United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Ronald Hill, Jr. has filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 claiming that correctional officers failed to
protect him from violent attacks perpetrated by two inmates
while he was incarcerated at Eastern Correctional Institution
(“ECI”). ECF No. 1. Pending before the Court is a
Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary
Judgment filed by Defendants Correctional Officers
(“C.O.”) Jermaine Sturgis, Vernon Collins, and
Matthew Parsons, Captain Daniel Barnes, Warden Ricky Foxwell,
and Commissioner Dayena Corcoran. ECF No. 11. Hill opposes
the motion. ECF No. 13. No hearing is necessary. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the following reasons,
Defendants’ motion, construed as a Motion for Summary
Judgment, is granted.
July 3, 2018 Incident
alleges that on July 3, 2018, at approximately 5:45 a.m.,
inmate Mark Summerville, a member of the prison gang known as
Dead Men, Inc. (“DMI”), yanked Hill out of his
bed while he was sleeping and repeatedly punched and kicked
him until he lost consciousness. ECF No. 1 at
When Hill awoke, he heard Summerville yelling out to inmate
Anthony Johnson that he had beaten Hill and explaining how he
had done so. Id. According to Hill, Johnson
responded that Summerville should “do it again and he
would pay him again.” Id. Hill states that he
told Defendants C.O. Jermaine Sturgis and C.O. Vernon
Collins, but they left him without help. Id. Hill
does not specify when or what he told Sturgis and Collins.
declarations signed under oath, Officers Sturgis and Collins
deny any knowledge of the alleged assault against Hill on
July 3, 2018, and they deny that Hill ever reported to either
of them that he had issues with inmates Summerville or
Johnson. ECF No. 11-3; ECF No. 11-4. Sturgis states that if
an inmate reports he is having a problem or being threatened
by another inmate, the normal practice is to report the
information to the Officer in Charge of the Housing Unit as
neither he nor Collins are authorized to reassign inmates to
different cells. ECF 11-3. Collins states further that on
July 3, 2018, he was not at work and therefore could not have
been involved in any manner with the alleged incident. ECF
No. 11-4. Post Assignment Worksheets confirm that Collins did
not work that day. ECF No. 11-5.
Captain Daniel Barnes states in a signed declaration that he
has no recollection of “being a part of the
investigation concerning Inmate Hill.” ECF No. 11-6.
Barnes does not specify which incident he cannot recall, nor
does he address whether he was otherwise aware of the issues
noted by Hill in his Complaint. Id. Similarly, Lt.
Stephen Elliott,  the Housing Unit Manager, states Hill
never complained to him about Summerville and he was never
advised that Hill had been threatened or assaulted by inmate
Mark Summerville. ECF No. 11-13 at 1.
verified medical records, dated from July 1, 2018 through
December 26, 2018, do not contain any documented complaints
regarding an assault taking place on July 3, 2018. ECF
11-8. The medical records do indicate, however,
that Hill was injured in a fight with another inmate on
August 30, 2018. ECF No. 11-8 at 26–27, 30. Defendants
do not address the August 30, 2018 incident.
September 13, 2018 Incident
alleges further that on September 13, 2018, he and cellmate
David Gillis notified Defendant C.O. Matthew Parsons that if
Hill was not removed from the cell, Gillis would harm Hill.
He maintains that Parsons “walked away” in
response to those statements. Hill claims that Parsons’
failure to act provided Gillis with the “time and
opportunity” to beat him “with a segregation
incident was investigated and summarized in a Memorandum
prepared by Acting Security Chief Walter Holmes for purposes
of a Serious Incident Report. ECF No. 11-9 at 1. Officer
Daric Evans was in the Housing Unit at approximately 7:55
p.m., when he heard “several inmates banging and
kicking their cell doors” on B-tier. Id. Upon
investigation, Evans discovered Hill and Gillis engaged in a
fight, notified other officers via radio call
“10-10” of the situation, and ordered both
inmates to approach the slot in the cell door in order to be
handcuffed. Id. Both inmates complied, and both were
escorted to the medical unit for evaluation. Id.
sustained small, superficial scratches to his neck.
