United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants’ Motion to
Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment
(ECF No. 8). Having considered the Motions and
supporting documents, the Court finds no hearing necessary.
See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For the reasons
stated below, the Court will grant Defendants’ Motion.
Nathaniel Lekai Hart is an inmate incarcerated at the North
Branch Correctional Institution (“NBCI”). He
alleges defendants R. Roderick, J. McMahan, “Prosper,
” “Mitchell, ” Bobby Shearin, NBCI, J.
Reikie, J. and Franz, and C. Walker, violated his rights
under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to
the United States Constitution. Specifically, he alleges: 1) he
was improperly held in a NBCI segregation unit for twenty
days; and 2) he was twice classified as a maximum security
inmate despite qualifying for a medium security designation
or lower. On December 19, 2013, Hart was sanctioned with
fifteen days of disciplinary segregation. Hart claims he
remained in the segregation unit until January 23, 2014,
twenty days longer than the time ordered. Additionally, Hart
contends that on August 2, 2011 and July 31, 2012, NBCI staff
refused to lower his security classification though he
qualified for lower security status.
Standard of Review
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, 679
(2009) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 556 (2007)). “Threadbare recitals of the elements
of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Id. at 678
(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).
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)).
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.
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.
“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.
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.
rely on exhibits attached to their Motion. Because the Court
will consider Defendants’ exhibits, the Court must
convert the Motion ...