United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. Russell, III United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants the Baltimore County
Police Department (“BCPD”), Lieutenant Craig
Mitchell (“Lieutenant Mitchell”), Officer
Christopher Stallings (“Officer Stallings”), and
Office Darren Brusio's (“Officer Brusio”)
(collectively, without BCPD, “Officer
Defendants”) Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative,
for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 17). The Motion is ripe for
disposition, and no hearing is necessary. See Local
Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2018). For the reasons outlined below, the
Court will grant the Motion.
March 13, 2018 at 1:07 a.m., Officer Jason Lentz
(“Officer Lentz”) arrested Plaintiff Casey Edward
Ratcliff at the Red Roof Inn in Timonium, Maryland. (Compl.
at 2, ECF No. 1; see also Defs.' Mot. Dismiss
Summ. J. [“Defs.' Mot.”] Ex. 1, ECF No. 17-5;
Brusio Aff. ¶ 8, ECF No. 17-2). Officer Lentz took Ratcliff
to Precinct #7 in Cockeysville, Maryland for booking. (Brusio
Aff. ¶ 8). An unspecified officer “handcuffed
[Ratcliff] to a pipe” in the booking room. (Compl. at
3). The booking room was “very cold, ” but
Ratcliff was not allowed to wear his coat, nor was he
provided with a blanket. (Id.).
Stallings, who was the booking and processing officer,
informed Ratcliff that he was switching on his body camera
before he uncuffed Ratcliff from the pipe. (Id.).
Officer Stallings left shackles on his legs, despite
Ratcliff's “large painful wounds on both legs from
knee to ankle.” (Id.). While he was standing
for his mugshots, Ratcliff “began to feel very
dizzy.” (Id.). Ratcliff informed Stallings
that he was dizzy and that he believed he was going to
“pass out” or suffer a seizure and needed to sit
down. (Id.). Officer Stallings “ordered
[Ratcliff] to remain standing and continue in the
process.” (Id.). Ratcliff tried to comply and
remained standing, but he “had to brace [himself]
against the wall at least once.” (Id.).
Ratcliff again asked Officer Stallings if he could sit down
and Officer Stallings ordered him to stay standing.
“reluctantly” began the fingerprinting process.
(Id. at 4). At the finger print scanning machine,
Ratcliff told Officer Stallings that he was dizzy, he was
going to fall, and he needed to sit, but Officer Stallings
denied his request to sit down. (Id.). Ratcliff then
“had a seizure while standing next to Officer Stallings
and fell to the ground striking [his] head on the bare
concrete floor.” (Id.). Although he was close
enough to Officer Stallings during fingerprinting for Officer
Stallings to hold and control his hands to obtain the
fingerprints, Officer Stallings made no attempt to catch him
or cushion his fall, despite “ample and timely warnings
of [Ratcliff's] imminent fall.” (Id.).
Lieutenant Mitchell entered the room to ask what had
happened. (Id.). “[Officer] Stallings stated
to [Lieutenant] Mitchell that [Ratcliff] had told him that
[he] would fall and then [he] did.” (Id.).
Lieutenant Mitchell asked Officer Stallings whether he tried
to catch Ratcliff, and Officer Stallings replied that he had
“asked for medical attention and an ambulance was
called.” (Id.). Ratcliff's “head was
throbbing” as he laid on the cold floor and he was
“going in and out of consciousness” until he was
transported by ambulance to the Greater Baltimore Medical
Center (“GBMC”) emergency room. (Id. at
4-5). Both of Ratcliff's legs remained shackled despite
the pain the shackles caused to his leg wounds and his
“requests to remove or adjust”
them. (Id. at 5). When Baltimore County
Detention Center officers took Ratcliff into custody, they
shackled only one of his legs to the hospital bed.
(Id.). Ratcliff was hospitalized at GBMC for one
week. (Id.). He now suffers “recurring
headaches, neck pain, and pain in [his] shoulders” that
he “did not have before this fall.”
4, 2018, Ratcliff, proceeding pro se, filed a verified
Complaint. (ECF No. 1). Ratcliff states that he
“believe[s] [that his] civil rights were violated,
” but he does not state which ones. (Id.). He
seeks “financial compensation for violation of [his]
constitutional rights, negligence on the part of the police,
and pain and suffering in the amount of 1 million dollars
plus all related cost, fees, medical bills, etc.”
