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Bishop v. Johnson

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 13, 2015

RONALD BISHOP, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN BETTY JOHNSON, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

JAMES K. BREDAR, District Judge.

Ronald Bishop, Sr., ("Bishop") is an inmate currently confined at the Baltimore City Correctional Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Bishop filed the instant civil rights complaint while housed at the Dorsey Run Correctional Facility against Warden Betty Johnson, Case Manager C. Session, Institutional Administrative Remedy (ARP) Coordinator K. Torney, Officer Aload, [1] and the Commissioner of Corrections. ECF 1. Bishop claims that his personal property including legal materials were improperly confiscated from him on March 29, 2014. Id. Pending are defendants' Warden Betty Johnson, Lt. James Simmons, Correctional Case Management Specialist (CCMS II) Keisha Torney, and CCMS II Chantell Session's[2] motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment, Bishop's motion for preliminary injunction, and his opposition to the dispositive motion. ECF Nos. 16, 18 & 21. The court will dispense with a hearing. See Local Rule 105.6. (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons stated below, the court will, by separate Order, GRANT defendant's dispositive motion and DENY Bishop's motion for preliminary injunction.[3]

Background

In the instant case, plaintiff indicates that on March 29, 2014, while housed at the Dorsey Run Correctional Facility he was "shook down" by Officer Aload. Plaintiff states that all of his legal and personal mail, pictures, and writing materials were confiscated. He was advised that he was under investigation by the intelligence unit. Plaintiff states that in violation of Division of Correction policy he was not provided a confiscation slip to sign. ECF 1. Attached to his complaint are copies of plaintiff's Administrative Remedy (ARP) requests attempting to resolve the issue regarding the confiscation of his property. ECF 1-1. Within the attachments to plaintiff's complaint are additional allegations that his incoming legal mail was opened outside of his presence and delayed in its delivery to him in violation of DOC policy. Id., p. 13-14.

Defendants indicate that in March of 2014, plaintiff was under investigation by the Baltimore City Intelligence Department; as a result of an investigation, his mail was confiscated. ECF 16, Ex. 1. Plaintiff's confiscated mail was sent to Lt. James Simmons, a State intelligence officer responsible for investigating security threats to Maryland prisons. Id. Simmons possessed plaintiff's mail for approximately two weeks and then returned it unopened and uninspected by him to the institution. Id. Plaintiff acknowledges the mail was returned to him on April 10, 2014. ECF 1.

Standard of Review

A. Motion to Dismiss

The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 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 that would entitle him to relief. See Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 561 (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 563. 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 conclusional couched as factual allegations, see Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986), or conclusional factual allegations devoid of any reference to actual events, see United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979).

B. Motion for Summary Judgment

Summary Judgment is governed by Rule 56(a), which provides:

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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