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Montgomery v. Bigham

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 12, 2014

DAVID MICHAEL MONTGOMERY, #412797, Plaintiff,
v.
JASON BIGHAM, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

ELLEN LIPTON HOLLANDER, District Judge.

David Michael Montgomery, the self-represented plaintiff, is presently an inmate at the Maryland Correctional Training Center in Hagerstown, Maryland. He has filed suit, later amended and then supplemented, against a host of defendants, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, arising from his arrest on January 5, 2013, and subsequent detention. See ECF 1, 7, 12. As relief, he requests $1 million, ECF 7 at 13; a lesser sentence in a state criminal case, [1] id.; and to have "the officers fired." ECF 12 at 13.

Motions to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment have been filed by counsel on behalf of defendants Conmed, Inc. ("Conmed") (ECF 21); Sergeant Michael Galligan, Corporal Scott Pederson, [2] Patrolman First Class K. J. Jenkins, Corporal Jamie Grover, and the Anne Arundel County Police Department (the "AACPD Defendants") (ECF 28); Warden Hardinger (ECF 34);[3] and the Maryland Department of State Police, [4] Corporal Jason Bigham, Trooper Christopher Bishop, Sergeant John Carhart, Senior Trooper Jeffrey B. Claycomb, Sergeant Edward Eicher, Senior Trooper Frank Fornoff, Trooper Christopher Taylor, and Senior Trooper Edward Winkler (the "MSP Defendants") (ECF 36). Numerous exhibits have also been submitted by the defendants in support of the motions. Montgomery has replied in opposition. See ECF 26, 33, 38 and 39.[5] The matter has been briefed and no hearing is necessary to resolve the motions. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Defendants' motions are captioned as motions to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. Conmed, AACPD, and MSP also submitted affidavits and records to support their motions.

Motions styled as motions to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for summary judgment implicate the court's discretion under Rule 12(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Kensington Vol. Fire Dept., Inc. v. Montgomery County, 788 F.Supp.2d 431, 436-37 (D. Md. 2011). Ordinarily, a court "is not to consider matters outside the pleadings or resolve factual disputes when ruling on a motion to dismiss." Bosiger v. U.S. Airways, 510 F.3d 442, 450 (4th Cir. 2007). However, under Rule 12(b)(6), a court, in its discretion, may consider matters outside of the pleadings, pursuant to Rule 12(d). If the court does so, "the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56, " but "[a]ll parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent to the motion." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). When the movant expressly captions its motion "in the alternative" as one for summary judgment, and submits matters outside the pleadings for the court's consideration, the parties are deemed to be on notice that conversion under Rule 12(d) may occur; the court "does not have an obligation to notify parties of the obvious." Laughlin v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., 149 F.3d 253, 261 (4th Cir. 1998).[6] As earlier noted, Montgomery was informed of his right to file a response to the Motion and the opportunity to submit affidavits, declarations, and other documentary evidence. And, he has replied.

A district judge has "complete discretion to determine whether or not to accept the submission of any material beyond the pleadings that is offered in conjunction with a Rule 12(b)(6) motion and rely on it, thereby converting the motion, or to reject it or simply not consider it." 5 C Wright & Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure § 1366, at 159 (3d ed.2004, 2011 Supp.). This discretion "should be exercised with great caution and attention to the parties' procedural rights." Id. at 149. In general, courts are guided by whether consideration of extraneous material "is likely to facilitate the disposition of the action, " and "whether discovery prior to the utilization of the summary judgment procedure" is necessary. Id. at 165-67.

Ordinarily, summary judgment is inappropriate "where the parties have not had an opportunity for reasonable discovery." E.I. de Nemours and Co. v. Kolon Industries, Inc., 637 F.3d 435, 448 (4th Cir. 2011). However, "the party opposing summary judgment cannot complain that summary judgment was granted without discovery unless that party has made an attempt to oppose the motion on the grounds that more time was needed for discovery.'" Harrods Ltd. v. Sixty Internet Domain Names, 302 F.3d 214, 244 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting Evans v. Techs. Applications & Serv. Co., 80 F.3d 954, 961 (4th Cir. 1996)). Generally, to raise adequately the issue that discovery is needed, the party opposing the motion must file an affidavit or declaration pursuant to Rule 56(d) (formerly Rule 56(f)), explaining why, "for specified reasons, it cannot present facts essential to justify its opposition, " without needed discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d); see Harrods, 302 F.3d at 244-45 (discussing affidavit requirement of former Rule 56(f)). Plaintiff has not filed an affidavit under Rule 56(d), but has submitted an opposition.

I am satisfied that it is appropriate to address the motions (ECF 21, 28, 34, and 36) as motions for summary judgment. This will facilitate the progress and resolution of the case.

Summary judgment is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), which provides, in part: "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." See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The non-moving party must demonstrate that there are disputes of material fact so as to preclude the award of summary judgment as a matter of law. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith, Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). 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). A fact is "material" if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Id. at 248. There is a genuine issue as to material fact "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id.

"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 former Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)), cert. denied, 541 U.S. 1042 (2004). However, the court must "view the evidence in the light most favorable to.... the nonmovant, and draw all inferences in [his] favor without weighing the evidence or assessing the witness' credibility." Dennis v. Columbia Colleton Med. Ctr., Inc., 290 F.3d 639, 645 (4th Cir. 2002).

Because plaintiff is self-represented, his submissions are liberally construed. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Nevertheless, the court must abide by the "affirmative obligation of the trial judge to prevent factually unsupported claims and defenses from proceeding to trial.'" Bouchat, 346 F.3d at 526 (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, 778-79 (4th Cir.1993), and citing Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323-24).

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Montgomery claims that at his arrest on January 5, 2013, he had cuts on his hand, wrist, and finger from a vehicular accident which occurred just hours before. He also asserts that he suffered back and neck pain and migraine headaches as a result of the accident. ECF 7 at 5.[7] Plaintiff maintains that, as a result, he should have been transported to the hospital. Montgomery, who acknowledges that he was "very high and drunk, " complains he was not even offered band aids. ECF ...


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