United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Hollander United States District Judge
self-represented plaintiff, Shamsud'Diyn, is an inmate in
the Maryland Division of Correction
(“DOC”). He has filed suit (ECF 1), alleging that
while housed at the Maryland Correctional Training Center
(“MCTC”) in Hagerstown, Maryland, he was denied a
timely rule violations hearing, in violation of Maryland
administrative and regulatory authority, and that his
placement on segregation pending the hearing amounts to a
denial of his constitutional right of access to the courts.
Id. at 1, 1-3. In plaintiff's supplement to the
Complaint, he adds that he was denied access to the courts
because his legal dictionary and other personal property
items were confiscated, in retaliation for his exercise of
his constitutional right of access to the courts. ECF 4 at 2.
seeks injunctive relief mandating dismissal of the rule
violation proceedings (ECF 1 at 8); the return of his legal
papers (ECF 4 at 2); and compensatory and punitive damages
for each day spent in segregation beyond the seven-day period
provided by 12.02.27.12B(3) of the Code of Maryland
Regulations (“COMAR”). ECF 1 at 2-3. He also
requests the return of documents allegedly confiscated in
connection with his transport to a court appearance on
November 15, 2017, some of which he contends were relevant to
this case. ECF 4 at 1-2.
Stephen T. Moyer, the Secretary of the Department of Public
Safety and Correctional Services (“DPSCS”), has
filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF 8), along with a memorandum (ECF 8-1)
(collectively, the “Motion”) and exhibits.
Plaintiff opposes the Motion (ECF 12) and has filed a
memorandum (ECF 12-1) (collectively, the
“Opposition”). ECF 12. Additionally, in response
to this court's Order (ECF 11), defense counsel has
responded to Shamsud'Diyn's concerns with regard to
missing paperwork (ECF 13), prompting Shamsud'Diyn's
reply. ECF 14.
hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow,
defendant Scott Oakley shall be DISMISSED and summary
judgment shall be GRANTED in favor of defendant Moyer.
Diyn contends that on September 27, 2017, he was charged with
Inmate Rule Violations in Case Number 2017-070. ECF 1 at 1.
He also contends that on October 2, 2017, he was served with
additional Inmate Rule Violations in two separate cases: Case
2017-071 & 2017-072. ECF 1 at 1.
time plaintiff filed this complaint on November 6, 2017, he
had not received a hearing on any of the
violations. This delay, he claims, violated state
administrative law and other authorities. Id.
Shamsud'Diyn states that DPSCS employees violated COMAR
12.02.27.12B(3) by failing to present him for a hearing
within seven days. Id. at 2-3. Further, he contends
the seven-day time requirement is mandatory and that the
failure to comply is a flagrant violation of administrative
law and a reckless disregard for his rights. Id. at
3. According to plaintiff, the cause of the delay must be
documented and that “the administrative law blunder and
backlog” of institutional cases does not constitute
“exceptional circumstances” within the meaning of
the COMAR regulation, sufficient to excuse the delay.
Id. at 3.
supplemental complaint, Shamsud'Diyn claims that each day
spent beyond the seven-day COMAR rule is “punitive
segregation.” ECF 4 at 2. Further, he states that due
to his “punitive [housing] status, ” his property
was withheld, including his Black's Law Dictionary and
other personal property, in retaliation for his exercise of
his constitutional right of access to the courts.
Opposition, Shamsud'Diyn argues that the legal papers
confiscated from him on November 15, 2017, during his
transport for a court appearance, included “witness
information, statements, and other information”
relevant to his institutional charges, and left him no choice
but to plead guilty to those charges. ECF 12-1 at
Although the claim regarding the loss of paperwork during the
November 2017 transport was not added as a supplemental
allegation in this case, Shamsud'Diyn argues that the
confiscation raises a genuine dispute of material fact,
requiring additional discovery, including testimony of
Corporals Brunk and Hoffman, who could not find the paperwork
after Shamsud' Diyn returned from court. ECF 14 at 1.
