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Grant v. Prince George's County Dept.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

June 29, 2016



          Deborah K. Chasanow United States District Judge

         Presently pending and ready for resolution in this civil rights case are the following: (1) a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Jonathan Hill ("Defendant Hill") (ECF No. 13); (2) a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Doctor's Hospital, Inc. ("Defendant Doctor's Hospital" or the "hospital") (ECF No. 19); (3) a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Prince George's County Police Department ("Defendant PGPD") (ECF No. 25); (4) a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment filed by Defendant Tisha S. Hillman ("Defendant Hillman") (ECF No. 30); (5) a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Erick R. Tyrone ("Defendant Tyrone") (ECF No. 32); and (6) a motion to compel filed by Plaintiff Decontee S. Grant ("Plaintiff") (ECF No. 38). The issues have been briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Hill will be construed as a motion to quash service and will be granted. The motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Doctor's Hospital will be granted. Defendant PGPD's motion to dismiss will be denied. Defendant Hillman's motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment will be granted. Defendant Tyrone's motion to dismiss will be granted. Plaintiff's motion to compel will be denied as moot.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background

         1. Allegations Against Defendants Doctor's Hospital and PGPD

         Unless otherwise noted, the facts outlined here are set forth in the complaint and construed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that while unconscious during a medical procedure on or about February 18 or 19, 2012, she was sexually assaulted by the staff at Defendant Doctor's Hospital. (ECF No. 16, at 10). Plaintiff contends that she was subject to a "different, inferior, abusive, brutal[, ] and degrading treatment than that which Defendant [Doctor's Hospital] gives to white female patients." (Id.).

         In September 2012, Plaintiff reported the alleged sexual assault to Defendant Detective J. Hill ("Defendant Hill"), who contacted Defendant Doctor's Hospital. The hospital informed Defendant Hill that Plaintiff was "knocked out" for a pelvic exam and had woken up before the doctors could start the second part of the exam. (Id. at 3). Defendant Hill declined to conduct an investigation.

         Plaintiff filed a grievance against Defendant Hill. (See Id. at 5). In November 2012, Sergeant T. Nalley contacted Plaintiff in response to her grievance. Plaintiff alleges that Sergeant Nalley asked "where are you from?" when asking for her personal information and said that he would look at her medical record and make a decision. (Id.). He subsequently closed her grievance.

         In December 2012, Plaintiff met with Lieutenant Webster regarding her complaint against Defendant Doctor's Hospital. Plaintiff informed Lieutenant Webster that "several crucial pages of information for the time interval of the sexual assault" were missing from the copy of Plaintiff's patient record in Lieutenant Webster's possession. (Id.). Plaintiff gave Lieutenant Webster an updated copy of her medical record. (Id. at 6). Upon Lieutenant Webster's inquiry, Plaintiff disclosed that she had spoken with a lawyer but was unable to pay for legal services. Plaintiff alleges that Lieutenant Webster and another officer "exchanged glances" and Lieutenant Webster refused to investigate the sexual assault. (Id.).

         Plaintiff filed a complaint for negligence, assault, and battery against Defendant Doctor's Hospital in the Circuit Court for Prince George's County. (ECF No. 19-2, at 2).[1] On December 4, 2013 the circuit court granted a motion to dismiss filed by Doctor's Hospital. (ECF No. 19-3, at 2).

         In July 2014, Sergeant B. Selway informed Plaintiff that he was investigating her grievance against Defendant Hill. Plaintiff gave Sergeant Selway a copy of her medical files. At a later meeting, Plaintiff alleges that Sergeant Selway's "face became angry when Plaintiff [spoke] about her meeting with [Lieutenant] Webster." (Id. at 7). Plaintiff alleges that PGPD personnel have interfered with her grievances and investigation since then. Plaintiff received a letter from Captain Rodriguez stating that her grievance against Defendant Hill was closed. In November 2014, Sergeant Dillingham contacted Plaintiff regarding a letter Plaintiff had sent to a United States Senator's office. He informed Plaintiff that her complaint for sexual assault would not be investigated because it had already been closed by Lieutenant Webster. According to Plaintiff, Defendant PGPD was "tracking, monitoring, and intimidating Plaintiff . . . in order to keep the sex[ual] assault case and subsequent cover-up from being exposed." (Id. at 9). Plaintiff asserts that she was re-victimized, treated as "an inferior class person, " and "suffers from [a]nxiety, sleeplessness, violation of her privacy, and violation of trust in the public institution whose mission [it] is to enforce the laws equally." (Id.).

         2. Allegations against Defendants Hillman and Tyrone

         On or about November 22, 2013 Plaintiff hired Defendants Hillman and Tyrone to represent her in her civil case against Defendant Doctor's Hospital in state court. Defendants Hillman and Tyrone allegedly violated attorney-client privilege by discussing Plaintiff's information while acting as her attorney. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Hillman and Tyrone demanded more money than was agreed upon in their original contract and failed to notify her about proceedings and decisions regarding her civil case. (Id.). Plaintiff declined to enter into a new contract.

         In October 2014, Plaintiff sought legal representation for her state court case from "Attorney [B]." Plaintiff alleges that after Attorney B had her files for two months and spoke with Defendant Hillman, Attorney B's "usually pleasant voice became accusatory, even sounding angry at Plaintiff" and she refused to take the case. (Id.). Plaintiff asserts that subsequently several other attorneys initially accepted her case, but then changed their minds and spoke to Plaintiff in "the same accusatory tone as Attorney [B] did." (Id. at 13). In December 2014, "Attorney [C]" declined to represent Plaintiff because the statute of limitations was going to expire in February 2015. Plaintiff believes that Defendants Hillman and Tyrone discouraged other attorneys from taking her case. Plaintiff also alleges that when she received her case files in the mail from Attorney B and Attorney C, they were "torn open" or were "slashed [open], " and that she "received an unsigned Christmas card with no name, no note, and no return address, [which was] another taunt." (Id.).

         B. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed a complaint against Defendants Doctor's Hospital, PGPD, Hill, Hillman, and Tyrone on August 17, 2015. (ECF No. 1). On September 17, Defendant Doctor's Hospital filed a motion to strike the complaint and/or for a more definite statement (ECF No. 6), and Plaintiff responded in opposition (ECF No. 15). Defendants Hillman and Tyrone filed a motion to dismiss a week later. (ECF No. 12). On September 25, Defendant Hill filed a motion to dismiss. (ECF No. 13). After each motion to dismiss, Plaintiff was provided with a Roseboro notice, which advised her of the pendency of the motion to dismiss and her entitlement to respond within 17 days. (ECF Nos. 11, 14); ...

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