United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants Warden Richard
Graham, Security Chief Bradley Butler, Sgt. Steven Beeman,
Lt. Jeffery Shimko, and Commissioner of Correction Dayena
Corcoran's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative,
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 11). The Motion is
ripe for disposition, and no hearing is necessary.
See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For the reasons
outlined below, the Court will grant the Motion.
December 19, 2016, Plaintiff Tamara Stanfield, a Maryland
Division of Correction (“DOC”) prisoner housed at
Western Correctional Institution in Cumberland
(“WCI”), Maryland, filed a civil rights complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1). Stanfield alleges
that he has been wrongfully labeled a member of a prison gang
known as the Black Guerilla Family (“BGF”).
(Compl. at 9). As a result, he has been identified as a
member of a “Security Threat Group”
(“STG”). (Id.). This identification has
resulted in a temporary out-of-state transfer, which took
Stanfield away from a legal proceeding, denial of access to
jobs and programming in the prison system, and the inability
to progress toward parole. (Compl. at 10, 16; id. Ex. A
at 1, ECF No. 1-1; id. Ex. B at 3, ECF No. 1-2).
Stanfield seeks money damages and an injunction ordering the
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
(“DPSCS”) to remove any reference to a gang
affiliation from his prison record. (Compl. at 8, 18).
31, 2017, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 11). On
June 30, 2017, Stanfield filed an Opposition. (ECF No. 14).
To date, Defendants have not filed a Reply.
Standard of Review
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 Dept., Inc. v. Montgomery
Cty., 788 F.Supp.2d 431, 436-37 (D.Md. 2011),
aff'd sub nom., 684 F.3d 462 (4th Cir. 2012).
Pursuant to Rule 12(d), 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.” The United States Court of
Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has articulated two
requirements for proper conversion of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to a Rule 56 motion. First, that the “parties be given
some indication by the court that it is treating the 12(b)(6)
motion as a motion for summary judgment” and second,
“that the parties first ‘be afforded a reasonable
opportunity for discovery.'” Greater Balt. Ctr.
for Pregnancy Concerns, Inc. v. Mayor of Balt., 721 F.3d
264, 281 (4th Cir. 2013) (quoting Gay v. Wall, 761
F.2d 175, 177 (4th Cir. 1985)).
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. See Moret v.
Harvey, 381 F.Supp.2d 458, 464 (D.Md. 2005).
“[T]he party opposing summary judgment ‘cannot
complain that summary judgment was granted without discovery
unless that party had made an attempt to oppose the motion on
the grounds that more time was needed for
discovery.'” Harrods Ltd. v. Sixty Internet
Domain Names, 302 F.3d 214, 244 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting
Evans v. Techs. Applications & Serv. Co., 80
F.3d 954, 961 (4th Cir. 1996)). Rule 56(d) provides that the
Court may deny or continue a motion for summary judgment
“[i]f a nonmovant shows by affidavit or declaration
that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts
essential to justify its opposition.” “[T]he
failure to file an affidavit under Rule 56[(d)] is itself
sufficient grounds to reject a claim that the opportunity for
discovery was inadequate.” Nguyen v. CNA
Corp., 44 F.3d 234, 242 (4th Cir. 1995) (quoting
Paddington Partners v. Bouchard, 34 F.3d 1132, 1137
(2d Cir. 1994)).
Defendants caption their Motion in the alternative for
summary judgment and attach matters beyond Stanfield's
Complaint for the Court's consideration. Stanfield has
not submitted a Rule 56(d) affidavit expressing a need for
discovery, and he attached extra-pleading materials to his
Opposition. Accordingly, the Court will treat Defendants'
Motion as a motion for summary judgment.
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).
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)).
“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 genuine [dispute] as to any material fact,
' since a complete failure of proof concerning an
essential element of the nonmoving party's case
necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23