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Estate of Gaither v. District of Columbia

September 8, 2009

ESTATE OF MIKAL R. GAITHER, BY AND THROUGH PEARL GAITHER, PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Colleen Kollar-kotelly United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

The above-captioned matter was filed by Plaintiff Pearl Gaither as mother and personal representative of the Estate of Mikal R. Gaither, who was fatally stabbed on December 14, 2002, while incarcerated at the District of Columbia Central Detention Facility ("CDF" or the "Jail"). Plaintiff named as Defendants the District of Columbia ("D.C." or the "District"); Odie Washington, both individually and in his official capacity as Director (now-retired) of the D.C. Department of Corrections; Marvin L. Brown, both individually and in his official capacity as Warden (now-retired) of the Jail; Dennis Harrison, both individually and in his official capacity as Associate Warden of Operations of the Jail; Zerline Brooks, in her individual capacity; Gounod Toppin, in his individual capacity; and Joseph White, in his individual capacity*fn1 (collectively, "Defendants").*fn2 As set forth in Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Gaither's death resulted from Defendants' negligence as well as their deliberate and reckless indifference to conditions at the Jail that they knew were unconstitutionally dangerous. Plaintiff asserts three causes of action in her complaint against all Defendants, alleging a claim for violation of Gaither's constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"), as well as claims for negligence/survival action and wrongful death.

Presently before the Court are Defendants' [146] Motion for Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's [147] Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. After thoroughly reviewing the parties' submissions, including the attachments thereto, applicable case law, statutory authority, and the record of the case as a whole, the Court shall GRANT-IN-PART and DENY-IN-PART Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment and shall GRANT-IN-PART and DENY-IN-PART Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, for the reasons set forth below.

More specifically, the Court GRANTS Defendants' motion insofar as Defendants seek dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against the Defendant Officials in their official capacity as redundant of her claims against the District and with respect to the Defendant Correctional Officers' claims of qualified immunity as against Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim. The Court, however, DENIES Defendants' motion insofar as Defendants assert that issue preclusion bars Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim. The Court also DENIES Defendants' motion with respect to Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim against the District, Plaintiff's negligence-based claims against all Defendants, and the Defendant Officials' claims of qualified immunity as against Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim, finding that genuine issues of disputed material fact preclude summary judgment.

With respect to Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, the Court GRANTS Plaintiff's motion as conceded to the extent she seeks an order precluding Defendants from raising an affirmative defense based on allegations that Gaither voluntarily involved himself in an altercation, but DENIES Plaintiff's motion to the extent she seeks a similar order precluding Defendants from raising such affirmative defenses based on allegations that Gaither should have notified Jail officials of his involvement with a grand jury murder investigation.

Accordingly, Plaintiff's remaining claims are as follows: (1) Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim against the District and the Defendant Officials in their individual capacities; and (2) Plaintiff's negligence-based claims against the District, the Defendant Officials in their individual capacities, and the Defendant Correctional Officers in their individual capacities.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

On December 14, 2002, Mikal Gaither was fatally stabbed by a fellow inmate while incarcerated at the Jail. Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 1.*fn3 The stabbing occurred while Gaither was housed in the in the Northeast Three Cellblock ("NE-3") of the Jail. Id. At the time of Gaither's death, Defendant Washington was Director of the D.C. Department of Corrections, Defendant Brown was the Warden for the Jail, and Defendant Harrison was the Deputy Warden for Operations at the Jail. Defs.' Stmt. ¶¶ 5-7. Defendants Toppin, Brooks, and White were the correctional officers assigned to NE-3. Id. ¶¶ 8-10.*fn4

