United States District Court, D. Maryland
W. Grimm United States District Judge.
Tremayne Lewis, a Maryland Division of Corrections prisoner,
alleges that while housed at Jessup Correctional Institution
(“JCI”) he was assaulted by unidentified members
of a Special Operations Group (“SOG”) approved by
Warden Campbell, supervised by Captains Edwards and Scott,
and led by Captain Ennis. Compl. 3, ECF 1. Essentially, Lewis
argues that Warden Campbell knowingly permitted correctional
officers to use excessive force against him during a cell
extraction in violation of the Eighth Amendment, which
prohibits the infliction of “cruel and unusual
punishments.” U.S. Const. amend. VIII.
filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary
judgment (ECF No. 12), which I will construe as a motion to
dismiss. Lewis has opposed the motion. Opp'n, ECF No. 17.
A hearing is not needed to resolve Defendants' motion.
See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the following
reasons, Defendants' motion is denied.
alleges that SOG members assaulted him in his cell on March
8, 2018, at around 2:30 a.m. Compl. 3. The members allegedly
shot him with rubber bullets in the right eye and right
temple and permitted a “K-9 dog” to bark in his
face while they kicked and pepper-sprayed him. Id.
in response, say Warden Campbell had ordered a “planned
Use of Force” against Lewis “because he refused a
facility transfer and [was] believed to be in possession of a
homemade weapon.” Ennis Decl. ¶ 3, ECF No.
12-3. Captain Ennis's declaration asserts
that Lewis ignored multiple orders to clear obstructions from
his cell and was lying on the floor with his hands behind his
back. Id. ¶ 4. The team took several minutes to
clear enough of the obstruction to open the cell door several
inches. When Lewis attempted to grab members of the team,
Officer Pence shot multiple non-lethal “beanbag
rounds” (as opposed to rubber bullets) through the food
port, none of which hit Lewis, according to Defendants.
Id. ¶¶ 5-6. When Lewis continued to
resist, Captain Ennis sprayed multiple one- to two-second
bursts of pepper spray into the cell. Id. ¶ 7.
entered the cell, “place[d]” Lewis on the ground,
and “after a brief struggle” placed him into
restraints. Id. They then escorted him to the
dayroom for a strip search and an evaluation by medical staff
prior to transport to North Branch Correctional Institution
(“NBCI”). Id.; see also Medical
R. 2, ECF No. 12-4 (March 8, 2018 medical notation as to
scrape on his scapula). For this incident, Lewis received a
notice stating he had violated prison rules. Ennis Decl.
provide a July 11, 2018 note following an ophthalmology
examination for reported “trauma.” Medical R. 3.
The note states there was “[n]o evidence of any damage
to eye - will check non-dilated pupils.” Id.
By October 10, 2018, the follow-up examination noted that any
issue of “vision loss” was
“resolved.” Id. at 4. Lewis later
complained to nursing staff that he continued to suffer eye
pain. Id. at 5. X-rays found no evidence of a
fracture. Id. at 6.
opposition response, Lewis submits a declaration disputing
Defendants' account. Pl.'s Decl., ECF No. 17-2. Lewis
notes that Defendants did not deny the use of a K-9 or that
the incident, which was pre-planned, was not videotaped, in
contravention to Division of Corrections policy. Opp'n
2-4. Lewis implies he was unable to identify the officers due
to this breach of policy. Id. at 4. He states that
he was not seen by medical staff at JCI after the incident,
as Defendants allege, but instead was immediately placed in a
van and transported to NBCI. Id. at 5.
seek dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure.Rule 12(b)(6) authorizes parties in a civil
action to seek the dismissal of a claim or complaint on the
grounds that it fails to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); Tucker
v. Specialized Loan Servicing, LLC, 83 F.Supp.3d 635,
647-48, (D. Md. 2015). This rule's purpose “is to
test the sufficiency of a complaint and not to resolve
contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the
applicability of defenses.” Presley v. City of
Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006). To
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2), and must state “a plausible claim for relief,
” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009).
“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “A
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
when a defendant moves to dismiss a complaint under Rule
12(b)(6), courts are limited to considering the sufficiency
of allegations set forth in the complaint and the
‘documents attached or incorporated into the
complaint.'” Zak v. Chelsea Therapeutics
Int'l, Ltd., 780 F.3d 597, 606 (4th Cir. 2015)
(quoting E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Kolon
Indus., Inc., 637 F.3d 435, 448 (4th Cir. 2011)). A
court also may consider matters subject to judicial notice.
See Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights,
Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007). Where, as here, the
defendants have submitted numerous exhibits along with their
motion, the court may consider such evidence only if it
converts the motion to one for summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P.
contend that Lewis has failed to state a cognizable claim. In
particular, they argue that the allegations involving Warden
Campbell do not support a finding of supervisory liability
and, further, that the Complaint fails to specify what
actions each of the named defendants took that could be said
to have violated his ...