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Kelly v. Baker

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 15, 2018

ANTHONY QUENTIN KELLY, #352736 Plaintiff,



         On May 13, 2017, the Court received for filing inmate Anthony Kelly's verified self-represented 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action, which also invokes the Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"), of 1990, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101, et seq. The Complaint seeks damages, as well as declaratory and injunctive relief, from Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services ("DPSCS") personnel. Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 10), as well as a legal memorandum (ECF No. 10-1), [1] and verified exhibits. ECF No. 16-3 to ECF No. 16-15. Kelly has filed Oppositions and a Motion to Appoint Counsel. ECF Nos. 12, 13, & 15.

         The matter is ready for disposition. No. hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). Defendants' Motion, construed as a motion for summary judgment, IS GRANTED and Judgment is entered in favor of Defendants for reasons to follow.

         I. Background

         Kelly, who is currently confined at the North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI"), alleges that on May 13, 2017, he asked Defendant Correctional Officer Baker to place him on the haircut list when Baker came to Kelly's cell. Kelly claims that he was told by Baker that Sergeant Thomas and Warden Bishop had indicated that if "Kelly refuse[d] to go back into general population do not let him get a haircut today let him wait another 30 days for a haircut." Kelly alleges that Baker walked away from his cell, came back, and twice tried to "bribe" him by saying that he (Baker) would let Kelly have a haircut if Kelly went back into general population. Kelly states that Baker then indicated that Kelly did not have to go back into population, but that Thomas and Bishop had indicated that Kelly would only get a haircut if he dropped his law suits.[2] Kelly asserts that it is "cruel and unusual punishment" for him to wait another 30 days for a haircut and that Defendants acted with an "evil motive." ECE, .No. 1, p. 3. He claims that another inmate on segregation refused to go back to general population, but was not harassed. Kelly asserts that he asked Baker for Administrative Remedy Procedure (ARP) grievance forms and was informed there were no ARP forms available.[3] Kelly seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, asking that Defendants Baker and Thomas be removed from his housing unit (HU) #1 B-Tier and be ordered to cease their "threats." He additionally requests compensatory, nominal, and punitive damages. Id., pp. 4-6 & 9.

         In a document received for filing on March -12, 2018, construed as a Supplemental Complaint, Kelly complains that he has only had one haircut in the past six months. ECF No. 16. An Affidavit filed by Kelly on April 3, 2018, claims that he had not received a haircut in four months. ECF No. 17.

         II. Standard of Review

         Defendants' Motion is styled as a Motion to Dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. A motion styled in this manner implicates the Court's discretion under Rule 12(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Kensington Vol. Fire Dept., Inc. v. Montgomery County, 788 F.Supp.2d 431, 436-37 (D. Md. 2011). Ordinarily, a court "is not to consider matters outside the pleadings or resolve factual disputes when ruling on a motion to dismiss." Bosiger v. U.S. Airways, 510 F.3d 442, 450 (4th Cir. 2007). However, under Rule 12(b)(6), a court, in its discretion, may consider matters outside of the pleadings, pursuant to Rule 12(d). If the court does so, "the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56, " and "[a]ll parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is pertinent to the motion." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d).

         When 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; the court "does not have an obligation to notify parties of the obvious." Laughlin v. Metro. Wash. Airports Autk, 149 F.3d 253, 261 (4th Cir. 1998).

         A district judge 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." 5 C WRIGHT & MILLER, FEDERAL PRACTICE & PROCEDURE § 1366, at 159 (3d ed. 2004, 2011 Supp.). This discretion "should be exercised with great caution and attention to the parties' procedural rights." Id. at 149. In general, courts are guided by whether consideration of extraneous material "is likely to facilitate the disposition of the action, " and "whether discovery prior to the utilization of the summary judgment procedure" is necessary. Id. at 165, 167. Given the exhibits presented here (which were also presented to Kelly), the Court has ample information with which to address the pleading as filed for summary judgment.

         Summary judgment is governed by Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), which provides in part:

The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         The Supreme Court has clarified that this does not mean that any factual dispute will defeat the motion: By its very terms, this standard provides that the 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 v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis in original). In analyzing a summary judgment motion, the court should "view the evidence in the light most favorable to...the nonmovant, and draw all inferences in her 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); see Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); FDIC v. Cashion, 720 F.3d 169, 173 (4th Cir. 2013).

         "The 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. Baltimore Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 525 (4th Cir. 2003) (alteration in original) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). However, the district court's "function" is not "to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. Moreover, the trial court may not make credibility determinations on summary judgment. Jacobs v. N.C. Administrative Office of the Courts, 780 F.3d 562, 569 (4th Cir. 2015); Mercantile Peninsula Bank v. French, 499 F.3d 345, 352 (4th Cir. 2007); Black &. Decker Corp. v. United States, 436 F.3d 431, 442 (4th Cir. 2006); Dennis, 290 F.3d at 644-45.

         Because Kelly is self-represented, his submissions are liberally construed. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). Nevertheless, the Court must 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 (internal quotation marks omitted) (quoting Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, 778-79 (4th Cir. 1993), and citing Celotex Corporation v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24(1986)).

         III. ...

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