United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III United States District Judge
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). 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.
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. (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.).
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.”
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.). 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.).
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
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.
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.
Conversion of Defendants' Motion
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
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).
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 ...