United States District Court, D. Maryland
DONALD G. REMBOLD, DOC #449211, SID #174653, Plaintiff,
INITIA LETTAU, CLERK JAMES REILLY, SHERRI HELLMANN, BARBARA GILL, CLERK JULIE L. ENSOR, BRENDAN COSTIGAN, Acting CLERK MARILYN BENTLEY, HALLE BENNETT, CLERK TERRI MUMMA, and CLERK GREGORY HILTON, Defendants.
L. HOLLANDER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
self-represented plaintiff, Donald G. Rembold, an inmate
currently incarcerated at the Maryland Correctional Training
Center (“MCTC”) in Hagerstown, Maryland, filed
suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against James Reilly,
Julie L. Ensor, and Marilyn Bentley, who are Maryland circuit
court clerks; Gregory Hilton, Clerk of the Maryland Court of
Special Appeals; Court Reporters Sherri Hellmann and Barbara
Gill; Judicial Law Clerk Halle Bennett; Terri Mumma,
Administrative Clerk of the District Court of Maryland for
Harford County (collectively, the “Court
Defendants”), and Assistant State Public Defenders
Initia Lettau and Brendan Costigan (collectively, the
“PD Defendants”). ECF 1. Rembold claims that
defendants have denied him access to the courts and denied
him due process of law. Id.; ECF 34. He seeks
declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as monetary
filed a related case, Rembold v. Reilly, et al.,
Civil Action ELH-19-72. I shall refer to Case ELH-19-16 as
“Case I” and Case ELH-19-72 as “Case
II.” By Order of January 14, 2019, I consolidated Case
I and Case II, designated Case I as the remaining case, and
closed Case II. See Case I, ECF 3; Case II, ECF 4.
20, 2019, the PD Defendants moved to dismiss. ECF 24
(“PD Motion”). On May 28, 2019, the Court
Defendants moved to Dismiss (ECF 25), supported by a
memorandum (ECF 25-1) (collectively, the “Court
Defendants' Motion”) and five exhibits.
to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir.
1975), the court informed Rembold of his right to respond to
the motions, and that the failure to file a response in could
result in dismissal of his Complaint or entry of judgment
against him. ECF 26; ECF 27. Rembold filed a response in
opposition to the PD Motion on June 10, 2019. ECF 31.
However, he did not respond to the Court Defendants'
Motion. Instead, he filed an Amended Complaint on June 19,
2019, reiterating claims presented in his previous filings
and alleging a violation of his due process rights. ECF 34.
Rembold also voluntarily withdrew his claims against
defendants Hilton, Bennett, and Bentley. Id. at 6.
The PD Defendants filed a reply on June 27, 2019. ECF 37.
matter is now ripe for disposition. Upon review of the
record, exhibits, and applicable law, the court deems a
hearing unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.
2018). Rembold's claims against defendants Hilton,
Bennett, and Bentley shall be dismissed, without prejudice.
The remaining motions shall be granted.
Complaint is not a model of clarity. He states that on May
30, 2016, he filed a petition for post-conviction relief in
the Circuit Court for Harford County, Maryland, and
subsequently amended it several times: on May 23, 2017;
August 17, 2017; September 7, 2017; March 15, 2018; July 2,
2018; August 6, 2018; and December 22, 2018. ECF 1
(Complaint) at 1, 3; No. 19-72, ECF 1 at 5.
alleges that defendant Initia Lettau, the Chief Attorney in
the Post-Conviction Division of the Office of the Public
Defender, “orchestrated clandestine proceedings”
and actively shielded court personnel by “willfully and
negligently refusing to intercede in the denial of access to
the court.” Case I, ECF 1 at 2. According to Rembold,
Lettau “failed to perform the ministerial duties of the
Chief Attorney.” Id. He acknowledges, however,
that on June 10, 2018, Lettau “created a new
file” within the Officer of the Public Defender
regarding Rembold's post-conviction case and assigned
Brendan Costigan to represent Rembold. Id. at 3; No.
19-72, ECF 1 at 7.
attempted to file a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint in the
Circuit Court for Baltimore City against Lettau, alleging
obstruction of access to court, which he claims Marilyn
Bentley, the Clerk of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City,
refused to file. Case II, ECF 1 at 7; see also Case
I, ECF 34 (Amended Complaint) at 5. Rembold asserts that
Bentley thus “obstructed and destroyed [his] right to
access the court.” No. 19-72, ECF 1 at 7. Further, he
alleges that on September 28, 2018, Halle Bennett, a judicial
law clerk in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City,
“obstructed” his attempt to refile the civil
rights action. Id. at 4; see also Case I,
ECF 34 at 5.
