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Goode v. Baltimore City Circuit Court

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 23, 2016

ABRAHAM GOODE, Plaintiff,
v.
BALTIMORE CITY CIRCUIT COURT, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          George L. Russell, III United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant’s, Baltimore City Police Department (“Police Department”), Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 20) and Defendants’, Baltimore City Circuit Court (“Circuit Court”) and the State of Maryland (“the State”), Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 21). The Motions are unopposed and ripe for disposition. Having considered the Motions and supporting documents, the Court finds no hearing necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2014). For the following reasons, the Court will grant the Motions.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Abraham Goode is a federal inmate who is currently housed in the Federal Correctional Institution, Allenwood in Pennsylvania. In Baltimore, Maryland, Goode was arrested in 1972 and convicted in 1973 for murder and other charges. The conviction was subsequently overturned on appeal, and after a second trial on remand, he was acquitted on June 17, 1977. Goode alleges that records of the arrest, conviction, and subsequent acquittal have severely restricted his life over the course of more than forty years. He states the conviction has resulted in missed employment opportunities, family problems, and emotional distress. Goode initiated this action in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on July 10, 2015, alleging, inter alia, claims for malicious prosecution and defamation and seeking $10, 000, 000 in damages.[1] (ECF No. 1). The case was transferred to this Court on September 9, 2015. (ECF No. 6).

         On December 2, 2015, the Court dismissed Goode’s claims for false imprisonment, false arrest, and defamation regarding the BOP’s November 19, 2014 inquiry, and dismissed Defendants Baltimore County Board, Baltimore City Probation Office, Baltimore County Probation Office, United States Department of Justice, United State Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons, United States Probation Office, and United States of America because Goode failed to specify allegations against them. (ECF No. 11).

         II. DISCUSSION

         a. Standard of Review

         A complaint fails to state a claim if it does not contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), or does not state “a plausible claim for relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Though the plaintiff is not required to forecast evidence to prove the elements of the claim, the complaint must allege sufficient facts to establish each element. Goss v. Bank of Am., N.A., 917 F.Supp.2d 445, 449 (D.Md. 2013) (quoting Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012)), aff’d sub nom., Goss v. Bank of Am., NA, 546 F.App’x 165 (4th Cir. 2013). Pro se pleadings, however, are liberally construed and held to a less stringent standard than pleadings drafted by lawyers. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)); accord Brown v. N.C. Dep’t of Corr., 612 F.3d 720, 722 (4th Cir. 2010). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, read the complaint as a whole, and take the facts asserted therein as true. See Harrison v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 783 (4th Cir. 1999) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)).

         “When matters outside the pleading 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) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d)). Under Rule 56(a), the Court must grant summary judgment if the moving party demonstrates there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court must draw all justifiable inferences in the non-moving party’s favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986) (citing Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59 (1970)). Once a motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported, the opposing party has the burden of showing that a genuine dispute exists. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). “[T]he 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, 477 U.S. at 247-48.

         A “material fact” is one that might affect the outcome of a party’s case. Id. at 248; see JKC Holding Co. v. Wash. Sports Ventures, Inc., 264 F.3d 459, 465 (4th Cir. 2001) (citing Hooven-Lewis v. Caldera, 249 F.3d 259, 265 (4th Cir. 2001)). Whether a fact is considered to be “material” is determined by the substantive law, and “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; accord Hooven-Lewis, 249 F.3d at 265.

         “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. Balt. 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 [his] 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 (quoting Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, 778-79 (4th Cir. 1993).

         Defendants rely on exhibits to their motion, consisting in part of authenticated copies of Goode’s criminal docket. Because the Court will consider Defendants’ exhibits, the Court must convert the Circuit Court and State’s Motion to one for summary judgment.

         b. ...


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