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Fletcher v. Foxwell

United States District Court, D. Maryland

October 25, 2019

JAMONTE JAMAR FLETCHER, Inmate Identification No. 422-651, SID No. 308-6802, Plaintiff,


          Theodore D. Chuang United States District Judge.

         Plaintiff Jamonte Jamar Fletcher, an inmate at Eastern Correctional Institution ("ECI") in Westover, Maryland, has filed a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. S 1983 alleging that he was compelled to engage in a sexual act by Correctional Officer Shawn Lowicki and that he was subjected to unlawful retaliation after he filed a grievance relating to that incident. Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment ("Motion to Dismiss"), as well as several non-dispositive motions filed by Fletcher. Upon consideration of the submitted materials, the Court finds that no hearing is necessary. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Dismiss will be denied.


         In his verified Complaint, Fletcher alleges that on October 11, 2017, Lowicki required all inmates in Housing Unit 4, B Tier, to undergo a strip search as a condition of participation in recreation and showers. When Fletcher was subjected to the strip search, Lowicki ordered him to insert his finger into his own anus to demonstrate that no contraband was present. Fletcher was required to do so in the presence of his cellmate. According to Fletcher, he reported the incident to Lt. Rod Roslak immediately after it occurred. After Fletcher filed a complaint pursuant to the Prison Rape Elimination Act ("PREA"), 42 U.S.C. § 15601-15609 (2012), a Lt. Jones came to interview him about the incident. According to Fletcher, after conducting an inquiry, Lt. Jones concluded, based on video evidence and interviews of other inmates, that he was telling the truth. A subsequent formal investigation by Lt. Pepper of the Intelligence and Investigation Division ("IID"), however, resulted in a conclusion that Fletcherss allegations had merit but that there was insufficient evidence to bring charges against Lowicki.

         During March and April 2018, Lowicki harassed Fletcher by cursing at him, "giving him evil looks," threatening him, and conducting pat down searches without justification. Am. Compl. ¶ 45, ECF No. 4. On April 5, 2018, after Fletcher left his cell to go to dinner, Lowicki sent him back to his cell without dinner. When asked why, Lowicki responded by stating, "You know the fuck why," which Fletcher understood to be a reference to his PREA complaint against Lowicki. Id. ¶ 50. That same day, Correctional Officer Broyles conducted a search of Fletcherss cell and dropped and broke Fletcherss CD player. Fletcher asserts that he did so purposely, as retaliation for Fletcherss complaint against Lowicki. Fletcher was then given a Notice of Inmate Rule Violation written by Lowicki and was sent to lock up as a result. After a hearing, Fletcher was sentenced to 90 days in lock up and a loss of 90 days of good time credits. In the Notice of Inmate Rule Violation submitted by Fletcher, dated April 5, 2018, Lowicki accused Fletcher of not displaying his state identification card and acting in an aggressive manner when he was confronted.

         In April 2018, Fletcher placed two calls to the PREA hotline because he believed his recent punishment was retaliation for his earlier PREA complaint. On April 25, 2018, Fletcher met with Captain Donald Gallagher, who directed him to stop making complaints to the PREA hotline. When Fletcher complained that Lowicki should not have been assigned to an area near his cell after Fletcherss initial PREA complaint, Gallagher smiled and told Fletcher that IID had found his original claim unfounded and stated, "that means it's like the stuff never even happened." Id. ¶ 68.

         In a declaration submitted with the Motion, Lowicki denies that he sexually assaulted Fletcher or placed his finger in Fletcherss rectum. He does not, however, address whether he ordered Fletcher to insert his finger into his rectum. In his interview with the IID, Lowicki denied ordering Fletcher or Armstrong to insert their fingers into their own rectums. During the IID investigation, Fletcherss cellmate, Demetri Armstrong corroborated Fletcherss allegation that Lowicki ordered them to insert their fingers into their rectums if they wanted to participate in recreation or showers. After investigation, Lt. Pepper of the IID concluded that Fletcherss allegations were "unfounded"" IID Supp. Report at 4, Mot. Dismiss Ex. 3, ECF No. 22-2 at 7, in part because Armstrong stated that neither he nor Fletcher actually inserted their fingers inside themselves and because Rostak denied that Fletcher reported the incident to him. In a declaration submitted by Fletcher, however, another inmate in a nearby cell, Kajaun Marcelin, states that on October 11, 2017, he heard Lowicki order Fletcher to "stick his finger up his rectum." Marcelin Decl. ¶ 4, Am. Compl. Ex. 2, ECF No. 4-4.

         In his declaration, Lowicki denies writing a false report against Fletcher relating to their encounter in April 2018. Defendants provide no record of a Notice of Inmate Rule Violation against Fletcher from April 2018, but they have submitted a Notice of Inmate Rule Violation from November 11, 2018 charging Fletcher with assault on a fellow prisoner and resulting in sanctions of 90 days of segregation and revocation of 120 days of good conduct credits.


         I. Preliminary Motions

         Since the filing of the Motion to Dismiss, Fletcher has filed several non-dispositive motions, including a Second Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint ("Second Motion to Amend"), ECF No. 27, a Motion for Inspection of Things and Places ("Motion for Inspection"), ECF No. 28, and two filings relating to a settlement offer to Defendants, ECF Nos. 24, 25. Instead of filing a memorandum in opposition to the Motion to Dismiss, Fletcher filed a "Motion for Rule 56(f) Continuance and/or in the Alternative, Motion for Extension of Time" ("Motion to Continue"), ECF No. 26, to which he has attached an affidavit pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(d) asserting that discovery is required before the Motion can be resolved.

         A. Second Motion to Amend

         The Second Motion to Amend was filed on March 22, 2019, after Defendants' had filed their Motion to Dismiss. Under part IV.A.3 of this Court's Case Management Order, ECF NO.3, because Fletcher has already amended his complaint once before, he may not file another Amended Complaint until after the resolution of the Motion to Dismiss. Accordingly, the Second Motion to Amend will be denied without prejudice.

         D. Motion ...

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