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Sewell v. Corcoran

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 2, 2019

EMMANUEL E. SEWELL Plaintiff
v.
DAYENA CORCORAN, LAURA Y. ARMSTEAD, RANDALL NERO, DR. TEMERIKA BUCANNON, DR. HAIGHT, DR. ALLEN, BEZAWIT ADDIS, Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This court issued an Order to Show Cause following the receipt of Plaintiff Emmanuel Sewell's Status Report (ECF No. 7) indicating that he has been subjected to assaults by other inmates and that correctional staff are allowing other inmates to steal his legal materials from his cell. Prior to the receipt of counsel's response, Mr. Sewell filed a “motion for intervention/urgent circumstances” asserting the same or similar matters raised in the Status Report. ECF No. 14. The response to the court's show cause addresses those allegations and seeks denial of injunctive relief in favor of Sewell. ECF No. 16. In both papers, Mr. Sewell requests both the appointment of counsel and injunctive relief. For the reasons stated herein, Mr. Sewell's requests will be denied.

         Mr. Sewell claims that on November 29, 2018, as he was leaving the nurse's station, inmate Royston Green was blocking the door with his hands behind his back. ECF No. 7-1 at p. 1. When Mr. Sewell attempted to move past Mr. Green, he claims that Mr. Green moved his hands from behind his back and began throwing punches at Mr. Sewell. Id. When Mr. Sewell “side stepped” Mr. Green, he claims that Mr. Green punched him in the left leg. Id. Mr. Sewell told Officer J. McLeisch, whom he claims was present, that Green should be restrained. Id. In response, Officer McLeisch allegedly simply smiled at Mr. Sewell and walked into the nurse's station. Id. In addition to Officer McLeisch, Mr. Sewell claims that Officer McClary and RN Chuma were “no more than 10 feet away talking” but acted as if nothing happened. Id. Although Mr. Sewell encountered Ms. Griffin, the morning activities coordinator, on his way back to his housing tier, he did not report the assault because he “began to panic and realize [he] was being set-up.” Id. at pp. 1-2. Mr. Sewell opted to simply walk back to his cell instead. Id. at p. 2.

         The following day Mr. Sewell asked Nurse Chuma why he didn't report what had happened between Mr. Sewell and Mr. Green the day before. ECF No. 7-1 at p. 2. Mr. Sewell claims that Mr. Chuma told him he had not seen anything. Id. In Mr. Sewell's estimation it would have been impossible for Mr. Chuma not to hear the sound of Mr. Green's punch to Sewell's leg. Id.

         During his conversation with Mr. Chuma, Dr. Hong, a psychiatrist, and five other nurses were present. Id. Mr. Sewell asked for an investigation into the attack while correctional officers and a nurse were present. Id. Mr. Sewell states he has met with Dr. Hong twice since asking for an investigation and has been informed that “Intel is notified” about legal documents being stolen; personal mail being stolen; Officers Bell and Wandue allowing inmates E. Washington, J. Stepney, and M. Walker into his cell when Mr. Sewell is in the dining room eating; and death threats from population inmates. Id. Despite that assurance, Mr. Sewell states he has not met with an investigator. Id.

         Mr. Sewell further claims that hours before the assault by Mr. Green, he had a conversation with “Ms. Honchar, Psy. Assoc.” about death threats he had received and the practice of letting other inmates into his cell when he is not on the tier. Id. Mr. Sewell claims that an inmate maintenance worker who came onto the tier told him, “the only reason you still alive is because of being in mental health, if you were in g-pop you be dead already!” and threats from inmates A. Hubbard and E. Washington that “we are going to make you get new charges whether you like it or not.” Id. After sharing this information with Ms. Honchar, Mr. Sewell claims he watched her share the confidential information with Officer McLeisch “and unknowns.” Id. Mr. Sewell observes that three hours later he was attacked by Mr. Green. Id.

         In the status report, Mr. Sewell claims that from December 1 through 16, [1] 2018, he received defective medical devices for diabetic finger sticks that turned his fingers purple and blue. Id. He claims that the puncture wounds in his fingers stopped healing and he stopped “taking it” from December 12 through 16 “because [he] was waking-up in a cold sweats.” Id. Mr. Sewell reported to “Ms. Kuntra who has been filling in for Dr. Hong” that the nurses told him to stop looking at his fingers. Id. He maintains that there are inmates who are gang members that are “behind it: M. Walker, N. Carter, J. Stepney, and E. Washington.” Id. He implies that “RN Glenn who has suddenly disappeared” is also somehow responsible. Id.

         Mr. Sewell claims that on January 10, 2019, Officer J. McLeisch put Mr. Sewell in harm's way when he brought an administrative segregation inmate to the nurse's station where Mr. Sewell was waiting for treatment. ECF No. 7-1 at p. 3. Mr. Sewell states that nothing happened because two other inmates, whom he does not name, were with him. Id. Three days later, Mr. Sewell states that Officer Herring was escorting the same inmate, but he was restrained. Id.

         Attached to Mr. Sewell's motion for intervention is his letter to Warden Armstead stating that random correctional officers and “mental health inmates” are stalking him anytime he leaves the tier for meals, takes his mail to the box for outgoing mail, or tries to use the phone. ECF No. 14-1 at p. 1. He also claims that unnamed sergeants are interfering with his outgoing legal and personal mail and that there is a lack of meaningful psychological services available to him. Id.

         He explains that on December 14, 2018, he sent an envelope to his family that contained three Christmas cards, a letter, an ARP referral to Secretary Moyer's office, an ARP appeal to the Commissioner of Correction, and an IGO complaint concerning his claim of “poisoning from Risperdal.” Id. He states that two months passed and he got no response. Id. Mr. Sewell also states that none of the medical or correctional staff he approached for assistance helped him with his complaints regarding harassment and outgoing mail. Id. at p. 2.

         In a letter dated December 19, 2018, addressed to Russell Nero, Director of Patuxent Institution, he explains that he is confined to the mental health unit and the conditions of his confinement are under scrutiny by the undersigned. ECF No. 14-2 at p. 1. Mr. Sewell claims that other inmates are targeting him and others to “set [them] up with nursing staff and officers who show” favor to the other inmates. Id. He describes the behavior as inmates “trying to get me to assault them” by misplacing or stealing items from his cell while he is at meals. Id. at pp. 1-2. Mr. Sewell requests additional staff to be a “champion for mental health rights” because, in his opinion, existing staff are over-burdened. Id.

         In a document entitled “Affidavit of Ongoing Controversy, ” which is also attached to his motion, Mr. Sewell states he is “forcibly held against [his] will” at Patuxent and that his sentence has expired. ECF No. 14-3 at p. 1. He repeats his allegation that he was assaulted by Royston Green, on November 29, 2018, as well as his claim that Officer McLeisch exposed him to potential harm on January 10, 2019. Id.

         Counsel for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, provides affidavits and verified medical records in their response to show cause establishing, inter alia, that Mr. Sewell was diagnosed with an Axis I Delusional Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder (noted as recurrent and in remission) as of February 26, 2019. ECF No. 16-1 at p. 2. Prior to that date Mr. Sewell's Axis I diagnoses were noted as Major Depressive Disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Id.

         Mr. Sewell was noted as experiencing a recent increase in paranoid thought content on December 26, 2018, when Kaylin Honchar, LGPC, MHP and Mr. Sewell's treatment team met to discuss it. ECF No. 16-2 at p. 71. It was noted that Mr. Sewell had in the past declined to take medication to control the paranoia, but ...


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