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Turner v. Anne Arundel County Detention Center

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 28, 2018

SCOTT ELLIOTT TURNER, Plaintiff,
v.
ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY DETENTION CENTER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          GEORGE L. RUSSELL, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Dr. Luis Rivera's Motion to Dismiss or, Alternatively, for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 22).[1] The Court, having reviewed the Motion and supporting documents, finds no hearing necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For the reasons outlined below, the Court will grant the Motion.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In a Complaint filed May 10, 2017, Plaintiff Scott Elliott Turner stated that he was arrested subsequent to total knee replacement surgery, and held at the Anne Arundel County Detention Center (“AACDC”). (Compl., ECF No. 1). Turner claimed medical personnel at AACDC would not see him to assess his swollen knee, which required follow-up surgery and rehabilitation. (Id. at 2). Turner, whose Complaint was construed as a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, sought “unspecified damages” for the denial of treatment. (Id. at 3). Given that Turner could suffer lasting injury if his knee problem was ignored, the Court construed Turner's request as one seeking a preliminary injunction, and issued a Show Cause Order for AACDC. (May 10, 2017 Order, ECF No. 5).

         Counsel for AACDC responded and provided a copy of Turner's medical records. The records revealed that Turner, who was arrested and booked at AACDC on March 8, 2017, reported that he had a left total knee replacement on June 13, 2016. Turner claims he was scheduled for revision in April 2017, but was arrested before the procedure could be performed. (Inmate Medical File at 62, 100, ECF 7-3).[2] On March 9, 2017, the day after booking, Turner requested medical assessment due to pain in his knee and elbow. (Id. at 40). That same day, Turner was seen by a registered nurse, who told him to elevate his knee and prescribed crutches. (Id. at 42-43). On March 14, 2017, Turner asked to see a doctor, not a nurse practitioner, again complaining of pain in his knee and elbow. (Id. at 30). The record did not suggest that Turner's request was met.

         Based on the initial review of the medical records, the Court found that Turner had been assessed and assisted by medical personnel, but his knee problem, which may require surgical attention, remained unresolved. (June 15, 2017 Order, ECF No. 10). The Court further found that Turner has contributed in part to his discomfort, because he refused crutches in order to continue working. (Id.). The Court denied Turner's request for a preliminary injunction and ordered Dr. Rivera to respond to the Complaint. (Id.). Turner appealed the Court's order denying preliminary injunctive relief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. (ECF No. 14). The Fourth Circuit dismissed Turner's appeal in an unpublished per curiam opinion. See Turner v. Anne Arundel Cty. Det. Ctr, et al., No. 17-6793 (4th Cir. Oct. 20, 2017).

         On August 22, 2017, the remaining Defendant, Dr. Rivera, filed a Motion to Dismiss or, Alternatively, for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 22). On August 31, 2017, Turner filed an Opposition. (ECF No. 24). Dr. Rivera filed his Reply on September 14, 2017. (ECF No. 25).

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         Dr. Rivera's Motion is styled as a motion to dismiss under Rule 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 5C Wright & Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure § 1366, at 159 (3d ed. 2004, 2012 Supp.)).

         Here, Turner was on notice that the Court might resolve Defendants' Motions under Rule 56 because Dr. Rivera styled his Motion in the alternative for summary judgment and presented extensive extra-pleading material for the Court's consideration. See Moret v. Harvey, 381 F.Supp.2d 458, 464 (D.Md. 2005). In addition, Turner filed an Opposition and several other filings that included extra-pleading materials in support of his claim. (See ECF Nos. 24-28). Accordingly, because the Court will consider documents outside of Turner's Complaint in resolving Dr. Rivera's Motion, the Court will treat the Motion as one for summary judgment.

         In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court views the facts in a light most favorable to the nonmovant, drawing all justifiable inferences in that party's favor. Ricci v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557, 586 (2009); 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)). Summary judgment is proper when the movant demonstrates, through “particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . . admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials, ” 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), (c)(1)(A). Significantly, a party must be able to present the materials it cites in “a form that would be admissible in evidence, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2), and supporting affidavits and declarations “must be made on personal knowledge” and “set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4).

         Once a motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to identify evidence showing there is genuine dispute of material fact. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). The nonmovant cannot create a genuine dispute of material fact “through mere speculation or the building of one inference upon another.” Othentec Ltd. v. Phelan, 526 F.3d 135, 141 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting Beale v. Hardy, 769 F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985)).

         A “material fact” is one that might affect the outcome of a party's case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; see also 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 “genuine” dispute concerning a “material” fact arises when the evidence is sufficient to allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict in the nonmoving party's favor. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. If the nonmovant has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case where she has the burden of proof, “there can be ‘no ...


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