United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD D. BENNETT, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
response to the above-entitled civil rights Complaint, filed
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, Defendants Robustiano
Barrera,  M.D., Mahboob Ashraf, M.D., William
Beeman, R.N., and Kimberly Martin, R.N., collectively
"Medical Defendants, " move to dismiss the
complaint or for summary judgment (ECF 11) and Defendants Lt.
Janet Puffenbarger, Sgt. Robert Werner, Sgt. Anthony Frenzel,
Correctional Officer II John Beachy, Correctional Officer II
Erik Shoemaker, Correctional Officer II Zachery Kifer, and
Correctional Officer II Michael Van Meter, collectively
"Correctional Defendants, " also move to dismiss
the complaint or for summary judgment (ECF 15). After each
dispositive motion was filed, Plaintiff was advised of his
right to file an Opposition Response and of the consequences
of failing to do so. ECF 13 and 16. Plaintiff has filed
nothing further in the case. No hearing is deemed necessary
for the disposition of the matters pending. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow,
the motion filed by Medical Defendants shall be construed as
a Motion to Dismiss and shall be granted. ECF 11. The motion
filed by Correctional Defendants shall be construed as a
Motion for Summary Judgment and shall be granted. ECF
15. The Complaint shall be dismissed as malicious and a
"strike" shall be issued pursuant to the Prison
Litigation Reform Act.
Lawrence Kenneth Allen is a prisoner committed to the custody
of the Maryland Division of Correction and confined at North
Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI"). Allen
asserts that on July 30, 2016, he made several requests to
correctional officers for ice because he has Multiple
Sclerosis (MS) and the symptoms for the disease worsen when
the weather is hot. Although the Complaint is not all
together clear, it appears Allen claims he argued with Dr.
Ashraf, Dr. Barrera, William Beeman, R.N., Kim Martin, R.N.
and "security staff' about his need for ice and that
during the course of this argument he was called a racial
slur. ECF 1 at p. 3. Allen alleges that Lt. Puffenbarger,
Sgt. Werner, and Sgt. Frenzel came to his cell, opened the
security slot, and sprayed an entire can of pepper spray on
Allen. He states that he almost choked to death as a result
of the pepper spray. Id.
further claims that after the chemical agent was sprayed into
his cell, Officer Kifer, Beachy, Shoemaker, and Van Meter
came into his cell wearing gas masks and began kicking,
stomping, and spitting on him. Id. Allen states that
he suspects his right shoulder was dislocated. Id.
relief Allen seeks injunctive relief in the form of an order
requiring the medical department to provide ice twice daily
and to provide immediate access to physical
therapy. Id. In addition, Allen seeks
monetary damages of $250, 000. Id.
reviewing the complaint in light of a Motion to Dismiss
pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6) the court accepts all
well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and
construes the facts and reasonable inferences derived
therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Venkatraman v. REI Sys., Inc., 417 F.3d 418, 420
(4th Cir. 2005) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v.
Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)); Ibarra
v. United States, 120 F.3d 472, 473 (4th Cir. 1997).
Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires
only a "short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief." Migdal v.
Rowe Price-Fleming Intl Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26 (4th
Cir. 2001); see also Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A.,
534 U.S. 506, 513 (2002) (stating that a complaint need only
satisfy the "simplified pleading standard" of Rule
Supreme Court of the United States explained a
"plaintiffs obligation to provide the
"grounds" of his "entitlement to relief
requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not
do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007) (internal citations omitted). Nonetheless, the
complaint does not need "detailed factual
allegations" to survive a motion to dismiss.
Id. at 555. Instead, "once a claim has been
stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of
facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint."
Id. at 563. To survive a motion to dismiss, "a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 677-78 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at
570). "A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678. "But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the
court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct,
the complaint has alleged ~ but it has not 'show[n]'
-- 'that the pleader is entitled to relief.'"
Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).
a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by
showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in
the complaint." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563
(citing Sanjuan v. Am. Bd of Psychiatry and Neurology,
Inc., 40 F.3d, 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1994)) (once a claim
for relief has been stated, a plaintiff 'receives the
benefit of imagination, so long as the hypotheses are
consistent with the complaint').
claims raised in the Complaint as to the Medical Defendants
are, at best, speculative. Allen's MS diagnosis alone
does not state an Eighth Amendment claim. He does not allege,
nor does he offer any evidence to support that the Medical
Defendants were informed of an objectively serious medical
need which they subsequently refused to treat. There is
nothing in the Complaint that even suggests that Medical
Defendants have refused to otherwise treat Allen's MS,
nor is there anything suggesting that providing ice is an
essential element of treatment for that illness. To the
extent the allegation regarding the use of a racial slur was
intended to implicate any of the Medical Defendants, that
alone does not state a constitutional claim. The unopposed
Motion to Dismiss shall be granted.