Complaint, Rembold states that he filed an application for
leave to appeal the denial of post-conviction relief with the
Maryland Court of Special Appeals in June 2016. Yet, he
alleges that James Reilly, the Clerk of the Circuit Court for
Harford County, “refus[ed] to file the petition for
post-conviction relief up until August 13th, 2018.”
Case I, ECF 1 at 2. Rembold claims that Reilly's
obstruction necessitated the filing of a complaint under
§ 1983 in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County on June
12, 2018, which he alleges Julie L. Ensor, the Clerk of the
Circuit Court for Baltimore County, refused to file.
Id.; ECF 34 at 5; No. 19-72, ECF 1 at 6. Rembold
states that he appealed Ensor's refusal to file the
complaint, which the Circuit Court for Baltimore County
denied. Case II, ECF 1 at 6.
to Rembold, on July 8, 2018, he filed a Notice of Appeal in
the Maryland Court of Special Appeals with respect to the
ruling of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County.
Id. He alleges that defendant Gregory Hilton, the
Clerk of the Maryland Court of Special Appeals, refused to
respond to his inquiries regarding that appeal. Case II, ECF
1 at 6; Case I, ECF 1 at 3. In addition, Rembold claims that
on August 6, 2018, he filed a Motion for Appointment of
Post-Conviction Counsel, which “[t]he clerk refused to
file.” ECF 1 at 3.
Rembold alleges that Court Reporters Sherri Hellmann and
Barbara Gill fabricated transcripts of proceedings that
occurred on September 29, 2014 and January 26, 2015, in
violation of his due process rights. See Case I,
Supplemental Complaint, ECF 10; Declaration, ECF 14; ECF 34
at 2-3; see also No. 19-72, ECF 1 at 7. Rembold
states that he provided Brendan Costigan with the
“phony record, ” which involved Terri Mumma, the
Clerk of the District Court for Harford County, Maryland, and
that Costigan has refused to give Rembold the original
Standard of Review
have filed motions to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). The Court Defendants submitted matters outside the
pleadings for the court's consideration.
a court “is not to consider matters outside the
pleadings or resolve factual disputes when ruling on a motion
to dismiss.” Bosiger v. U.S. Airways, Inc.,
510 F.3d 442, 450 (4th Cir. 2007). However, under Rule
12(b)(6), a court, in its discretion, may consider matters
outside of the pleadings, pursuant to Rule 12(d). If the
court does so, “the motion must be treated as one for
summary judgment under Rule 56, ” and “[a]ll
parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to present all
the material that is pertinent to the motion.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d); see Adams Housing, LLC v. The City of
Salisbury, Maryland, 672 Fed.Appx. 220, 222 (4th Cir.
2016) (per curiam).
nonmoving party must also be notified of the potential
conversion of the motion to one for summary judgment. Here,
plaintiff was advised that judgment could be entered against
him. ECF 26 at 1. He was also provided with a copy of Rule
12, alerting him to the content of the rule. Id. at
district judge 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.” 5C
Wright & Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure §
1366, at 159 (3d ed. 2004, 2011 Supp.). This discretion
“should be exercised with great caution and attention
to the parties' procedural rights.” Id. at
149. In general, courts are guided by whether consideration
of extraneous material “is likely to facilitate the
disposition of the action, ” and “whether
discovery prior to the utilization of the summary judgment
procedure” is necessary. Id. at 165-67.
general, summary judgment is inappropriate “where 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, 448-49 (4th Cir.
2011); see Putney v. Likin, 656 Fed.Appx. 632, 638
(4th Cir. 2016) (per curiam); McCray v. Maryland
Dep't of Transportation, 741 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir.
2015). However, “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)); see also Dave &
Buster's, Inc. v. White Flint Mall, LLLP, 616 Fed.
App'x 552, 561 (4th Cir. 2015).
raise adequately the issue that discovery is needed, the
nonmovant typically must file an affidavit or declaration
pursuant to Rule 56(d) (formerly Rule 56(f)), explaining why,
“for specified reasons, it cannot present facts
essential to justify its opposition, ” without needed
discovery. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(d); see Harrods, 302 F.3d
at 244-45 (discussing affidavit requirement of former Rule
56(f)). “[T]o justify a denial of summary judgment on
the grounds that additional discovery is necessary, the facts
identified in a Rule 56 affidavit must be ‘essential to
[the] opposition.'” Scott v. Nuvell Fin.
Servs., LLC, 789 F.Supp.2d 637, 641 (D. Md. 2011)
(alteration in original) (citation omitted). A nonmoving
party's Rule 56(d) request for additional discovery is
properly denied “where the additional evidence sought
for discovery would not have by itself created a genuine
issue of material fact sufficient to defeat summary
judgment.” Strag v. Bd. of Trs., Craven Cmty.
Coll., 55 F.3d 943, 954 (4th ...