United States District Court, D. Delaware
JAMES E. HALL, Plaintiff,
WARDEN DAVID PIERCE, et al., Defendants.
Hall, Washington County Detention Center, Hagerstown,
Maryland. Pro Se Plaintiff.
Patrick Connell, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department
of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendants.
NOREIKA; U.S. District Judge.
James Hall ("Hall"), a former pretrial detainee at
the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center ("VCC") in
Smyrna, Delaware, now confined at the Washington County
Detention Center in Hagerstown, Maryland, filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (See D.I. 3, 4, 5).
Plaintiff appears pro se and has been granted leave
to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 12). Before the
Court are Defendants' motion for summary judgment and
Plaintiffs request for counsel, motion to amend, and motion
for injunctive relief (D.I. 68, 80). Plaintiff opposes the
motion for summary judgment. (D.I. 80).
to the allegations in the First Amended Complaint (D.I. 36),
Plaintiff, a pretrial detainee during the relevant
time-frame, was transferred from B-Building to maximum
housing in Building 22 on June 9, 2014, absent a disciplinary
or institutional infraction. (Id. at 1, 4). Plaintiff
states that he remained in Building 22 until he pleaded
guilty to pending criminal charges. (See D.I. 80 at
3). Building 22 is part of the MHU (i.e.,
Medium-High Housing Unit). (D.I. 69 at 1). Plaintiff alleges his
housing in Building 22 was unconstitutional because
Defendants demonstrated "deliberate indifference to a
substantial risk of Plaintiffs health and safety." (D.I.
36 at 1, 4). Plaintiff alleges that he was subjected to
lengthy stays in "cell isolation with prisoners who had
disciplinary problems or who were in protective custody"
and subjected to other hardships such as lights on 20 hours a
day, no drinking water in the yard, sleeping on a mattress on
the floor, inadequate food rations, and poor medical care.
(Id. at 2).
alleges he was punished unnecessarily when he was housed in
Building 22 for 217 days, and he suffered severe physical and
emotional harm. (Id.). Plaintiff also asserts that
he was housed in MHU for eight months. (D.I. 80 at 7). The
record reflects that Plaintiff was transferred from the VCC
to Morris Community Corrections Center in Dover, Delaware, on
November 15, 2014. (D.I. 27 at 9). Using the MHU May 19, 2014
entry date from the initial pleading, Plaintiff was housed in
the MHU for 180 days or five months and 27 days. Using the
MHU June 9, 2014 entry date from the First Amended Complaint,
Plaintiff was housed there for 159 days or five months and
is against Defendant David Pierce ("Pierce") the
former VCC warden; Count II is against Defendant Sgt. Austin
("Austin"); Count III is against Sgt. D. Doane
("Doane"); and Count V is against Delaware Department
of Correction ("DOC") Commissioner Perry Phelps
("Phelps"). The First Amended Complaint does not
contain a prayer for relief although the original pleadings
sought compensatory and punitive damages as well as
injunctive relief. (See D.I. 5 at 12).
record reflects that Plaintiff submitted a grievance in June
2014 complaining that he was served cold food, his daily food
rations were less than 2, 000 calories, and he was sleep
deprived. (D.I. 80 at 38-4). Plaintiff complained that he did
not receive proper food portions because the servers would
shake food from the serving spoons. (Id. at 61).
During the grievance procedure, Plaintiff was advised by Lise
Merson that she would direct a tray assessment to ensure
proper serving sizes. (Id. at 63).
Plaintiffs November 6, 2018 affidavit, he states that he
spoke to Pierce in June or July 2014 in the hallway of
Building 22 when Pierce was conducting a tour. (Id.
at 74). Plaintiff states that he told Pierce he was locked in
his cell and not allowed out "but for two hours a
day," and that food service was "shaking the
spoons." (Id.). Pierce instructed Plaintiff to
speak to the Building Sergeants who at the time were Doane
and Austin. (Id.). Plaintiff states that he raised
other concerns with Doane and Austin about cell temperatures,
excessive lighting, and inadequate food portions.
(Id.). Plaintiff states that his main concern was
his placement in punitive segregation absent a notice or
hearing to contest his placement in MHU 22 indefinitely.
to Pierce and Phelps, during the relevant time-frame, they
were not personally familiar with Plaintiff and were not
personally responsible for Plaintiffs housing or
classification. (D.I. 69-1 at ¶¶ 1, 3; D.I. 69-2 at
¶¶ 1, 3). Pierce and Phelps state the majority of
VCC pretrial inmates are housed in Building 22 and have been
for almost a decade. (Id. at ¶ 4). Some are
housed in the facility's infirmary for medical reasons
and some are housed in SHU for reasons such as escape risks
or for their own protection. (Id.). Neither Pierce
nor Phelps were made aware of any significant threats to
health and safety in Building 22. (Id.).
move for summary judgment on the grounds that: (1) Plaintiff
has uncovered no evidence to support his deliberate
indifference claims; and (2) Defendants are shielded by
qualified immunity. In his opposition, Plaintiff argues that
more discovery is needed. The Court, however, extended the
original discovery deadline multiple times (see D.I.
47, 56, 58, 67), discovery closed in November 2017, and the
dispositive motion deadline expired in January 2018.
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). When determining whether a genuine issue
of material fact exists, the Court must view the evidence in
the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007); Wishkin v.
Potter, 476 F.3d 180, 184 (3d Cir. 2007). A dispute is
"genuine" only if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving
party, and a factual dispute is material when it "might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 247-49
nonmoving party bears the burden to establish the existence
of each element of his case. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett,477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In doing so, the
non-moving party must present specific evidence from which a
reasonable fact finder could conclude in his favor.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; Jones v. United
Parcel Serv.,214 F.3d 402, 407 (3d Cir. 2000). Summary
judgment should be granted if no ...