United States District Court, D. Maryland
PETER J. MESSITTE, District Judge.
Pending is a Motion to Dismiss, or in the alternative Motion for Summary Judgment filed on behalf of Defendants Lt. Thomas Sires and Sgt. Randolph Bennett. ECF No. 16. Plaintiff filed an opposition response. ECF Nos. 26 & 28. 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 stated below, the dispositive motion filed by Defendants will be granted.
Plaintiff states that on September 30, 2009, Bennett, under the direction of Sires, filed a false report against Plaintiff and confiscated and destroyed typewriter print wheels in retaliation after Plaintiff filed complaints against employees of the property room. ECF No. 1.
Defendants aver that absent permission from the warden, North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI") inmates are permitted to have in their possession one disk wheel for a word processor. ECF No. 15, Ex. 1. On April 28, 2009, four extra wheels were seized from Plaintiff as contraband. Id., Exs. 2 & 3. Plaintiff waived his right to a hearing on the issue of forfeiture and was advised the items would be held for 30 days. On May 28, 2009, Bennett contacted Plaintiff advising him that the 30 day period had expired and the property would be disposed of if he did not provide an address where the property could be mailed. Id., Ex. 1. Plaintiff advised Bennett he did not wish to provide an address and was pursuing other means to keep his property. Bennett then began the process of having the property disposed of in accordance with institutional policy. Id., Exs. 2 & 3.
Sires states that he did not direct Bennett to file a false report or dispose of the property in retaliation for any complaints Plaintiff made against the property room. Id., Ex. 3. Sires explains the word processor disks were confiscated, held and disposed of in accordance with DPSCS policy. Id.
Plaintiff indicates that on April 28, 2009, when then the printwheels were confiscated, Sires failed to request an address where the printwheels could be mailed. Rather, Sires advised Plaintiff to contact the education department or his housing unit manager for authorization to retain the printwheels. Plaintiff states that no time frame was provided outlining a deadline by which he needed to secure the authorization. ECF No. 26. Plaintiff further states that contrary to Bennett's averments, Bennett never contacted him regarding the destruction of the printwheels. Id.
Standard of Review
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 is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis in original).
"The party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of [his] pleadings, " but rather must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 525 (4th Cir. 2003) (alteration in original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). The court should Aview the evidence in the light most favorable to... the nonmovant, and draw all inferences in her favor without weighing the evidence or assessing the witness' credibility." Dennis v. Columbia Colleton Med. Ctr., Inc., 290 F.3d 639, 644-45 (4th Cir. 2002). The court must, however, also abide by the Aaffirmative obligation of the trial judge to prevent factually unsupported claims and defenses from proceeding to ...