Id. Hill’s medical records show that he was
treated for head trauma as a result of being struck multiple
times with the heavy plastic tray and suffered
“bilateral facial contusions, marked swelling around
the left eye, chest and neck abrasions.” ECF No. 11-8
at 34. Hill was sent out to a hospital for a CT scan.
Id. Later that day, nursing comments indicate that
Hill had bruising to both eyes and a laceration above his
left eyebrow. Id. at 36. The nurse, Melinda L.
Diercks, reported that Hill told her that “when he woke
up his cell buddy was standing over him” and that he
began to yell for help and correctional officers arrived to
assist. Id. Upon his return to the prison, Hill was
admitted to the ECI Infirmary for observation. ECF No. 11-8
at 42–48, 97–99.
the incident, both Hill and Gillis were charged with
violation of the institutional rule prohibiting assault or
battery on another inmate. ECF No. 11-9 at 9, 12. Gillis was
additionally charged with possessing, using, or manufacturing
a weapon. Id. at 12.
provided the following statement regarding the incident with
My room-mate was screaming out the back window to someone on
C-Tier about checking on me (rumors of me being gay)[.] He
(David Gillis) described me to him and he said that
it’s me and he (David Gillis) threatened my health,
safety and life – if I didn’t kick and bang on
door to alert officers to move me. I kicked and alerted
officers to get me out of the cell and no officer took me out
of cell. My room-mate struck me with a food tray and I woke
up to him hitting me again with [the] tray and threw bleach
ECF No. 11-9 at 21. Gillis refused to provide a statement.
Id. at 22. An investigation conducted by the
Internal Investigation Division (“IID”) resulted
in criminal charges of second-degree assault against Gillis.
ECF No. 11-10 at 7–8, 39–43.
to Hill’s assertions, Officer Parsons denies being told
by either Gillis or Hill on September 13, 2018, that Gillis
would harm Hill if Hill was not removed from the cell, and he
denies that he simply walked away. ECF No. 11-12 at 1.
Parsons also denies ever being asked by either inmate to
remove Hill from the cell at any other time. Id.
Parsons explains that had either of them informed him of the
need for separation, he would have reported it to the Officer
in Charge of the Housing Unit because he does not have the
authority to move inmates from their assigned cells.
Id. Lt. Elliott also states that he never received
any reports that Gills made Hill fear for his safety. ECF No.
11-13 at 1.
internal “Enemy Alert” list indicates that on
January 16, 2018, he named inmates Freddie Parker and Anton
James as threats to his safety. ECF No. 11-14. On August 31,
2018, Hill indicated that inmate James Tayman was a threat to
his safety because he had stabbed Hill. Id. Gillis
was named an enemy on September 14, 2018, following his
assault on Hill. Id. Summerville is not listed as an
September 21, 2018, Hill filed a Request for Administrative
Remedy (“ARP”) about the September 13, 2018
incident. ECF No. 11-15. It was dismissed for procedural
reasons on September 22, 2018 because the incident was
already being investigated by IID. Id. Notably, Hill
does not claim he told Parsons about Gillis’s threat in
this ARP; rather, he states that he “asked the tier
worker to let any officer know that [he was] in need of
emergency assistance” and that “no officer came
to help.” Id. at 1. Hill does, however, claim
that Gillis informed Parsons of his intent to do Hill harm if
Parsons did not remove Hill from the cell. Id. at 2.
filed a second ARP on October 1, 2018 in which he complained
about his move to C-Tier, which is known to house gang
members, after the disciplinary charges against him related
to the September 13, 2018 incident were dropped. ECF No.
11-16. This ARP was dismissed that same day because inmates
may not seek to address complaints related to case management
recommendations and decisions through the ARP process.
October 16, 2018, Hill filed a grievance complaint with the
Inmate Grievance Office complaining that he was physically
assaulted by different inmates on various dates between the
months of June 2018 and September 2018. ECF No. 11-17. This