Although neither party in their briefing now before the Court has specifically addressed Gaither's status at the Jail at the time of his death, it is the Court's understanding from previous filings in this case that Gaither was in Jail awaiting sentencing in the D.C. Superior Court, having earlier pled guilty to one felony count of distribution of cocaine.*fn5 For reasons that are unclear, however, the Second Amended Complaint incorrectly alleges that "Mr. Gaither was fatally stabbed... while he was a pretrial detainee at the Jail awaiting trial on drug charges." Second Amended Complaint, Docket No. [34] ("Sec. Am. Compl.") ¶ 2 (emphasis added).*fn6 Quite obviously, having already pled guilty, Gaither was not-as the Second Amended Complaint asserts-awaiting trial, but rather was awaiting sentencing only. The Court highlights this fact at the outset because, as will become clear below, Gaither's status at the Jail at the time of he was stabbed is constitutionally-significant.

In the wake of Gaither's death, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department ("MPD") conducted an investigation into his stabbing at the Jail, and concluded that two of Gaither's fellow inmates at the Jail, Delonte Kent and Matthew Ingram, had forced Gaither into an open cell in the NE-3 cellblock, where they proceeded to stab him, causing the injuries that ultimately killed Gaither. Pl.'s Stmt. ¶¶ 13-14. A D.C. Superior Court Grand Jury indicted Kent and Ingram for Gaither's First-Degree Murder. Id. ¶ 14. The Grand Jury found that Gaither had been killed because of his previous involvement in the grand jury investigation into the murder of an individual by the name of Kenneth Muldrow, Jr. Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 15. Ingram and Kent were subsequently tried for Gaither's murder, but were found "not guilty" by the jury on December 13, 2006. See Joint Status Report and Consent Motion to Lift Stay, Docket [30].

The remaining facts surrounding Gaither's incarceration at the Jail in December of 2002 are largely in dispute. In particular, the parties disagree as to many of the material facts relating to the policies, procedures and practices, as well as the conduct of the Defendant Correctional Officers, that Plaintiff alleges led to Gaither's death. Given the sheer number of factual issues raised by the parties and the number of allegations and defendants involved in this lawsuit, for clarity's sake, the Court shall address the remaining facts below in discussing and ruling upon the parties' specific arguments.

B. Procedural Background

As explained above, Plaintiff, as mother and personal representative of the Estate of Mikal R. Gaither, filed the above-captioned lawsuit on July 1, 2003. See Compl., Docket No. [1]. On October 6, 2003-before Defendants' response to Plaintiff's complaint was due- the District moved, with Plaintiff's consent, for an order staying this civil case pending resolution of the criminal investigation into Gaither's death that was being conducted by the MPD. See Consent Mot. of Def. D.C. to Stay Pending Outcome of Criminal Case, Docket No. [7]. The Court granted the District's motion, and the case was stayed, effective October 8, 2003, pending further notice from the parties. See 10/8/03 Min. Order. The stay remained in place until January 4, 2007, when the Court granted the parties' joint request to lift the stay based upon their representation that the criminal investigation into Gaither's death was now complete and the related criminal trials had recently concluded. See Joint Status Report and Consent Mot. to Lift Stay, Docket No. [30]; see also 1/4/07 Min. Order.

Plaintiff filed her Second Amended Complaint on February 9, 2007, shortly after the stay in this case had been lifted. See Sec. Am. Compl., Docket No. [34]. Plaintiff asserts three separate causes of action against Defendants. First, Plaintiff sets forth a claim pursuant to Section 1983 for violation of Gaither's Fifth Amendment rights. More specifically, with respect to the Defendant Officials (in both their official and individual capacities) and the District (whom Plaintiff asserts is liable for the conduct of the Defendant Officials), Plaintiff alleges that they subjected Gaither to a "serious and unreasonable risk of violent injury as a result of the unconstitutional conditions at the Jail that were well-known to the defendant officials," including "pervasive violence; overcrowding; a shortage of necessary correctional officers; inadequate training of correctional officers; negligent supervision of correctional officers; inadequate policies, procedures, and practices for critical staffing, classification, and security; and failure to enforce such policies, procedures, and practices relating to critical staffing and security that were in effect." Id. ¶ 63. According to Plaintiff, the "[d]efendant officials' ongoing failure to address these unconstitutionally dangerous conditions was the result of a conscious and deliberate decision or of reckless disregard for the safety of inmates at the Jail," which conduct violated Gaither's Fifth Amendment rights in two distinct ways: one, by "directly and proximately caus[ing] Gaither's injuries and death in violation of the Fifth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983;" and two, by being of such an "egregious and outrageous [nature] that it shocks the contemporary conscience, thereby also depriving plaintiff of substantive due process in violation of the Fifth Amendment and 42 U.S.C. § 1983." Id. ¶¶ 64-66.

