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Ross v. Maryland State Police Licensing Division

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 23, 2016

DANIEL HUBERT ROSS, Plaintiff,
v.
MARYLAND STATE POLICE LICENSING DIVISION, Defendant. v.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

THEODORE D. CHUANG United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Daniel Hubert Ross, who is self-represented, filed suit alleging discrimination on the basis of age, sex, and disability by Defendant Maryland State Police Licensing Division (the “Division”). Pending before the Court are the Division’s Motion to Dismiss and Ross’s Motion for Leave to Amend the Complaint. The Motions are fully briefed and ripe for disposition. No hearing is necessary to resolve the issues. See D. Md. Local R. 105.6. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED, and the Motion to Amend the Complaint is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are presented in the light most favorable to Ross, the nonmoving party:

I. Security Guard License Application

In 1969, Ross was convicted of first-degree murder in North Carolina. Fourteen years later, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit overturned his conviction in Ross v. Reed, 704 F.2d 705 (4th Cir. 1983), a decision affirmed by the Supreme Court of the United States in Reed v. Ross, 468 U.S. 1 (1984). After the State of North Carolina decided not to retry Ross, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina issued a writ of habeas corpus declaring Ross’s conviction null and void.

In 2005, Ross began working for the United States Environmental Protection Agency and passed a background investigation in 2009. In 2011, Ross was not permitted to purchase a firearm because of the 1969 murder conviction and a 1965 arrest for “Assault on Female.” Ross v. Fed. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives, 903 F.Supp.2d 333, 337 (D. Md. 2012). Ross sued the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and secured the right to obtain a firearm. Id. at 342.

On October 22, 2013, Allied Barton Security Services (“Allied Barton”) hired Ross as a security guard. To work as a security guard in Maryland, an individual must obtain a license from the Division. Md. Code Ann., Bus. Occ. & Prof. § 19-401(a) (2010). The applicant may work as a security guard while the Division reviews the application. Id. § 19-401(b). One of the criteria assessed by the Division is whether the applicant is “of good moral character and reputation.” Id. § 19-402(a)(3). Conviction of the applicant for a felony or “a misdemeanor that is directly related to the fitness and qualification of the applicant” is a permissible basis for denial. Id. § 19-408(4). The Division may also refuse to issue a license if the applicant “fraudulently or deceptively . . . attempts to obtain certification as a security guard.” Id. § 19-408(2).

On October 23, 2013, the day after Ross was hired, Allied Barton submitted Ross’s application for a security guard license to the Division. Although Ross claims that neither he nor Allied Barton intentionally included any false information on the application, the application did not disclose Ross’s prior arrests or his now overturned murder conviction. The Division denied Ross’s application after receiving the results of a criminal record check. On January 31, 2014, Allied Barton informed Ross that the Division had rejected his application and that he would be terminated on February 22, 2014 unless the Division reversed its decision.

Ross asked the Division to reconsider. On January 29, 2014, Ross met with Trooper First Class Pouncy of the Division to discuss his application. He informed TFC Pouncy that the 1969 conviction had been set aside. He explained that his position at Allied Barton did not provide him with access to confidential information. Ross also told TFC Pouncy that he suffered from several conditions that impaired his vision. But the Division did not reverse its decision or permit any amendment to his application. On February 22, 2014, Allied Barton terminated Ross.

Ross is an African American man who, at the time of his application to the Division, was 67 years old. After applying, Ross learned that the Division had granted security guard licenses to two of Ross’s co-workers-one man and one woman-who had “multiple convictions for theft and larceny.” Compl. ¶ 19. Both co-workers are African American and under 40 years of age. Neither has a disability. Ross claims that the Division discriminated against him by denying his application but granting licenses to two individuals with criminal histories that Ross claims render them less fit than him for service as a security guard.

II. Procedural History

On May 15, 2015, Ross filed a Complaint in this Court, alleging discrimination on the basis of age, sex, and disability and seeking $1, 000, 000 in damages. On July 24, 2015, the Division filed a Motion to Dismiss. On August 17, 2015, Ross filed an Opposition to the Motion. On August 28, 2015, the Division submitted a Reply to the Opposition. On November 18, 2015, Ross filed a ...


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