United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MAURICE TURNER Identification Nos. 406-877 and 2765766, Plaintiff,
WARDEN RICKY FOXWELL, Defendant.
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Maurice Turner, a pro se litigant incarcerated at
Eastern Correctional Institution ("ECF') in
Westover, Maryland, brings this civil rights action against
Defendant Warden Ricky Foxwell pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Plaintiff alleges Foxwell, who has
"authority" within ECI, is responsible for a
"lack of security." ECF No. 1 at 3. Turner bases his
claim on a May 3, 2017 incident during which he was stabbed
in the back and back of his head by an unknown inmate. ECF
No. 1 at 2. Pending before the Court is Defendant
Foxwell's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative,
Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 12. The Court advised
Plaintiff of his opportunity to oppose the motion, ECF No.
13, but Turner did not file an opposition. No hearing is
necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the
following reasons, Defendant's Motion, construed as a
Motion for Summary Judgment, will be granted.
early evening of May 3, 2017, Housing Unit #l-B-TIer officer
Joshua Watson noticed Turner had blood on the front of his
tee shirt. ECF No. 12-3 at 2. Watson contacted
Officer-in-Charge Randall Nesmith for help and handcuffed
Turner for transport to the medical department. Id.
at 2, 7, 10, 13, 15-16.
Nurse Amanda Morris examined Turner and found that he had a
small laceration on the middle of his back and another by the
right ear. Morris applied steri-strips and released Turner to
custody. Id. at 18. Turner's injuries
were photographed; he refused to make a statement and was
placed on administrative segregation pending an
investigation. Id. at 4-5, 17, 20-21, 23-24.
in the dayroom were searched; while four weapons were found,
none was consistent with the type of weapon that caused
Turner's injuries. Id. at 2, 7, 10, 13, 22, 25.
Duty Officer Walter West, the Assistant Warden, placed the
tier on lock-down. Id. at 2, 7, 10, 13. By 8:50
p.m., Intelligence & Investigative Division
("IID") Detective Robert Fagan was contacted and
IID Case No. 17-35-00886 was assigned. Id. at 2, 7,
10, 13-14. The IID Report was logged in as a
"Non-Cooperating Inmates/Detainees in Assault
Incidents" Report. See ECF No. 12-6 at
4, 2017, Captain Barnes from IID interviewed Turner,
According to Captain Barnes Turner reported that he was
standing in front of his cell door facing it when he felt
something sharp on the back of his neck but did not turn
around. Id. at 4. He stated that he then felt
something warm running down his neck, and that is when he
realized that he had been cut and was bleeding. Id.
Turner stated that he did not see his assailant, and when if
he knew of any reason he would have been assaulted, Turner
replied that he had been on the same tier for 14 months and
never had trouble with anyone. Id. Turner's only
documented enemy, Anthony Mitchell, was at ECI but housed on
the East Compound. Id.; see also ECF No. 12-7,
Offender Case Management System ("OCMS") Printout
of Turner's Enemy Alert & Retractions Screen, printed
November 19, 2018. The OCMS Printout of Plaintiff s
Intake/Gang Affiliation Screen showed Turner had no
affiliation with a Security Threat Group "(STG").
ECF No. 12-8.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
style his motion as a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. When deciding a
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), the Court considers only the facts in the complaint
or "integral to the complaint." Sec 'y of
State for Defense v. Trimble Navigation Ltd., 484 F.3d
700, 705 (4th Cir. 2007). However, Rule 12(d) requires courts
to treat a motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment
when the court considers matter outside the pleadings.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). Before converting a motion to dismiss to
one for summary judgment, courts must give the nonmoving
party "a reasonable opportunity to present all the
material that is pertinent to the motion." i#.
Consistent with this rule, the nonmoving party must have some
indication that the court will treat the motion to dismiss as
a motion for summary judgment and "must be afforded a
reasonable opportunity for discovery" if it is essential
to the nonmoving party's ability to oppose the motion.
Gay v. Wall, 761 F.2d 175, 177 (4th Cir. 1985)
obvious when the moving party styles its motion as a
"Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for
Summary Judgment," as is the case here, that the Court
may treat the motion as one for summary judgment. See
Laughlin v. Metropolitan Wash. Airports Auth., 149 F.2d
253, 260-61 (4th Cir.1998). To show that a reasonable
opportunity for discovery has not been afforded, the
nonmoving party must file an affidavit or declaration under
Rule 56(d) explaining why "for specified reasons, it
cannot present facts essential to justify its
opposition," Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d), or otherwise put the
district court on notice of the reasons why summary judgment
is premature, see Harrods Ltd. v. Sixty Internet Domain
Names, 302 F.3d 214, 244-45 (4th-Cir. 2002). Here,
Plaintiff has not filed a Rule 56(d) affidavit or otherwise
requested discovery in this matter. Under these
circumstances, the Court will construe Defendant's motion
as a Motion for Summary Judgment.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the Court grants
summary judgment if the moving party demonstrates that there
is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In assessing the Motion, the Court
views the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party, with all justifiable inferences drawn in its favor.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255
(1986). The Court may rely only on facts supported in the
record, not simply assertions in the pleadings. Bouchat
v. Bait. Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 522
(4th Cir. 2003). The nonmoving party has the burden to show a
genuine dispute on a material fact. Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574,
extent that Turner's Complaint may be construed as
alleging a failure to protect claim under the Eighth
Amendment, Turner has failed to introduce any evidence from
which a jury could find in his favor.
Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution forbids
punishment that involves "the unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain." Gregg v. Georgia, 428 U.S.
153, 173 (1976). Deliberate or callous indifference by prison
officials to a specific known risk of physical harm to an
inmate at the hands of a fellow prisoner violates this Eighth
Amendment prohibition. Pressly v. Hutto, 816 F.2d
977, 979 (4th Cir. 1987). Negligent failure by a prison
official to protect a prisoner from attack by another
prisoner, however, is not a violation of the Eighth
Amendment. Id. A prison official may be held liable
under the Eighth Amendment only if he knew that a prisoner
faced a substantial risk of serious harm and ...