With respect to the Defendant Correctional Officers, Plaintiff alleges that "one of the three correctional officers assigned to the NE-3 Housing Unit left her post with the acquiescence of the other assigned correctional officers without first arranging for temporary coverage of her post by a relief officer," and that "[t]his and other conduct by the defendant correctional officers was deliberately indifferent to and recklessly disregarded the substantial and unreasonable risk of harm to Gaither," thereby violating Gaither's Fifth Amendment rights in two distinct ways: one, by "proximately caus[ing] his injuries and death," and two, by being of such an "egregious and outrageous [nature] that it shocks the contemporary conscience." Id. ¶¶ 69-71.

Second, Plaintiff alleges a negligence/survival action against all Defendants. With respect to the Defendant Officials, Plaintiff asserts that they "failed to require reasonably frequent and unannounced housing unit, inmate, and cell shakedowns; to provide for the installation of metal detectors and necessary security cameras; to provide adequate numbers of correctional officers to cellblocks at all times; and to provide proper training and supervision for correctional officers and other employees." Id. ¶ 75. Plaintiff further alleges that the "Defendant officials knew, or should have known that, as a result of these and other necessary and generally accepted prison-security policies, practices and resources for which they had responsibility, it was reasonably foreseeable that pre-trial detainees such as Gaither would be attacked and seriously injured by other inmates." Id. ¶ 75. With respect to the Defendant Correctional Officers, Plaintiff alleges that they "knew or should have known that, as a result of their failure to maintain a level of three correctional officers on duty at all times during the day and evening shifts in Northeast Three cellblock; to control contraband; and to take practical steps to control and monitor the activity and movement of inmates when they were permitted to leave their cells, it was reasonably foreseeable that inmates such as Gaither would be attacked and seriously injured by other inmates." Id. ¶ 76. Finally, with respect to the District, Plaintiff alleges that D.C. is "vicariously liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior for the acts or omissions" of both the Defendant Officials and the Defendant Correctional Officers. Id. ¶ 77.

Third, Plaintiff asserts a claim for wrongful death against all Defendants, alleging that "[a]s a direct and proximate result" of the Defendants' negligence, as described above, "Decedent Mikal Gaither died on or about December 15, 2002." Id. ¶ 80.

Currently pending before the Court are Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, see Docket No. [146], and Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment, see Docket No. [147]. The parties have each filed their respective oppositions and replies. See Defs.' Opp'n, Docket No. [157]; Pl.'s Opp'n, Docket No. [155]; Defs.' Reply, Docket No. [162]; Pl.'s Reply, Docket No. [163]. The motions are thus fully briefed and now ripe for the Court's resolution.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, a party is entitled to summary judgment "if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). See also Tao v. Freeh, 27 F.3d 635, 638 (D.C. Cir. 1994). Under the summary judgment standard, the moving party bears the "initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for [its] motion, and identifying those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits which [it] believe[s] demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In response, the non-moving party must "go beyond the pleadings and by [its] own affidavits, or depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, 'designate' specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. at 324 (internal citations omitted).

