United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Eric Cooke filed a supplemental complaint (ECF 5) in the
above-entitled case following my Order (ECF 4) granting him
28 days to correct noted deficiencies in the original
complaint (ECF 1). Cooke's original complaint did not
name a proper party as a defendant and failed to provide
enough detail about the claims raised for proper screening of
the complaint. See ECF 4.
supplemental complaint Cooke names as defendants
“Division of Corrections (MRDCC - BCCC), Warden Tina
Stump, ‘et al'/ Wexford Medical Staff.” ECF 5
at 1. The Clerk will be directed to add the named defendants
to the docket. Cooke's pending motions to proceed in
forma pauperis (ECF 2 and ECF 6) shall be granted. But, for
the reasons set forth below, the complaint, as supplemented,
must be dismissed.
claim, as clarified in his supplemental complaint, is that
unnamed medical staff at Maryland Reception, Diagnostic and
Classification Center (“MRDCC”) and Baltimore
City Correctional Center (“BCCC”) directed him to
“drink plenty of fluids” to treat symptoms of
constipation. ECF 5 at 3. He states he followed the directive
from August 14 through September 4 at BCCC, and from
September 4 through October 13 at MRDCC. Cooke asserts he
was also prescribed laxatives, which required his consumption
of 64 ounces of water a day. Id. at 3 - 4. But, he
later found out that the water at both institutions is
contaminated. Id. He claims he did not begin feeling
better until he was transferred to the Dorsey Run
Correctional Facility (“DRCF”) in Jessup,
Maryland. Id. at 4. Cooke alleges he still gets
headaches and suffers other unspecified abnormalities, which
he attributes to consumption of the tainted water at MRDCC
and BCCC. Id.
asserts he filed an administrative complaint with Warden
Stump “about the cruel and unusual punishment of the
Wexford Medical staff [and] also about being subjected to
contaminated water.” ECF 5 at 4. Further, he claims
that Stump is responsible for conditions at both MRDCC and
BCCC. Id. He adds that he was “not given [his]
due process” because he did not receive a parole
hearing from the Maryland Parole Commission, despite becoming
eligible for parole consideration in May 2016. Id.
Standard of Review
Court is obliged by 28 U.S.C. §1915(a)(1) to screen
prisoner complaints and dismiss any complaint that is
frivolous, malicious or fails to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. In deciding whether a complaint is
frivolous, “[t]he district court need not look beyond
the complaint's allegations . . . . It must, however,
hold the pro se complaint to less stringent standards than
pleadings drafted by attorneys and must read the complaint
liberally.” White v. White, 886 F.2d 721,
722-23 (4th Cir. 1989); see also Erickson v. Pardus,
551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), a case shall
be dismissed at any time if the court determines that (A) the
allegation of poverty is untrue; or (B) the action or appeal
(i) is frivolous or malicious; (ii) fails to state a claim on
which relief may be granted; or (iii) seeks monetary relief
against a defendant who is immune from such relief.
a complaint states a claim for relief is assessed by
reference to the pleading requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). Rule 8 provides that a complaint must contain a
“short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief. See Migdal v. Rowe
Price-Fleming Int'l 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 8(a)). The purpose of the rule is to provide the
defendant with “fair notice” of the claim and the
“grounds” for entitlement to relief. Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 n. 3 (2007);
see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009).
plaintiff need not include “detailed factual
allegations” in order to satisfy Rule 8(a)(2).
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Moreover, federal pleading
rules “do not countenance dismissal of a complaint for
imperfect statement of the legal theory supporting the claim
asserted.” Johnson v. City of Shelby, --- U.S.
__, 135 S.Ct. 346, 346 (2014) (per curiam). But, the rule
demands more than bald accusations or mere speculation.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; see Painter's Mill
Grille, LLC v. Brown, 716 F.3d 342, 350 (4th Cir. 2013).
To satisfy the minimal requirements of Rule 8(a) (2), the
complaint must set forth “enough factual matter (taken
as true) to suggest” a cognizable cause of action,
“even if ... [the] actual proof of those facts is
improbable and ... recovery is very remote and
unlikely.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. In other
words, the complaint must contain facts sufficient to
“state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Id. at 570; see
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 684; Simmons v. United Mortg.
& Loan Inv., LLC, 634 F.3d 754, 768 (4th Cir. 2011).
Civ. P. 12(b)(6) governs a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted. In construing
a motion under Rule 12(b)(6), this court must accept all
well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and
construe 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)); see
E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Kolon
Industries, Inc., 637 F.3d 435, 440 (4th Cir. 2011);
(citations omitted); see also Kendall v. Balcerzak,
650 F.3d 515, 522 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 132
S.Ct. 402 (2011); Monroe v. City of Charlottesville,
579 F.3d 380, 385-86 (4th Cir. 2009), cert. denied,
559 U.S. 991 (2010). However, a complaint that provides no
more than “labels and conclusions, ” or “a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action,
” is insufficient. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Moreover, the court is not required to accept legal
conclusions drawn from the facts. See Papasan v.
Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986); Monroe, 579
F.3d at 385-86.
12(b)(6) motion will be granted if the “well-pleaded
facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere
possibility of misconduct.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
679 (citation omitted). “A court decides whether [the
pleading] standard is met by separating the legal conclusions
from the factual allegations, assuming the truth of only the
factual allegations, and then determining whether those
allegations allow the court to reasonably infer” that
the plaintiff is entitled to the legal remedy sought. A
Society Without A Name v. Virginia, 655 F.3d 342, 346
(4th Cir.2011), cert. denied, --- U.S. __, 132 S.Ct. 1960
(2012). “‘Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is
appropriate only where the complaint lacks a cognizable legal
theory or sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal
theory.' ” Hartmann v. Calif. Dept. of Corr.
& Rehab., 707 F.3d 1114, 1122 (9th Cir. 2013)
(citation omitted); accord Commonwealth Prop. Advocates,
LLC v. Mortg. Elec. Reg. Sys., Inc., 680 F.3d 1194,
1201-02 (10th Cir.2011) (“Dismissal is appropriate if
the law simply affords no relief.”).