United States District Court, D. Maryland
Xinis United States District Judge.
before the Court is Defendants' Partial Motion to Dismiss
or, in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
8). The issues have been fully briefed, and the court now
rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6.
For the following reasons, the Defendants' motion will be
GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.
lawsuit arises from Plaintiffs arrest on August 15, 2014. ECF
No. 1 at 5. On March 8, 2016, Lynwood Poindexter
("Plaintiff or "Mr. Poindexter") filed suit
against Prince George's County, Maryland and Police
Officer Cedric Babineaux ("Officer Babineaux"), in
his individual and official capacity, and unknown police
officers John and Jane Doe in their individual and official
capacities (collectively, "Defendants"). The
Complaint alleges that, on August 15, 2014, Plaintiff was
unlawfully searched and arrested by Babineaux and the unknown
officers for drug possession and possession of a firearm in
connection with drug trafficking. ECF No. 1 at 3-5. Plaintiff
was released from incarceration after 5 days. ECF No. 1 at 5.
During the criminal proceedings, Plaintiff was represented by
counsel. ECF No. 22 at 1. The firearms charges against
Plaintiff were dropped on October 20, 2014, and the two
remaining criminal charges were dismissed on January 29,
2015. ECF No. 1 at 6. On April 30, 2015, Plaintiff notified
the County of his intention to file suit against the County
and the defendant police officers. ECF No. 1 at 2-3.
seven-count Complaint asserts claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for Malicious Prosecution against Officer
Babineaux (Count I), False Arrest against Officer Babineaux
(Count III), and Illegal Search in violation of the Fourth
Amendment against Officers Babineaux and Doe (Count VI). The
state tort claims include Malicious Prosecution and False
Arrest against Officer Babineaux (Counts II and IV).
Plaintiff also alleges violations of Articles 24 and 26 of
the Maryland Declaration of Rights for false arrest against
Officer Babineaux (Count V) and illegal search against
Officers Babineaux and Doe (Count VII). The Plaintiffs
Complaint asserts no claims against Prince George's
County although the County is named as a defendant.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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." Velencia v.
Drezhlo, No. RDB-12-237, 2012 WL 6562764, at *4 (D. Md.
Dec. 13, 2012). When a defendant attaches documents to a
motion to dismiss that are not "integral to the
complaint" or where the documents' authenticity is
disputed, the Court must treat the motion as one for summary
judgment to consider the documents. See CACI Int'l v.
St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 566F.3d 150, 154
(4th Cir. 2009); Syncrude Canada Ltd. v. Highland
Consulting Grp., Inc., No. RDB-12-318, 2013 WL 139194,
at *2 (D. Md. Jan. 10, 2013); Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). To be
"integral, " a document must be one "that by
its 'very existence, and not the mere information it
contains, gives rise to the legal rights asserted.'"
Chesapeake Bay Found., Inc. v. Severstal Sparrows Point,
LLC, 794 F.Supp.2d 602, 611 (D.Md.2011) (citation and
emphasis omitted). The April 30, 2015, notice of intention to
file suit attached to the Defendants' motion is not
integral to the complaint; thus, the Court will treat
Defendants' pleading as a motion for summary judgment.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d).
may enter summary judgment only if there is no genuine issue
as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
(1986); Emmett v. Johnson, 532 F.3d 291, 297 (4th
Cir. 2008). However, summary judgment is inappropriate if any
material fact at issue "may reasonably be resolved in
favor of either party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986); JKC Holding Co. LLC
v. Washington Sports Ventures, Inc., 264 F.3d 459, 465
(4th Cir. 2001).
party opposing a properly supported motion for summary
judgment 'may not rest upon the mere allegations or
denials of [his] pleadings, ' but rather must 'set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial.'" Bouchat v. Baltimore Ravens
Football Club, Inc., 346 F.3d 514, 522 (4th Cir. 2003)
(quoting former Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)). "A mere scintilla
of proof. . . will not suffice to prevent summary
judgment." Peters v. Jenney, 327 F.3d 307, 314
(4th Cir. 2003). "If the evidence is merely colorable,
or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be
granted." Liberty Lobby, Ml U.S. at 249-50
(citations omitted). At the same time, the court must
construe the facts presented in the light most favorable to
the party opposing the motion. See Scott v. Harris,
550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007); Emmett, 532 F.3d at 297.
argue that the Court should dismiss all of Mr.
Poindexter's state law claims because the Plaintiff
failed to comply with the notice requirement of the Local
Government Tort Claims Act (the "LGTCA"). ECF No. 8
the LGTCA, local governmental entities can be held liable for
state constitutional torts and common law torts. See
Martino v. Bell, 40 F.Supp.2d 719, 723 (D. Md. 1999);
DiPino v. Davis, 729 A.2d 354, 370-71 (Md. 1999).
However, to sue a local government or its employees for
unliquidated damages based on an injury prior to October 1,
2015,  a plaintiff must provide written notice of
the claim within 180 days of the injury giving rise to the
suit. Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-304(b) (2015) (amended
2015); see also Ashton v. Brown, 339 Md. 70, 107
n.19 (1995) (holding that the LGTCA applies to constitutional
torts). Further, the notice must be provided to the county
attorney. Id. § 5-304(c)(3)(iii). The Maryland
Court of Appeals "expressly has held that the notice
requirements ... are a condition precedent to maintaining an
action pursuant to the LGTCA." Faulk v. Ewing,
371 Md. 284, 304 (2002); see also Hansen v. City of
Laurel, 420 Md. 670, 682 (2011) ("It is a
longstanding principle of Maryland jurisprudence that the
LGTCA notice provision is a condition precedent to
maintaining an action directly against a local government [ ]
or its employees."). The requirement generally governs
both common law and state constitutional torts alike.
Rounds v. Md.-Nat'l Capital Park & Planning
Comm'n, 109 A.3d 639, 651-52 (Md. 2015).
to give actual notice is not fatal to a claim if a plaintiff
substantially complies with the notice requirements.
Huggins v. Prince George's Cnty., Md., 683 F.3d
525, 538 (4th Cir. 2012). Substantial compliance, a narrow
exception to the LGTCA notice requirement, "will occur
when the local government receives actual notice such that it
is given the opportunity to properly investigate the
potential tort claim." Id. (quoting
Hansen, 996 A.2d at 891 (alteration, citation, and
internal quotation marks omitted)). Notably,
"substantial compliance has no application to an
outright failure to comply." Moore v. Norouzi,
807 A.2d 632, 643 (Md. 2002) (citing Blundon v.
Taylor, 770 A.2d 658, 670 (Md. 2001)). "There must
be some effort to provide the requisite notice and, in fact,
it must be provided, albeit not in strict compliance with the
statutory provision." Id. In addition to
showing "substantial compliance as to the content of the
notice within the 180-day period, " a plaintiff must
show substantial compliance "as to the statutory
recipient." Huggins, 683 F.3d at 538.
Mr. Poindexter properly asserts that his alleged injuries on
Count II for malicious prosecution occurred on January 29,
2015, the date that the criminal charges were dismissed.
See Heron v. Strader,361 Md. 258, 265 (2000)
(arrestee's cause of action for malicious prosecution
arose under the LGTCA on the date that he was acquitted of
criminal charges). The 180-day period for this claim ended on
July 28, 2015. The April 30, 2015, letter was sent to the
County Attorney within the 180-day period. Thus, this Court
finds that Plaintiff adequately ...