United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
RANDOLPH D. MOSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
plaintiff in this case, known here by the pseudonym Jane Doe,
is a young transgender woman who served a sentence in
District of Columbia jail. She had a feminine appearance and,
due to ongoing hormone therapy, had developed breasts. On the
night of July 17, 2012, for reasons not apparent from the
record, two prison guards placed her in the same cell as
another inmate, Leonard Johnson. Doe protested that she was
on "house alone" status, but the guards locked
Johnson in her cell regardless. They left Johnson there until
morning. Security footage shows that, with perhaps one
exception, no guard visually checked on Doe's cell until
the next shift arrived the following morning. By then,
Johnson had raped Doe twice. This was the second time in
eight months that guards improperly transferred Johnson into
the cell of another prisoner whom Johnson allegedly raped.
filed suit against the two guards-Lieutenant Robert Gladden
and Corporal Longinus Ogu-and against four other guards on
duty that night, as well as against the District of Columbia.
She brings claims against all defendants for intentional
infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of
emotional distress, and common law negligence. She also
brings Eighth Amendment claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against the individual guards.
opinion concerns the guards' motion for summary judgment
as to Doe's Eighth Amendment claims. Doe does not oppose
the grant of summary judgment on these claims with respect to
four of the officials. But she does oppose the motion with
respect to Gladden and Ogu (herein, "Defendants").
Because a reasonable jury could find that Gladden and Ogu
acted with "deliberate indifference" to Doe's
safety, and because Doe's right to be free from
deliberate indifference to sexual assault at the hands of
other inmates was clearly established at the time, Gladden
and Ogu's motion will be denied.
Doe is the nonmoving party, the Court views the evidence in
the light most favorable to her. See Talavera v.
Shah, 638 F.3d 303, 308 (D.C. Cir. 2011). Where the
parties have disagreed over details in the factual recitation
that follows, the Court has assumed that Doe's version of
events is correct.
Doe's Incarceration Before July 17, 2012
Jane Doe is a transgender woman. At the times relevant here,
she was twenty years old, was undergoing hormone therapy, and
had developed breasts. Dkt. 76-1 at 2 (Ex. 4); Dkt. 77-3 at 98
(Doe Dep. 146). She wore a training bra. Dkt. 77-3 at 98 (Doe
Dep. 146). Her voice was high enough in pitch that Gladden
"suspected [Doe] was a transgender female based upon her
voice." Dkt. 77-9 at 8-9 (Ex. 2) (Gladden's Resp. to
Req. for Admis. 6). Another defendant testified that Doe
"[d]oesn't look like a man." Dkt. 74 at 21
(Adjanla Dep. 12). Doe describes her own appearance as
"feminine" with "a slight build." Dkt.
33-1 at 2 (Am. Compl. ¶ 2). She stands five feet and
five inches tall. Dkt. 76-1 at 2 (Ex. 4).
on June 21, 2012, Doe was incarcerated at the District of
Columbia's Central Detention Facility ("D.C.
Jail"), which is operated by the D.C. Department of
Corrections ("DOC"). Dkt. 76-1 at 92 (Ex. 34);
accord Dkt. 70 at 3 (Defs.' SUMF ¶ 1). In
accordance with DOC transgender housing guidelines, Dkt.
77-11 at 47 (Ex. 33), jail intake officials noted Doe's
transgender status and recorded it in the Jail Community
Corrections System database ("JACCS"), Dkt. 77-3 at
10 (Doe Dep. 58); see Dkt. 76-1 at 92 (Ex. 34)
(JACCS printout); see also Dkt. 77-4 at 12-13
(Gladden Dep. 12-13). It appears that Doe signed a waiver
indicating her request to be housed according to her
biological sex (male), rather than her expressive gender
(female). See Dkt. 82-1 at 2 (Ex. M). She was sentenced
on June 25, 2012.
June 21 and July 16, 2012, Doe was housed in the
"Northeast One" cellblock. Dkt. 76-1 at 92 (Ex.
34). According to Corporal Kiana Reid, Northeast One is a
"Protective Custody Unit" for "inmates that
generally fear for their safety." Dkt. 77-7 at 11 (Reid
Dep. 27). Protective custody is "[a] form of separation
from the general population for inmates requesting or
requiring protection from other inmates for reasons of health
or safety." Dkt. 77-11 at 55. Jail records indicate that
Doe requested protective custody for herself because she
"fear[ed] for [her] safety" among the general
population. Dkt. 76-1 at 87 (Ex. 28); see also Dkt.