Although a court should draw all inferences from the supporting records submitted by the nonmoving party, the mere existence of a factual dispute, by itself, is insufficient to bar summary judgment. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). To be material, the factual assertion must be capable of affecting the substantive outcome of the litigation; to be genuine, the issue must be supported by sufficient admissible evidence that a reasonable trier-of-fact could find for the nonmoving party. Laningham v. U.S. Navy, 813 F.2d 1236, 1242-43 (D.C. Cir. 1987); Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 251 (the court must determine "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law"). "If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not sufficiently probative, summary judgment may be granted." Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. at 249-50 (internal citations omitted). "Mere allegations or denials in the adverse party's pleadings are insufficient to defeat an otherwise proper motion for summary judgment." Williams v. Callaghan, 938 F. Supp. 46, 49 (D.D.C. 1996). The adverse party must do more than simply "show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Instead, while the movant bears the initial responsibility of identifying those portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, the burden shifts to the non-movant to "come forward with 'specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Id. at 587 (citing Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)) (emphasis in original).

III. DISCUSSION

The Court turns first to consider Defendants' motion for summary judgment, which advances several arguments-many in the alternative-with respect to both Plaintiff's constitutionally-based and negligence-based claims. First, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim, as asserted against all Defendants, is barred by the doctrine of issue preclusion. Second, Defendants contend that Plaintiff's claims (both constitutionally-based and negligence-based) against the Defendant Officials in their official capacity, as opposed to their individual capacity, should be dismissed as redundant of her claims against the District. Third, Defendants assert that Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim against the District must fail because Plaintiff cannot substantively prove her claim for municipal liability. Fourth and fifth, Defendants contend that the Defendant Officials and the Defendant Correctional Officers, respectively, are entitled to qualified immunity as against Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim. Fifth and finally, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's negligence-based claims against all Defendants must fail because she cannot show that the Defendants violated any applicable national standards of care.*fn7

The Court will then consider the merits of Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff has moved on the sole issue of Gaither's contributory negligence and/or assumption of risk, arguing that there is no evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that Gaither contributed to or caused his own death. Plaintiff therefore seeks an order precluding Defendants from raising the defense of contributory negligence and/or assumption of risk at trial.

A. The Doctrine of Issue Preclusion Does Not Bar Plaintiff's Section 1983 Claim

Defendants first contend that Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim against all Defendants is barred because "the issue of whether there existed constitutional violations at the Jail in December 2002, and whether the Jail officials exhibited deliberate indifference to the health and safety of the pretrial detainees and inmates, was already decided in the negative by the U.S. District Court [of the District of Columbia] in March 2003," in an order issued in two related civil actions: Campbell v. McGruder, Civil Act. No. 71-1462, and Inmates of D.C. Jail v. Jackson, Civil Act. No. 75-1668. Defs.' MSJ at 21. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Defendants have failed to meet their burden of demonstrating that issue preclusion applies to bar Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim.

As an initial matter, although Defendants broadly contend that "[t]he doctrines of res judicata and/or issue preclusion bars [sic] plaintiff's constitutional claims," Defs.' MSJ at 20-21, it is apparent upon closer review that Defendants have in fact relied only on the doctrine of issue preclusion in arguing that Plaintiff is barred from litigating certain issues. The doctrine of res judicata, which is aimed at "'prevent[ing] repetitious litigation involving the same causes of action or the same issues,'" is "'usually [] parsed into claim and issue preclusion.'" Nextwave Pers. Commc'n, Inc. v. Fed. Commc'n Comm'n, 254 F.3d 130, 142-43 (D.C. Cir. 2001) (quoting I.A.M. Nat'l Pension Fund v. Indus. Gear Mfg. Co., 723 F.2d 944, 946 (D.C. Cir. 1983)). "'Under the claim preclusion aspect of res judicata, a final judgment on the merits in a prior suit involving the same parties or their privies bars subsequent suits based on the same cause of action.'" Id. at 143 (quoting I.A.M Nat'l Pension Fund, 723 F.2d at 946-47). It applies whether or not the new claims were actually litigated in the previous action; rather, "[i]t is sufficient if the claims 'could have been raised' at an earlier juncture." Velikonja v. Ashcroft, 355 F. Supp. 2d 197, 201 (D.D.C. 2005). By contrast, "'[u]nder the issue preclusion aspect of res judicata, a final judgment on the merits in a prior suit precludes subsequent relitigation of issues actually litigated and determined in the prior suit, regardless of whether the subsequent suit is based on the same cause of action.'" Nextwave, 254 F.3d at 147 (quoting I.A.M Nat'l Pension Fund, 723 F.2d at 947).

