United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. RUSSELL, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants Warden Wayne Webb
and Assistant Warden Rosette Swan's Motion to Dismiss or,
in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 21).
Plaintiff Yahyi Abdul Shiheed opposes the motion. (ECF No.
23, 24). The Motion is ripe for disposition, and no hearing
is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For
the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Defendants'
September 15, 2016, Shiheed, an inmate currently housed at
the North Branch Correctional Institution
(“NBCI”) in Cumberland, Maryland, filed suit
against Defendants Jessup Correctional Institution
(“JCI”) Warden Wayne Webb and JCI Assistant
Warden Rosette Swan, alleging violations of his civil rights
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2012). (Compl., ECF No. 1).
Shiheed alleges that on August 18, 2016, while housed at JCI,
unknown correctional officers, members of the NBCI “SRT
team, ” assaulted him. (Id. at 4). Shiheed
states that he is “suing the Warden and Assistant
Warden because they're in charge of this prison and what
happens here at JCI with inmates and they know who entered
the prison on 8/8/16 and they refuse to give me the officers
names in this brutal assault.” (Id. at 5).
17, 2017, Webb and Swan filed their Motion to Dismiss or, in
the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 21). Shiheed
filed responses to Webb and Swan's Motion on June 1,
2017, and June 6, 2017, respectively. (ECF Nos. 23, 24). On
June 7, 2017, Shiheed filed a Motion to Add Exhibit (ECF No.
27), which the Court construes as a supplemental opposition
to Webb and Swan's Motion and will grant. To date, the
Court has not received a Reply from Webb and Swan.
Standard of Review
and Swann style their Motion as a motion to dismiss under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) or, in the
alternative, for summary judgment under Rule 56. A motion
styled in this manner implicates the Court's discretion
under Rule 12(d). See Kensington Vol. Fire
Dep't., Inc. v. Montgomery Cty., 788 F.Supp.2d 431,
436-37 (D.Md. 2011), aff'd, 684 F.3d 462 (4th
Cir. 2012). This Rule provides that when “matters
outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by
the court, the [Rule 12(b)(6)] motion must be treated as one
for summary judgment under Rule 56.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(d). The Court “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.'” Wells-Bey v. Kopp, No. ELH-12-2319,
2013 WL 1700927, at *5 (D.Md. Apr. 16, 2013) (quoting Wright
& Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure
§ 1366, at 159 (3d ed. 2004, 2012 Supp.)). Here, because
the Court declines to consider materials beyond the
pleadings, the Court will treat Webb and Swan's Motion as
a motion to dismiss.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) authorizes the dismissal of
a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. “The purpose of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
is to test the sufficiency of a complaint, ” not to
“resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of
a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Edwards
v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243-44 (4th Cir.
1999) (quoting Republican Party v. Martin, 980 F.2d
943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992)). A 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
claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). A claim is facially plausible “when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “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).
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).
and Swan advance three arguments in support of their Motion:
(1) Shiheed failed to exhaust his administrative remedies;
(2) Shiheed fails to allege that Webb and Swan personally
participated in the events described the Complaint; and (3)
Webb and Swan cannot be held liable under a theory of
supervisory liability. The Court agrees with the second and
third arguments and addresses them in turn.
and Swan contend that because Shiheed does not allege that
either of them was personally involved in the alleged
assault, Shiheed's suit cannot proceed against them in
their individual capacities. An official cannot be held
liable under § 1983 unless he or she directly and
personally participated in conduct that deprived the
plaintiff of his or her constitutional rights. See Rizzo
v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 377 (1976); see also Wilkins
v. Whitaker, 714 F.2d 4, 6 (4th Cir. 1983). Thus, to the
extent that Shiheed seeks to bring claims against Webb and
Swan in their individual capacities, the Court will dismiss