Crudup v. Division of Corrections
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge James K. Bredar on 2/2/2017. (c/m 2/2/17)(kr2, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Civil Action No. JKB-17-197
DIVISION OF CORRECTION
EASTERN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION
The above-entitled complaint was filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on January 23,
2017. Plaintiff seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis, which shall be granted. For the reasons
set forth below, the complaint must be dismissed.
Plaintiff, who is incarcerated at Eastern Correctional Institution in Westover, Maryland,
asserts that on January 9, 2017, a pipe burst on C-tier causing the area to flood. ECF 1 at p. 3.
Plaintiff states that he was walking through the dayroom where the flooding occurred and,
although he tried to avoid walking in the flooded area, he slipped and fell. Id. He states three
officers witnessed the accident. Id. In an administrative remedy complaint plaintiff filed and
submitted with the complaint, he alleges the pipe burst through the negligence of staff
responsible for maintenance in the prison.
As relief he seeks unspecified
compensation for “several injuries” he incurred. ECF 1 at p. 3.
The complaint is filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 which provides that “[e]very person who,
under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory . . .
subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the
jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured . . .” The negligence plaintiff attributes
to unnamed parties and he alleges was the cause of the flood does not state a constitutional claim.
Conduct is not actionable under the Eighth Amendment unless it transgresses bright lines of
clearly-established pre-existing law. See Maciariello v. Sumner, 973 F.2d 295, 298 (4th Cir.
1992). To establish a sufficiently culpable state of mind, there must be evidence that a known
excessive risk of harm to the inmate’s health or safety was disregarded. See Wilson v. Seiter, 501
U.S. 294, 298-99 (1991). In other words, “the test is whether the guards know the plaintiff
inmate faces a serious danger to his safety and they could avert the danger easily yet they fail to
do so.” Brown v. N.C. Dep’t of Corr., 612 F.3d 720, 723 (4th Cir. 2010) (quoting Case v.
Ahitow, 301 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 2002)). “These requirements spring from the text of the
amendment itself; absent intentionality, a condition imposed on an inmate cannot properly be
called ‘punishment,’ and absent severity, such punishment cannot be called ‘cruel and unusual.’”
Iko v. Shreve, 535 F.3d 225, 238 (4th Cir. 2008) (citing Wilson, 501 U.S. at 298-300).
Neglecting to perform routine maintenance is not an intentional imposition of cruel and unusual
punishment. A slip-and-fall claim, such as the one alleged in this complaint, does not become a
constitutional claim simply because it occurred in a state prison.
To the extent plaintiff also claims loss of property because of the flood, the complaint
does not state a claim under the Fourteenth Amendment. In the case of lost or stolen property,
sufficient due process is afforded to a prisoner if he has access to an adequate post-deprivation
remedy. See Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 540 (1981), overruled on other grounds by Daniels
v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327 (1986). The right to seek damages and injunctive relief in Maryland
courts constitutes an adequate post-deprivation remedy.1 See Juncker v. Tinney, 549 F. Supp.
Plaintiff may avail himself of remedies under Maryland=s Tort Claims Act and through the Inmate Grievance
574, 579 (D. Md. 1982).2
The Supreme Court extended its Parratt holding to intentional
deprivations of property. See Hudson v. Palmer, 468 U.S. 517, 533 (1984). Therefore, assuming
Plaintiff’s personal property was destroyed as he alleges, such a claim does not rise to a
The complaint shall be dismissed under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). See
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989); see also Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32
(1992); Cochran v. Morris, 73 F.3d 1310, 1315 (4th Cir. 1996); Nasim v. Warden, 64 F.3d 951,
954-55 (4th Cir. 1995). Plaintiff is reminded that under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) he will not be
granted in forma pauperis status if he has Aon 3 or more prior occasions, while incarcerated or
detained in any facility, brought an action or appeal in a court of the United States that was
dismissed on the grounds that it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, unless the prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury.@
A separate order follows.
February 2, 2017
James K. Bredar
United States District Judge
Although Juncker dealt with personal injury rather than property loss, its analysis and conclusion that sufficient
due process is afforded through post-deprivation remedies available in the Maryland courts also apply to cases of
lost or stolen property, given Juncker’s reliance on Parratt in dismissing plaintiff’s due process claim.
In rejecting a prisoner’s Fourth Amendment claim to an expectation of privacy in his cell, the Supreme Court
stated that denying such a claim did not “mean that [a prisoner] is without a remedy for calculated harassment
unrelated to prison needs. Nor does it mean that prison attendants can ride roughshod over inmates' property rights
with impunity. The Eighth Amendment always stands as a protection against ‘cruel and unusual punishments.’ By
the same token, there are adequate state tort and common-law remedies available to respondent to redress the
alleged destruction of his personal property.” Hudson, 486 U.S. at 530-31.
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