United States District Court, D. Maryland
K. Bredar Chief Judge
Wallace was murdered by his cellmate at the Western
Correctional Institution ("WCI") on September 13,
2013. This case arises from that tragic incident. Plaintiffs
are Wallace's parents, Veronica Walker and Gilbert
Wallace, and his surviving minor children, V.W. and K. W.
They assert federal and state claims against Correctional
Officer Reginald Heavener for conduct relating to
Wallace's death. Pending before the Court is
Heavener's Motion for Summary Judgment on all counts of
the Amended Complaint brought against him. (ECF No. 149.) No.
hearing is required. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.
2018). For the reasons set forth below, Heavener's Motion
will be granted.
Factual Background 
Wallace was incarcerated at WCI, a Maryland prison, in
September 2013. (M.S.J. Ex. 3, ECF No. 149-4.) He shared cell
39 in the B-Tier of Housing Unit 3 with inmate Darnell
Thompson. (M.S.J. Ex. 1 at44:21-46:17, 97:13-100:6,
128:19-129:3, ECF No. 149-2 ("Heavener Dep.").) On
September 13, 2013, after Thompson and Wallace had been
cellmates for only about two weeks, Thompson attacked Wallace
in their cell sometime between 6:00 p.m. and 6:20 p.m.
(Heavener Dep. at 97:13-98:12, 132:1-137:17; Opp'n M.S.J.
Ex. 6, ECF No. 152-6; see also M.S J. Ex. 5 at 3,
ECF No. 149-6.) Wallace was not provided medical care for the
severe injuries he sustained until approximately 7:40 p.m.,
and he was pronounced dead at 9:00 p.m. (Opp'n M.SJ. Ex.
6 at 2, ECF No. 152-6.)
Heavener was the correctional officer ("CO")
assigned to Wallace's tier on the day of his murder.
(Heavener Dep. 94:8-95:6.) His shift began at 8:00a.m. and
ended at midnight. (Id. at 100:10-101:20.) As the CO
on duty, Heavener was responsible for supervising the inmates
on the tier-approximately sixty inmates in September 2013-and
ensuring the tier was secure. (Id. at 31:17-33:21,
102:8-14.) Heavener was familiar with both Wallace and
Thompson and was not aware of any issues between them.
(Opp'n M.S.J. Ex. 4 at 33:17-34:19, ECF No. 152-4
("Heavener Tr. Testimony"); Heavener Dep. at
evening of September 13, 2013, before the attack occurred,
Wallace and the other inmates on his tier went to the dining
hall for dinner. (Heavener Dep. at 115:7-15.) Wallace sat and
talked with a friend, Timothy Middleton, during dinner, and
Middleton reported that nothing seemed unusual about Wallace
at the time. (Opp'n M.S.J. Ex. 3 at 42:1-21, ECF No.
152-3 ("Middleton Dep.").) The inmates returned to
their cells from dinner at approximately 6:00 p.m. (Heavener
Dep. at 114:16-117:7; Heavener Tr. Testimony at 14:1-16:21.)
after the inmates returned from dinner, Middleton heard
"lockers banging," "commotion," and
"fighting sounds" in Wallace's cell. (Middleton
Dep. at 44:16-47:7; Opp'n M.S.J. Ex. 5 at 16:3-17:5, ECF
No. 152-5 ("Middleton Tr. Testimony").)
Middleton's cell was across the hall and "over
one" from the cell that Wallace and Thompson shared,
approximately ten or twelve feet away. (Heavener Dep. at
130:1-4; Middleton Dep. at 18:1-11.) Middleton further heard
Wallace say "chill, dog" a few times and then heard
what sounded like a bunk bed in Wallace's cell
"sliding around." (Middleton Tr. Testimony at
5:2-6:22.) After that, the sounds "just stopped."
(Middleton Dep. at 46:6-47:7; see also Middleton Tr.
Testimony at 5:2-6:22.)
conducted a count of the tier at approximately 6:05 p.m.,
just minutes after Middleton heard these sounds of
"commotion" and "righting" in
Wallace's cell. (Heavener Tr. Testimony at 15:3-16:21;
Middleton Dep. at 47:8-49:15.) An officer's count
involves looking into each cell on the tier to confirm that
every inmate is accounted for and "living, breathing ..
. alive." (Heavener Tr. Testimony at 15:6-16:1; see
also Heavener Dep. at 34:1-35:6.) The cell doors remain
closed during counts; the officers look in the cells via
windows that are fourteen inches long and somewhere between
four and seven inches wide. (Heavener Dep. at 34:2-36:2;
Middleton Dep. at 18:19-19:3.) Heavener testified that,
during his count that evening, he observed Wallace "on
the top bunk [bed]" in his cell and Thompson standing,
facing the window, (Heavener Tr. Testimony at 15:3-17:1.) He
did not see or hear anything unusual. (Id.; see also
Heavener Dep. at 118:13-119:10.) Middleton saw Heavener look
in Wallace's cell and testified that Heavener
"didn't have a reaction," so Middleton
"thought everything must be cool." (Middleton Dep.
five minutes after Heavener conducted the count, the medical
unit called the tier and requested that Thompson be sent to
the unit for a urinalysis. (Middleton Dep. at 52:21-53:16;
Heavener Tr. Testimony at 17:2-20:11, 44:4-46:21.)