77-7 at 22 (Reid Dep. 38) ("[Doe] chose to go to a
Protective Custody Unit."). Doe's protective custody
status was apparent from her file on JACCS. Dkt. 77-7 at 22
(Reid Dep. 38). Indeed, the top of Doe's JACCS file
stated, "Alerts: KS . . . TRANSGENDER, " where
"KS" means "keep separated." Dkt. 76-1 at
92 (Ex. 34); accord Dkt. 77-4 at 40 (Gladden Dep.
16, 2012, Doe was transferred to cell 57 of the "North
One" cellblock but remained on protective custody
status. Dkt. 76-1 at 87 (Ex. 28); id. at 92 (Ex.
34). Unlike Northeast One, North One is "a segregation
unit." Dkt. 77-7 at 10 (Reid Dep. 26). North One houses
at least some "protective-custody inmates, " but
most inmates there have "a disciplinary infraction"
or have been placed in "involuntar[y] protective
custody." Id. at 11 (Reid Dep. 27); see
also Dkt. 77-3 at 91 (Doe Dep. 139) ("North 1 is a
whole different block. It's not a protective custody
block."). Prison officials transferred her to North One
because another inmate "placed a note on her, "
which the DOC Housing Board found to represent "a clear
and present threat to [Doe's] personal safety." Dkt.
76-1 at 87 (Ex. 28). In Doe's words: "[A] lieutenant
came ... to my cell[ and] said, 'Ms. [Doe], somebody
dropped a note on you . . . saying that they want to kill you
. . . .' So they moved me off the unit." Dkt. 77-3
at 54 (Doe Dep. 102). Although there is evidence that Doe
opposed the transfer and denied the need for continued
protective custody,  the Housing Board kept her in protective
custody nonetheless. Dkt. 76-1 at 87 (Ex. 28).
Doe arrived at North One, her case manager, Winifred Hawkins,
told the officer on duty, Corporal Reid, that Doe "was
to be on house[ ]-alone status." Dkt. 77-7 at 28 (Reid
Dep. 44). Reid understood this to mean "that [Doe]
should not have a cell mate." Id.; accord Dkt.
77-5 at 5 (Hawkins Dep. 66) ("[I]f there was not a
transgender available to go in [Doe's] cell, I would not
allow anyone else to go into [her] cell."). Reid
accordingly left a note on the command center bulletin
board-the "small piece of poster board where [officers]
put all the inmates['] names ... so that [the officers]
can look and see." Dkt. 77-7 at 27 (Reid Dep. 43);
see also Dkt. 77-3 at 23-25 (Doe Dep. 71-73). The
bulletin board is located in "the Bubble, " which
is the central office of the North One cellblock. Dkt. 77-3
at 24 (Doe Dep. 72); Dkt. 77-7 at 13-14 (Reid Dep. 29-30).
The Bubble has transparent walls, and is visible from the
hallways adjoining the inmates' cells. Dkt. 77-7 at 14
(Reid Dep. 30). The note Reid left on the bulletin board next
to Doe's name read, "per the case manager, house
alone." Id. at 28 (Reid Dep. 44). Reid also
wrote in the North One logbook that Doe was to be housed
alone. Id. at 30 (Reid Dep. 46).
Johnson's Incarceration Before July 17, 2012
Johnson was also incarcerated in the North One cellblock at
that time. He was serving a 69-month sentence for conspiracy
and weapons convictions arising out of a scheme in which he
agreed to be shot by another D.C. Jail inmate in order to
create a basis for a lawsuit against the District of
Columbia. Dkt. 77-9 at 19, 37 (Ex. 7). He was also awaiting
trial on charges of possession of a prohibited weapon and
unlawful possession of liquid PCP. Dkt. 76-1 at 94 (Ex. 37).
As of 2011, Johnson "ha[d] been booked into the [D.C.
Jail] ¶ 18 separate occasions since 1995." Dkt.
76-1 at 32 (Ex. 8). He is six feet and one inch tall. Dkt.
76-1 at 42 (Ex. 9).
had a history of sexual violence in the D.C. Jail. On
December 7, 2011, he raped his then-cellmate, who identified
as homosexual. Dkt. 76-1 at 35 (Ex. 8). The DOC's Office
of Internal Affairs conducted an investigation and identified
two failures among the jail staff that resulted in the rape.
First, the Jail's Correctional Treatment Specialist erred
by overlooking Johnson's "previous violent
institutional behavior involving a weapon, " causing
Johnson to be assigned to a "Medium" custody unit
rather than "Maximum." Id. at 36. Second,
James Holbrook-also a defendant here-erred by failing to
contact the compliance officer before authorizing
Johnson's transfer between cells. Id. This
failure violated the Northeast One Post Order, i.e.,
the protocol for jail officers in that cellblock,
id., and placed Johnson's cellmate at
substantial risk of sexual assault. Johnson was later
transferred to North One, where he remained on the night of
July 17, 2012. Dkt. 76-1 at 53 (Ex. 10).