Defendants, unfortunately, have ignored this distinction. They repeatedly assert in their briefing that Plaintiff's claims are barred by "res judicata and/or issue preclusion" without clarifying whether, by adding the phrase "res judicata," they intended to assert that Plaintiff's claims are barred by claim preclusion as well as issue preclusion. See generally Defs.' MSJ at 19-23. Plaintiff has treated Defendants' arguments on this point as asserting both issue and claim preclusion. See Pl.'s Opp'n at 2-6. It is apparent, however, that Defendants have in actuality relied solely on the doctrine of issue preclusion-and not the related doctrine of claim preclusion-in arguing that Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim is barred. For example, Defendants' memorandum in support of their motion for summary judgment sets forth only the elements for issue preclusion (and not for claim preclusion), and cites solely to case law discussing the doctrine of issue preclusion (and not to the doctrine of claim preclusion). See Defs.' MSJ at 19-23. In addition, Defendants have made no attempt to demonstrate that the particular causes of action in the prior lawsuits are identical to those brought in the pending matter, as is necessary in proving the application of claim preclusion. See generally id.; see also Defs.' Reply at 36-37. Finally, Defendants themselves make clear that their arguments on this point are based on an assertion that "the plaintiff in this case cannot relitigate [certain] issues in this lawsuit" that were, according to Defendants, already raised in and decided by the district court in Campbell and Inmates of D.C. Jail. Defs.' MSJ at 2 (emphasis added). Thus, despite the lack of clarity in Defendants' briefing, it is apparent that Defendants assert a defense of issue preclusion only. Accordingly, the Court proceeds with the understanding that Defendants' res judicata argument is premised solely on the doctrine of issue preclusion.

Turning then to the merits of Defendants' briefing, Defendants argue that Plaintiff's constitutional claim is barred by the litigation in the Campbell and Inmates of D.C. Jail v. Jackson actions. Defs.' MSJ at 21. Campbell and Inmates of D.C. Jail were both class action lawsuits brought in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia by pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners, respectively, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against various allegedly unconstitutional conditions at the Jail. See Campbell v. McGruder, 580 F.2d 521, 524 (D.C. Cir. 1978); Inmates of D.C. Jail v. Jackson, 416 F. Supp. 119, 120 (D.D.C. 1976). In March of 2003, after more than thirty years of ongoing litigation and court-oversight, Judge William B. Bryant granted the District's motion to terminate all orders for prospective relief previously issued and ordered the cases dismissed. See Campbell v. McGruder, Civil Act. No. 71-1462, Docket No. [867], ("March 21, 2003 Order"). According to Defendants, the March 21, 2003 Order bars Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim because "the issue of whether there existed constitutional violations at the Jail in December 2002, and whether the Jail officials exhibited deliberate indifference to the health and safety of the pretrial detainees and inmates was already decided in the negative by the U.S. District Court [of the District of Columbia] in March 2003." Defs.' MSJ at 21.

In order to demonstrate that issue preclusion applies, the following three conditions must be met:

First, the same issue now being raised must have been contested by the parties and submitted for judicial determination in the prior case. Second, the issue must have been actually and necessarily determined by a court of competent jurisdiction in that prior case. Third, preclusion in the second case must not work a basic unfairness to the party bound by the first determination.

