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Ragins v. Burman

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

April 16, 2019

MAURICE RAGINS, #414056, Plaintiff,
v.
CORRECTIONAL OFFICER LIEUTENANT DERRICK BURMAN, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          GEORGE J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff Maurice Ragins alleges that he was physically assaulted by several correctional officers at the Baltimore City Booking and Intake Center (BCBIC) in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. ECF No. 48. Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 64. No. hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment will be denied.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         Plaintiff Maurice Ragins is incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Institute in Hagerstown, Maryland (MCI-H). ECF No. 64-6. According to Plaintiff, on May 14, 2014, while he was being held at BCBIC to be rebooked on a 2012 charge, Defendants physically assaulted him including by stomping, kicking, elbowing, and punching him. ECF No. 63-3 at 2; ECF No. 64-4 at 1; ECF No. 64-7 at 1.

         At 7:33 a.m., Plaintiff was sitting on a table in 4 North B-Dorm while other inmates were locked in their cells. See ECF No. 65, ENC 17 at 7:33:37.[2] A female officer approached Plaintiff as he was sitting on the table. Id., ENC 17 at 7:36:43. They spoke for a short period of time and then she walked away. Id., ENC 17 at 7:37:43. Plaintiff continued to sit on the table and then after getting up, approached two female officers. Id., ENC 17 at 7:38:30. After a short conversation, Plaintiff returned to the table where he had been previously sitting. Id., ENC 17 at 7:38:40. A short time later, three officers arrived and approached the table where Plaintiff was sitting. Id., ENC 17 at 7:40. After a brief conversation, the three officers left the area. Id., ENC 17 at 7:40:36. Plaintiff walked towards the officers' desk and waited at the vestibule door. Id., ENC 17 and ENC 08 at 7:46:47. Multiple officers then escorted Plaintiff to his cell. Id., ENC 17 and ENC 08 at 7:48:29. After Plaintiff entered his cell, the officers started walking away but then returned. Id., ENC 17 at 7:48:49. The cell door opened and Plaintiff's cellmate exited the cell. Id., ENC 17 at 7:50:59. An officer appears to be motioning for Plaintiff to exit the cell. Id. Officers then entered the cell. Id.

         There is no footage of the approximately two minutes that officers spent in Plaintiff's cell. Plaintiff says that Defendants assaulted him during this time. ECF No. 64-4 at 1; ECF No. 64-7 at 1.

         Eventually Plaintiff exited the cell in handcuffs and was led away by an officer. ECF No. 65, ENC 17 at 7:52:53. He was taken immediately to the medical unit. Id., ENC 10 at 7:55:38. He had an abrasion to his left ear. ECF No. 64-4. Plaintiff's “wound” was “cleaned and bacitracin [was] applied.” Id.

         The next day, Plaintiff returned to MCI-H where he was again provided medical attention for his ear laceration and for other injuries. ECF No. 64-7 (“abrasions noted on bilateral elbow, no drainage noted; 1 laceration noted on inner left ear lobe, no drainage; 1 abrasion noted on left lobe; hematoma around left ear; 1 abrasion noted on left [] front head above left eyebrow; left suborbital hematoma noted; patient denied discomfort at this time”).

         Plaintiff received a Notice of Infraction for the May 8, 2014 BCBIC incident, which claimed Plaintiff had “threatened to assault his cell buddy.” ECF No. 64-8 at 4. A hearing was held on May 13, 2014. Id. at 3. The hearing officer found that the infraction notice lacked factual details, was conclusory, and not credible. Id. at 4. Thus, the hearing officer found Plaintiff not guilty. Id.

         II. STANDARDS OF REVIEW

         Defendants style their motion as a Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. When deciding a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court considers only the facts in the complaint or “integral to the complaint.” Sec'y of State for Defense v. Trimble Navigation Ltd., 484 F.3d 700, 705 (4th Cir. 2007). However, Rule 12(d) requires courts to treat a motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment when the court considers matter outside the pleadings. 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. Consistent with this rule, the nonmoving party must have some indication that the court will treat the motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment and “must be afforded a reasonable opportunity for discovery” if it is essential to the nonmoving party's ability to oppose the motion. Gay v. Wall, 761 F.2d 175, 177 (4th Cir. 1985) (citation omitted).

         It is obvious that when the moving party styles its motion as a “Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment, ” and the nonmoving party attaches exhibits to its opposition, the nonmoving party is aware that materials outside the pleadings are before the Court, and the Court can treat the motion as one for summary judgment. See Laughlin v. Metropolitan Wash. Airports Auth., 149 F.2d 253, 260-61 (4th Cir.1998). That is the situation here. Defendants' style their motion as a Motion to Dismiss or Motion for Summary Judgment and in opposing Defendants' Motion, Plaintiff relies on evidence outside the pleadings and treats Defendants' motion as one for summary judgment. Under these circumstances, the Court will construe Defendants' motion as a Motion for Summary Judgment.

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is appropriate if the moving party demonstrates that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). In assessing the Motion, the Court views the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, with all justifiable inferences drawn in its favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). The Court may rely only on facts supported in the record, not simply assertions in the pleadings. Bouchat v. Balt. Ravens Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 522 (4th Cir. 2003). The nonmoving party bears the burden of demonstrating that a genuine dispute of material fact exists. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). A fact is “material” if it “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute of material fact is only “genuine” if sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party exists for the trier of fact to return a verdict for that party. Id. at 248-49.

         III. ...


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