United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff Richard Howard Beall, Jr. is involuntarily
committed to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
("DHMH") and is a patient at the Clifton T. Perkins
Hospital Center ("Perkins"), a Maryland state
psychiatric hospital. Beall brought this Complaint against
Defendants, including Maryland Governor Lawrence (Larry)
Hogan and various hospital staff, alleging that Defendants
violated his constitutional rights by interfering with his
right to vote in the 2016 presidential election. ECF No. 1.
Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 5. to which Beall
filed a Response in Opposition. ECF No. 7.
matter is ready for disposition. The Court finds a hearing
unnecessary. See Loc. R. 105.6. (D. Md. 2016). For
reasons to follow. Defendants' Motion, construed as a
Motion for Summary Judgment, is granted.
August 21, 2008 the District Court for Carroll County
committed Beall to DHMH after he was held not criminally
responsible on the charge of second-degree assault. State
v. Richard II. Beall, Jr., Case No. 6S00040935 (Carroll
County Circuit Court. August 21, 2008). ECF No. 5-2.
Defendants acknowledge that Beall has not been declared
judicially incompetent and therefore retains his right to
vote. ECF No. 5-1 n.l (citing 60 Op. Att'y Gen. 208:
Hill v. State, 35 Md.App. 98 (Md. 1977)). Beall is
housed in a maximum security ward at Perkins. Affidavit of
Michael Jordan. LCSW-C. F.CF 5-2 ¶¶ 2. 3.
claims that Defendants failed to provide him with an absentee
ballot or an application to apply for one in the 2016
Presidential election, thereby denying him his right to vote.
ECF No. 1 at 3. He alleges that he is being
unconstitutionally detained by the hospital administration
and was denied an absentee ballot to make him "look
bad." Id. Beall further claims that the
hospital staff failed to tile paperwork necessary for him to
vote or ask him if he wanted to vote or participate in the
voting process. ECF No. 7 at 1-3. As relief. Beall seeks $75,
000, 000. his release, and shutdown of the hospital. ECF No.
1 at 3.
Governor Larry Hogan, Danielle Robinson. M.D.. a psychiatrist
and Chief of Pretrial Services at Perkins. Thomas Lewis.
Chief Operations Officer at Perkins, and Nina Diana, Director
of Social Work at Perkins, by their counsel, have filed
exhibits and declarations with their dispositive Motion. ECF
Nos. 5-1 to 5-8. Defendant Governor Larry Hogan is not a
Perkins' employee and has had no involvement in
Beall's treatment at Perkins. ECF 5-1 at 2. According to
their Affidavits. Defendants Lewis. Robinson, and Diana are
employed by Perkins. ECF No. 5-4. ECF No. 5-5. ECF No. 5-6.
Lewis, who has served as acting Chief Executive Officer and
is presently Chief Operations Officer at Perkins, attests
that although he occasionally meets with patients at Perkins,
he has no direct recollection of meeting Beall. and "no
firsthand knowledge of any events described in his
Complaint." ECF No. 5-4 ¶¶ 1-4. Robinson
attests that she has never met Beall and has "no
firsthand knowledge of any events described in his
Complaint." ECF No. 5-5 ¶3. Diana attests she does
not "recall ever meeting Mr. Beall" and has
"no firsthand knowledge of any events described in his
Complaint." ECF No. 5-6 ¶6. Beall provides no
affidavit or other verified evidence to refute these
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court is mindful that Beall is a pro se litigant and his
pleadings are liberally construed. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89. 94 (2007); Haines v.
Kerner. 404 U.S. 519. 520-21 (1972) (per curiam).
However. the requirement of liberal construction does not
mean the Court can ignore a clear failure in the pleadings to
allege facts which set forth a claim. See Weller v.
Department of Social Services. 901 F.2d 387. 391 (4th
Motion to Dismiss
survive a motion to dismiss invoking Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). "a complaint must contain sufficient
factual matter, accepted as true, to "state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft
v. Iqhal 556 U.S. 662. 678 (2009) (quoting Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly. 550 U.S. 544. 570 (2007)).
"A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff
pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Iqbal. 556 U.S. at 678.
"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).
purpose of Rule 12(b)(6) "is to test the sufficiency of
a complaint and not to resolve contests surrounding the
Tacts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of
defenses." Presley v. City of
Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006)
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted). When
deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). a court
"must accept as true all of the factual allegations
contained in the complaint." and must "draw all
reasonable inferences [from those facts] in favor of the
plaintiff." E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v.
Kolon Indus., Inc., 637 F.3d 435. 440 (4th Cir. 2011)
(citations and internal quotation marks omitted). The Court
need not. however, accept unsupported legal allegations,
see Revene v. Charles County Comm'rs, 882 F.2d
870. 873 (4th Cir. 1989), legal conclusions couched as
factual allegations. Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S.
265. 286 (1986). or conclusory factual allegations devoid of
any reference to actual events. United Black Firefighters
of Norfolk v. Hirst. 604 F.2d 844. 847 (4th Cir. 1979).
Motion for Summary Judgment
motion is styled as a Motion to Dismiss, or in the
Alternative, for Summary Judgment. If the Court considers
materials outside the pleadings, the Court must treat a
motion to dismiss as one for summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(d). When the Court treats a motion to dismiss as a motion
for summary judgment. "[a]ll parties must be given a
reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is
pertinent to the motion." Id. When the moving
party styles its motion as a "Motion to Dismiss, or in
the Alternative, for Summary Judgment." as is the case
here, and attaches additional materials to its motion, the
nonmoving party is. of course, aware that materials outside
the pleadings are before the Court, and the Court can treat
the motion as one for summary judgment. See Laughlin v.
Metropolitan Wash. Airports Auth.,149 F.3d 253. 260-61
(4th Cir. 1998). Further, the Court is not prohibited from
granting a motion for summary judgment before the
commencement of discovery. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a)
(stating that the court "shall grant summary judgment if
the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact" without distinguishing pre-or
post-discovery). Summary judgment is appropriate if
"materials in the record, including depositions,
documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations . . . admissions. interrogatory
answers, or other materials, " show that there is
"no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.
R. Civ, P. 56(a) and 56(c): see also Cetotex Corp. v.
Catrett,477 U.S. 317. 322 (1986). The party moving for
summary judgment bears the burden of demonstrating that no
genuine dispute exists as to material facts. Pulliam Inv.
Co. v. Cameo Props.,810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir.
1987). If the moving part)- demonstrates that there is no
evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, the
burden shifts to the nonmoving party to identify specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.
See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23. A material fact is
one that "might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law." Spriggs v. Diamond Auto Glass.242 F.3d ...