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Townsend v. Moyer

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 23, 2019

DEVON TOWNSEND, Plaintiff,
v.
STEPHEN T. MOYER, Secretary of Public Safety, RICHARD J. GRAHAM, JR., WCI Warden, and JAMES SMITH, Lieutenant at WCI, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Theodore D. Chuang, J.

         Plaintiff Devon Townsend, an inmate at Western Correctional Institution ("WCI") in Cumberland, Maryland, filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. S 1983 alleging that his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution were violated when he was denied outdoor recreation for extended periods of time in 2017. Defendants previously filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment, which this Court granted in part and denied in part. The Motion was denied as to alleged deprivation of outdoor recreation time from February 16, 2017 to March 15, 2017, after this Court found that the record failed to establish definitive explanations for the denial of outdoor recreation time for Townsend during that time frame. Townsend v. Moyer ("Townsend I"), No. TDC-17-3382, 2019 WL 367637, at *4 (D. Md. Jan. 29, 2019). The Motion was otherwise granted. Id. at *5.

         Defendants have now filed a Renewed Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment addressing Townsendss lack of recreation time between February 16, 2017 and March 15, 2017. Townsend has filed a memorandum in opposition to the Motion ("Opposition"), as well as a Cross Motion for Summary Judgmen,, which reiterates the arguments made in his Opposition and asks that summary judgment be entered in his favor. Having reviewed the submitted materials, the Court finds that no hearing is necessary. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' renewed Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, for Summary Judgmen,, construed as a Motion for Summary Judgment, will be GRANTED, and Townsendss Cross Motion for Summary Judgment will be DENIED.

         BACKGROUND

         The factual allegations in Townsendss Complaint were set forth in the Court's memorandum opinion on the first Motion to Dismiss and are incorporated by reference here. Townsend I, 2019 WL 367637, at *1. With the Renewed Motion, Defendants now provide evidence establishing the following additional facts.

         According to the verified records and declarations provided by Defendants, Townsend was placed on Administrative Segregation Pending Adjustment ("ASPA") on February 16, 2017, after he was charged with violating Rule 105 (possession of a weapon or an article modified into a weapon). Townsend remained in that status until March 10, 2017, the date of his adjustment hearing. Townsend was found guilty of violating Rule 105 and was sentenced to 180 days of segregation dating from March 10, 2017. While housed in ASPA status based on an alleged rule violation, inmates are not eligible to participate in recreation until they receive an adjustment hearing. WCI's written policies provide that:

Adjustment While on Segregaiion. If you receive a Notice of Infraction while on segregation, your recreation and shower privileges may be suspended until your adjustment hearing.

WCI.110.0006 App. 3 at 3, ECF No. 11-2.

         A similar rule applies when an inmate is placed on Staff Alert status. Townsend was placed on Staff Alert status from March 13 to 15, 2017, after he barricaded his cell and flooded the tier, requiring correctional staff to conduct a cell extraction to resolve the incident. In connection with the March 13, 2017 incident, Townsend was charged with violating Rule 100 (engaging in a disruptive act), Rule 312 (interfering with performance of staff duties), and Rule 400 (disobeying an order). At an adjustment hearing held on March 29, 2017, Townsend pleaded guilty to the rule violations and was sentenced to 180 days of segregation, 120 days of revoked good time credits, and a one-year suspension of visitation.

         As to the remaining days at issue, March 11, 2017 was a Saturday, and March 12, 2017 was a Sunday. The prior record evidence established that recreation is provided only Monday through Friday for inmates in segregation awaiting an adjustment hearing. See WCI.l 10.0006 App. 3 at 3 ("Recreation for those inmates on Disciplinary Segregation and those pending adjustment will be held Monday through Friday.").

         In his Opposition, Townsend notes perceived discrepancies in the dates listed on the adjustment hearing documents regarding the start and end dates of his segregation period, but he does not deny that he was charged with possessing a weapon on February 16, 2017 and that assignment to ASPA or Staff Alert status means that he was not entitled to participate in recreation.

         DISCUSSION

         I. Amended Complaint

         On May 6, 2019, during the pendency of this Motion, Townsend filed a letter, which the Court construes as a proposed Supplement to the Complaint, in which he alleges that he has been subjected to retaliation and deprived of adequate medical care following an assault that occurred on April 28, 2019. Where Townsend did not receive leave of Court to file the Supplemen,, and it sets forth allegations of separate events that occurred two years after the events at issue in his Complaint, the Court will strike the Supplemen.. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(d) (stating that a party may supplement its pleading only on motion and reasonable notice). Where this case has proceeded through two dispositive motions, injecting ...


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