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Foster v. Daddysman

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 4, 2019

CRAIG DONNELL FOSTER, Plaintiff,
v.
SGT. DADDYSMAN, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          George L. Russell, III United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendants Sgt. Jason Daddysman (“Sgt. Daddysman”) and David C. Robey's (“Ofc. Robey”) Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 22).[1] The Motion is ripe, and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2018). For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND[2]

         On September 6, 2016, Plaintiff Craig Donnell Foster returned to his housing unit in Western Correctional Institution (“WCI”) in Cumberland, Maryland after a trip to the prison commissary.[3] (Compl. Ex. A. [“Compl. Addend.”] at 1, ECF No. 1-1). Upon entering the housing tier, Foster attempted to gain access to his assigned cell via the intercom system. (Id.). Sgt. Daddysman, in what Foster alleges was an abusive manner, asked why Foster had not used the intercom at the front of the tier instead of the one he used. (Id.). Foster then sought out the tier officer, Ofc. Robey, to request an Administrative Remedy Process (“ARP”) form and continuation sheets. (Id.). A year earlier, Foster had written an ARP regarding Sgt. Daddysman's “abusive and aggressive nature.” (Id. at 2). When Ofc. Robey asked Foster why he needed an ARP form, Foster explained that he intended to file a complaint about Sgt. Daddysman because “he has to go.” (Id. at 1). Ofc. Robey refused to give Foster the forms and tried to talk him out of filing a complaint against Sgt. Daddysman. (Id.).

         Sometime thereafter, Sgt. Daddysman placed Foster in handcuffs, removed him from the housing unit, and placed him in segregation. (Id.). Foster was charged with violating institutional rules as a result of Ofc. Robey and Sgt. Daddysman's “false reports.” (Id.).

         In the wake of the September 6, 2016 incident, Foster was charged with violating WCI Rules 100 (engage in a disruptive act), 104 (use intimidating, coercive, or threatening language), 312 (interfere with or resist the performance of staff duties to include a search of a person, item, area, or location), 400 (disobey an order), 405 (demonstrate disrespect or use vulgar language), and 503 (disobey a specifically cited facility Category V rule not listed in this regulation as a rule violation). (Defs.' Mot. Ex. 3 [“Prison Adjuc. Record”] at 1, 3.).[4] At the September 19, 2016 hearing on the charges, Foster pleaded guilty to violating Rules 104, 312, 400, and 405. (Id. at 4-5). He acknowledged his plea was voluntary and that he was waiving most of his appeal rights. (Id.). Per the plea agreement, Foster's punishment included sixty days' segregation and the loss of sixty days' good conduct credit. (Id.).

         In addition to what is stated in the plea agreement, Foster asserts he lost his preferred job assignment, was removed from a lateral transfer list, and was transferred to “the Gang Unit” for four months. (Compl. Addend. at 2). Further, Foster was “red flagged” as a threat to staff, which disqualified him for “honor” programming and job assignments. (Id.). He alleges that he began suffering “stress disorders, PTSD with feelings of fear, anxiety, hopelessness, depression, insomnia, sweats, and panic attacks.” (Id.).

         On November 3, 2017, Foster filed his Complaint against Sgt. Daddysman and Ofc. Robey. (ECF No. 1). On January 16, 2018, Foster filed a Supplement to the Complaint to specify his damages request. (ECF No. 7). The Court construes the Complaint and Supplement to allege, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, that Defendants violated Foster's rights under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution by retaliating against him for filing the ARP against Sgt. Daddysman.[5]

         On June 6, 2018, Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 22). On June 21, 2018, Foster filed an Opposition. (ECF No. 26). To date, the Court has no record Defendants filed a Reply.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Conversion of Defendants' Motion

         Defendants style their Motion as a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) or, in the alternative, for summary judgment under Rule 56. A motion styled in this manner implicates the Court's discretion under Rule 12(d). See Kensington Volunteer Fire Dep't, Inc. v. Montgomery Cty., 788 F.Supp.2d 431, 436-37 (D.Md. 2011), aff'd, 684 F.3d 462 (4th Cir. 2012). This Rule provides that when “matters outside the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court, the [Rule 12(b)(6)] motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under Rule 56.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). The Court “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.'” Wells-Bey v. Kopp, No. ELH-12-2319, 2013 WL 1700927, at *5 (D.Md. Apr. 16, 2013) (quoting 5C Wright & Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure § 1366, at 159 (3d ed. 2004, 2012 Supp.)).

         The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has articulated two requirements for proper conversion of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to a Rule 56 motion: notice and a reasonable opportunity for discovery. See Greater Balt. Ctr. for Pregnancy Concerns, Inc. v. Mayor of Balt., 721 F.3d 264, 281 (4th Cir. 2013). 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. See Moret v. Harvey, 381 F.Supp.2d 458, 464 (D.Md. 2005). 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).

         Ordinarily, summary judgment is inappropriate when “the parties have not had an opportunity for reasonable discovery.” E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Kolon Indus., Inc., 637 F.3d 435, 448 (4th Cir. 2011). Yet, “the party opposing summary judgment ‘cannot complain that summary judgment was granted without discovery unless that party had 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)). To raise sufficiently the issue that more discovery is needed, the non-movant must typically file an ...


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