United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL, United States District Judge
self-represented prisoner civil rights Complaint, originally
received for filing on January 24. 2017, and supplemented on
January 27. 2017. raises a constitutional challenge to the
conditions of Plaintiff Virgil Curvey's pre-trial
detention between 2009 and 2010. Plaintiff, who is currently
confined in the Roxbury Correctional Institution in
Hagerstown. Maryland. ECF No. 1 ¶ 3, invokes this
Court's jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1343. ECF No.
1 ¶ 1. The cause of action against Charles County. Man
land Defendants is construed as a 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Complaint. The Supplemental Complaint was accompanied by
Motions for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. ECF No. 3.
and to Appoint Counsel. ECF No. 4. Plaintiff may proceed
in forma pauperis, as he appears indigent, but for
the following reasons, his Motion to Appoint Counsel shall be
denied and his Complaint shall summarily he dismissed.
alleges that in August of 2009. while being held as a
pre-trial detainee in the Charles County Detention Center
("CCDC"). he was removed from general population
and assigned to a small cell in the back of the medical
section, so that he was "removed from any access to use
the phones." ECF No. 1 ¶ 14. Plaintiff contends
that he did not receive a hearing prior to the assignment nor
was there any court order that mandated his placement out of
general population. Id. ¶ 16. He alleges that
he remained so assigned for approximately seventeen months,
or until December of 2010. and was denied outdoor recreation
and the "normal" activities of the jail, such as
congregational religious services, recreational functions,
television viewing, and communal meals. Id. ¶
17-18. 23. He affirms that he posed no security threat to the
jail. Id. ¶ 18. In his Supplemental Complaint.
Plaintiff reiterates his original claims, but now states that
from within the "first three to four months" of his
CCDC detention he was taken out of general population and
placed in a cell in the hack of the medical area for fourteen
to fifteen months resulting in a diminished mental capacity.
ECF No. 2 at 4.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
U.S.C. § 19I5A provides for screening of any complaint
"in which a prisoner seeks redress from a governmental
entity or officer or employee of a governmental entity."
See McLean v. United Stales. 566 F.3d 391. 394 (4th
Cir. 2009); 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a). Before permitting the
case to move forward or requiring a response from the
defendants, "the court shall identify cognizable claims
or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of the complaint, if
the complaint (1) is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state
a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (2) seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief."' See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b);
Brown v. Stale of Maryland, No. GJII-16-1272. 2016
WL 2688840. at * I (D. Md. May 9. 2016): McGore v.
Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601. 608 (6th Cir. 1997).
1983 permits an aggrieved party to file a civil action
against a person for actions taken under color of state law
that violated his constitutional rights. See Cooper v.
Sheehan, 735 F.3d 153. 158 (4th Cir. 2013). Because no
federal statute of limitations for § 1983 actions
exists, federal courts routinely measure the timeliness of
federal civil rights suits by state law. Burnett v.
Grafton, 468 I I.S. 42. 49 (1984): ('hardon v.
Fumere Soto, 462 U.S. 650. 655-656 (1983): Johnson
v. Ry. Express Agency, Inc., 421 U.S. 454, 464 (1975).
Maryland's general three-year statute of limitations for
civil actions is thus most applicable to Plaintiffs claim.
Fields v. Montgomery Cty, No. CIV.A. DKC-13-3477.
2014 WL 4231164. at *3 (D. Md. Aug. 26. 2014} (citing Md.
Code. Cts. & jud. Proc. § 5-101). Federal law
governs the question of when a cause of action accrues under
42 U.S.C. § 1983. See Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S.
384. 387 (2007). Under the general rule, the running of the
statute of limitations begins when a plaintiff knows or has
reason to know of his injury, Id.
Plaintiff claims that he was detained at CCDC from February
of 2009 through January of 2011. ECF No. 2 at 4. He alleges
that in August of 2009. he was removed from general
population and housed in "a small cell in the back of
the medical section." ECF No. 1 ¶ 13. Plaintiff
allegedly remained there until December of 2010. id.
¶ 17. He did not Hie this action until more than six
years later. See generally ECF No. 1. Therefore, as
evident from the face of the Complaint. Plaintiffs claims
against Defendants are lime-barred.
also seeks the appointment of counsel. ECF No. 4. He claims
that he is unable to afford counsel, the case involves
complex issues, he has extremely limited access to the law
library, he has unsuccessfully attempted to contact numerous
attorneys for representation, and he has limited knowledge of
the law. Id. at 1.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1) permits a court to request an
attorney to represent an indigent litigant, the Court will
request appointment of counsel only where the ease presents
complex issues or other exceptional circumstances. See
Altevogt v. Kiman, No. CIV. WDQ-11 -1061. 2012 WL
135283. at *2 (I). Md. Jan. 13. 2012) (citing Cook v.
Bounds, 518F.2d 779. 780 (4th Cir. 1975)). 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." See Altevogt, 2012 WL 135283. at *2
(citing Berry v. Gutierrez, 587 F.Supp.2d 717. 723
(L.D. Va. 2008)). Here. Curvey has demonstrated his ability
to present his claims and file motions in this litigation.
Additionally, the issues in this case are not particularly
complex. See Wadded v. Maryland Pre-Trial Dir., No.
CV DKC-15-3286. 2017 WL 550033. at *8 (D. Md. Feb. 10. 2017)
(denying motion to appoint counsel where litigant inmate
capably tiled motions and excessive force case was not
complex). Therefore, no exceptional circumstances exist, and
Plaintiffs Motion to Appoint Counsel is denied.
case, which alleges that Plaintiff was subject to
unconstitutional conditions of pretrial detention, is
untimely and is subject to summary dismissal by the Court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). The Motion ...