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Haddock v. Montgomery County Correctional Facility

United States District Court, Fourth Circuit

June 11, 2013

KEITH HADDOCK, # 12-04574, Plaintiff,
v.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, and WARDEN, MONTGOMERY COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

J. FREDERICK MOTZ, District Judge.

Keith Haddock ("Haddock"), a self-represented litigant, claims in this complaint filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that he received constitutionally inadequate medical care at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. Haddock claims: 1) was refused medication for diabetes several times by medical and/or corrections staff; 2) he was placed on an diet improper for diabetics; and 3) doctor-client confidentiality was breached. (ECF No. 1). Defendants, the Montgomery County Correctional Facility ("MCCF") and Warden Green, through counsel, have filed a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) (ECF No. 12), which Haddock opposes. (ECF Nos. 18 and 20). The submissions have been reviewed and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md.2011). For reasons to follow, Defendants Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 12) will be granted.

BACKGROUND

Haddock, a pre-trial detainee at MCCF at the time he filed this complaint on September 17, 2012, avers that "Correctional Officers have refused to send me to medical to get my medication (insulin) and medical staff have refused to treat me." (ECF No. 1 at 4-5). Additionally, he alleges "I have been put on a diet tray by medical staff that Im [sic] positive does not fit the criteria for my diabeties [sic]" and that "[the] medication that I am being given is not what I was taking when I was out and does not at all balance the food that's given." (ECF No. 1 at 4).[1] He posits his sugars are "out of control." (ECF No. 1 at 4-5). Lastly, he claims doctor-patient confidentiality law has been "broken and violated" by unnamed corrections officer who "[o]n several occasions" announced to his housing unit that he is a diabetic by announcing "diabetic call" when Haddock was called to get his insulin. (ECF No. 1 at 5). Haddock states corrections officers have made "derogative comments to me amongst other inmates about my condition." (ECF No. 1 at 5). He does not identify the guards, specify the contents of the remarks, or state when these comments were made.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes the dismissal of a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The purpose of Rule 12(b)(6) 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).

The Supreme Court's opinions in Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), "require that complaints in civil actions be alleged with greater specificity than previously was required." Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012) (citation omitted). Twombly set forth "[t]wo working principles" for reviewing Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. First, while a court must accept as true all the factual allegations contained in the complaint, legal conclusions drawn from those facts are not afforded such deference. See id. (stating that "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice" to plead a claim).

Second, a complaint must be dismissed if it does not allege "a plausible claim for relief." Id. at 679. Under the plausibility standard, a complaint must contain "more than labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Although the plausibility requirement does not impose a "probability requirement, " id. at 556, "[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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 663; see also Robertson v. Sea Pines Real Estate Comanies, 679 F.3d 278, 291 (4th Cir. 2012) ("A complaint need not make a case against a defendant or forecast evidence sufficient to prove an element of the claim. It need only allege facts sufficient to state elements of the claim." (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)). A court must "draw on its judicial experience and common sense" to determine whether the pleader has stated a plausible claim for relief. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 664.

DISCUSSION

To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege "the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Haddock references the Fourth, Fifth, and Eighth[2] Amendments of the United States Constitution in support of his claims.

A. MCCF

As a threshold matter, the court notes that MCCF is not a "person" subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. See e.g. Allison v. California Adult Authority, 419 F.2d 822, 823 (9th Cir.1969) (California Adult Authority and San Quentin Prison not "person[s]" subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983); Powell v. Cook County Jail, 814 F.Supp. 757 (N.D.Ill.1993) (jail not subject to suit); Marsden v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, 856 F.Supp. 832, 836 (S.D.N.Y.1994) ("jail is not an entity that is amenable to suit").

Further, counsel argues MCCF is not amenable to suit because it is a correctional facility owned and operated by Montgomery County. No provisions in any statute or regulation empower the MCCF to sue or be sued in its own right as a subordinate agency of Montgomery County Maryland. See Bourexis v. Carroll County Narcotics Task Force, 96 Md.App. 459, 467-68 (1983) (ruling the Carroll County Narcotics Task Force is not an entity ...


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