United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
27, 2018, pro se Plaintiff Michael Rico filed
separate 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaints
against Robert Green, Susan Malagari, Sgt. Christopher Auen,
Eric Watkins, and Robin White (collectively,
"Defendants"). ECF No. 1 in Civil Action Nos.
GJH-18-1949 ("No. 49"), GJH-18-1950 ("No.
50"), GJH-18-1951 ("No. 51"); GJH-18-1952
("No. 52"), GJH-18-1953 ("No. 53"). Rico
claims that each Defendant violated his constitutional rights
while he was housed in the Montgomery County Correctional
Facility ("MCCF") in Boyds, Maryland from 2017 to
2018. See Id. He seeks declaratory and injunctive
relief, as well as monetary damages. Id.
Defendants Green, Malagari, Auen, and White each filed
Motions to Dismiss. ECF No. 14, No. 49; ECF No. 10, No. 50;
ECF No. 13, No. 51; ECF No. 17, No. 53. Meanwhile, Defendant
Watkins filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss and a Partial
Answer. ECF Nos. 11 & 12, No. 52. Rico responded to each
of Defendants' motions. ECF Nos. 16 & 17, No. 49; ECF
Nos. 12 & 17, No. 50; ECF Nos. 15 & 17, No. 51; ECF
No. 16, No. 52; ECF No. 19, No. 53. Defendants Green, Auen,
and Watkins then replied. ECF No. 18, No. 49; ECF No. 20, No.
51; ECF No. 22, No. 52. Rico filed Motions to File Surreply
as to Green, Auen, and White (ECF No. 28, No. 49; ECF No. 23,
No. 51; ECF No. 34, No. 53), which shall be
granted. Accordingly, Green's Motion to Strike
Surreply (ECF No. 26, No. 49) will be denied as moot.
the relatedness of Rico's allegations against Defendants,
the cases are best considered together for the purpose of
dispositive review and in the interest of judicial economy.
Therefore, they shall be consolidated into No. 49, and the
Clerk shall be directed to close Nos. 50-53.
reasons stated below, the Motions to Dismiss filed by
Defendants Green, Malagari, Auen, and White shall be granted
in part and denied without prejudice in part. Defendant
Watkins' Partial Motion to Dismiss shall be granted. To
the extent Rico seeks declaratory or injunctive relief in
these consolidated cases, those claims shall be dismissed.
His claims for monetary damages shall proceed. Within 30 days
of the date of this Order, Defendants shall file an Answer to
the consolidated Complaint ("Complaint") or a
renewed dispositive motion with adequate supporting
materials. The parties are reminded that all future pleadings
related to these claims must note "Civil Action No.
alleges that at 3:30 a.m. on September 28, 2017, he was
brought to the MCCF medical unit after complaining of a
migraine and vomiting. ECF No. 1 at 4-5, No.
Rico states that he asked for medicine, but the nurse who was
on duty refused to give it to him. Id. After Rico
had a disagreement with the nurse, correctional officers
arrived. Id. One of the officers, Defendant Eric
Watkins, handcuffed Rico with his hands behind his back,
brought him to the segregation unit, and told him to enter a
shower and face the rear wall in order to be strip searched.
Id. at 6. Rico claims that Watkins then slammed his
head on the wall three times, causing a gash to his right
eye, before slamming him to the ground. Id. At that
time, another officer entered and Watkins performed the strip
search, allegedly grabbing Rico's genitals. Id.
Rico states that about an hour later, he was taken to the
hospital to be treated for his injuries. Id.
has filed suit against Watkins, claiming that as a result of
the assault he continues to suffer physically and
psychologically. Id. As relief, he seeks paid
medical therapy and treatment, monetary damages for pain and
suffering, and an order directing Defendants to update the
MCCF inmate handbook to include a discussion of correctional
officers' use of force, including the scope of strip
searches. Id. at 7.
also filed suit against Robin White, a Nurse Supervisor at
MCCF, whom he claims is responsible for the nursing staff.
ECF 1 at 5-7, No. 53. According to Rico, the September 28,
2017 episode in which he was denied medication led to the
assault by Watkins. Id. at 5-7. Rico also claims
that White has repeatedly refused to give him needed
medication and failed to address grievances involving her
staff. Id. As relief, he seeks more accountability
and oversight within the nursing staff, a change in policy to
allow inmates to keep medication in their cells, and
"monetary damages for pain and suffering."
Id. at 5.
also filed a civil action against Christopher Auen, whom Rico
claims was responsible for investigating the assault by
Watkins. ECF No. 1 at 3, No. 51. Specifically, Rico alleges
that Auen admitted he did not investigate Rico's claim
that Watkins grabbed his genitals during the strip search.
Id. As relief, Rico seeks possible removal of Auen,
better oversight at MCCF, as well as "monetary damages
for pain and suffering from assault." Id.
Rico brought suit against Robert Green, the Director of the
Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation
("MCDOCR"),  and Susan Malagari, Warden of MCDOCR. ECF
No. 1, Nos. 49 & 50. Rico claims that Green had been
aware of the deficiencies of the surveillance camera system
at MCCF for 10 years but did not install new and additional
cameras until March 8, 2018. ECF No. 1 at 4, No. 49. Rico
also claims that Green failed to respond to grievances from
March 12, 2018 to May 8, 2018, and that Green and Malagari
have admitted that they do not know what happens to
grievances. Id. at 4-5; ECF 1 at 5-6, No. 50.
According to Rico, these failures in the grievance process at
MCCF enabled his assault on September 28, 2017 and endangered
his health and safety on December 8, 2018. Id.
Rico claims that under Green and Malagari's supervision,
no one at MCCF knew the process for handling inmates'
certified mail and, as a result, he was not provided
certified mail service from March to April 2018. ECF No. 1 at
5-6, No. 49; ECF No. 1 at 4-5, No. 50. Rico also alleges that
Green and Malagari have failed to update and correct the MCCF
inmate handbook to reflect policies regarding use of force,
strip searches, leg shackles, and certified mail. ECF No. 1
at 6, No. 49; ECF No. 1 at 6, No. 50. Rico also alleges that
on several occasions, MCCF staff violated a "quad
schedule" made effective as of March 1, 2018 which
provided that inmates be allowed 30 minutes outside the cell,
and that he was punished for "inciting a riot" by
being locked in his cell because he was informing inmates of
their rights. ECF No. 1 at 6-7, No. 49; ECF No. 1 at 7, No.
relief, Rico seeks an order directing Defendants to eliminate
the quad schedule and enforce state standards for time that
inmates may spend outside of their cells, fix the grievance
process at MCCF, submit to monitors and audits, properly
update the inmate handbook, and provide certified mail
service. ECF No. 1 at 4, 8, Nos. 49 & 50. In addition, he
seeks "monetary damages for pain and suffering from
assault by Sgt. Eric Watkins" which resulted from
"failures of grievance process and ... camera
11, 2018, Rico was released from MCCF and transferred to the
Maryland State Division of Corrections, which operates under
the Department of Public Safety ...