Yamaha Corp. of Am. v. United States, 961 F.2d 245, 254 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (internal citations omitted). Claim preclusion is an affirmative defense, and Defendants, as the party proponent, bear the burden of establishing all necessary elements. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(c); see also Am. Fed'n of Gov't Employees v. Fed. Labor Relations Auth., 835 F.2d 1458, 1463 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (proponent has "the burden of proving res judicata"). Plaintiff contends that Defendants have failed to demonstrate that the issues now raised by Plaintiff were considered and resolved by the court in Campbell and Inmates of Jail. Pl.'s Opp'n at 6-9. The Court agrees.

As an initial matter, Defendants paint with too broad a brush. The mere fact that both the instant action and the previous civil matters both involve-at the most abstract level-allegations of "constitutional violations" at the Jail is insufficient, by itself, to demonstrate that Plaintiff's constitutional claims are barred by issue preclusion. There are, quite obviously, a wide variety of "constitutional violations" that an individual may allege, but Defendants have made no effort to identify with any degree of specificity the precise constitutional issues in question. Similarly, Defendants' broad claim that both cases involve claims about "deliberate indifference" by Jail officials is insufficient to show that issue preclusion is appropriate. Of course, when viewed from 20,000 feet, almost any case that raises allegations of unconstitutional jailhouse conditions may be said to raise and resolve the same general "issue." That, however, is not sufficient. Although the issues raised in and resolved by the previous litigation need not be "precisely the same" as those now raised by Plaintiff, the D.C. Circuit has advised that "the basic issue in both" cases must "nevertheless" be the same. McLaughlin v. Bradlee, 803 F.2d 1197, 1203 (D.C. Cir. 1986) (internal quotation marks omitted). In considering whether issues are sufficiently similar for purposes of issue preclusion, courts consider whether: (a) "the issues in the two suits are very 'closely related;'" (b) "there remains at least 'a substantial overlap between the evidence or argument to be advanced in the second proceeding and that advanced in the first;'" and (c) "evidentiary proceedings in the first action could 'reasonably be expected to have embraced the matter sought to be presented in the second.'" Id. (quoting Restatement (Second) of Judgments § 27, comment c (1982)). In this case, Defendants have made no effort to address any of these factors or otherwise demonstrate that the constitutional violations alleged in this case are the same as those in the Campbell/Inmates of D.C. Jail litigation. For this reason alone, Defendants' claim of issue preclusion must fail.

Regardless, the Court finds that the specific issues raised by Plaintiff in the instant litigation-when considered in the proper scope-were not actually decided by the March 21, 2003 Order in Campbell/Inmates of Jail, as Defendants claim. On first blush, Defendants' argument appears to have some merit. Plaintiff's suit alleges that unconstitutional conditions at the Jail in late 2002 led to a series of inmate-on-inmate stabbing attacks in December of that year, including the lethal attack on Gaither. See Sec. Am. Compl. Similarly, the Campbell and Inmates in Jail actions alleged unconstitutional conditions at the Jail. Although the earlier actions principally focused on environmental and health issues-such as violations of D.C. Building Code, Plumbing Code, Housing Regulations, Health Regulations, Food Regulations and Fire Code-that are not at issue in this case, the actions also appear to have touched upon safety issues, such as overcrowding and inadequate classification systems, that are also at issue in Plaintiff's suit. See Campbell, 416 F. Supp. at 103, 105-06. Nonetheless, upon closer review, it is clear that none of the issues now raised by Plaintiff in fact were raised and decided by the March 21, 2003 Order as Defendants claim.

