United States District Court, D. Maryland
September 3, 2014
ROBERT D. ROBERTS, #342232 Plaintiff,
DR. MICHAEL DUDAS, EASTERN CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION DEPT. OF CORR. PUBLIC SAFETY & CORR. SERVICES MEDICAL ADMIN., Defendants.
GEORGE JARROD HAZEL, District Judge.
In this 42 U.S.c. S 1983 prisoner civil rights action, received for filing on August 15, 2014, Robert Roberts ("Roberts') seeks injunctive relief and $300, 000.00 in damages. Roberts alleges that he underwent hernia surgery in 2008, while confined at the Eastern Correctional Institution, and the surgeon who performed the procedure placed a "faulty mesh' inside of him. He asserts that in 2013, he began to have "pains and problems in this area" and when seen by facility doctors he was removed from the Chronic Care Clinic. ECF NO.1. Robert complains that he is experiencing "irritated feelings" in the area and pain coupled with problems urinating and he has been informed that the mesh may in fact be "faulty." Id. He maintains that the surgeon and Department of Correction should have taken all measures to "call back inmates that [had] faulty' mesh" surgically implanted. Because he appears indigent, Roberts's motion to proceed in forma pauperis shall be granted. His cause of action shall, however, be summarily dismissed.
First, Roberts names the Eastern Correctional Institution ("ECI") and the Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services ("DPSCS") as defendants. The ECI is a free-standing prison facility. A number of courts have held that inanimate objects such as buildings, facilities, and grounds do not act under color of state law and are not subject to suit under S 1983. See Preval v. Reno, 57 F.Supp.2d 307, 310 (E.D. Va. 1999) ("[T]he Piedmont Regional Jail is not a person, ' and therefore not amenable to suit under 42 U.S.C. S 1983."); Brooks v. Pembroke City Jail, 722 F.Supp. 1294, 1301(E.D. N.C. 1989) ("Claims under S 1983 are directed at persons' and the jail is not a person amenable to suit."). Moreover, defendant DPSCS is a principle department of the State government. See Md. Code. Ann., Corr. Servs., Art., S 2-101. Neither a state nor an agency of a state is a "person" within the meaning of 42 U.S.c. S 1983. See Will v. Michigan Dept a/State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 64-65 & 70-71 (1989). Moreover, state agencies are immune from liability under the Eleventh Amendment from a S 1983 suit in federal court without regard to the nature of the reliefsought. See Pennhurst State School & Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 101-01 (1984); CH. v. Oliva, 226 F.3d 198, 201 (3rd Cir. 2000). Therefore, Roberts may not maintain a § 1983 action against either ECI or DPSCS as defendants.
Next, ifit was Roberts's intention to sue defendant Michael Dudas under a theory of medical malpractice with regard to injury caused by the alleged faulty mesh inserted during his 2008 hernia surgery,  his claim fares no better. This court possesses limited original jurisdiction. It does not sit to review every claim related to alleged tortious conduct involving non-federal parties. It only has authority to review such claims filed pursuant to a federal district court's diversity of citizenship jurisdiction. When a party seeks to invoke diversity jurisdiction under S 1332, he bears the burden of demonstrating that the grounds for diversity exist and that diversity is complete. See Advani Enterprises, Inc. v. Underwriters at Lloyds, 140 F.3d 157, 160 (2d Cir. 1998). The requirement of complete diversity of citizenship mandates that each plaintiff meet the diversity requirements as to each defendant. See Newman-Green, Inc. v. Aljonzo-Larrain, 490 U.S. 826, 829 (1989). "It is well established that diversity jurisdiction attaches only when all parties on one side of the litigation are of a different citizenship from all of those on the other." Stouffer Corp. v. Breckenridge, 859 F.2d 75, 76 (8th Cir. 1988) (citing Strawbridge v. Curtiss, 7 U.S. (3 Cranch) 267, 2 L.Ed. 435 (1806)). Both plaintiff and defendant Dudas reside in Maryland. Therefore, the complaint does not satisfy diversity of citizenship requirements.
In the absence of naming a defendant subject to S 1983 liability the cause of action shall be dismissed without requiring service of process on defendants. Further, because Roberts has at present failed to set out a viable Eighth Amendment medical claim involving the denial of medical care,  his underlying complaint shall be dismissed without prejudice. Roberts may refile his complaint naming proper party defendants and setting out viable factual allegations. A separate Order shall be entered reflecting the opinion set out herein.