United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Hollander United States District Judge.
Allen Michael McFadden, a prisoner in the Maryland Division
of Correction (“DOC”), filed a civil rights
action against Officer Ronel Legrand,  a DOC employee at
Central Maryland Correctional Facility (“CMCF”),
located in Sykesville, Maryland. In his unverified complaint,
filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, McFadden claims that
Legrand doused him with pepper spray in the early afternoon
of July 19, 2017, after McFadden, who was awaiting transport
to another institution, banged on the door of his holding
cell, asking to use the bathroom. ECF 1 at 3. McFadden seeks
$200, 000 in damages.
has moved to dismiss the claim and, alternatively, requests
summary judgment, arguing that the use of force was
justified. ECF 15 (Motion); ECF 15-1 (Memorandum)
(collectively, the “Motion”). The Motion is
supported by exhibits. McFadden filed an opposition to
Legrand's motion (ECF 17, Opposition; ECF 17-1,
Memorandum) (collectively, “Opposition”)
asserting for the first time that Legrand had verbally abused
him and threatened to spray him with pepper spray earlier in
the day, prior to the incident, and told McFadden he would
have done so, were it not for the presence of security
cameras. ECF 17-1 at 3. Further, plaintiff moves to compel
Legrand to produce a video recording of the incident (ECF 18;
ECF 23), as well as a copy of Legrand's use of force
history. ECF 22.
review of the submissions, the Court finds a hearing on the
pending matters unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6
(D. Md. 2016). As set forth herein, McFadden's motions to
compel are DENIED and Legrand's Motion, construed as a
motion for summary judgment, is GRANTED.
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
implicate 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).
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). see
Adams Hous., LLC v. The City of Salisbury, Maryland, 672
Fed.Appx. 220, 222 (4th Cir. 2016) (per curiam). But, 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
Auth., 149 F.3d 253, 261 (4th Cir. 1998).
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.” 5C
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 165-67.
general, summary judgment is inappropriate “where the
parties have not had an opportunity for reasonable
discovery.” E.I. du Pont De Nemours and Co. v.
Kolon Industries, Inc., 637 F.3d 435, 448-49
(4th Cir. 2012); see Putney v. Likin, 656 Fed.Appx.
632, 638 (4th Cir. 2016) (per curiam); McCray v. Maryland
Dep't of Transp., 741 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2015).
However, “the party opposing summary judgment
‘cannot complain that summary judgment was granted
without discovery unless that party has 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)); see also Dave &
Buster's, Inc. v. White Flint Mall, LLLP, 616
Fed.Appx. 552, 561 (4th Cir. 2015).
raise adequately the issue that discovery is needed, the
non-movant typically must file an affidavit or declaration
pursuant to Rule 56(d) (formerly Rule 56(f)), explaining why,
“for specified reasons, it cannot present facts
essential to justify its opposition, ” without needed
discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d); see Harrods, 302 F.3d
at 244-45 (discussing affidavit requirement of former Rule
56(f)) “[T]o justify a denial of summary judgment on
the grounds that additional discovery is necessary, the facts
identified in a Rule 56 affidavit must be ‘essential to
[the] opposition.'” Scott v. Nuvell Fin.
Servs., LLC, 789 F.Supp.2d 637, 641 (D. Md. 2011)
(alteration in original) (citation omitted). A nonmoving
party's Rule 56(d) request for additional discovery is
properly denied “where the additional evidence sought
for discovery would not have by itself created a genuine
issue of material fact sufficient to defeat summary
judgment.” Strag v. Bd. of Trs., Craven Cmty.
Coll., 55 F.3d 943, 954 (4th Cir. 1995); see
Amirmokri v. Abraham, 437 F.Supp.2d 414, 420 (D. Md.
2006), aff'd, 266 Fed.Appx. 274 (4th Cir.),
cert. denied, 555 U.S. 885 (2008).
has requested discovery: the production of a video recording
and a list of use of force incidents involving Legrand. ECF
18; ECF 22; ECF 23. Defendant has responded (ECF 21) to the
Court's Order (ECF 20) and has provided a Declaration
from Jon Scramlin, a DOC Case Management Manager at CMCF, as
well as exhibits. ECF 21-1. Scramlin avers that there are no
video cameras in the administrative hallway where the
temporary holding cell is located. Id. at 1, ¶
4; see also ECF 21-1 at 6, 7. His averment finds
support in the Use of Force Report filed on the day of the
incident, which expressly notes that the event was not
recorded on video. ECF 21-1 at 1, ¶ 4; ECF 21-1 at 3.
contends cameras do exist in the vicinity of the holding cell
and asks this Court to send a private investigator to so
prove. ECF 23 at 1. The presence of a security camera or
monitor does not mean the equipment is capable of producing
video evidence, however. Similarly, his request for the
production of Legrand's use of force history, based on
his claim that Legrand “has a history of unnecessary
use of force on inmates” (ECF 22), is predicated purely
on speculation as to what the production of such information
apparent that additional discovery is not needed, given the
record already produced in this case. In light of the
foregoing, I am satisfied that it is appropriate to address
Legrand's Motion, which relies on matters outside the
pleadings, as one for summary judgment, and to deny
McFadden's requests for discovery.
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 ...