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Mobley v. Michael

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 29, 2019

DAYTRON L. MOBLEY, SR., #346455,
v.
CO. II HEATH R. MICHAEL,[1] CO. H WALTER OAKES, CO. H EARL CLARK,

          MEMORANDUM

          CATHERINE C. BLAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Daytron L. Mobley, Sr., who is incarcerated at the North Branch Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland ("NBCI"), filed a complaint in September 2018 alleging that on December 10, 2017, he was purposefully placed in a cell with a member of a rival gang, who attempted to harm him. ECF No. I.[2] Mobley seeks unspecified damages and transfer to another prison. ECF No. 1, p. 3, ¶ IV.

         Mobley named Correctional Officer "Heath Miller" as the individual responsible for placing him in harm's way. He claimed that correctional officers Walter Oakes and Earl Clark covered up the assault. After Clark and Oakes responded to the complaint with a motion to dismiss or for summary judgment (ECF No. 14), Mobley moved to add a third correctional defendant (ECF No. 17) but did not name the individual or explain the individual's alleged involvement in the case. Thereafter, he identified Correctional Officer Heath Michael as a defendant (ECF No. 19) and moved to amend or correct the complaint to substitute "Heath Michael" for "Heath Miller," who was incorrectly named and never served with summons in this lawsuit. (ECF No. 22). The Motion to Amend/Correct Complaint was granted (ECF No. 27) and counsel for Clark and Oakes accepted service and responded on behalf of Defendant Michael. (ECF No. 31).

         The dispositive motion (ECF No. 14), which is opposed by Mobley (ECF Nos. 32 and 33), may be decided without a hearing. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the reasons stated below, Mobley's "affidavit" (ECF No. 28) and "declarations" (ECF Nos. 24 and 26) will be STRICKEN[3] and the Correctional Defendants' dispositive motion as supplemented (ECF Nos. 14, 31), construed as a motion for summary judgment, [4] will be GRANTED.

         Background

         A. Plaintiff Mobley's Allegations

         In his unverified Complaint, [5] Mobley states that on December 10, 2017, Defendant Heath ■ Michael (incorrectly identified as Heath Miller) escorted him from the shower and placed him in cell l-B-52 with fellow prisoner Justin Davis, allegedly on instructions of the housing unit manager. ECF No. 1, p. 3, ¶ 3. Michael then left the area, and Davis placed Mobley in a choke hold. Id. Defendant Oakes, Officer Bosley[6] and others responded, broke up the fight, handcuffed both men, and escorted each to separate areas. Id. Once separated, Mobley and Davis were told by Clark and Oakes to sign statements saying nothing happened. Id. Defendant Clark told Mobley that if he did not sign, he would be issued an infraction for escape, being out of bounds, and "other rulings to keep me on lockup." Id., p. 4. Mobley states that since the incident, Clark and Oakes "threaten" him, use racial slurs, and tell him he "will die in prison even if they have to do it themselves."[7] Id.

         B. Defendants' Assertions

         On December 10, 2017, Defendant Clark was assigned to Mobley's housing unit, a unit reserved for prisoners placed in administrative or disciplinary segregation. ECF No. 14-2, ¶ 3, Declaration of Earl Clark. Clark received a radio call from the housing unit control center that a prisoner had been placed 'in the wrong cell and needed to be moved. Id. Clark arrived at the cell within one minute of receiving the radio call and saw Mobley and another prisoner, Justin Davis, standing in the cell talking to one another. Id. Clark "did not observe any physical or verbal altercation, nor did he observe Mobley to have suffered any physical injuries. Id. The inmates were handcuffed and taken to separate strip cages to be searched for contraband, in accordance with institutional security procedures. Id.

         Mobley never told Clark on. or before December 10, 2017, that Davis posed a threat to him. Id., ¶ 4. Clark avers that he did not direct the two prisoners to be placed in a cell together so that Davis could harm or kill Mobley, id., ¶ 5, or that he ever threatened Mobley with rule infractions or forced him to provide a written statement as alleged, id., ¶ 6.

         Defendant Oakes also was assigned to Mobley's unit on December 10, 2017. ECF No. 14-3, Declaration of Walter Oakes, ¶ 3. While on duty that day, Oakes was directed to go to, a cell where he saw Mobley talking to Justin Davis. Id. Oakes observed the men standing and talking to one another. Id. He did not observe a physical or verbal altercation or that Mobley suffered a physical injury. Id. Oakes avers that Mobley never told him on or before December 10, 2017, that Davis posed a threat to Mobley. Id., ¶ 4. Oakes never directed or caused Mobley to be placed in the cell with Davis to cause Mobley harm or death. Id., ¶ 5. Further, Oakes never threatened Mobley with a rule infraction or forced him to provide a written statement as he alleges. Id., ¶ 6. Oakes denies using racial slurs or telling Mobley he would die in prison. Id.

         According to Mobley's Offender Case Management System records (OCMS), he is documented as an affiliated member of the BGF gang. ECF No. 14-4, Declaration of John White, Correctional Case Manager II, with attachments, p. 3. The OCMS record for inmate Justin Davis indicates no gang affiliation. Id., p. 4. Correctional institutions maintain Enemy List files in which a prisoner may request a fellow prisoner whom they perceive to be a threat placed on their Enemy List, but such a claim is investigated and verified before the individuals are listed as enemies. Id., p. 1, ¶ 4. Once verified, Case Management will add the names to the Enemy Alert so that individuals may be housed separately to avoid altercations. Id. There is no record in Mobley's case file that he ever submitted a request to have Davis placed on his Enemy List. Id., pp. 1-2, ¶ 4.

         Defendants note that Mobley appeared at his monthly scheduled administrative segregation review four days after the alleged December 10, 2017, incident and did not voice any concerns or complaints about his safety regarding inmate Davis. Id., p. 2, ¶ 5. Neither prisoner requested the other be placed on their respective OCMS Enemy Alerts & Retractions lists either prior to or subsequent to the alleged incident date. ECF No. 14-4, pp. 5-6.

         Both Mobley and Davis submitted Administrative Remedy Procedure ("ARP") grievances regarding the alleged incident. Id., pp. 7, 34-36. Davis's ARP grievance included written statements, dated December 10, 2017, that both he and Mobley provided regarding the alleged incident in which they both stated no assault occurred. Id., pp. 44-45. Mobley's statement, which he signed and was witnessed by two officers, including Oakes, specifically states that he was ...


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