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Garcia v. Gang Task Force

United States District Court, D. Maryland

May 9, 2017

KEVIN GARCIA, #446998, SID#3471142 Plaintiff
v.
GANG TASK FORCE, CORPORAL HAGEL, OFFICER KISSINGER, DETECTIVE EDWIN PAULEY, Defendants

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         On March 7, 2016, Kevin Garcia filed this pro se Complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. (ECF 1). Maryland State Police Corporal Richard Lee Hagel and PFC Kissinger have filed separate motions to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF 12, 18). Detective Edwin Pauley has filed a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), or in the Alternative, Motion for a More Definite Statement pursuant to Rule 12(e). (ECF No. 14). Garcia filed a Reply to Pauley and Hagefs dispositive motions. (ECF 16). For reasons to follow, Defendants Hagel and Kissinger's Motions to Dismiss (ECF 12, 18) will be GRANTED. Detective Pauley's Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative, Motion for a More Definite Statement (ECF No. 14), treated as a Motion for a More Definite Statement, IS GRANTED. Garcia SHALL FILE more definite statement of his claims against Detective Pauley on or before June 9, 2017.

         BACKGROUND

         This Court accepts as true the facts alleged in the Complaint. See Asiz v. Alcolac, Inc., 658 F.3d 388, 390 (4th Cir. 2011). This Court also recognizes that Plaintiff is pro se and accords his pleadings liberal construction. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).

         Garcia alleges that on November 17, 2015, he was walking to Germania Circle.[1] He saw a navy blue jeep with a tinted window, but paid no further attention to it. Garcia stopped at a friend's house to ask for a ride. (ECF 1 at p. 4). The friend was unable to offer Garcia a ride, so Garcia walked on a path toward First Street where a blue jeep cut him off. Garcia claims he was scared because he could not see who it was and began to run. Id. He also alleges the vehicle was an unmarked car. Garcia alleges that as he ran "they" jumped out and chased him. Id. Garcia asserts that he heard them say on their walkie-talkies that he was coming down First Street and turning on to West Main Street. Garcia says he saw a navy blue jeep driving fast up West Main Street and that did not slow down as it turned. Garcia says as vehicle turned toward him on First Street, he became scared, stopped running, and put his hands up. Garcia claims he was struck by the vehicle on West Main Street and flew six to ten feet in the air and injured his leg, elbow, and ankle. Garcia was placed in handcuffs and arrested. Id. Garcia claims "they said I should of [sic] never ran and they try to lie and say it was a padestrian [sic] that hit me." (ECF No. 16-1).

         Garcia was reported as possessing a handgun and distributing drugs. Garcia alleges that the "people involved" were Gang Task Force Officer Hagel and Officer Kissinger. Id. Garcia subsequently amended the Complaint to allege that Detective Edward Pauley "was the one that hit me with the car." (ECF 7). Garcia requests $20, 000 in damages for his mental and physical injuries, dismissal of Criminal Case No. 1H00079731, (Dt. Ct. of Maryland for Wicomico County)[2] and "no contact" with Hagel or Kissinger because he is in "fear" for his life." (ECF 1, 16).

         On April 13, 2016, Garcia entered an Alford plea[3] to possession of a firearm by a felon and was sentenced to five years of incarceration based on the November 17, 2015 incident in Criminal Case No. 22-K-15-000730 (Cir. Ct. of Md. for Wicomico County). See hnp://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/casesearch/inquiryDetail.jis?caseId=22K15000730&loc=4& detailLocODYCRIM; see also ECF 14-1.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         I. MOTION FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM PURSUANT TO RULE 12(B)(6)

         Under Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes the dismissal of a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The purpose of Rule 12(b)(6) is "to test the sufficiency of a complaint and not to resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses." Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006).

         The Supreme Court's rulings in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), "require that complaints in civil actions be alleged with greater specificity than previously was required." Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4thCir. 2012) (citation omitted). Twombly articulated "[t]wo working principles" that courts must employ when ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. While a court must accept as true all the factual allegations contained in the complaint, legal conclusions drawn from those facts are not afforded such deference. Id. (stating that "[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice" to plead a claim). In the context of pro se litigants, however, pleadings are "to be liberally construed, " and are "held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (citation omitted); accord Brown v. N.C. Dept. of Corr., 612 F.3d 720, 724 (4th Cir. 2010).

         Even a pro se complaint must be dismissed if it does not allege "a plausible claim for relief." fqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (recognizing no pro se exception to the requirement to plead a "plausible claim for relief"). Under the plausibility standard, a complaint must contain "more than labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Although the plausibility requirement does not impose a "probability requirement, " id. at 556, "[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." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see also Robertson v. Sea Pines Real Estate Cos., 679 F.3d 278, 291 (4th Cir. 2012) ("A complaint need not make a case against a defendant or forecast evidence sufficient to prove an element of the claim. It need only allege facts sufficient to state elements of the claim." (emphasis in original) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted)). In short, a court must "draw on its judicial experience and common sense" to determine whether the pleader has stated a plausible claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Finally, "[w]hile pro se complaints may 'represent the work of an untutored hand requiring special judicial solicitude, ' a district court is not required to recognize 'obscure or extravagant claims defying the most concerted efforts to unravel them.'" Weller v. Dep't of Social Servs. for City of Baltimore, 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990) (quoting Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277 (4th Cir. 1985), cert denied. 475 U.S. 1088 (1986)).

         II. MOTION FOR A MORE DEFINITE STATEMENT PURSUANT TO RULE 12(E).

         Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires a pleader to provide "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Pleading requirements are intended to ensure that an opposing party receives fair notice of the factual basis for an assertion contained in a claim or defense. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 545. When a party has not complied with the requirements of Rule 8, the opposing party may file a Motion for a More Definite Statement under Rule 12(e). Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(e) ("A party may move for a more definite statement of a pleading to which a responsive pleading is allowed but which is so vague or ambiguous that the party cannot reasonably prepare a ...


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