United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL United States District Judge
Anthony Bcchtold ("Plaintiff") filed the instant
civil rights action against slate officials and personnel,
seeking injunctive relief and damages. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff
has also tiled a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma
Pauperis, ECF No. 2. which shall be granted. For the
following reasons. Plaintiffs Complaint shall be dismissed
who is confined at Clifton T. Perkins State Hospital
("CTPH"). claims that when female CTPH patients are
classified to medium security, they are sent to CTPH's
"North Side" minimum security housing and "are
released to the community faster and released." ECF No.
1 at 3. He complains that although he was approved for and
sent to medium security in 201 0 and subsequently in 201 6.
he has never been sent to minimum security. Id.
Plaintiff generally complains that he has been held for many
years and that he has been treated unfairly due to his race
and gender, in violation of his constitutional rights.
Id. He seeks $75, 000, 000.00 in damages, and he
asks that CTPH be shut down by NATO troops or that the Warden
from the Maryland Correctional Institution of Jessup take
over operations for CTPH. Id.
Maryland state court docket reveals that in 1992. Brian
Anthony Bechtold was charged with two counts of murder in the
Circuit Court for Montgomery County, was found not criminally
responsible, and was committed to Clifton T. Perkins State
Hospital ("CTPH") for inpatient care and treatment.
See Stale v. Bechtold, CAEF 65215C (Montgomery Cty.
Cir. Ct. 1992). Dkt. No. 41. The docket shows that Plaintiff
has received periodic review of his commitment and
applications for release. Id. at Dkt. Nos. 70. 97.
The applications have been denied and Plaintiffs continued
commitment was ordered by a circuit court judge.
Id., On January 9. 2017. the Court received for
filing Plaintiffs action, brought under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. ECF No. 1.
to 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and 28 U.S.C.
%\ 915A. the Court must dismiss a complaint filed in
forma pauperis or by a prisoner seeking civil redress against
a government entity or officer if it fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted. Ross v. Baron. 493
F.App'x 405. 406 (4th Cir. 2012). Although complaints
filed by pro se plaintiffs should be liberally construed,
see Harris v. Janssen Healthcare Prods., No.
ELH-15-2730. 2015 WL 5897710. at *2 (D. Md. Oct. 6. 2015).
such a complaint must plead facts sufficient to "state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell
Atlantic ('orp. v. Twombly. 550 U.S. 544.
570 (2007): sec also Harris. 2015 WI. 5897710, at *2
(stating that the pleading standard articulated in
Twombly applies to cases filed by self-represented
plaintiffs). "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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662. 678 (2009), 'Threadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice." Id. (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555) ("a plaintiffs
obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his
'entitlc[ment] to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of a cause of
action's elements will not do.").
filed his Complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. which
"authorizes a party who has been deprived of a federal
right under the color of state law to seek relief through an
action at law. suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
redress." City of Monterey v. Del Monies Dimes at
Monterey. Ltd. 526 U.S. 687. 707 (1999) (internal
quotations omitted). The statute "is not itself a source
of substantive rights, but merely provides a method of
vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred, "
Albright v. Oliver. 510 U.S. 266. 271 (1994)
(internal quotations omitted).
appears to allege that Defendants discriminated against him
in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment. Plaintiff broadly claims that he has been
discriminated against due to his race, without providing any
further detail. ECF No. I at 3. Plaintiff also claims that he
has been discriminated against due to his sex. alleging that
female patients with medium security badges are sent to
"minimum security level status on the North Side"
of CTPI1 and that they are "released faster."
Id., The Equal Protection Clause requires that
"the classification of persons [to] which a law applies
must be "reasonable, not arbitrary, and must rest upon
some ground of difference having a fair and substantial
relation to the object of the legislation.""
Sylvia Dev. Corp. v. Calvert Cty., 48 F.3d 810. 818
(4th Cir. 1995) (quoting Roysler Guano Co. v.
Virginia. 253 U.S. 412. 415 (1920)).
establish a prima facie case for violation of equal
protection, a plaintiff must show first "that he has
been treated differently from others with whom he is
similarly situated." and second "that the unequal
treatment was the result of intentional or purposeful
discrimination." Morrison v. (iarraghty. 239
F.3d 648. 654 (4th Cir. 2001). "If a plaintiff makes
this initial showing, the court analyzes the disparity under
the appropriate level of scrutiny." Sandlands C
& D LLC v. Cty. of Horry, 737 F.3d 45. 55 (4th Cir.
2013) (citing Morrison v. Garraghty, 239 F.3d at
the first prong, the "similarly situated" standard,
a plaintiff must "identify persons materially identical
to him...who have received different treatment."
Applegate, LP, 179 F.Supp.3d at 533 (quoting
Kolbe v. Bogtw, 813 F.3d 160. 185 (4th Cir. 2016).
reh'g granted, 636 F.App'x 880 (4th Cir.
2016) (mem.); see also Bourne v. S. W, Va. Reg'l
Jail No. 7:14CV00140, 2014 WL 2930053, at *3 (W.D. Va.
June 27. 2014) (finding that the plaintiff had "not
shown that he shares all relevant classification factors with
the inmates in the areas he compares" because "his
security level, the stage of his trial proceedings, his home,
his criminal history, and dozens of other factors" could
legitimately account for his different treatment).
the second prong, a plaintiff must prove "that there was
'clear and intentional' discrimination."
Cent. Radio Co.. Inc. v. City of Norfolk, 811 F.3d
625. 635 (4th Cir. 2016) (quoting Sylvia Dev. Corp..
48 F.3d at 825 (internal citations omitted)). Factors that
are probative in determining intent include:
(1) evidence of a "consistent pattern" of actions
by the decision making body disparately impacting members of
a particular class of persons: (2) historical background of
the decision, which may take into account any history of
discrimination by the decision making body or the
jurisdiction it represents: (3) the specific sequence of
events leading up to the particular decision being
challenged, including any significant departures from normal
procedures: and (4) contemporary statements by decision
makers on the record or in minutes of their meetings.
Central Radio Co.. Inc.. 811 F.3d at 635 (quoting
Sylvia Dev. Corp.. 48 F.3d at 819) (internal