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Doty v. Hollingsworth

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 27, 2018

ALFRED DOTY, Plaintiff,
v.
FCI FT. DIX WARDEN JORDAN HOLLINGSWORTH; UNIT MANAGER BARBARA NEVINS; UNIT OFFICER JASON BAZYDLO; UNKNOWN UNIT OFFICERS #1-#10, Defendants.

          Robert M. Miele, Esq. Burke, Miele & Golden, LLP Counsel for Plaintiff

          David Vincent Bober, Esq. Office of the United States Attorney Counsel for Defendants

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         This matter comes before the Court upon the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Defendants FCI Fort Dix Warden Jordan Hollingsworth and FCI Fort Dix Unit Manager Barbara Nevins of the Court's Opinion and Order denying in part their Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint. For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant reconsideration in light of the Supreme Court of the United States' opinion in Ziglar v. Abbasi, 137 S.Ct. 1843 (2017), but deny the Motion to Dismiss as to Defendants Hollingsworth and Nevins.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Alfred Doty, an inmate currently confined at the Federal Correctional Institution (“FCI”) in Fort Dix, New Jersey, filed this civil rights action pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), seeking to bring, inter alia, an Eighth Amendment failure to protect claim against Defendants Warden Jordan Hollingsworth, Unit Manager Barbara Nevins, and Unit Officer Jason Bazydlo (the “Fort Dix Defendants”).[1]

         Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) on July 29, 2016. ECF No. 33. In the Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on and before August 24, 2013, he was incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix and housed in Unit 5711. Id., SAC ¶ 15. Plaintiff states that another inmate at FCI Fort Dix (“Unknown Inmate”) was confined to a different housing unit at that time. Id., ¶ 16. Because he was confined to another housing unit, Unknown Inmate was prohibited from entering Unit 5711. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that Unknown Inmate had a known propensity for assaulting other inmates and entering other housing units. “Unknown Inmate had badly assaulted at least one inmate in another housing unit and was also harassing and assaulting at least one inmate in Unit 5711.” Id., ¶ 20. “Unknown Inmate had been gaining unauthorized access into Unit 5711 to ‘shake down' and threaten another inmate that was assigned to Unit 5711.” Id. In addition, “Unknown Inmate had assaulted this other inmate while improperly in Unit 5711.” According to Plaintiff, the Fort Dix Defendants knew of Unknown Inmate's violent tendencies involving threats, harassment, and intimidation of other prisoners, as well as his propensity to enter other housing units. Id., ¶¶ 20, 26.

         Despite being housed in a different unit, Plaintiff states that on August 24, 2013, Unknown Inmate entered Unit 5711 and assaulted Plaintiff. Prior to the assault on August 24, 2013, “Plaintiff advised Defendant Bazydlo that inmates who were assigned to other housing units were planning on coming to Unit 5711 and that he should do a walk through of Unit 5711.” Id., ¶ 21. Defendant Bazydlo “did not conduct a walk through or prevent unauthorized inmates from entering Unit 5711” that day. Id. After his conversation with Defendant Bazydlo, Plaintiff was exiting the restroom of Unit 5711 when he was brutally assaulted with a blunt object by Unknown Inmate. Id., ¶ 22. Plaintiff suffered “fractures to his forehead, orbital bones, left cheek and teeth, ” as well as “a crushed sinus cavity, upper hard pallet fracture, and sever bleeding and swelling of the brain.” Id. During the assault, Defendant Bazydlo was in the office of the Unit 5711 with the door closed to the rest of the Unit. Id., ¶ 23. When Defendant Bazydlo opened the door to the Unit and saw the injured Plaintiff, Defendant Bazydlo said words to the effect that he “wondered if this had happened as retaliation for Plaintiff reporting to him unauthorized inmates in Unit 5711.” Id.

         While Plaintiff recovered in the Special Housing Unit (“SHU”) from his injuries, Plaintiff discovered another inmate formerly of Unit 5711 who had been attacked by Unknown Inmate and was also recovering in the SHU. Id., ¶ 24. Plaintiff also alleges that his assault was fully investigated and that the Defendants identified the assailant, concluded that he was in Unit 5711 when he should not have been, and eventually transferred Unknown Inmate to another institution. Id., ¶ 25.

         Based on these allegations, Plaintiff asserts an Eighth Amendment failure to protect claim against Defendants Warden Jordan Hollingsworth, Unit 5711 Manager Barbara Nevins, and Unit 5711 Officer Jason Bazydlo. Id., ¶¶ 10-12, 40. As to both Moving Defendants, Plaintiff alleges that they (1) knew of Unknown Inmate's violent history of assaulting other inmates; (2) knew of Unknown Inmate's history of accessing other housing units other than his own in order to threat, harass, assault, and intimidate other prisoners; (3) failed to develop and implement adequate safety and security procedures to prevent Unknown Inmate from gaining unauthorized access to Unit 5711; (4) failed to have sufficient guards stationed near the door to Unit 5711; and (5) failed to properly confine Unknown Inmate. Id., ¶¶ 20, 26.

         As to Unit Manager Defendant Nevins only, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Nevins: (1) had a policy in place to leave the front door to Unit 5711 unlocked in between ten minute moves; (2) had a policy in place whereby they failed to monitor the only door with ingress and egress into Unit 5711 during the ten minute moves; (3) failed to monitor the door on August 24, 2013 and allowed Plaintiff's attacker to gain access; and (4) failed to train adequately Defendant Bazydlo to keep the door to Unit 5711 locked or monitor the door during ten minute moves. Id., ¶ 26.

         As to Defendant Warden Hollingsworth only, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Hollingsworth: (1) failed to train adequately Defendant Nevins to keep the door to Unit 5711 locked or monitor the door during ten minute moves; (2) failed to have sufficient guards stationed near the door to Unit 5711; and (3) failed to confine properly Unknown Inmate. Id.

         Plaintiff seeks actual and exemplary damages in the amount of $5, 000, 000.00, but does not seek prospective injunctive ...


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