United States District Court, D. Maryland
TERRY L.S. DORSEY, Plaintiff,
WARDEN BOBBY P. SHEARIN, et al., Defendants.
L. Russell, III United States District Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants Warden Bobby P.
Shearin, Warden Frank Bishop, Jr.,  and Chaplain Kevin
Lamp's Renewed Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's
Complaint or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment (ECF
No. 36). Also pending before the Court is Plaintiff Terry
L.S. Dorsey's Motion to Appoint Counsel. (ECF No. 43).
The Motions are 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
Defendants' Motion and deny Dorsey's Motion.
is an inmate at North Branch Correctional Institution
(“NBCI”) in Cumberland, Maryland. On November 30,
2015, Dorsey sued Defendants, asserting that they violated
his right to practice religion and retaliated against him for
exercising his rights under the First Amendment to the United
States Constitution. (ECF No. 1). Construing Dorsey's
Complaint liberally, the Court also identified a possible
claim under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized
Persons Act (“RLUIPA”), 42 U.S.C. §
2000cc-1(a) (2018). (Mar. 17, 2017 Mem. Op. at 10, ECF No.
11, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Complaint or, in the Alternative, for Summary
Judgment. (ECF No. 17). On March 17, 2017, the Court denied
Defendants' Motion Summary Judgment subject to renewal
and supplementation within 30 days. (ECF No. 32). The Court
requested that Defendants supplement their renewed Motion to
address: (1) whether Dorsey exhausted his administrative
remedies; (2) the reasons for his reclassification; (3) how
restrictions on Maximum II level inmates are reasonably
related to legitimate penological interests; and (4)
Dorsey's assertions that Defendants violated RLUIPA.
(Mar. 17, 2017 Mem. Op. at 7, 9, 10).
17, 2017, Defendants filed a Renewed Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Complaint or, in the Alternative, for Summary
Judgment (ECF No. 36), to which Dorsey filed two Oppositions.
(ECF Nos. 40, 41). On February 26, 2018, Dorsey filed a
Motion to Appoint Counsel. (ECF No. 43).
Motion to Appoint Counsel
Motion, Dorsey states that he requires counsel because his
imprisonment limits his ability to litigate, the issues in
this case are complex, he has limited access to a law
library, and a trial is likely to involve conflicting
testimony. “A pro se prisoner does not have a general
right to counsel in a § 1983 action.” Evans v.
Kuplinski, 713 F.App'x 167 (4th Cir. 2017). A
federal district court judge's power to appoint counsel
under 28 U.S.C.§1915(e)(1) (2018) is discretionary, and
an indigent claimant must present “exceptional
circumstances.” See Kuplinski, 713 F.
App'x 167; Miller v. Simmons, 814 F.2d 962, 966
(4th Cir. 1987). Exceptional circumstances exist where a
“pro se litigant has a colorable claim but lacks the
capacity to present it.” See Whisenant v.
Yuam, 739 F.2d 160, 163 (4th Cir. 1984), abrogated
on other grounds by Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Ct., 490 U.S.
296, 298 (1989) (holding that 28 U.S.C. § 1915 does not
authorize compulsory appointment of counsel).
Dorsey has adequately articulated his claims and filed
Oppositions to Defendants' dispositive Motion. Further,
his claims are not unduly complex, and for reasons to follow,
a trial is not necessary to resolve this matter. Thus, the
Court concludes that exceptional circumstances do not exist
in Dorsey's case. Accordingly, the Court will deny
Defendants' Renewed Motion
Standard of Review
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must construe
the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff,
read the complaint as a whole, and take the facts asserted
therein as true. 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)). But “[w]hen matters outside the pleading
are presented to and not excluded by the court, the
[12(b)(6)] motion shall be treated as one for summary
judgment and disposed of as provided in Rule 56.”
Laughlin v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., 149 F.3d
253, 260-61 (4th Cir. 1998) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d)).
Under Rule 56(a), the Court must grant summary judgment if
the moving party demonstrates there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court must draw
all justifiable inferences in the non-moving party's
favor. 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)). Once a motion for
summary judgment is properly made and supported, the opposing
party has the burden of showing that a genuine dispute
exists. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). “[T]he 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, 477 U.S. at 247-48.
“material fact” is one that might affect the
outcome of a party's case. Id.at 248; see
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.
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. Balt. Ravens Football
Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 525 (4th Cir. 2003)
(alteration in original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). The
court should “view the evidence in the light most
favorable to . . . the nonmovant, and draw all inferences in
[his] 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). The court must, however, also abide by the
“affirmative obligation of the trial judge to prevent
factually unsupported claims and defenses from proceeding to
trial.” Bouchat, 346 F.3d at 526 (quoting
Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, 778-79 (4th Cir.
rely on exhibits attached to their Motion. Likewise, Dorsey
relies on exhibits attached to his Oppositions. Because the
Court will consider Defendants' and Dorsey's
exhibits, the Court must convert the Motion to a motion for
assert five arguments as to why that they are entitled to
summary judgment: (1) Dorsey has not exhausted his
administrative remedies; (2) Dorsey's security
reclassification was not a retaliatory action; (3) there was
no violation of the Free Exercise Clause to the First
Amendment; (4) there was no violation of RLUIPA; and (5) they
are entitled to qualified immunity. The Court agrees with
Defendants that Dorsey failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies as to his retaliation claim and that Dorsey has not
established a First Amendment or RLUIPA violation.
Exhaustion of ...