United States District Court, D. Maryland
K. Bredar Chief Judge.
Plaintiff Carl Ross, presently incarcerated at the Eastern
Correctional Institution ("ECI") in Westover,
Maryland, brings this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Defendant Ricky Fox well, Warden of ECI.
See ECF No. 1. Through the complaint filed on July 9, 2018,
and supplemented on July 19, 2018, and September 10, 2018,
Ross alleges that Defendant is imposing cruel and unusual
punishment through excessively hot conditions within ECI in
the spring and summer seasons. Id. As a result, Ross
alleges that he has difficulty sleeping, dizzy spells, and
heat rashes, that he cannot stop sweating, that his sweat has
a horrible chemical smell, and that the air vents in his cell
do not work. id.; ECF No. 3; ECF No. 12. He seeks
$1, 500 for every summer month he is in inadequate conditions
and to be transferred to a prison that has a "protected
custody" tier. ECF No. 12, p. 2; ECF No. 3, p. 5.
October 9, 2018, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in
the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 13. His
motion is supported by a memorandum of law (ECF No. 13-1) and
several exhibits (collectively, the "Motion").
Pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309
(4th Cir. 1975), the Court informed Ross that the
failure to file a response in opposition to the
Defendant's Motion could result in dismissal of his
Complaint. ECF No. 14. Ross filed a response on November 7,
2018. ECF No. 15. After review of the record, exhibits, and
applicable law, the Court deems a hearing unnecessary.
See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). Defendant's
Motion shall be construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment
and shall be denied without prejudice.
a protective custody ("PC") inmate at ECI. ECF No.
13-2, ¶ 3. He alleges that beginning in summer of
2017, ECI has provided inhumane conditions because of high
temperatures within prisoner cells. ECF No. 3, p. 2. During
the spring and summer months, Ross has had trouble sleeping
due to the heat, and when he would sleep, he would "wake
up in a pool of [his] own sweat with blurry doubled
vision." Id. He also claims to suffer from heat
rashes, sweat that smells, and dizzy spells as a result of
the heat in his cell. ECF No. 3-1; ECF No. 12.
Donoway is the Housing Unit Manager for Housing Unit 5 where
Ross is housed. ECF No. 13-2, ¶ 1 (Donoway Declaration).
Donoway states that "the institution provides cleaning
supplies to inmates in PC who would like to clean their
cells, on Saturday morning." Id. at ¶ 4.
Weekly inspections of the tiers occur, and issues brought to
the officers' attention are addressed at that time.
Id. The windows are not to be blocked for security
reasons but may be opened or closed by the inmate.
Id. at ¶ 5.
Eric Kiser is an Administrative Captain assigned to ECI. ECF
No. 13-3, ¶ 1. Kiser avers that the housing units, day
rooms, and dining halls are not air-conditioned, but do have
several industrial-sized fans for use during warm weather.
ECF No. 13-3, ¶ 3. Additionally, inmates may purchase
fans for themselves through the commissary. Id.
Inmates who are in protective custody may leave their cells
for recreation time multiple times a week. Id. at
¶ 4. Inmates have access to ice water all year within
the housing unit day rooms, and water coolers are filled
twice a day and contain Va ice and Ya
water. Id. at ¶ 5.
5, 2017, Ross complained of the water quality and the heat in
his cell. ECF No. 13-4, p. 2. Ross claimed, "it's so
hot it's like I've been locked in a hot car."
Id. Ross also stated that "the other night I
woke up with blurry and double vision." Id. The
medical unit advised Ross to report water concerns to
officers, to remain hydrated, to purchase a fan during
ordering time, and to inform officers "if he feels as
though he is having a heat related illness."
30, 2017, Ross visited the medical unit to complain of
"pins and needles in back," "rash on [his]
arms," and a "bump on [his] back but it went
away." Id., p. 4. In an Administrative Remedy
Procedure ("ARP") request filed July 11, 2017, Ross
made correctional personnel aware of his concerns regarding
the heat, stating,
the heat in the cells of this place are increasingly
unbearable. I have heat rashes, I can't stop sweating, I
wake up with dizzy spells when I even manage to get sleep.
Lt. Donaway and Ms. Gragg wont [sic] do anything about this,
stating it's 50 degrees and that I don't get special
treatment... they need to fix the air. The vents don't
work and the rest of the sources of air are hot air, causing
a greenhouse effect in the cells. As if being locked in a
turned off car.
ECF No. 3-1, p. 1. He further stated that "Ice does
nothing to the air temperature nor does it fix our body
temperature in this much heat." Id. at p. 2.
The Institutional ARP Coordinator dismissed the ARP on July
19, 2017, for procedural reasons, stating "only one
issue per form. Include dates, temps in your cell, medical
reports documenting your dizzy spells. Be specific!"
Id. at p. 1.
filed another ARP on July 20, 2017, alleging,
this started at the beginning of June ... I do not have a
temperature reading device because I am an inmate, but I do
know it to be well over 95-100 or more degrees if I'm
suffering this badly from it. Medical does not give
documentation on my issues. The sick call complaints go to
Melissa who then plays down the condition and sends me back
to my cell. She stated she'd get my problems checked by a
doctor and I'm still waiting.
Id. at p. 3. Ross additionally stated that Melissa
"said she didn't do anything about it because I
needed to STILL be suffering from dizziness by the time she
saw me." Id. at p. 4. This ARP was also
dismissed for procedural reasons on July 25, 2017, in a
statement noting that "you did not follow ...