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Taylor v. Medical Department (At Bcdc)

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 4, 2015

ROBERT PATRICK TAYLOR, # 434403 Plaintiff,
v.
MEDICAL DEPARTMENT (at B.C.D.C.) MENTAL HEALTH DEPARTMENT (at B.C.D.C.) DR. HERMAN DR. JIM SOKAL Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

RICHARD D. BENNETT, District Judge.

Self-represented inmate Robert Patrick Taylor ("Taylor") filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. ECF No. 1. Defendants Herman, Sokol and Conmed Healthcare Management, Inc. ("Conmed")[1] have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 14) and Exhibits (ECF No 15) to which Taylor has filed an Opposition (ECF No. 18) and Defendants have filed a Reply.[2] ECF No. 19. A hearing is not needed to resolve the issues. See Local Rule 106.5 (D. Md. 2014). For reasons to follow, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary judgment, construed as a motion for summary judgment IS GRANTED and judgment will be entered in their favor.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's Allegations

Taylor, who at all times referenced in the Complaint was a detainee housed at the Baltimore County Detention Center ("BCDC") in Towson, Maryland, claims that upon his December 26, 2013 intake at BCDC his Synthroid medication was confiscated. He alleges that the first month he was confined at BCDC he was not provided his medication for hypothyroidism. Taylor additionally contends that despite his numerous sick-call and "psych" slips, he was not treated for a "scabbies" condition, but was placed in a quarantine cell within the BCDC medical ward. Taylor states that based upon some "honest" comments he made in front of Defendant Herman, [3] he was placed on a suicide watch. He alleges that he was denied meals for two days, refused showers and the ability to call his family, and was housed with insane prisoners. ECF No. 1. He seeks the award of monetary damages.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

This court reviews the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Such review liberally construes Taylor's pleadings in light of the fact that he is self-represented. See Gordon v. Leek, 574 F.2d 1147, 1151 (4th Cir. 1978).

The purpose of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion [to dismiss] is to test the sufficiency of a complaint. See Burney v. Cuccinelli, 616 F.3d 393, 408 (4th Cir. 2010). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion constitutes an assertion by the defendant that, even if the facts that plaintiff alleges are true, the complaint fails, as a matter of law, "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). Therefore, in considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must "accept[ ] as true the well-pled facts in the complaint and view[ ] them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Brockington v. Boykins, 637 F.3d 503, 505 (4th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted).

Ordinarily, a court cannot consider matters outside the pleadings or resolve factual disputes when ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. See Bosiger v. U.S. Airways, 510 F.3d 442, 450 (4th Cir. 2007). If the court does consider matters outside the pleadings, "the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56, " and "[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); see also Finley Lines Joint Protective Bd. Unit 200 v. Norfolk S. Corp., 109 F.3d 993, 997 (4th Cir. 1997) ("[A] Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss supported by extraneous materials cannot be regarded as one for summary judgment until the district court acts to convert the motion by indicating that it will not exclude from its consideration of the motion the supporting extraneous materials."). This Court deems it appropriate to consider the extraneous materials, as they are likely to facilitate disposition of this case. Accordingly, Defendants' Motion shall be treated as a motion for summary judgment.

Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 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." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). 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 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, 522 (4th Cir. 2003) (alteration in original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). The Court must "view the evidence in the light most favorable to... the nonmovant, and draw all reasonable inferences in her favor without weighing the evidence or assessing the witnesses' credibility." Dennis v. Columbia Colleton Med. Ctr., Inc., 290 F.3d 639, 645 (4th Cir. 2002). At the same time, the Court also 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 (quoting Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, 778-79 (4th Cir.1993)) (internal quotation marks omitted) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986)). The Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmovant and draw all justifiable inferences in his favor. See Greater Baltimore Ctr. for Pregnancy Concerns, Inc. v. Mayor and City Council of Baltimore, 721 F.3d 264, 283 (4th Cir. 2013) (citation omitted). This case shall be analyzed in light of this standard of review.

A federal court must liberally construe pleadings filed by pro se litigants to allow them to fully develop potentially meritorious cases. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. at 89, 94 (2007); Cruz v. Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972). The requirement of liberal construction does not mean the court can ignore a clear failure in the pleadings to allege facts which set forth a claim, see Weller v. Department of Social Services, 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990), or assume the existence of a genuine issue of material fact where none exists. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).

ANALYSIS

Title 42 U.S.C. § 1983 "is not itself a source of substantive rights, ' but provides a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.'" Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n. 3 (1979)). A suit under § 1983 allows "a party who has been deprived of a federal right under the color of state law to seek relief." City of Monterey v. Del Monte Dunes at Monterey, Ltd., 526 U.S. 687, 707 (1999). To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege that (1) a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was ...


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