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Williams v. Bishop

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 13, 2014

WAYNE V. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN FRANK B. BISHOP, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

ROGER W. TITUS, District Judge.

Defendant Janice Gilmore filed a Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment on June 21, 2013. ECF No. 68.[1] Plaintiff has responded. ECF Nos. 52, 56, 58, 59, 65, 66, 91, 92, & 93.[2] Upon review of papers and exhibits filed, the Court finds that an oral hearing in this matter is unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2011). For the reasons stated below, the dispositive motion will be granted.

Background

This case was instituted when Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that he was in imminent danger because he had been housed with cellmates who would harm him. ECF No. 1. Subsequently, Plaintiff filed several amended complaints alleging various additional related and unrelated harms. The claims against Defendant Janice Gilmore relate to the Plaintiff's medical problems. The Plaintiff alleges that he has been in several physical altercations with other inmates due to the fact that his prostate problems cause him to urinate frequently and that he is Hepatitis C positive. Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint, ECF No. 13. He claims that he advised Gilmore and other medical staff of these altercations, but received no response. Id. Plaintiff further alleges that other inmates do not wish to room with him because he is Hepatitis C positive and medical staff members have not considered that he could infect others with Hepatitis C. He states that he should be housed alone because of his illness but medical staff members have failed to make such a recommendation. Id.

Standard of Review

Motion to Dismiss

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint. Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). 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) (internal quotations omitted). "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." Id .; see also Simmons & United Mortg. & Loan Invest, 634 F.3d 754, 768 (4th Cir. 2011) ("On a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a complaint must be dismissed if it does not allege enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.") (quotation and emphasis omitted). "Thus, [i]n reviewing a motion to dismiss an action pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)... [a court] must determine whether it is plausible that the factual allegations in the complaint are enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'" Monroe v. City of Charlottesville, 579 F.3d 380, 386 (4th Cir. 2009) (quoting Andrew v. Clark, 561 F.3d 261, 266 (4th Cir. 2009)).

Motion for Summary Judgment

Summary Judgment is governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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 "view 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 "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. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986)).

In Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986) the Supreme Court explained that in considering a motion for summary judgment, the "judge's function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." A dispute about a material fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. at 248. Thus, "the judge must ask himself not whether he thinks the evidence unmistakably favors ...


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