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Ryidu-X v. Maryland Division of Correction

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 6, 2015

MALCOM MAXWELL RYIDU-X #273-575, a/k/a RICHARD JANEY Plaintiff,
v.
MARYLAND DIVISION OF CORRECTION CORRECTION WESTERN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION JOHN DOE, INMATE COMMISSARY SUPERVISOR MARYLAND CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION — HAGERSTOWN LEE ANN CRAWFORD, [1] OFFICE SECRETARY II MAUREEN REID, CASE MANAGEMENT SUPERVISOR JOHN DOE, KEEFE EMPLOYEE WHO PROCESSES INMATE REQUESTS TONY UNKNOWN, INMATE COMMISSARY SUPERVISOR FOR MCI-H KEEFE COMMISSARY NETWORK, LLC. Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

WILLIAM D. QUARLES, JR., District Judge.

1. Procedural History

On May 29, 2014, Malcom Maxwell Ryidu-X, a prisoner confined within the Maryland Division of Correction ("DOC"), filed the instant civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He seeks money damages and alleges that prison personnel ("the Correctional Defendants") and unidentified employees of Keefe Commissary Network, LLC ("Keefe"), the outside contractor charged with providing prison commissary services, have violated his right to equal protection[2] as well as his First and Eighth Amendment rights from "April 27, 2013 through this 28th day of May 2014, " by denying him "access to inmate commissary services to purchase personal hygiene and stationery materials, etc." ECF No. 1 at 5-6, 9.

Counsel for Keefe has filed a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim (ECF No. 19)[3] which is opposed by Ryidu-X. ECF No. 25. A Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative Motion for Summary Judgment filed on behalf of the Correctional Defendants (ECF No. 21), [4] construed as a summary judgment motion and opposed by Ryidu-X (ECF No. 27), [5] also remains pending. A hearing is not needed to resolve the issues presented in this case. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2014).

2. Background

Ryidu-X's latest civil rights action derives in pertinent part from an earlier action wherein Ryidu-X asserted that prison personnel at Jessup Correctional Institution ("JCI") violated his constitutional rights by denying commissary, mail order privileges, and access to prison records when he used his religious name. See Malcom Maxwell Ryidu-X, a/k/a Richard Janey v. Wolfe, et al., Civil Action No. WDQ-11-358 (D. Md.). As noted therein, on February 23, 1998, Richard Edward Janey was sentenced to twenty-five years' incarceration in the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County in Criminal No. 02K950000498. Janey's subsequent petition in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City to change his name to "Malcom Maxwell Ryidu-x" was granted on October 28, 1999. Id., ECF Nos. 25 and 36

Ryidu-X filed Civil Action No. WDQ-11-358, a self-represented civil rights action, against Warden John Wolfe and three supervisory corrections officers responsible for commissary and property supplies at JCI, the maximum security prison where Ryidu-x had been housed on administrative and/or disciplinary segregation status since his March 11, 2010 transfer from Western Correctional institution ("WCI"). The undersigned granted summary judgment to the Defendants, finding insufficient facts to squarely find a violation of constitutional magnitude with regard to Ryidu-X's First Amendment claim, and further found that Ryidu-X failed to establish actual harm based on his due process claim that he had been denied access to various prison records. Ryidu-X filed an appeal.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit appointed counsel to represent Ryidu-X on appeal. On April 4, 2013, Ryidu-X, through counsel, entered into a settlement agreement with the appellees and the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services ("DPSCS"), wherein:

Within Fourteen (14) days of the execution of this Settlement Agreement, (a) Appellant Ryidu-X will be transferred to Eastern Correctional Institution (ECFI) or Western Correctional Institution (WCI) on either protective custody or administrative segregation status and will be held in a single cell; (b) Appellant Ryidu-X will be provided at no cost to him an identification card with his religious name, Malcom Maxwell Ryidu-X, on the front of the card; and (c) the Deputy Secretary will issue a memorandum order that states as follows:
Malcom Maxwell Ryidu-X, who was committed under the name Richard Edward Janey, has encountered problems accessing prison services, including commissary, mail orders and packages, and records, when using his legal/religious name: Malcom Maxwell Ryidu-X. Under DPSCS/DOC regulation, Mr. Ryidu-X is entitled to use his legal/religious name to access prison services. All DPSCS/DOC personnel are HEREBY ORDERED to take the necessary steps to comply with DPSCS/DOC regulation to ensure Mr. Ryidu-X's ability to access prison services using his legal/religious name. This order is mandatory.
The order will be distributed directly to each of the following: two regional executive directors, two correctional directors, two wardens, the wardens' assistant wardens, the warden's security chief, and Appellant Ryidu-X's case manager. The security chiefs will give a copy of the order to the Captains who will ensure that it is promulgated to the security staff of the housing tier where Appellant Ryidu-X is housed. A copy of the order also will be given to Appellant Ryidu-X's counsel with the understanding that Appellant's counsel will give a copy to Appellant Ryidu-X. A copy of the order also will be placed in Appellant Ryidu-X's basefile.
Within fifteen (15) days of the execution of this Settlement Agreement, the Deputy Secretary's Office will submit to Appellees' counsel a compliance report, showing the status of the terms mentioned in paragraph 1, above.

ECF No. 21-2 at 2-3. An order of voluntary dismissal of the appeal was subsequently granted, with the mandate issuing on April 25, 2013.

As reflected by the parties' submissions and exhibits in this latest action, implementation of the Settlement Agreement has not been seamless. Nonetheless, for reasons noted herein, the Court finds that Ryidu-X has not sustained a violation of his civil rights based on difficulties in obtaining access to prison commissary items.

3. Standard of Review

To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a Complaint must set forth "a claim for relief that is plausible on its face." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is facially plausible "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, 556 U.S. at 678; Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. "In considering a motion to dismiss, the court should accept as true all well-pleaded allegations and should view the complaint in a light most favorable to the plaintiff." Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993). Keefe's Motion clearly is a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss.

The Correctional Defendants' motion, however, contains matters outside the pleading. When such matters "are presented to and not excluded by the court, the [12(b)(6)] motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as provided in Rule 56." Laughlin v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., 149 F.3d 253, 260-61 (4th Cir. 1998) (alteration in the original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)) (internal quotation marks omitted). Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the Court must grant summary judgment if the moving party ...


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