF No. 1 at p. 3).
The Complaint makes a single reference to the one named
Defendant: "Bamb[a] was not at his assigned post inside
of the dormitory at the time of the assault."
reviewing a complaint in light of a Motion to Dismiss
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court accepts all
well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and
construes the facts and reasonable inferences derived
therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Venkatraman v. REI Sys., Inc., 417 F.3d 418, 420
(4th Cir. 2005) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v.
Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)); Ibarra
v. United States, 120 F.3d 472, 473 (4th Cir. 1997).
Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires
only a "short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief." Migdal v.
Rowe Price-Fleming Int'l Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26
(4th Cir. 2001); see also Swierkiewicz v. Sorema
N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 513 (2002) (stating that a complaint
need only satisfy the "simplified pleading
standard" of Rule 8(a)).
Supreme Court of the United States explained a
"plaintiffs 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) (brackets omitted).
Nonetheless, the complaint does not need "detailed
factual allegations" to survive a motion to dismiss.
Id. at 555. 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. 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.
662, 677-78 (2009) (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, 556 U.S. at
678. "But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the
court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct,
the complaint has alleged -- but it has not 'show[n]'
-- 'that the pleader is entitled to relief"
Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
"[P]leadings should not be scrutinized with such
technical nicety that a meritorious claim should be defeated,
and even if the claim is insufficient in substance, it may be
amended to achieve justice." Gordon v. Leeke,
574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978).
Court is mindful of its obligation to liberally construe the
pleadings of self-represented litigants, see Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), and shall treat the
Complaint as filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, alleging
failure to protect claim under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Nonetheless, liberal construction does not mean that this
Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege
facts which set forth a cognizable claim, Weller v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990),
or "conjure up questions never squarely presented."
Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278
(4th Cir. 1985). In making this determination, "[t]he
district court . .. must hold the pro se complaint to less
stringent standards than pleadings drafted by attorneys and
must read the complaint liberally." White v.
White, 886 F.2d 721, 722-723 (4th Cir. 1989).
failure-to-protect claim brought by a pretrial detainee
constitutes a due process claim under the Fourteenth
Amendment to the United States Constitution. Smith v.
Sangamon Cty. Sheriff's Dep't, 715 F.3d 188, 191
(7th Cir. 2013). "Due process rights of a pretrial
detainee are at least as great as the Eighth Amendment
protections available to the convicted prisoner."
Hill v. Nicodemus, 979 F.2d 987, 991 (4th Cir. 1992)
(quoting Martin v. Gentile, 849 F.2d 863, 870 (4th
Cir. 1988)); Brown v. Harris, 240 F.3d 383, 388 (4th
Cir. 2001). The standard for a Fourteenth Amendment
failure-to-protect claim is the same as a comparable claim
brought by a convicted prisoner under the Eighth Amendment.
See, e.g., Goodman v. Kimbrough, 718 F.3d 1325, 1331
n.l (11th Cir. 2013); Kamara v. Prince George's
County Dep't of Corr., No. ELH-15-3952, 2017 WL
735549, at *12 (D. Md. Feb. 24, 2017).
the Eighth Amendment prison officials are required to
"take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of
inmates," including protecting them "from violence
at the hands of other prisoners." Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832-33(1994); Makdessi v.
Fields, 789 F.3d 126, 132 (4th Cir. 2015). "Being
violently assaulted in prison is simply not 'part of the
penalty that criminal offenders pay for their offenses
against society.'" Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 834 (quoting Rhodes v. Chapman, 452 U.S.
337, 347 (1981)).
establish a failure to protect claim a prisoner must satisfy
a two-part inquiry, consisting of objective and subjective
prongs. Raynor v. Pugh, 817 F.3d 123, 127 (4th Cir.
2016). For the objective prong, the prisoner '"must
establish a serious deprivation of his rights in the form of
a serious or significant physical or emotional injury' or
a substantial risk thereof." Id. (quoting
Danser v. Stansberry, 772 F.3d 340, 346-47 (4th Cir.
2014)). This inquiry "requires a court to assess whether
society considers the risk that the prisoner complains of to
be so grave that it violates contemporary standards of
decency to expose anyone unwillingly to such a risk."
Id. (quoting Helling v. McKinney, 509 U.S.
25, 36 (1993)).
the first part of the inquiry requires the plaintiff to
"establish a serious deprivation of his rights in the
form of a serious or significant physical or emotional
injury," or a substantial risk thereof. Danser v
Stansberry, 772 F.3d at 346-47 (internal quotation marks
omitted); see Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834. The second
part of the inquiry requires the plaintiff to show that the
defendant had a "sufficiently culpable state of
mind," consisting of "deliberate indifference to
inmate health and safety." Raynor, 817 F.3d at
127-28 (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834).
failure to protect an inmate from an attack by another inmate
does not violate the inmate's constitutional rights. See
Pressly v. Hutto,816 F.2d 977, 979 (4th Cir. 1987).
"[A] showing of mere negligence" will not meet the
deliberate indifference standard. Grayson v. Peed,
195 F.3d 692, 695 (4th Cir. 1999). To establish deliberate
indifference requires a showing that the official actually
"knows of and disregards an excessive risk to inmate
health or safety." Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837;
Raynor, 817 F.3d at 128. A "factfinder may
conclude that a prison official knew of a substantial risk
from the very fact that the risk was obvious." Farmer,
511 U.S. at 842. A prison official ...