However, Shamsud' Diyn acknowledges that Corporal Josh
Rowland “did not confiscate the papers in a vindictive
or retaliatory manner, ” but took them because of the
“metal binders.” Id.
record evidence submitted by Moyer provides a somewhat
different version of events.
September 17, 2017, prison officials convened an
investigation into a suspected altercation between
Shamsud' Diyn and a fellow prisoner. During the
investigation, Shamsud' Diyn was placed in administrative
segregation pending adjustment (“Admin Seg PA”)
housing. ECF 8-2, Declaration of Brian Bell, Correctional
Case Management Specialist, ¶ 3; ECF 8-3, Declaration of
Tina Hull, Secretary in the Warden's Office, with
attachments, at 16.
days later, on September 27, 2017, while the investigation
into that suspected altercation was still ongoing,
Shamsud'Diyn was issued rule violation notice 2017-070,
in regard to an unrelated incident involving two letters he
admitted to writing that included threats of violence towards
another prisoner. ECF 8-2, ¶ 4; ECF 8-3 at 3. As a
result, plaintiff remained on Admin Seg PA. ECF 8-2, ¶
October 2, 2017, Shamsud'Diyn incurred two additional
rule violation notices, 2017-071 and 2017-072, for assault
and for disobeying orders, respectively. ECF 8-3 at 5, 8. The
investigation that initially led to Shamsud'Diyn's
placement on Admin Seg PA was found to be unverified, and he
was not charged with any rule violation with regard to that
incident. ECF 8-2, ¶ 3. Nonetheless, Shamsud'Diyn
remained in segregation pending the outcome of the three
cases involving rule violations. ECF 8-2, ¶ 5.
rule violation cases were consolidated for hearing, which was
held at MCTC on December 19, 2017. ECF 8-2, ¶ 9; ECF 8-3
at 11. Plaintiff was advised of his right to waive a hearing
and to plead guilty. He elected to waive his right to a full
hearing on the merits and pleaded guilty to eight rule
violation charges stemming from the three cases, pursuant to
a plea agreement. ECF 8-3 at 12-14. According to the plea
agreement, the hearing officer imposed the recommended
penalty of 90 days disciplinary segregation, effective from
September 27, 2017 to December 25, 2017. Id. at 14.
The institution had also requested revocation of 90 good time
diminution credits, but records indicated there were none to
take. Id. at 15. Moreover, should Shamsud'Diyn
accumulate good time in the future, the credits will not be
retroactively revoked. ECF 8-2, ¶ 8.
returned to general population housing on February 1, 2018.
Id. Between September 27, 2017 and February 1, 2018,
he met with his prison case manager approximately ten times.
ECF 8-2, ¶ 7. During these interactions,
Shamsud'Diyn did not mention that he was deprived of his
Black's Law Dictionary. ECF 8-3 at 1, ¶ 3.
evidence is also presented with regard to
Shamsud'Diyn's claim of confiscation of papers during
his court appearance of November 15, 2017. Transportation was
provided by Correctional Officer Josh Rowland, who avers that
prisoners are advised at the time of transport that they are
not permitted to carry legal paperwork unrelated to the case
for which they are being transported. ECF 13-1, Rowland
Declaration, ¶ 4. Prohibited paperwork is confiscated,
placed in a bag with the prisoner's name and DOC number,
and held at the institution until the prisoner returns.
Id. ¶ 5. No. record or logbook of any
confiscated paperwork is kept while the paperwork is
temporarily stored. Id. Rowland cannot recall any
interaction with Shamsud'Diyn, and found no notation in
his notebook that he confiscated any paperwork from
Shamsud'Diyn Id. ¶ 6.
avers that Shamsud'Diyn did not file an Administrative
Remedy Procedure (“ARP”) complaint regarding his
Black's Law Dictionary or confiscated paperwork affecting
his rule violation hearings or this court case. ECF 13-2 at
1, ¶ 3.
Standard of Review
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. ECF 12. 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 ...