United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. RUSSELL, III, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on Defendants Ellwood Lyles and
Tamisha Forbes' renewed Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's
Complaint or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment (ECF
No. 54) and Defendants Emmanual Dabiri, Oluwasegun Fashae,
Adele Olakanye, Albert Osetosafo, and Sh'Cola
Wright's Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion
for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 55). 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.
Yahyi Abdul Shiheed is an inmate who is currently
incarcerated at North Branch Correctional Institution
(“NBCI”) in Cumberland, Maryland. (Compl. at
In his initial complaint filed on April 14, 2017, Shiheed
alleges that on March 26, 2017, while he was housed as a
pretrial detainee at the Jessup Correctional Institution
(“JCI”), “correctional officers brutally
beat me up for no legit reason.” (Compl. at 3, ECF No.
1; Suppl. Compl. at 3, ECF No. 4). In an Administrative
Remedy Procedure (“ARP”) request attached to his
Complaint, Shiheed explains that as a result of his holding
his door slot open, Officers Burnett, Lyle and Forbes, along
with other unnamed officers, came into his cell and beat him
up in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. (Id.
at 3-4). The officers claimed Shiheed had a weapon, but he
states that no weapon was found on him or in his cell.
(Id. at 4). The officers punched, stomped, and
kicked Shiheed in his face and head. (Id.). Burnett
threatened to kill him. (Id.). Forbes held a video
recorder but did not “get the footage of what they did
to me in the cell.” (Id.). Shiheed states that
he did not receive a ticket for the incident because the
officers were trying to cover it up. (Id.).
taken to the University of Maryland hospital for treatment.
(Id.). He received fifteen stitches to his left eye
and cannot see out of that eye. (Id. at 3). The
hospital took pictures of Shiheed's face. (Id.).
March 27, 2017, Shiheed was issued a Notice of Inmate Rule
Violation regarding this incident. (Lyle & Forbes Mot.
Dismiss Summ. J. Ex. 2 at 26, ECF 29-3). He was charged with
violating rules 100 (engage in a disruptive act), 101 (commit
assault or battery on staff), 400 (disobey an order), 405
(demonstrate disrespect or use vulgar language) and 408
(misuse, alter, tamper with, damage or destroy State property
or property of another). (Id.). A hearing was
scheduled for June 6, 2017 and Shiheed entered guilty pleas,
admitting to the rule violations. (Id. at 30-31). As
punishment Shiheed received 200 days in disciplinary
segregation, the revocation of 120 credits, and the
indefinite loss of visitation. (Id. at 33).
March 29, 2017, Shiheed signed ARP complaint JCI-0322-17
regarding the incident. (Id. at 36-37). After
investigation, the ARP was dismissed on April 14, 2017.
(Id. at 40). Also on April 14, 2017, Shiheed sued
Defendants in this Court. (ECF No. 1). On June 16, 2017,
Shiheed appealed to the Inmate Grievance Office
(“IGO”). filed IGO No. 20170943 as a grievance
appeal from ARP JCI-0322-17. (Hassan Decl. ¶ 4, ECF No.
55-7. On January 3, 2018, an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) conducted a hearing on the appeal.
(Id.). On February 26, 2018, the ALJ denied and
dismissed the grievance as without merit. (Id.;
see also id. at 11). Subsequently, the Circuit Court
for Allegany County, Maryland affirmed the ALJ's decision
in No. C-01-Cv-18-000123. (Hassan Decl. ¶ 4).
January 25, 2019, Lyles and Forbes file their renewed Motion
to Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint or, in the Alternative,
for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 54). To date, the Court has no
record that Shiheed filed an Opposition or renewed his
previous Opposition, (ECF No. 34).
January 25, 2019, Dabiri, Fashae, Olakanye, Osetosafo, and
Wright filed their Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative,
Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 55). Shiheed filed an
Opposition on February 12, 2019. (ECF No. 61).
Conversion of Defendants' Motions
style their Motions as motions to dismiss under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 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 Supp.)).
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 affidavit or
declaration under Rule 56(d), explaining the “specified
reasons” why “it cannot present facts essential
to justify its opposition.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d). A Rule
56(d) affidavit is inadequate if it simply demands
“discovery for the sake of discovery.”
Hamilton v. Mayor of Balt., 807 F.Supp.2d 331, 342
(D.Md. 2011) (quoting Young v. UPS, No. DKC-08-2586,
2011 WL 665321, at *20 (D.Md. Feb. 14, 2011)). A Rule 56(d)
request for discovery is properly denied when “the
additional evidence sought for discovery would not have by
itself created a genuine issue of material fact sufficient to
defeat summary judgment.” Ingle ex rel. Estate of
Ingle v. Yelton, 439 F.3d 191, 195 (4th Cir. 2006)
(quoting Strag v. Bd. of Trs., Craven Cmty. Coll.,
55 F.3d 943, 953 (4th Cir. 1995)).
Fourth Circuit has warned that it “‘place[s]
great weight on the Rule 56[d] affidavit' and that
‘a reference to Rule 56[d] and the need for additional
discovery in a memorandum of law in opposition to a motion
for summary judgment is not an adequate substitute for a Rule
56[d] affidavit.'” Harrods, 302 F.3d at
244 (quoting Evans, 80 F.3d at 961). Failing to file
a Rule 56(d) affidavit “is itself sufficient grounds to
reject a claim that the opportunity for discovery was
inadequate.” Id. (quoting Evans, 80
F.3d at 961). Nevertheless, the Fourth Circuit has indicated
that there are some limited instances in which summary
judgment may be premature notwithstanding the
non-movants' failure to file a Rule 56(d) affidavit.
See id. A court may excuse the failure to file a
Rule 56(d) affidavit when “fact-intensive issues, such
as intent, are involved” and the nonmovant's
objections to deciding summary judgment without discovery
“serve as the functional equivalent of an
affidavit.” Id. at 245 (quoting First
Chicago Int'l v. United Exch. Co., 836 F.2d 1375,
1380-81 (D.C.Cir. 1988)).
Shiheed was on notice that the Court might resolve
Defendants' Motions under Rule 56 because they styled
their Motions in the alternative for summary judgment and
presented extra-pleading material for the Court's
consideration. See Moret, 381 F.Supp.2d at 464.
Shiheed did not file a Rule 56(d) affidavit, nor does he
otherwise assert that he needs discovery to properly address
the Motions. Accordingly, the Court will construe the Motions
as ones for summary judgment.