Eubanks v. Bishop, Warden et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 7/7/2015. (kw2s, Deputy Clerk) (C/M 7/7/15)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
FRANK BISHOP, WARDEN, et al.
Civil Action No. GJH-14-2797
Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment in the above-captioned
civil rights case. See ECF No. 19. Although Plaintiff was advised of his right to file an
Opposition Response by letter sent April 14, 2015, he has not opposed the motion nor sought
additional time in which to do so. See ECF No. 20. The Court finds a hearing in this matter
unnecessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons set forth below, the unopposed
motion shall be granted.
Plaintiff Robert Eubanks (“Eubanks”) is a prisoner incarcerated at North Branch
Correctional Institution (“NBCI”). See ECF No. 1 at 4. According to Eubanks’ complaint, he has
been assigned to disciplinary segregation for five years and has an additional five years of
disciplinary segregation to serve. See id. He claims he has attempted to participate in the
Behavior Management Program (“BMP”), but has been denied admittance three times by
Defendant B. Bradley (“Bradley”). Eubanks states he has also attempted to be reassigned to
administrative segregation or to receive monthly time reductions on his disciplinary segregation
time so that he can be reintegrated into general population to no avail. See id.
In August of 2014, Eubanks states he received a “change sheet” from Bradley indicating
that a case management decision had been made that he would remain on disciplinary
segregation. See id. Eubanks filed an Administrative Remedy Procedure complaint (“ARP”)
directly with the Inmate Grievance Office (“IGO”) in an effort to have his status changed. See
id. Eubanks alleges that his status remained unchanged despite the fact he attempted suicide in
October of 2013 due to the conditions under which he has been confined. See id. Eubanks
therefore filed the instant lawsuit claiming that the conditions of his incarceration violate his
Eighth Amendment rights. See id. As relief Eubanks seeks an injunction requiring his
placement in either the BMP or administrative segregation. See ECF No. 3. In response to
Eubanks’ complaint, Defendants state that Eubanks’ behavior has improved since the date of his
last disciplinary infraction, and that he has since been approved for and enrolled in the BMP as
of March 16, 2015. See ECF 19-4.
Standard of Review
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint if it
“fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). This rule’s
purpose “is to test the sufficiency of a complaint and not to resolve contests surrounding the
facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Presley v. City of Charlottesville,
464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006). To that end, the Court bears in mind the requirements
of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8, Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662 (2009), when considering a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).
Specifically, a complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief,” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and must state “a plausible claim for relief,” as
“[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678-79. “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 663.
The undisputed facts establish that Eubanks has received the relief he sought in his
complaint. Specifically, he is now assigned to the BMP. See ECF No. 19-4. Where injunctive or
declaratory relief is requested in an inmate’s complaint, it is possible for events occurring
subsequent to the filing of the complaint to render the matter moot. See Williams v. Griffin, 952
F.2d 820, 823 (4th Cir. 1991) (transfer of prisoner moots his Eighth Amendment claims for
injunctive and declaratory relief); see also Slade v. Hampton Roads Regional Jail, 407 F.3d 243,
248-49 (4th Cir. 2005) (pre-trial detainee’s release moots his claim for injunctive relief); Magee
v. Waters, 810 F.2d 451, 452 (4th Cir. 1987) (holding that the transfer of a prisoner rendered
moot his claim for injunctive relief). Section 1983 actions seeking injunctive and/or declaratory
relief have been declared moot when the practices, procedures, or regulations challenged were no
longer in use. See, e. g., Tawwab v. Metz, 554 F.2d 22 (2d Cir. 1977); Bradley v. Judges of
Superior Court, 531 F.2d 413 (9th Cir. 1976); Shimabuku v. Britton, 503 F.2d 38 (10th Cir.
1974); Locke v. Board of Public Instruction, 499 F.2d 359 (5th Cir. 1974); Wilkinson v. Skinner,
462 F.2d 670 (2d Cir. 1972); Uzzell v. Friday, 401 F.Supp. 775 (M.D.N.C. 1975), aff’d in
pertinent part, 547 F.2d 801 (4th Cir. 1977); Rappaport v. Little League Baseball, Inc., 65
F.R.D. 545 (D. Del. 1975).
Article III of the Constitution limits the judicial power to “actual, ongoing cases or
controversies.” Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 477 (1990) (citations omitted).
A case becomes moot when the issues presented are “no longer ‘live’ or the parties lack a legally
cognizable interest in the outcome.” City of Erie v. Pap’s A.M., 529 U.S. 277, 287(2000)
(quoting County of Los Angeles v. Davis, 440 U.S. 625, 631 (1979)). In light of the fact that
Eubanks is no longer confined under the conditions he claimed were unconstitutional, this Court
must dismiss the complaint and deny his Motion for Preliminary Injunction, as moot.
Dated: July 7, 2015
George J. Hazel
United States District Judge
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