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McDonald v. Maryland Correctional Training Center

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 24, 2016

NEAL EUGENE MCDONALD, Plaintiff,
v.
MARYLAND CORRECTIONAL TRAINING CENTER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          George L. Russell, III United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendants', Warden J. Philip Morgan, Assistant Warden Jacquelene Shank, Correctional Officer Greg Wade, and Sergeant Ray Foust, Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment.[1] (ECF No. 12). The Motion is unopposed.[2] Upon review of papers and exhibits filed, the Court finds no hearing necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below, the Court will grant the Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         McDonald, a state inmate then confined at the Maryland Correctional Training Center (“MCTC”), alleged that on May 22, 2015 at approximately 3:00 a.m., he notified officers that he feared for his safety and needed to be removed from his cell before his cellmate assaulted him. At approximately 8:00 a.m., McDonald had not been removed from his cell and advised another officer that he had been assaulted by his cellmate and needed to be removed from the cell immediately. During the lunch meal, McDonald again advised officers of the incident with his cellmate and that his cellmate threatened to assault him again if the officer left the area. The officer saw that McDonald had a bruised and blackened eye and removed him from the cell.

         On June 8, 2015, McDonald filed a complaint through the Administrative Remedy Procedure (“ARP”). (ECF No. 12-5). The ARP complaint only alleged that Faust, Wade, and other officers took his sneakers without returning them. Id. McDonald requested that the sneakers be returned to him or that he receive adequate compensation for them. Id. The ARP complaint was dismissed with directions for McDonald to resubmit it providing additional information about the sneakers. Id. McDonald neither resubmitted the complaint nor appealed the dismissal to the Commissioner. (ECF No. 12- 6).

         II. DISCUSSION

         1. Standard of Review

         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)). But “[w]hen 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 attached to their Motion. Because the Court will consider Defendants' exhibits, the Court must convert the Motion to Dismiss to motions for summary judgment.[3]

         2. Analysis

         Defendants argue that McDonald failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. The Prisoner Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) provides that “[n]o action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.” 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (2012). The PLRA's exhaustion provision requires inmates to pursue administrative grievances until they receive a final denial of the claims, appealing through all available stages in the administrative process. Chase v. Peay, 286 F.Supp.2d 523, 530 (D.Md. 2003), aff'd, 98 F.App'x 253 ...


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