The Court's analysis begins with the March 21, 2003 Order itself.*fn8 That order, however, is little more than two pages long and contains no substantive discussion or description of the issues raised and decided by Judge Bryant. See March 21, 2003 Order. Although Defendants contend that the March 21, 2003 Order "clearly" decided that there were no constitutional violations at the Jail in December 2002, and that Jail officials had not exhibited deliberate indifference to the health and safety of the pretrial detainees and inmates, see Defs.' MSJ at 21, the order itself includes no such sweeping conclusions. Rather, the March 21, 2003 Order states in substance only that "the Court does not find that prospective relief remains necessary to correct current and ongoing violations of Federal rights at the" Jail, without specifying what "Federal rights" were at issue. March 21, 2003 Order at 2. The March 21, 2003 Order itself thus sheds little light on the actual issues decided by Judge Bryant.

Accordingly, to help illuminate the precise issues raised in and decided by the March 21, 2003 Order, Plaintiff, in opposition to Defendants' motion, has provided the Court with copies of the parties' briefing filed in Campbell/Inmates of Jail with respect to the March 21, 2003 Order. See Pl.'s Opp'n, Ex. 3 (The Special Officer's Report on Issues Related to Environmental Conditions at the D.C. Jail, March 7, 2003); Ex. 4 (Mem. in Opp'n to Defs.' Mot. to Terminate); Ex. 5 (Mem. in Support of D.C.'s Mot. to Terminate Population Limitation); Ex. 6 (Mem. in Support of D.C.'s Mot. to Terminate). As becomes apparent upon review of that briefing, Judge Bryant's decision, as set forth in the March 21, 2003 Order, related only to environmental conditions in the Jail, such as bed space, temperature control and ventilation, clothing requests, maintenance repairs, issuance of basic supplies, clothing and linen exchange, sanitation and housekeeping issues, etc. See generally Pl.'s Opp'n, Ex. 3 (The Special Officer's Report on Issues Related to Environmental Conditions at the D.C. Jail, March 7, 2003); Ex. 4 (Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Opposition to Defendants' Motion to Terminate) at 5; Ex. 6 (Mem. in Support of D.C.'s Mot. to Terminate) at 5-17. These issues are, quite obviously, not the same basic issues raised by Plaintiff in the instant litigation.

Moreover, contrary to Defendants' assertions, the precise issues now raised by Plaintiff in the instant litigation were given little, if any, attention by the parties in their briefing submitted with respect to the March 21, 2003 Order. Indeed, the only mention in either the parties' briefing or the Court's March 21, 2003 Order of inmate-on-inmate violence is a brief one paragraph summary in the District's briefing submitted to Judge Bryant, which includes a mere sentence noting that in December of 2002 "two inmates were murdered in unrelated assaults and a third inmate was stabbed in another unrelated incident." See Pl.'s Opp'n, Ex. 6 (Mem. in Support of D.C.'s Mot.n to Terminate) at 9.

In addition, although, as discussed above, certain issues-such as overcrowding at the Jail-appear to have been raised in the course of the Campbell/Inmates of Jail litigation, these matters were not at issue in the March 21, 2003 Order. For example, although Judge Bryant had imposed a population limitation in July 1985 to address the problem of overcrowding, the population cap was subsequently terminated in June of 2002, well before the December 2002 incidents that are the focus of Plaintiff's suit; issues relating to overcrowding and the imposed population cap were thus resolved before Gaither's death and before the March 21, 2003 Order Defendants now rely upon. See Defs.' Stmt. ¶ 2.

Ultimately, the Court finds that Defendants have failed to demonstrate that the particular issues raised by Plaintiff in the instant lawsuit regarding alleged overcrowded conditions and inadequate staffing, training and supervision, as well as deficiencies in security policies and practices that existed in December of 2002, were raised in or decided by Judge Bryant in his March 21, 2003 Order. The mere fact that this case and the Campbell/Inmates of D.C. Jail matters both involve, at the most general level, allegations of unconstitutional violations does not support a finding that issue preclusion bars Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim. Although Defendants appear to believe that the March 21, 2003 Order should be read to preclude any inmate who was incarcerated prior March 21, 2003 from litigating any allegations of constitutional violations at the Jail, the Court is not so ...


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