(Id. at 7).
September 14, 2018, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss or,
in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 17).
Ratcliff filed an Opposition on September 21, 2019. (ECF No.
19). To date, the Court has no record that Defendants filed a
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 Vol.
Fire Dep't, Inc. v. Montgomery Cty., 788 F.Supp.2d
431, 436-37 (D.Md. 2011), aff'd sub nom. Kensington
Volunteer Fire Dep't, Inc. v. Montgomery Cty., 684
F.3d 462 (4th Cir. 2012). Under Rule 12(d), 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.” 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. First, that the
“parties be given some indication by the court that it
is treating the 12(b)(6) motion as a motion for summary
judgment” and second, “that the parties first
‘be afforded a reasonable opportunity for
discovery.'” Greater Balt. Ctr. for Pregnancy
Concerns, Inc. v. Mayor of Baltimore, 721 F.3d 264, 281
(4th Cir. 2013) (quoting Gay v. Wall, 761 F.2d 175,
177 (4th Cir. 1985)).
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).
“[T]he 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)). Rule 56(d) provides that the
Court may deny or continue a motion for summary judgment
“[i]f a nonmovant shows by affidavit or declaration
that, for specified reasons, it cannot present facts
essential to justify its opposition.” “[T]he
failure to file an affidavit under Rule 56[(d)] is itself
sufficient grounds to reject a claim that the opportunity for
discovery was inadequate.” Nguyen v. CNA
Corp., 44 F.3d 234, 242 (4th Cir. 1995) (quoting
Paddington Partners v. Bouchard, 34 F.3d 1132, 1137
(2d Cir. 1994)).
Ratcliff was on notice that the Court might resolve
Defendants' Motion under Rule 56 because they styled
their Motion in the alternative for summary judgment and
presented extensive extra-pleading material for the
Court's consideration. See Moret, 381 F.Supp.2d
at 464. Ratcliff does not submit a Rule 56(d) affidavit, nor
does he otherwise request additional time for discovery.
Because the Court considers Defendants' extra-pleading
materials in resolving Defendants' Motion, the Court
construes their Motion as a motion for summary judgment.
Standard of Review
reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the Court views the
facts in a light most favorable to the nonmovant, drawing all
justifiable inferences in that party's favor. Ricci
v. DeStefano, 557 U.S. 557, 586 (2009); Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986) (citing
Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144,
158-59 (1970)). Summary judgment is proper when the movant
demonstrates, through “particular parts of materials in
the record, including depositions, documents, electronically
stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
. . . admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials,
” that “there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), (c)(1)(A).
Significantly, a party must be able to present the materials
it cites in “a form that would be admissible in
evidence, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2), and supporting
affidavits and declarations “must be made on personal
knowledge” and “set out facts that would be
admissible in evidence, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4).
motion for summary judgment is properly made and supported,
the burden shifts to the nonmovant to identify evidence
showing there is genuine dispute of material fact. See
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475
U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). The nonmovant cannot create a
genuine dispute of material fact “through mere
speculation or the building of one inference upon
another.” Othentec Ltd. v. Phelan, 526 F.3d
135, 141 (4th Cir. 2008) (quoting Beale v. Hardy,
769 F.2d 213, 214 (4th Cir. 1985)).
“material fact” is one that might affect the
outcome of a party's case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at
248; see also JKC Holding Co. v. Wash. Sports Ventures,
Inc., 264 F.3d 459, 465 (4th Cir. 2001) (citing
Hooven-Lewis v. Caldera, 249 F.3d 259, 265 (4th Cir.
2001)). Whether a fact is considered to be
“material” is determined by the substantive law,
and “[o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly
preclude the entry of summary judgment.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; accord
Hooven-Lewis, 249 F.3d at 265. A “genuine”
dispute concerning a “material” fact arises when
the evidence is sufficient to allow a reasonable jury to
return a verdict in the nonmoving party's favor.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. If the nonmovant has
failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element
of her case where she has the burden of proof, “there
can be ‘no genuine [dispute] as to any material
fact,' since a complete failure of proof concerning an
essential element of the nonmoving party's case
necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23