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Waters v. Dipino

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 9, 2017




         In response to the above-entitled civil rights complaint, Defendants State of Maryland (the “State”), Division of Correction (“DOC”) and James Dipino, [3] Acting Director of Procurement for the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (“DPSCS”), filed a Motion to Dismiss and/or for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 12). The Motion remains unopposed.[4] No hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion, construed as a Motion to Dismiss, will be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         When he filed his Complaint on September 23, 2016, Plaintiff Benjamin Waters was a pretrial detainee awaiting trial in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, Maryland on charges of first and second-degree assault and use of a deadly weapon with intent to injure. (See ECF 12-3). Waters initially was confined on “5 North” at the Baltimore City Booking and Intake Center (“BCBIC”). Defendants note that from July through September, 2016, “5 North” was the Inmate Mental Health Unit. (ECF No. 12-1 at 2 n.1).

         Waters alleges that while on “5 North, ” he was deprived of meals on seven separate occasions by Correctional Officers (“COs”) J. Francis, T. Brown, D. Williams, and M. Fortcham. (ECF No. 3). He also claims that he was struck in the upper body by CO P. Jackson on August 3, 2016, and that Jackson pulled him from his bunk and onto the floor of his cell on August 8, 2016. (Id.). Waters also alleges that on September 2 and 20, 2016, a female officer, CO N. Mars, inappropriately searched him on the stairway near BCBIC's gym. Id. The Complaint makes no allegations of any wrongdoing by DiPino.

         As relief, Waters seeks employee discipline, a written apology, the installation of cameras on 5 North of BCBIC, an end to the alleged sexual abuse by “female officers, ” and damages in the amount of $20, 000. (ECF No. 3). On December 16, 2016, Waters notified the Clerk that he was held at the Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center (“Perkins”) prior to trial. (ECF No. 8).

         The criminal charges were nolle prossed on February 10, 2017, and Waters was released from detention. He now resides in Aberdeen, Maryland.


         A. Standard of Review

         Although Defendants caption their Motion in the alternative for summary judgment, they rely on minimal, if any, extra-pleading material. The Court, therefore, will construe the Motion as a Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss.

         “The purpose of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is to test the sufficiency of a complaint, ” not to “resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243-44 (4th Cir. 1999) (quoting Republican Party v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992)). A complaint fails to state a claim if it does not contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), or does not “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “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). Though the plaintiff is not required to forecast evidence to prove the elements of the claim, the complaint must allege sufficient facts to establish each element. Goss v. Bank of Am., N.A., 917 F.Supp.2d 445, 449 (D.Md. 2013) (quoting Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012)), aff'd sub nom., Goss v. Bank of Am., NA, 546 F.App'x 165 (4th Cir. 2013).

         In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must examine the complaint as a whole, consider the factual allegations in the complaint as true, and construe the factual allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268 (1994); Lambeth v. Bd. of Comm'rs of Davidson Cty., 407 F.3d 266, 268 (4th Cir. 2005) (citing Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)). But, the court need not accept unsupported or conclusory factual allegations devoid of any reference to actual events, United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979), or legal conclusions couched as factual allegations, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         Additionally, “where the allegations of the complaint give rise to an affirmative defense, the defense may be raised under Rule 12(b)(6), but only if it clearly appears on the face of the complaint” Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R. Co. v. Forst, 4 F.3d 244, 250 (4th Cir. 1993).

         B. ...

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