United States District Court, D. Maryland
RICHARD D. BENNETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
April 21, 2017, plaintiff Johnny Earl Gnegy, a resident of
Oakland, Maryland, filed this self-represented, fee-paid 42
U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action seeking compensatory
and punitive damages, as well as the expungement of a
"protective order" and records. He names the
State's Attorney for Garrett County Maryland and the
Attorney General of Maryland as Defendants. ECF No. 1.
states that he hired individuals to perform work on his home,
the work was done in a tortious manner, he filed a civil suit
in state court against the individuals, and the civil suit
was settled. Gnegy claims that during the pendency of that
suit the individuals sought a peace order against him,
whereupon a state court judge sentenced Gnegy to 90 days in
jail, with 60 days suspended, probation and community
service. In addition, an appeal bond was imposed. Affording
the Complaint a generous construction, Gnegy sues the
Assistant State's Attorney alleging that she withheld a
police report during his sentencing. Gnegy does not specify
what information was contained in this report, but references
a "notice of discovery" and contends that he was
not interviewed by the police in the peace order case.
Id., pp. 9-10. No allegations are directly raised
against Attorney General Frosh.
has paid the full filing fee. Nonetheless, it is well
established that a court has broad inherent power sua
sponte to dismiss an action, or part of an action, which
is frivolous, vexatious, or brought in bad faith. Therefore,
this Court has the discretion to dismiss a case at any time,
notwithstanding the payment of any filing fee or any portion
thereof, if it determines that a plaintiff lack standing,
that subject matter jurisdiction does not exists, or that a
case fails to state a claim. See Fitzgerald v. First East
Seventh Street Tenants Corp., 221 F.3d 362, 363-64 (2d
Cir. 2000). The Court finds that the instant matter is
subject to dismissal for the failure to state a claim.
state court docket shows that on February 23, 2015, Gnegy was
found guilty of the failure to comply with a peace order,
fined and sentenced to 90 days, with 60 days suspended. He
remains on probation. State v. Gnegy, Case No.
5X0023371 (District Court for Garrett County). His appeal was
heard in the Circuit Court for Garrett County and he was
again found guilty of the failure to comply with a peace
order on April 23, 2015, at which time he was given a 30-day
sentence, with 15 days suspended, and a one-year period of
unsupervised probation was imposed. State v. Gnegy,
Case No. 11K15005185 (Circuit Court for Garrett County).
Complaint for damages may not proceed for a number of
reasons. First, his claim against State's Attorney Welch
is not colorable in a § 1983 action seeking damages. A
prosecutor is a quasi-j udicial officer who enj oys absolute
immunity when performing prosecutorial, as opposed to
investigative or administrative, functions. See Imbler v.
Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409, 430-31 (1976); Springmen v.
Williams, 122 F.3d 211, 212-13 (4th Cir. 1997);
Lyles v. Sparks, 79 F.3d 372, 376-77 (4th Cir.
1996). General decisions regarding what evidence to submit
during the course of a prosecution fall within those
insofar as Gnegy's Complaint may be generously construed
to raise a Complaint against Attorney General Frosh, he has
failed to state a claim. Under § 1983, individual
liability must be based on personal conduct. See Wright
v. Collins, 766 F.2d 841, 850 (4th Cir. 1985); see
also Foote v. Spiegal, 118 F.3d 1416, 1423 (10th Cir.
1997). Gnegy has failed to allege any personal liability of
the part of Frosh.
extent that Gnegy is alleging that Frosh is liable in his
supervisory capacity for his "training and
oversight" of his subordinates, namely State's
Attorney Welch, he has likewise failed to state a claim.
Under Shaw v. Stroud, 13 F.3d 791 (4th Cir. 1994),
supervisory liability may attach under § 1983 if a
plaintiff can establish three elements. These are: (1)
"that the supervisor had actual or constructive
knowledge that his subordinate was engaged in conduct that
posed 'a pervasive and unreasonable risk' of
constitutional injury to citizens like the plaintiff';
(2) "that the supervisor's response to that
knowledge was so inadequate as to show 'deliberate
indifference to or tacit authorization of the alleged
offensive practices'"; and (3) "that there was
an 'affirmative causal link' between the
supervisor's inaction and the particular constitutional
injury suffered by the plaintiff." Id. at 799
(citations omitted). Under the first prong of Shaw,
the conduct engaged in by the supervisor's subordinates
must be "pervasive, " meaning that the
"conduct is widespread, or at least has been used on
several different occasions." Id.
Office of the Attorney General of Maryland has no direct
supervisory authority over individual state's
attorney's offices and their staff. Indeed, the
State's Attorney's Office is independent from the
Office of the Attorney General of Maryland See generally
Murphy v. Yates, 276 Md. 475 (1975).
aforementioned reasons, the Complaint shall be dismissed