United States District Court, D. Maryland
Catherine C. Blake United States District Judge.
response to the above-titled civil rights complaint,
Defendant Michael Merican filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in
the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. ECF 13. Plaintiff
was advised of his opportunity to oppose the motion (ECF 14)
but has not done so. The court finds a hearing in this matter
unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons
that follow Defendant's motion, construed as a Motion for
Summary Judgment, shall be granted.
unverified Complaint, Plaintiff William Ozah, alleges that in
March of 2015, while a pretrial detainee in the St.
Mary's County Detention Center ("SMCDC"), he
was attacked by inmates Jamarr Sherman Mackall and Deionte
William Johnson while he slept. ECF 1 at p. 7. Mackall and
Johnson punched, kicked, and beat Plaintiff for several
minutes. Plaintiff yelled for assistance to the housing unit
officers who after "some time" responded to
Plaintiffs cell and ended the assault. Id. Plaintiff
filed a supplemental complaint attaching the incident reports
and criminal charges which were generated as a result of the
assault on him. ECF 3.
result of the attack, Plaintiff suffered injuries to his
head, back, face, and chest. He alleges that he continues to
suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, migraine
headaches, and loss of vision. ECF 1 at p. 7. Additionally,
Plaintiff claims that after the assault he requested unnamed
officials at the detention center take him to the hospital,
but they failed to do so. ECF 1 at p. 7.
states that Captain Merican is responsible for "managing
the daily operation of SMCDC. ECF 1 at p. 4. He also claims
that Captain Merican is responsible for setting the policies
of the detention center and "[i]t should be the policy
of the St. Mary's County Detention Center to keep
separated those inmates which are sentenced to a term of
imprisonment, from those awaiting to go to trial." ECF 1
at p. 5. Plaintiff claims that Merican's negligence
permitted the two convicted inmates to be housed with him, a
pretrial detainee. Id., He further alleges that
Merican "failed in his duties to properly screen the
sentencing status of all the inmates before assigning them to
a housing unit" and Merican should have been aware that
Mackall and Johnson were waiting to be'sentenced for
prior assaults that occurred at the detention center.
Plaintiff states that he did not file an administrative
grievance regarding the matters alleged, as "it was not
made known to [him] that there was a grievance process
available to inmates housed" at the detention center.
ECF 1 at p. 6.
explains that SMCDC has an inmate grievance policy which is
set forth in the Inmate Guidebook. ECF 13-4, ¶ 3
(Merican Affidavit); ECF 13-5, p. 8 (Inmate Guidebook, p. 23,
IX Inmate Rights and Privileges, G. Grievance). The
policy provides that all inmates have the right to present
complaints/grievances regarding SMCDC policies, procedures,
rules, regulations and practices. Id. The grievance
policy directs that efforts will be made to informally
resolve matters. If informal resolution is unsuccessful the
inmate may then file a formal grievance by submitting an
Inmate Grievance Form to a correctional officer who is tasked
with forwarding the grievance to the proper authority for
resolution. Id. Complaints against staff are to be
forwarded to the Commander of SMCDC. Id. Upon
receipt of a formal grievance, staff are required to
investigate, and when necessary, to form a Grievance
Committee to resolve the grievance in accordance with
established policies and procedures. Id. Inmates
must be advised of the findings and actions taken to resolve
the grievance within 15 working days. Id. If the
inmate is dissatisfied with the result of the investigation,
the inmate may, within three working days of receipt of the
result, file a written appeal directly to the Commander.
inmates, whether pretrial detainees or convicted prisoners,
upon entering SMCDC, receive an initial briefing which
includes an explanation of the grievance process. ECF 13-4,
¶ 4. Additionally, a video is shown to the inmates which
explains the grievance process and the availability of the
Inmate Guidebook which contains the grievance process.
Id. The video advises inmates that the Guidebook is
available throughout the detention center including in
holding cells or dayrooms of each housing unit and that
copies may be obtained from the correctional officer on duty.
Id. The video is replayed for the inmates every
morning. ECF 13-4, ¶ 5. All inmates are required to
acknowledge that they have received this initial briefing,
including explanation of the grievance process and the
availability of the Guidebook. ECF 13-4, ¶ 4. Plaintiff
was booked and processed at SMCDC as a pretrial detainee on
October 2, 2014. ECF 13-4, ¶ 6; ECF 13-8 (Booking
Report). As part of his processing, he received the initial
briefing, was shown the video, and signed a written
acknowledgement of same. Id.
his incarceration at SMCDC, Plaintiff did not file any
grievances regarding security or medical issues. On November
14, 2014, he filed an inmate request form complaining that he
had not received a response to a grievance he filed on
November 1, 2014. ECF 13-15 (Inmate Request Form). On March
17, 2015, he filed an inmate request form regarding funds in
his inmate account. ECF 13-14 (Inmate Request Form). He filed
a formal grievance on February 13, 2015, concerning his
commissary balance. ECF 13-16. (Inmate Grievance). On April
13, 2015, he filed an inmate request regarding his mail log.
ECF 13-13 (Inmate Request Form).
was transferred from SMCDC on June 13, 2016. ECF 13-4, ¶
10; ECF 13-11 (Inmate Transfer Alert).
Defendant has filed his Motion as a Motion to Dismiss or, in
the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. Typically, when
deciding a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court considers only the complaint
and any attached documents "integral to the
complaint." Sec 'y of State for Defense v.
Trimble Navigation Ltd., 484 F.3d 700, 705 (4th Cir.
2007). To the extent that grounds for dismissal are based
solely on the contents of the complaint, the Court may
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) if the complaint does not allege
enough facts to state a plausible claim for relief.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A claim
is plausible when the facts pleaded allow "the Court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Id. Although
courts should construe pleadings of self-represented
litigants liberally, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007), legal conclusions or conclusory statements do
not suffice, Igbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The Court must
examine the complaint as a whole, consider the factual
allegations in the complaint as true, and construe the
factual allegations in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268
(1994); Lambeth v. Bd. oJComm 'rs of Davidson
Cty., 407 F.3d 266, 268 (4th Cir. 2005).
12(d) requires courts to treat a Rule 12(b)(6) motion as a
motion for summary judgment when matters outside the
pleadings are considered and not excluded. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(d). Before converting a motion to dismiss to one for
summary judgment, courts must give the nonmoving party
"a reasonable opportunity to present all the material
that is pertinent to the motion." Id.
"Reasonable opportunity" has two requirements: (1)
the nonmoving party must have some indication that the court
is treating the Rule 12(b)(6) motion as a motion for summary
judgment, and (2) the nonmoving party "must be afforded
a reasonable opportunity for discovery" to obtain
information essential to oppose the motion. Gay v.
Wall,761 F.2d 175, 177 (4th Cir, 1985) (citation
omitted). Here, the notice requirement has been satisfied by
the title of the Motion. To show that a reasonable
opportunity for discovery has not been afforded, the
nonmoving party must file an affidavit or declaration under
Rule 56(d) explaining why "for specified reasons, it
cannot present facts essential to justify its
opposition," Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d), or otherwise put the
district court on notice of the reasons why summary judgment
is premature, see Harrods ...