United States District Court, D. Maryland
LARRY HORTON. #413390 Plaintiff,
WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC. BILL BEEMAN JANICE GILLMORE Defendants.
Frederick Motz, United States District Judge
13, 2016, this case was removed to this court from the
Circuit Court for Allegany County, Maryland. Larry Horton, an
inmate incarcerated at the North Branch Correctional
Institution ("NBCI"), filed this action. He alleges
that he is a chronic care patient, receiving pain management
care for severe pain arising from a broken back suffered when
he was in military service. Horton claims he was denied the
renewal of pain medication for eighteen days and seeks
damages "arising out of the deliberate indifference to
medical needs, malpractice by the defendants." ECF No.
court has examined Horton's opposition to the notice of
removal, ECF No. 16, and finds that it was properly removed.
Horton's claim that he was denied medication cites to
"deliberate indifference" on the part of
defendants. It therefore may be construed in part as a civil
rights claim, filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
invoking this court's 28 U.S.C. § 1343 civil rights
have filed a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, motion
for summary judgment. ECF No. 17. Horton has filed an
opposition and defendants have filed a reply. ECF Nos. 19
& 20. The matter is ready for disposition; no hearing is
necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For
reasons that follow, defendants' motion, construed as a
motion for summary judgment, IS GRANTED.
Standard of Review
motion is styled as a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for summary judgment under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. A motion styled in this manner implicates
the court's discretion under Rule 12(d) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. See Kensington Vol. Fire Dept.,
Inc. v. Montgomery County, 788 F.Supp.2d 431, 436-37 (D.
Md. 2011). Ordinarily, a court "is not to consider
matters outside the pleadings or resolve factual disputes
when ruling on a motion to dismiss." Bosiger v. U.S.
Airways, 510 F.3d 442, 450 (4th Cir. 2007). However,
under Rule 12(b)(6), a court, in its discretion, may consider
matters outside of the pleadings, pursuant to Rule 12(d). If
the court does so, "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."
the movant expressly captions its motion "in the
alternative" as one for summary judgment, and submits
matters outside the pleadings for the court's
consideration, the parties are deemed to be on notice that
conversion under Rule 12(d) may occur; the court "does
not have an obligation to notify parties of the
obvious." Laughlin v. Metro. Wash. Airports
Autk, 149 F.3d 253, 261 (4th Cir. 1998).
district judge has "complete discretion to determine
whether or not to accept the submission of any material
beyond the pleadings that is offered in conjunction with a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion and rely on it, thereby converting the
motion, or to reject it or simply not consider it." 5 C
WRIGHT & MILLER, FEDERAL PRACTICE & PROCEDURE §
1366, at 159 (3d ed. 2004, 2011 Supp.). This discretion
"should be exercised with great caution and attention to
the parties' procedural rights." Id. at
149. In general, courts are guided by whether consideration
of extraneous material "is likely to facilitate the
disposition of the action, " and "whether discovery
prior to the utilization of the summary judgment
procedure" is necessary, Id. at 165, 167. The
court is more than satisfied that given the exhibits
presented here, all of which were provided to Horton, it has
ample information with which to address the motions as filed
for summary judgment.
judgment is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), which provides in
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.
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). In analyzing a summary
judgment motion, the court should "view the evidence in
the light most favorable to...the nonmovant, and draw all
inferences in her 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); see Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); FDIC
v. Cashion, 720 F.3d 169, 173 (4th Cir. 2013).
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, 525 (4th Cir. 2003)
(alteration in original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). But,
the district court's "function" is not "to
weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but
to determine whether there is a genuine issue for
trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. Moreover,
the trial court may not make credibility determinations on
summary judgment. Jacobs v. N.C. Administrative Office of
the Courts, 780 F.3d 562, 569 (4th Cir. 2015);
Mercantile Peninsula Bank v. French, 499 F.3d 345,
352 (4th Cir. 2007); Black &. Decker Corp. v. United
States, 436 F.3d 431, 442 (4th Cir. 2006);
Dennis, 290 F.3d at 644-45.
face of conflicting evidence, such as competing affidavits,
summary judgment is generally not appropriate, because it is
the function of the fact-finder to resolve factual disputes,
including matters of witness credibility. Nevertheless, to
defeat summary judgment, conflicting evidence, if any, must
give rise to a genuine dispute of material fact.
See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48. If "the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party, " then a dispute of
material fact precludes summary judgment. Id. at
248; see Libertarian Party of Va. v. Judd, 718 F.3d
308, 313 (4th Cir. 2013). On the other hand, summary judgment
is appropriate if the evidence "is so one-sided that one
party must prevail as a matter of law." Id. at
252. And, "the mere ...