Accordingly, Thompson's cell was opened electronically to
allow him to walk to the medical unit. (Heavener Tr.
Testimony at 18:20-19:20.) Heavener, who was in the
"control room" behind the tier, observed Thompson
exit the tier and testified that he "appeared to be
normal." (Id. at 20:6-22:15; see also
Heavener Dep. at 126:18-127:7.) It was approximately 6:20
p.m. when Thompson left the tier. (M.S.J. Ex. 5 at 3, ECF No.
149-6.) By this time, he had already attacked Wallace.
(See Heavener Tr. Testimony at 28:7-33:16; Heavener
Dep. 135:13-138:10; Middleton Dep. at 53:5-54:10.)
performed a walk of the tier at approximately 7:00 p.m.
(Heavener Dep. at 121:4-21.) The purpose of a walk is to
ensure the tier is secure but, unlike a count, it does not
entail going down the tier roster and confirming that every
inmate on the tier is where they are supposed to be.
(Id. at 78:18-83:1, 154:14-160:14; see also
Middleton Dep. at 30:18-41:7.) During his walk that evening,
Heavener looked inside each of the cells on the tier and
reported that the tier was secure. (Heavener Dep. at
approximately 7:30 p.m., the inmates on the tier were allowed
out of their cells for recreational time. (Id.;
Heavener Tr. Testimony at 67:20-68:15.) After the cell doors
opened, Middleton observed several inmates "went to look
into [Wallace's] cell." (Middleton Tr. Testimony at
7:16-8:5.) Middleton did not think anything of it and
proceeded to the recreational area. (Middleton Dep. at
55:14-56:20.) A few minutes later, however, one of those
inmates told Middleton that he thought Wallace was dead
because "[Wallace] was just laying on the floor in his
cell and he had some black stuff coming out of his
face." (Middleton Tr. Testimony at 9:1-13.) Immediately
after hearing this, Middleton approached Heavener and asked
him to check on Wallace. (Id.; Middleton Dep. at
after Middleton approached him, Heavener went to
Wallace's cell along with CO William May, who was
supervising a nearby tier that evening. (Heavener Dep. at
130:19-135:18; see also Middleton Dep. at
59:19-60:7.) Heavener "looked in" Wallace's
cell through the cell window and "didn't see
anything," so he called another CO and asked her to open
the cell door electronically from the control room. (Heavener
Dep. at 132:2-7.) Once the door to Wallace's cell opened,
Heavener saw "blood all over the floor" and Wallace
laying on the floor underneath the bunk bed with his
"leg sticking out." (Heavener Tr. Testimony at
28:3-31:20; see also Heavener Dep. at 132:2-133:20.)
At that time, either Heavener or May instructed another CO to
contact the medical unit. (See Heavener Dep. at
134:4-6 ("[A]s soon as we seen [Wallace's] foot was
up under the bunk, I did ask Officer Riley to call medical at
that time."); but see Heavener Tr. Testimony at
29:1-6 ("[B]efore we got to pull [Wallace] out I asked
Officer May to contact the control center to send up the
[ambulance] and to call medical."); see also
Opp'n M.S. J. Ex. 6 at 7, ECF No. 152-6 (Heavener's
statement to police on 09/13/13 that "Officer May
notified the control center and instructed Officer Drew Cook
to contact the medical department").)
and May then entered Wallace's cell and pulled him out
from under the bunk bed. (Heavener Dep. at 134:1-21.) Wallace
was alive but was unresponsive and was having difficulty
breathing. (Id.; Heavener Tr. Testimony at 61:1-10.)
Heavener observed that Wallace had significant facial damage
and that there was something "that looked like brain
matter" on the floor around him. (Heavener Tr. Testimony
at 30:8-31:20; see also Heavener Dep. at 135:1-12.)
Heavener and May placed Wallace on his side "so he would
be able to breathe better." (Heavener Dep. at 134:4-12.)
Shortly thereafter, the medical unit arrived and transported
Wallace to a nearby hospital. (Id.; Opp'n M.S.J.
Ex. 6 at 7, 9, ECF No. 152-6.)
died at approximately 9:00 p.m. that evening from massive
head trauma and other injuries he sustained during
Thompson's attack. (Opp'n M.S.J. Ex. 6 at 4, 9, ECF
No. 152-6.) In May 2016, Thompson was ...