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Davis v. Oliver

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 9, 2019

SHAKEEN J. DAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
GWENDOLYN OLIVER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          George L. Russell, III United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendants Gwendolyn Oliver and Donna Hansen's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 18). The Motion is ripe for disposition, and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2018). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Defendants' Motion and dismiss the Complaint without prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         Plaintiff Shakeen J. Davis is a federal pre-trial detainee housed at the Chesapeake Detention Facility (“CDF”) in Baltimore, Maryland. (Compl. at 2, ECF No. 1). Oliver was the Acting Warden at CDF, and Hansen was the Acting Assistant Warden at CDF.[2] (Id. at 1). Davis arrived at CDF on February 24, 2017 and has since experienced various “harsh and unsanitary living conditions” that have caused him to live in “huge discomfort.” (Id. at 1, 5). In the winter, the CDF “jail tier” is “freezing cold” due to a “faulty heating system.” (Id. at 2). As a result, there have been times when Davis's “hands, feet and other body parts were completely numb.” (Id. at 2-3). In January 2018, Davis and other inmates were briefly transferred to the Jessup Correctional Institution because CDF was so cold. (Id. at 3). When Davis returned to CDF, the temperature on his tier was below 30 degrees. (Id.).

         CDF has the opposite problem in the warmer months: due to lack of air conditioning, jail “thermostats read off inhumane temperatures over 100 degrees.” (Id.). Davis has asthma, so the conditions at CDF in the summer make it difficult for him to breathe properly. (Id.). Davis sought medical treatment, but “medical” instructed him to stay hydrated with ice water even though ice is rarely available. (Id.).

         According to Davis, the cells at CDF were designed to house only one inmate yet now typically hold two. (Id. at 3-4). There is only one shower for every twenty-four inmates, and the showers are not cleaned properly and contain mold. (Id. at 4). There is no cafeteria, and the kitchen has been closed repeatedly, “sometimes for weeks.” (Id.). CDF also has a pest problem, such that inmates have found insects in their food. (Id.). There is no library, so Davis has “no way to expand [his] mind.” (Id. at 4). Further, there is no inside gym at CDF, and the outdoor area has “one basketball goal and nothing else whatsoever.” (Id.). Davis is not permitted to go outside often-even less when he is on segregation. (Id. at 4-5). CDF officials have erroneously calculated Davis's segregation days based on state, rather than federal, guidelines. (Id. at 5).

         Davis has “put in various Grievance forms, ” the “majority” of which received no response. (Id. at 2). In response to certain complaints, Davis “was told they would look more into the matter.” (Id.). The most recent complaint Davis himself filed, pertaining to “the hot water being shut off with no notice, ” received no response. (Id. at 5-6). Davis never appealed the disposition of his complaints because he was not aware that he had that option. (Id. at 2).

         On April 27, 2018, Davis sued Defendants. He alleges that the conditions at CDF “exceed[] the punishment that [Davis] deserve[s]” and have left him “emotionally distressed and mentally distraught.” (Id. at 5). Davis seeks $150, 000 in damages or a “reduced jail sentence for any sentence imposed on me.” (Id. at 6).[3]

         On January 16, 2019, Defendants filed their Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 18).[4] On January 28, 2019, Davis filed an Opposition. (ECF No. 20). To date, the Court has no record that Defendants filed a Reply.

         Defendants argue that they are entitled to dismissal of, or judgment in their favor on, the claims against them because Davis has not administratively exhausted his claims and because the Complaint does not state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Davis does not respond to the administrative exhaustion argument and only attempts to rebut Defendants' evidence, not their legal arguments about his claims. The Court agrees with Defendants that Davis has not exhausted his administrative remedies.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Conversion

         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 Suppls.)). The Court may consider part of such a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) and part under Rule 56. See Pitts v. Druckman, No. PWG-17-3546, 2019 WL 121016, at *4 (D.Md. Jan. 4, 2019), aff'd, 771 Fed.Appx. 304 (4th Cir. 2019); Dale v. Maryland Dep't of Transp., No. ELH-13-191, 2015 WL 221628, at *5 (D.Md. Jan. 15, 2015), aff'd sub nom. Dale v. Maryland Dep't of Transportation, 672 Fed.Appx. 323 (4th Cir. 2017).

         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 & City Council, 721 F.3d 264, 281 (4th Cir. 2013). When movants expressly caption their motion “in the alternative” as one for summary judgment and submit 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. ...


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