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Young-Bey v. Kennedy

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

May 10, 2013

JEFFREY M. YOUNG-BEY. Plaintiff
v.
LIAM KENNEDY, et al., Defendants

MEMORANDUM

J. FREDERICK MOTZ, District Judge.

Pending is a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment filed on behalf of the State of Maryland.[1] ECF No. 13. Plaintiff has not responded.[2] Upon review of papers and exhibits filed, the court finds an oral hearing in this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the reasons that follow, the motion to dismiss, construed as a motion for summary judgment, will be GRANTED.

Background

Young-Bey a self-represented inmate, housed at the Western Correctional Institution ("WCI"), initiated these proceedings alleging that he was denied access to the prison's legal library. He further claims that he was denied requested accommodations. He states that he has learning and visual disabilities which defendants fail to accommodate under the Americans with Disabilities Act. ECF No. 1. He alleges that defendant Kennedy does not want plaintiff to use the legal library and closes it when plaintiff's housing unit is scheduled to use the library. Plaintiff also states that Kennedy has "falsely accused" and punished him for assisting other inmates with legal filings. He claims that Kennedy has entered into an agreement with other unnamed prison staff to retaliate against plaintiff and deny him access to the prison library. ECF No. 1. As a result, plaintiff states that he has "been frustrated and impeded from filing: a) A petition for a writ of actual innocence; b) been hindered from conducting legal research necessary to pursue nonfrivolous litigation; c) impeded in prosecuting a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in State court; and d) has been denied reasonable accommodations for his learning and disabilities necessary obtain access to the courts." Id.

Defendant Kennedy, WCI's Librarian, avers that general library procedures allow each housing unit access to the library once a week for approximately five hours. Additionally, inmates are given the opportunity to attend a day set aside once a week for legal library research that also consists of approximately five hours per day. ECF No. 8, Ex. 9. Kennedy further avers that he has not banned plaintiff from the library, and to his knowledge no other staff member had one so. During November and December of 2011, plaintiff was housed in housing unit 3 which had regularly scheduled library days on November 2 and 10 and December 1, 8 and 15, 2011. The record evidence further demonstrates that plaintiff used the legal library on November 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 9, 16, and 30, and on December 7, 9, 12, 16, 19, and 21, 2011.

Standard of Review

A. Motion to Dismiss

The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b) (6) is to test the sufficiency of the plaintiff's complaint. See Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). The dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted does not require defendant to establish "beyond doubt" that plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 561-62 (2007). Once a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint. Id. at 562. The court need not, however, accept unsupported legal allegations, see Revene v. Charles County Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989), legal conclusions couched as factual allegations, see Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986), or conclusory factual allegations devoid of any reference to actual events, see United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979).

In reviewing the complaint in light of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6) the court accepts all well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and construes the facts and reasonable inferences derived therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Venkatraman v. REI Sys., Inc., 417 F.3d 418, 420 (4th Cir. 2005); Ibarra v. United States, 120 F.3d 472, 473 (4th Cir. 1997); Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993). Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires only a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Migdal v. Rowe Price-Fleming Int'l Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26 (4th Cir. 2001); see also Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 513 (2002) (stating that a complaint need only satisfy the "simplified pleading standard" of Rule 8(a)).

The Supreme Court of the United States explained a "plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted). Nonetheless, the complaint does not need "detailed factual allegations" to survive a motion to dismiss. Id. Instead, "once a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Id. at 563. Thus, a complaint need only state "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. 570.

To survive a motion to dismiss, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.662, 678 (2009) ( quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, at 678. "But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not show[n]' - that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

B. Summary Judgment

Summary Judgment is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) which provides that: "The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." The Supreme Court has clarified that this does not mean that any factual dispute will defeat the motion:

By its very terms, this standard provides that the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement ...

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