United States District Court, D. Maryland
J. MESSITTE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
February 29, 2016, the Court received for filing an
“Affidavit” submitted by detainee Ray Blanchard.
ECF No. 1. Blanchard raised a laundry list of claims
regarding his detention at the Prince George's County
Detention Center (“PGCDC”). He alleged that
he was denied access to the PGCDC grievance system; PGCDC
staff used excessive force against him on July 14, 2015;
detainees are provided inadequate medical treatment; the
PGCDC commissary is overpriced; PGCDC staff hinder, obstruct
and prevent the forwarding of personal, legal and special
mail; detainees are denied due process in the taking of
telephone, commissary, and other privileges prior to a
disciplinary hearing; and detainees are denied “leisure
and law library” public information. Id.
Supplemental Complaint, Blanchard alleges that on July 14,
2015, excessive force was applied against him when Officer
Reid pushed Blanchard's arms against the wall and grabbed
him around the collar and forced him “into the
direction of the multipurpose room.” ECF No. 14. He
also claims that Reid defamed him by stating very loudly
“you mother fuckers aint nothing [but a] bunch of
crackheads and dope fiends” and continuing to use
obscene language. Blanchard further states that his medical
needs were seemingly neglected as to his rheumatism,
eyeglasses, medically restricted housing, pain medication,
ace wrap bandages. He next claims that he and other detainees
were denied meaningful access to the courts as they were
denied copies of information related to civil litigation, the
attorney grievance process, habeas corpus, and
“misrepresentation.” Blanchard additionally
claims that his grievance was not responded to, and he was
subject to officer “harassment.” Id.
before this Court are Blanchard's Motion for Appointment
of Counsel, a Motion Requesting Amendment and Consolidation
with Ali v. Prince George's County Department of
Corrections, et al., Civil Action No. PWG-16-186 (D.
Md.),  a Motion to Amend the Civil Rights
Complaint, and a Motion for Default Judgment. ECF Nos. 9, 10,
13, & 16.
McTernan,  McDonough, and Reid have filed a
Motion to Dismiss and Alternatively, for Summary Judgment,
arguing that Blanchard's Complaint should be dismissed
for the failure to state a claim. They assert that Blanchard
has failed to demonstrate injury associated with his
excessive force, access-to-courts, medical, verbal abuse,
grievance, defamation, and conditions of confinement
(commissary) claims. ECF No. 18.
Opposition response, Blanchard seemingly claims that
Defendants have answered the Complaint in an untimely and
dilatory manner. ECF No. 20. He further argues that he can
maintain a constitutional claim of excessive force even when
the force applied does not result in serious injury.
Blanchard states that he has set out a claim of defamation
based upon Officer Reid's spoken words. He additionally
claims that he was stripped of his medical necessities and
denied treatment for his rheumatism. Blanchard complains that
he was denied access to the courts in that he was deprived of
copies of “civil litigation, ” and information
regarding attorney grievance, habeas corpus cases, and
misrepresentation information causing several legal
proceedings to become “fatally flawed.” Finally
he contends that his right to access the PGCDC grievance
system implicated his access to the courts and resulted in
“serious harassment.” Id.
who was granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis, seeks the
appointment of counsel, claiming that he is unable to afford
counsel, his imprisonment greatly limits his ability to
litigate this case, the issues in the case are complex, he
has limited access to the law library, an d his case will
likely involve conflicting testimony. ECF No. 9.
court may request an attorney to represent any person”
proceeding in forma pauperis who is “unable to afford
counsel.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) (2012). In civil
actions, however, the Court appoints counsel only in
exceptional circumstances. Cook v. Bounds, 518 F.2d
779, 780 (4th Cir. 1975). In doing so, the Court considers
“the type and complexity of the case, ” whether
the plaintiff has a colorable claim, and the plaintiff's
ability to prosecute the claim. See Whisenant v.
Yuam, 739 F.2d 160, 163 (4th Cir. 1984) (internal
quotation marks and citations omitted), abrogated on
other grounds by Mallard v. U.S. Dist. Court for the S. Dist.
of Iowa, 490 U.S. 296 (1989). Exceptional circumstances
include a litigant who “is barely able to read or
write, ” id. at 162, or clearly “has a
colorable claim but lacks the capacity to present it, ”
Berry v. Gutierrez, 587 F.Supp.2d 717, 723 (E.D. Va.
2008); see also Altevogt v. Kirwan, No. WDQ-11-1061,
2012 WL 135283, at *2 (D. Md. Jan. 13, 2012).
proffered reasons for the appointment of counsel fail to show
exceptional circumstances or a particular need that would
require the immediate assistance of an attorney. He has
presented his claims, as well as his motions, and his case
has not yet proceeded to discovery or a hearing. For these
reasons, appointment of counsel is not warranted at this
time. Blanchard's Motion to Appoint Counsel is therefore
dismissed without prejudice. Should the case progress to
discovery or a hearing, he may renew his Motion.
next seeks to amend and consolidate his case with Ali v.
Prince George's County Department of Corrections,
Civil Action No. PWG-16-186. (D. Md.). ECF No. 10. The Motion
shall be denied as review of both cases show that the
allegations are personal to each of the claimants, and
involve particularized claims, which have little to no shared
further seeks to amend his Complaint to add additional
Defendants and facts to the Complaint, as their names are
revealed to him. ECF No. 13. Blanchard then levels another
laundry list of claims, but fails to provide any particular
facts or dates as to how his rights were violated by the
named and unnamed parties. For these reasons Blanchard's
Motion to Amend shall be denied without prejudice.
McTernan, McDonough, and Reid's dispositive motion, which
solely questions the adequacy of Blanchard's Complaint,
shall be evaluated as a Motion to Dismiss. The purpose of a
motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is to test
the sufficiency of the Complaint. See Presley v. City of
Charlottesville,464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006). A
Plaintiff's Complaint need only satisfy the standard of
Rule 8(a), which requires a “short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “Rule 8(a)(2)
still requires a ‘showing, ' rather than a blanket
assertion, of entitlement to relief.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly,550 U.S. 544, 555 n. 3 (2007). That
showing must consist of more than “a ...