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Jackson v. Gelsinger

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 6, 2019

ROBERT JACKSON, Plaintiff
v.
DENISE GELSINGER, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending is a Motion to Dismiss, or in the alternative. Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF 29) filed by Defendants former Assistant Warden Denise Gelsinger, Lieutenant Jeffrey C. Shimko, and former Lieutenant Michael Malloy. Plaintiff has responded. ECF 33. Upon review of the papers filed, this Court finds a hearing in this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the reasons stated below, the dispositive motion, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment[1] IS GRANTED.

         Background

         In denying without prejudice Defendants' previously filed dipositive motion, this Court summarized the facts of the case as follows:

The case was instituted upon receipt of a civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by self represented Plaintiff Robert Jackson, a Maryland state inmate. ECF 1. Plaintiff alleges that he was erroneously labeled as a member of a Security Threat Group ("STG") and as a result has "continuously suffered punishments and restrictions. ECF 1 at p. 4. Plaintiff also claims that, "[t]his erroneous information in Plaintiffs prison record is certainly something that will influence his liberty interest [in parole] if left uncorrected." ECF 19 at p. 11. He notes that his first parole hearing is scheduled for January of 2019. Id.; ECF 19-2 at p. 8.
Plaintiff claims that his right to due process in correcting the error has been denied. ECF 1 at p. 4, Plaintiff claims that each of the named defendants was made aware of the erroneous designation. He specifies that when Lt. Malloy was the Intelligence Officer at the Western Correctional Institution ("WCI"), he acknowledged that there was a misperception regarding documents confiscated from Plaintiff which resulted in the erroneous classification. Id. at p. 4. Plaintiff alleges that this same information was kept and made available to Lt. Shimko who is the current Intelligence Officer at WCI. Id. Plaintiff claims that Shimko refuses to correct the error and that former Assistant Warden Denise Gelsinger erroneously advised him that all Division of Correction policies were followed. Id.
In his opposition response. Plaintiff reiterates his claims that he was not properly validated as a member of a STG in accordance with Division of Correction rules and regulations. ECF 19-1 at pp. 1-2. He has provided a declaration (ECF 19-1) and materials (ECF 19-2) in support of his claim.
As an example of the materials confiscated from him and deemed "gang related," Plaintiff has provided a document entitled "Maryland Branch NABPP-PC Central Committee Directive Rules for Engaging a Political Discussion Circle." ECF 19-2 at p. 3. Plaintiff has also provided the confiscation form prepared by the confiscating officer which simply describes the papers as contraband and "gang related material" without any further explanation. Id. at p. 4.
On June 18, 2012, plaintiff wrote to Lt. Malloy, inquiring why he was not placed on a pass list. Plaintiff noted that documents were confiscated from his cell at the North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBO") on January 5, 2012, and labeled "gang related material." ECF 19-2 at p. 5. He advised Malloy that he challenged that classification of the materials and was to get a hearing, but was transferred to WCI before the issue was resolved. Id. Plaintiff maintained in his letter that the materials were not gang related and that he wanted to know how to proceed to challenge his being labeled a STG member. Id. A handwritten response, apparently written by Lt. Malloy dated July 2, 2012, stated:
Your assumption as to why you were labeled is correct. After I reviewed the materials I could see how it is possible for someone to think it was "gang" related. If you would like to discuss our procedures, please write me and let me know. Let me add, this is not a hearing for you to challenge the claims. It would be the process as to renounciate [sic] your affiliation. Let me know.
Id. at p. 5.
In response to Plaintiffs allegations, Defendants contend[] that on January 8. 2012, Plaintiff was validated, by his own admission, as a member of the STG named the "Black Gorilla[] Family (BGF)" after having been found in possession of gang related materials. ECF 13-2, ¶ 3 (Shimko Decl.)[] On January 8, 2013, alleged members of the BGF assaulted Plaintiff.6 Id. The matter was investigated and it was determined that the "assault was possibly a form of sanction or discipline within the gang." Id.
Shimko avers that Plaintiff has been advised of the procedure for renouncing his STG membership. Id. Shimko spoke with Plaintiff several times regarding his STG validation and the January 8, 2013 assault. Id. at ¶ 4. Plaintiff was advised that if he cooperated with the investigation regarding the January 8, 2013 assault he could continue with the renunciation process, however, Plaintiff refused.7 Id.
In January of 2014, Shimko changed Plaintiffs status in the Automated Gang Intelligence (AGI) database to "inactive." Id. at ¶ 4. Shimko avers that Plaintiffs status will continue to be monitored for a probationary period of 12 months. Id. at ¶ 5. "If no STG activity or any other gang affiliated behavior used in the validation process is observed, reported, documented and verified his request for removal will be revisited." Id.
6 Plaintiff disputes that the assault was gang related. ECF 19-1 at p. 2 (Jackson Decl.).
7 Plaintiff states that the assailants were not identified despite his cooperation with the investigation. ...

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