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Bolden v. Moyer

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 6, 2019

ISAAC T. BOLDEN, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
STEPHEN T. MOYER, et al, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          A. David Copperthite United States Magistrate Judge.

         The Court has before it Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment (the "Motion to Dismiss") (ECF No. 30). Defendants allege that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and alternatively, in the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, there exists no dispute of material fact, entitling Defendants to summary judgment. Plaintiff has responded that there is a dispute of material fact and Plaintiff is entitled to relief. After considering the Motion to Dismiss and the responses thereto (ECF Nos. 33, 36), the Court finds that no hearing is necessary. See Loc.R. 105.6 (D.Md. 2018). For the reasons set forth below, the Court GRANTS the Motion to Dismiss and, in the alternative, Summary Judgment to Defendants on all Counts.

         Factual Background

         On June 2, 2006, Plaintiff pled guilty to first-degree rape and first-degree assault in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County. ECF No. 29 at 6, ¶ 17; ECF No. 30-2 at 3-4. Plaintiff was sentenced to 25 years' incarceration with all but 15 years suspended concurrent to both counts of conviction. ECF No. 30-2 at 8. The Division of Correction ("DOC") calculated Plaintiffs maximum confinement date as November 26, 2020. ECF No. 30-3. Plaintiff does not contest any of these facts.

         What Plaintiff does contest is that his release date of September 1, 2015 was incorrect and that August 30, 2015 was correct and since it was a weekend, he should have been released on August 28, 2015, four days prior to September 1. ECF No. 29 at 6, ¶¶ 16, 19. Plaintiff also alleges that he should have been entitled to an additional 780 special project diminution credits for his participation in the "Youth Offenders Patuxent Program," which would have resulted in release sometime in August 2013. Id. at 5-6, ¶¶ 13-16. Plaintiff states that if he was not entitled to the 780 additional credits, then his release date should have been August 28, 2015, as stated previously. See Id. at 6, ¶¶ 17-18.

         In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges violations of the Fifth, Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments against all Defendants in Count I; violations of the Maryland Declaration of Rights, Articles XXIV and XXVI in Count II; and violations of Maryland state law in claims set forth in Count III. Id. at 12-15, ¶¶ 52-65. The Court has reviewed the allegations of violations of civil rights and state law claims set forth in the Complaint. The Court finds that it is not necessary to reach the constitutional merits of the claim or liability of any Defendant since the underlying basis of the lawsuit-the calculation of the release date of Plaintiff-lacks any merit and the Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

         Procedural Background

         The original Complaint was filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City on August 27, 2018 and removed by Defendants to this Court on October 16, 2018. ECF No. I.[1] On January 7, 2019, Plaintiff amended the Complaint. ECF No. 29. On January 22, 2019, Defendants filed the Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 30. Plaintiff filed an opposition on February 22, 2019, ECF No. 33, and Defendants replied on March 15, 2019, ECF No. 36. This matter is now fully briefed, and the Court has reviewed Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, as well as the responses thereto. For the following reasons, the Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

         Discussion

         A. Standards of Review

         1. Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim

         The purpose of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is to test the sufficiency of a complaint, not to "resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." King v. Rubemtein, 825 F.3d 206, 214 (4th Cir. 2016) (quoting Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243-44 (4th Cir. 1999)). A complaint must contain "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Facial plausibility exists "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. An inference of a mere possibility of misconduct is not sufficient to support a plausible claim. Id. at 679. As stated in Twombly, "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." 550 U.S. at 555. "A pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders 'naked assertions' devoid of 'further factual enhancement."' Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (internal citations omitted). Although when considering a motion to dismiss a court must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint, this principle does not apply to legal conclusions couched as factual allegations. Twombfy, 550 U.S. at 555.

         2. Motion for Summary Judgment

         Pursuant to Rule 56, a movant is entitled to summary judgment where the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The Supreme Court has clarified that not every factual dispute will defeat a motion for summary judgment but rather, there must be a genuine issue of material fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) ("[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." (emphases in original)). An issue of fact is material if, under the substantive law of the case, resolution of the factual dispute could affect the outcome. Id. at 248. There is a genuine issue as to material fact "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id.; see also Dulaney v. Packaging Corp. of Am.,673 F.3d 323, 330 (4th Cir. 2012). On ...


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