United States District Court, D. Maryland
Lipton Hollander United States District Judge
Robertson, the self-represented plaintiff, has filed suit
against Edward Foster, a security officer; the Enoch Pratt
Free Library; and the City of Baltimore (collectively,
“defendants”). ECF 1. Robertson asserts claims
for “constitutional rights violations”;
“ADA compliance violations”; and “civil
rights violations” based on the alleged actions of Mr.
Foster. ECF 1 at 4, 6. Robertson also appears to assert claims
under 18 U.S.C. §§ 241 and 242. See Id. at
6. On the civil cover sheet (ECF 1-1), plaintiff indicates
that he is pursuing a claim under the First Amendment,
although he does not refer to the First Amendment in the text
of his Complaint. See ECF 1. And, in the
“Relief” section of the Complaint form, Robertson
references claims for false arrest and false imprisonment.
ECF 1 at 7. However, he does not otherwise mention such
states under the “Amount in Controversy” section
of the Complaint form that he is “suing for $275, 000 .
. . .” ECF 1 at 5. However, under the
“Relief” section of the Complaint form, Robertson
states, id. at 7: “The total lawsuit amount is
pending is defendants' motion to dismiss (ECF 6), which
is supported by a memorandum of law. ECF 6-1 (collectively,
“Motion”). The Motion seeks dismissal of the case
based on a lack of subject matter jurisdiction, pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), and for failure to state a claim,
pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). ECF 6. Robertson has
responded in opposition. ECF 9 (“Opposition”).
Defendants did not reply, and the time to do so has expired.
See docket; Local Rule 105.2.
hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See
Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I shall grant
asserts that he is “filing this Complaint and law suit
today because [he has] observed several violation [sic] such
as constitutional violation & ADA compliance
violations.” ECF 1 at 6. Robertson also contends,
id.: “The officer don't know how to deal
with those who are mentally ill and those who are mentally
disable. I have spoken to many young women and men who have
been harassed by Mr. Edward Foster . . . .”
to Robertson, on October 31, 2016, he was “criminally
harassed” by Foster when Foster asked Robertson to
leave the Enoch Pratt Free Library (“Pratt
Library”), claiming that Robertson was causing a
disruption. Id. It is common knowledge that the
Pratt Library has a main location in Baltimore and many
branch locations throughout the City. But, plaintiff does not
specify the location of the incident. In any event, Robertson
claims that he refused to leave and called for “a
Baltimore City Police Office and a senior supervisor”
to assist him. Id. As a result, Foster “got
mad at [him] calling the police [and] knocked the phone out
of [his] hand . . . .” Id. According to
Robertson, Foster and another security guard then placed him
in handcuffs and banned him from the Pratt Library, in
“retaliation” for his complaints. Id.
Rule 12(b)(1), the plaintiff bears the burden of proving, by
a preponderance of evidence, the existence of subject matter
jurisdiction. See Demetres v. East West Const.,
Inc., 776 F.3d 271, 272 (4th Cir. 2015); see also
Evans v. B.F. Perkins Co., 166 F.3d 642, 647 (4th Cir.
1999). A challenge to subject matter jurisdiction under Rule
12(b)(1) may proceed “in one of two ways”: either
a facial challenge, asserting that the allegations pleaded in
the complaint are insufficient to establish subject matter
jurisdiction, or a factual challenge, asserting
“'that the jurisdictional allegations of the
complaint [are] not true.'” Kerns v. United
States, 585 F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 2009) (citation
omitted) (alteration in original); see also Buchanan v.
Consol. Stores Corp., 125 F.Supp.2d 730, 736 (D. Md.
facial challenge, “the facts alleged in the complaint
are taken as true, and the motion must be denied if the
complaint alleges sufficient facts to invoke subject matter
jurisdiction.” Kerns, 585 F.3d at 192;
accord Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc., 22 F.Supp.3d at
524. In a factual challenge, on the other hand, “the
district court is entitled to decide disputed issues of fact
with respect to subject matter jurisdiction.”
Kerns, 585 F.3d at 192. In that circumstance, the
court “may regard the pleadings as mere evidence on the
issue and may consider evidence outside the pleadings without
converting the proceeding to one for summary judgment.”
Velasco v. Gov't of Indonesia, 370 F.3d 392, 398
(4th Cir. 2004); see also Richmond, Fredericksburg &
Potomac R.R. Co. v. United States, 945 F.2d 765, 768
(4th Cir. 1991). Here, defendants assert a facial challenge
to subject matter jurisdiction, arguing that plaintiff has
failed to plead the existence of jurisdiction.
the Complaint liberally, plaintiff has met his burden of
establishing subject matter jurisdiction. Plaintiff has
asserted claims that appear to arise under the Constitution
and laws of the United States. See 28 U.S.C. §
1331. Therefore, plaintiff has met his initial burden of
proving the existence of subject-matter jurisdiction. To the
defendant may test the legal sufficiency of a complaint by
way of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Goines v.
Valley Cmty, Servs, Bd., 822 F.3d 159, 165-66 (4th Cir.
2016); McBurney v. Cuccinelli, 616 F.3d 393, 408
(4th Cir. 2010), aff'd sub nom. McBurney v.
Young, ___ U.S.___, 133 S.Ct. 1709 (2013); Edwards
v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999).
A Rule 12(b)(6) motion constitutes an assertion by a
defendant that, even if the facts alleged by a plaintiff are
true, the complaint fails as a matter of law “to state
a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Whether a
complaint states a claim for relief is assessed by reference
to the pleading requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). It
provides that a complaint must contain a “short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to ...