United States District Court, District of Columbia
G. SULLIVAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Maxine Russell brings this suit against Corrections
Corporation of America (“CCA”) and the District
of Columbia (“the District”) seeking compensation
for alleged injuries she suffered when she was a pretrial
inmate at the Correctional Treatment Facility
(“CTF”) after she fell in her dark cell. She has
since been released, and brings several claims against the
defendants alleging violations of state and federal law in a
Court previously dismissed one count of her complaint.
Pending before the Court is defendants' motion for
summary judgment on the remaining six counts. Ms. Russell has
failed to oppose the motion or file any response. Upon
consideration of the motion, the relevant case law, and the
entire record, the Court GRANTS
defendants' motion for summary judgment.
following facts are undisputed. Ms. Maxine Russell was
incarcerated at the Correctional Treatment Facility
(“CTF”), a correctional facility then-operated by
Corrections Corporation of America in Washington, D.C. pursuant
to a correctional services agreement with the District.
Defs.' Statement of Facts (“SOF”), ECF No.
64-1 at ¶ 1-3. Ms. Russell was at CTF from January 28,
2014 through March 4, 2014. Id. ¶ 1.
Ms. Russell was in Unit E-2-A, Cell #9 from January 28 until
February 20, 2014, the date of her accident. Id.
¶¶ 1, 5. This cell was equipped with one set of
bunk beds, one light fixture on the ceiling equipped with two
bulbs, and a light switch that inmates could control.
Id. ¶ 6. The light switch was located near the
door of the cell, which was out of the reach of the bunk
beds. Id. ¶ 8. The cell had two windows that
allowed light from the outside, and one window in the cell
door that allowed in light from the hallway so that security
personnel could see into the cell to conduct security checks
at night. Id. ¶¶ 12-14. Security lights
and parking lot lights illuminated the cell at night, as well
as 24-hour lighting from the hallway and dayroom.
Id. ¶ 15.
Russell alleges that shortly after she was incarcerated, the
light bulb in her cell began to flicker. Id. ¶
20. Sometime thereafter, the light stopped working. Compl.,
ECF No. 1-1 ¶ 10. Additionally, she claims that her
windows were covered with film. SOF, ECF No. 64-1 ¶ 19.
Ms. Russell claims she told CTF staff about the lighting
problem, and they said that it would be fixed. Id.
¶ 21. On February 13, 2014, a week prior to the
accident, a CTF employee submitted a work order to fix the
lightbulb. Id. ¶ 22.
February 20, 2014, Ms. Russell was seen by a Unity Health
provider in the medical unit for reasons independent of her
accident which would happen later in the day. Id.
¶ 23. There, she stated she could not sleep in the dark
and that being “locked up” was “getting to
her.” Id. Ms. Russell also stated she was
suffering emotional distress from the recent death of a close
family member. Id. Ms. Russell returned to her cell
from the medical unit at approximately 9:10 p.m. Id.
¶ 24. At approximately 10:45 p.m., the inmates were told
to return to their cells from the dayroom and the TV room for
a formal count, which was conducted at 11:00 p.m.
Id. ¶¶ 25-26. The housing unit officer
completed the count by 11:12 p.m. Id. ¶ 27.
11:24 p.m., the housing unit officer was notified that Ms.
Russell needed medical assistance because she fell from her
top bunk and hit her head and back on the wall. Id.
¶ 28-29. The housing unit officer medical staff
responded and entered the unit at approximately 11:38 p.m.
Id. ¶ 30. Medical staff and security personnel
then escorted Ms. Russell to the medical unit. Id.
¶ 31. Unity Health provider notes indicate she was able
to move and walk with minimal assistance. Id. ¶
32. Ms. Russell was returned to her unit and transferred to
the bottom bunk of a different cell at 1:50 a.m. on February
21, 2014. Id. ¶ 33. Ms. Russell visited the
medical unit for follow-up visits seven more times before
being released from CTF on March 4, 2014. Id. ¶
Russell filed her complaint against defendants alleging that
she suffered physical and emotional injuries resulting from
being kept in a small, dark, and dingy cell. See
Compl., ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 11-12. Defendants moved to
dismiss Count Seven, a Monell claim for municipal
liability based on several theories of liability, which the
Court granted on June 17, 2019. See Mem. Op., ECF
No. 62. Six claims now remain against defendants: Negligence
(Count One); Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
(“IIED”) (Count Two); Negligent Infliction of
Emotional Distress (Count Three); Negligent Training or
Supervision (Count Four); Failure to Protect (Count Five);
and Inadequate Medical Care (Count Six). See
generally Compl., ECF No. 1.
have moved for summary judgment on all remaining counts in
Ms. Russell's complaint. See generally
Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J., ECF No. 64. Ms. Russell has
failed to oppose, or in any way respond to, defendants'
motion for summary judgment. Subsequently, defendants filed a
motion for summary disposition. Defs.' Mot. for Summ.
Disposition, ECF No. 66. Ms. Russell did not oppose or
respond to the motion for summary disposition.
Defendants' motions are ripe for adjudication.
judgment should be granted if “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the [moving party] is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). Under Rule 56, summary judgment is appropriate if the
“pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories,
admissions on file, and affidavits show that there is no
genuine issue of material fact.” Carter v.
Greenspan, 304 F.Supp.2d 13, 20 (D.D.C. 2004). Indeed,
“[a] moving party is ‘entitled to judgment as a
matter of law' against ‘a party who fails to make a
showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to that party's case, and on which that party
will bear the burden of proof at trial.'”
Waterhouse v. District of Columbia, 298
F.3d 989, 992 (D.C. Cir. 2002)(quoting Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 332 (1986)). The non-moving party
is required to provide evidence that would permit a
reasonable jury to find in its favor. Laningham v. United
States Navy, 813 F.2d 1236, 1242 (D.C. Cir. 1987).
when there is no opposition filed, the burden is always on
the movant to demonstrate why summary judgment is warranted.
Grimes v. D.C., 794 F.3d 83, 97 (D.C. Cir. 2015).
“If a party . . . fails to properly address another
party's assertion of fact . . . the court may . . . grant
summary judgment if the motion and supporting
materials-including the facts considered undisputed-show that
the movant is entitled to it.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(3).
Accordingly, a “district court must always determine
for itself whether the record and any undisputed material
facts justify granting summary judgment.”
Grimes, 794 F.3d at 97.