Night of July 17-18, 2012
17, 2012, "Shift #3" in the North One block took
place between 4:00 p.m. and midnight. Among the officers
working that shift were two defendants in this case:
Lieutenant James Holbrook and Lieutenant Ronald Pope.
approximately 8:25 p.m., Pope removed Doe from cell 57 and
transferred her to cell 24. Dkt. 77-3 at 15-17 (Doe Dep.
63-65). Pope told Doe that "all protective custody is
moving to [one] side [of the cellblock]." Id.
Doe asked why, but Pope declined to respond. Id. The
JACCS database was soon updated to reflect Doe's
transfer, but the "reason for move" field was left
empty. Dkt. 76-1 at 92 (Ex. 34). Around the same time,
Johnson was transferred from cell 53 to cell 22, just down
the hall from Doe's new location. See Dkt. 76-1
at 53 (Ex. 10). No reason for this move was listed, either.
midnight, "Shift #1" took over, and continued until
8:00 a.m. Four Shift #1 officers are defendants in this case:
Gladden, Ogu, Sergeant Twan Rhyne, and Private Lanwoe
Adjanla. The events that took place during Shift #1 are
documented principally through Doe's deposition testimony
and video-only security footage from a camera in the hallway
outside her cell.
1:35 a.m., Gladden had a brief conversation with Johnson from
outside his cell. See Ex. C (Video at
01:34:48-01:35:49). The record contains no evidence of what
was said, however.
Johnson's First Double-Celling with Doe (1:50 a.m. to
1:50 a.m., Gladden and Ogu removed Johnson from cell 22 and
placed him in cell 24 with Doe. Dkt. 70 at 4 (Defs.' SUMF
¶ 9). The security footage shows that Gladden and Ogu
approached Johnson's cell first, where they spoke with
him for almost ninety seconds. Ex. C (Video at
01:47:43-01:49:08). Gladden says they were speaking about
"a problem in Johnson's cell." Dkt. 77-9 at 9
(Ex. 2) (Gladden Resp. to Req. for Admis. 7). After Gladden
opened the door, Johnson entered the hallway carrying his
mattress and two large plastic bags. Id. (Video at
01:49:53-01:50:34). Gladden then walked to Doe's nearby
cell, opened her door, and ushered Johnson inside.
Id. (Video at 01:50:34-01:51:31). Johnson dropped
some of this belongings in the cell and returned to retrieve
the remainder. Id.
Johnson moved himself in, Gladden spoke to Doe for about
forty seconds. Id. (Video at 01:50:53-01:51:31).
According to Doe, they had an exchange along the following
Gladden: "Is it okay for him [Johnson] to stay
Doe: "No, ... I [am] supposed to be housed alone. . . .
Nobody is supposed to be here with me." Id.
Gladden: "Well, he's going in here anyway. . . .
[H]e's only going to be here for a couple of
Doe: "Okay, it's fine with me if he's only going
to be here for a couple of minutes."
Dkt. 77-3 at 21-23 (Doe Dep. 69-71). Even after Doe relented,
however, she "kept trying to tell them nobody is
supposed to be housed with [her]" and that it said so
"on the bulletin board."Id. at 23-24 (Doe
Dep. 71-72). Without responding, Ogu locked the door.
Id.; Ex. C (Video at 01:51:31).
Gladden's assurance that Johnson would remain in the cell
for only "a couple of minutes, " he was left there
for almost an hour, from 1:50 a.m. to 2:46 a.m. Twice during
that span, Gladden returned to cell 24 and spoke briefly with
one or both occupants, but did not remove either one. Ex. C
(Video at 02:15:43-02:16:03, 02:24:53-02:25:29). At some
point-although it is unclear when-Doe asked to speak to the
warden. Dkt. 77-3 at 22-23 (Doe Dep. 70-71). She was told to
fill out a grievance form instead. Id. Doe requested
such a form on multiple occasions, but never received one.
Id. Finally, at 2:46 a.m., Gladden and Ogu took
Johnson out of the cell. Ex. C (Video at 02:42:56-02:46:12).
Johnson's Second Double-Celling with Doe (3:02 a.m.
to 8:00 a.m.)
around 3:00 a.m.-just fourteen minutes after Johnson had been
removed-Gladden ordered Ogu to place Johnson back in
Doe's cell. Dkt. 77-9 at 6 (Ex. 2) (Gladden's Resps.
to Reqs. for Admis. 1-3). The order was recorded in the North
One logbook, which read:
3:00/A Per Order of Lt. Gladden put Inmate Johnson Leonard
[sic] ... in cell with a P/C Med. [Jane Doe] . . . till he