United States District Court, D. Maryland
KEVIN D. TURPIN, Plaintiff,
RUTH COLBOURNE, Warden, BENJAMIN PARKS, Officer, Defendants.
Theodore D. Chuang United States District Judge
Kevin D. Turpin, who was previously confined at the Wicomico
County Detention Center ("WCDC)" in Salisbury,
Maryland, has filed a self-represented civil rights Complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. S1983 alleging that on March 20, 2088
at WCDC, Defendant Correctional Officer Benjamin Parks
maliciously slammed a cell door food slot on Turpin's
hand and thus injured Turpin's fingers. As relief, Turpin
seeks $100, 000 in damages. Defendants Parks and Ruth
Colbourne, Director of the Wicomico County Department of
Corrections, have filed a Motion to Dismiss or Alternatively
for Summary Judgment. In his memorandum in opposition to
the' Motion, Turpin states that he is abandoning his
claim against Colbourne. Having reviewed the submitted
materials, the Court finds that no hearing is necessary. See
D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, the
Motion will be GRANTED.
was committed to WCDC on October 14, 2017. He was transferred
to the Caroline County Detention Center on May 26, 2088 and
returned to WCDC on July 10, 2018. Turpin was transferred out
of WCDC again on July 12, 2018 and is presently housed at the
Dorsey Run Correctional Facility in Jessup, Maryland.
March 20, 2018, at approximately 4:24 p.m., Parks and
Corrections Officer II James Bare were distributing meal
trays to inmates. According to Turpin, while at Turpin's
cell, Parks angrily slammed the food slot door closed on
Turpin's hand, leaving his index, middle, and ring
fingers cut, bleeding, and swollen. Turpin asserts that he
now has scar tissue. According to Parks, as he placed a food
tray in Turpin's cell door food slot, Turpin pushed the
tray away and forced it back toward him, stating "I
don't fucking want that shit." Parks Aff. ¶ 2,
ECF 37-1. Parks asserts that he pulled the tray from the
slot, observed that the slot was clear, and then began to
close the slider across the slot. As he did so, Turpin placed
his hand in the track, causing the slider to pinch his
fingers at the end of the track. Parks asserts that while he
was trying to open the slot, Turpin pushed against the
slider, forcing it off its track. The slider fell to the
floor. Bare picked it up, replaced it in its track, and
ordered Turpin to remove his hand and place it back inside
the cell. Turpin refused to comply, banged on the door, and
shouted that he needed medical attention. Parks left the
housing unit to inform the medical unit that Turpin needed
and Correctional Officer WiIna Cange escorted Turpin to the
medical unit. Medical staff noted two small skin tears on
Turpin's left middle and index finger with a small amount
of blood, which was removed with a wound cleaner.
Turpin's hand was swollen, discolored, and painful, and
Turpin could not make a fist with the left hand. Medical
staff offered Turpin pain medication and an ice pack and
informed him that he would have an x-ray the next day. Turpin
insisted that he wanted his hand x-rayed immediately, but he
was escorted back to his cell.
charged Turpin with destroying property, specifically, the
food slot, in violation of WCDC rules. On March 26, 2018, a
hearing officer, having viewed the video evidence, found
Turpin not guilty.
seek dismissal or summary judgment on the grounds that (1)
Turpin failed to exhaust administrative remedies; and (2) the
Complaint fails to state a constitutional claim for use of
excessive force under the Eighth Amendment.
have filed their Motion as a Motion to Dismiss or
Alternatively for Summary Judgment. Typically, when deciding
a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), the Court considers only the complaint and any
attached documents "integral to the complain.."
Sec'y of State for Defense v. Trimble Navigation
Ltd., 484 F.3d 700, 705 (4th Cir. 2007). To the extent
that grounds for dismissal are based solely on the contents
of the Complain,, the Court may dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6)
if the complaint does not allege enough facts to state a
plausible claim for relief. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A claim is plausible when the facts
pleaded allow "the Court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Id. Although courts should construe
pleadings of self-represented litigants liberally,
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), legal
conclusions or conclusory statements do not suffice, Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678. The Court must examine the complaint as a
whole, consider the factual allegations in the complaint as
true, and construe the factual allegations in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. Albright v. Oliver, 510
U.S. 266, 268 (1994); Lambeth v. Bd. of Comm'rs of
Davidson Cty., 407 F.3d 266, 268 (4th Cir. 2005).
12(d) requires courts to treat a Rule 12(b)(6) motion as a
motion for summary judgment where matters outside the
pleadings are considered and not excluded. 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.
"Reasonable opportunity" has two requirements: (1)
the nonmoving party must have some indication that the court
is treating the Rule 12(b)(6) motion as a motion for summary
judgment, and (2) the nonmoving party "must be afforded
a reasonable opportunity for discovery" to obtain
information essential to oppose the motion. Gay v.
Wall, 761 F.2d 175, 177 (4th Cir. 1985) (citation
omitted). Here, the notice requirement has been satisfied by
the title of the Motion. To show that a reasonable
opportunity for discovery has not been afforded, the
nonmoving party must file an affidavit or declaration under
Rule 56(d) explaining why "for specified reasons, it
cannot present facts essential to justify its
opposition," Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d), or otherwise put the
district court on notice of the reasons why summary judgment
is premature. See Harrods, Ltd. v. Sixty Internet Domain
Names, 302 F.3d 214, 244-45 (4th Cir. 2002).
Turpin has asserted that he requires discovery before the
resolution of the Motion. Although there may be grounds for
discovery before reaching the merits of the Motion, Turpin
provides no persuasive argument for discovery before the
resolution of the threshold issue of exhaustion of
administrative remedies, as the relevant documents relating
to that issue, including the WCDC inmate handbook, have
already been provided. The Court therefore will construe the
Motion as one for summary judgment as to the exhaustion of
administrative remedies issue and consider the attached
exhibits relevant to that issue.
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the Court grants summary
judgment 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). A fact is "material"
if tt "might affect the outcome of the suit under the
governing law." Anderson, 477 U.S. ...