United States District Court, D. Maryland
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW United States District Judge
October 28, 2015, the court received for filing Leonard
Waddell's (“Waddell”), self-represented 42
U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights complaint. The complaint
seeks compensatory damages for assaults that occurred at the
hands of correctional officers on June 26, 2015 and July 13,
2015, while he was detained at the Baltimore City Detention
Center. ECF No. 1. A motion to dismiss and or for summary
judgment has been filed on behalf of the Department of
Pretrial Detention and Services and the Baltimore City
Detention Center (“BCDC”). ECF No. 18. That
motion remains unopposed. Defendants Pulley, Smith, Dyer and
Watkins have filed a motion to dismiss and/or for summary
judgment (ECF No. 23) as well as a legal memorandum (ECF No.
23-1), and declarations and exhibits (ECF No.
23-2 to ECF No. 23-7). Waddell has filed an opposition and
cross-motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 26). Defendants have
filed a reply and opposition to Waddell's cross-motion
for summary judgment. ECF No. 27. Waddell has also filed a
reply to Defendants' opposition to his cross-motion for
summary judgment. ECF No. 28. The matter is ready for
disposition; no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule
105.6 (D. Md. 2016).
states that on the night of June 26, 2015, he was suffering
from an ankle injury and was unable to obtain medical
attention. He contends that Correctional Officer Watkins
refused to get him medical attention, telling Waddell it was
his “problem because I had got myself locked-up.”
ECF No. 1, p. 4. Waddell claims that he began to yell and
scream at Watkins to express his pain and this in turn
angered Watkins. Waddell alleges that Watkins verbally abused
and threatened him. He additionally claims that later that
night while in his cell Watkins threw trashcans full of
water, laden with urine, on him. Waddell asserts that he was
not given clean sheets or the opportunity to dry and clean
his cell. He claims that the threats lasted for a week and he
continued to be deprived of medical attention. Id.
also claims that on the afternoon of July 13, 2015, he was
physically beaten by Correctional Officers Pulley, Smith, and
Dyer. He alleges that Dyer came into his cell and struck and
kicked him several times. Waddell further asserts that
Correctional Officer Smith subsequently arrived and dragged
him by his cuffed hands out of his cell onto the top tier. He
contends that he received “blows” from both Dyer
and Smith for several minutes. ECF No. 1, p. 5. Waddell
claims that he was moved to the dayroom where he was beaten
to the floor by Smith and Dyer. He alleges that Officer
Pulley arrived and began punching him in the head. Waddell
states he was escorted to the medical department where
“it was shown” that he had wounds to his head,
back, and elbows. He alleges that the officers filed a false
incident report resulting in his being found guilty of
in-house charges and being placed on
Standard of Review
to Dismiss Filed by Department of Pretrial Detention and
Services and the Baltimore City Detention
purpose of a motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the complaint. See
Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483
(4th Cir. 2006). A plaintiff's complaint need only
satisfy the standard of Rule 8(a), which requires a
“short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). “Rule 8(a)(2) still requires a ‘showing,
' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to
relief.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 n. 3 (2007). That showing must consist of more than
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action” or “naked assertion[s] devoid of further
factual enhancement.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (internal citations omitted).
stage, the court must consider all well-pleaded allegations
in a complaint as true, Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S.
266, 268 (1994), and must construe all factual allegations in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff, 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)). Because
Waddell is self-represented, his submissions are liberally
construed. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007). In evaluating the complaint, the court need not
accept unsupported legal allegations, Revene v. Charles
Cnty. Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989),
nor must it agree with legal conclusions couched as factual
allegations, Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, or
conclusory factual allegations devoid of any reference to
actual events, United Black Firefighters v. Hirst,
604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979); see also Francis v.
Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009).
“[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court
to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the
complaint has alleged, but it has not ‘show[n] ... that
the pleader is entitled to relief.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). Thus, “[d]etermining whether a complaint
states a plausible claim for relief will...be a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”
to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary
Judgment Filed by Defendant Correctional
Dyer, Pulley, Smith, and Watkins' motions are 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
Auth., 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, it has ample information with which to
address the motion 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
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 ...