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McCoy v. Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 28, 2017

FRANKIE McCOY, SR., Plaintiff
v.
MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND CORRECTIONAL SERVICES, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          J. FREDERICK MOTZ UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending is a motion to dismiss, or alternatively, for summary judgment filed by Defendants Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services ("DPSCS"), former Secretary Gary Maynard, and former Secretary Gregg Hershberger.[1] ECF 30. Plaintiff has responded. ECF 33.[2] Upon review of the pleadings filed, the court finds a hearing in this matter unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below, defendants' dispositive motion will be GRANTED.

         I. Complaint Allegations

         Plaintiff Frankie McCoy, an inmate currently confined at the Maryland. Correctional Institution ("MCI-J") in Jessup, Maryland, filed the instant complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 were violated. ECF 1, p. 1. The case was subsequenlly transferred to this court. ECF 5.

         Plaintiff states that his numerous physical disabilities have not been accommodated. He claims that defendants Maynard, Hershberger and Stouffer, in their capacities as high-ranking roles within the Department of Corrections, were aware of the denial of accommodations for plaintiffs disabilities and failed to take corrective action. ECF 1, p. 6. Plaintiff states that Shiloh has consistently denied plaintiff the opportunity to work. Id. He alleges that Corcoran and Armstead established policies that discriminated against disabled prisoners. Id. He further alleges that Corcoran and Armstead denied plaintiffs requests for ADA and Rehabilitation Act accommodation.. Id., p. 7. Plaintiff states that correctional officers Bivens, Nivens, Washington, Henry, Osles, Gatewood and Kramo failed to follow DPSCS regulations regarding transportation of disabled persons causing him injury. Id. He alleges that correctional officers Daugherty, Bailey, and social workers Rembraund and Carya also denied plaintiffs disability accommodations and excluded him from participating in services and programming. Id. He claims that dietary personnel Bailey, Fliggins, Macall, and White have interfered with medications and nutritional accommodations deemed necessary by physicians and/or nutritionists. Id.

         Plaintiff specifies that over the past five years he has been denied access to the telephone so that he can adequately communicate with family, friends, legal counsel, and others. !d., p. 8. He alleges he has been denied access to a handicapped accessible cell and shower, and his request for "safety strips" to improve traction in his housing unit has also been denied. Id., pp. 8-9. Plaintiff alleges his nutrition and digestive disorders have been ignored. Id. He claims that during transport he has been improperly secured and denied access to bathroom facilities. Id. Plaintiff claims that his opportunity to be employed, earn diminution credits, and to access programming have all been adversely impacted by his disability, without accommodation. Id., p. 9.

         II. Defendants' Response

         Defendants note that plaintiff has filed two grievances with the Inmate Grievance Office (IGO) since December 1, 2012, regarding MCIJ's alleged failure to accommodate his disability. ECF 30-1, Ex. 1, ¶¶ 2-3. Neverdon Decl.).

         On July 9, 2014, plaintiff filed an appeal to the IGO regarding the disposition of ARP-MCI-J-0305114 wherein plaintiff complained of the conditions of his confinement. He asserted that a "Settlement-Agreement and Release" had been violated. Id., ¶3.a. The grievance was dismissed on December 15, 2014, after plaintiff failed to supplement his filing as directed by IGO personnel.

         On May 23, 2016, plaintiff filed IGO No. 20160901, requesting follow-up medical care regarding an ongoing medical need which he claimed was being ignored. Id., ¶3.b. The IGO appeal was dismissed on July 1, 2016, as beyond the jurisdiction of the IGO, as it constituted a complaint against medical staff rather than employees of the Division of Correction. Id.

         III. Pending Non-Dispositive Motions

         A. Amended Complaints

         The instant complaint was instituted by plaintiff in the United States District Court of the District of Columbia on December 8, 2015, raising the claims articulated above. ECF 1. Plaintiff is a frequent litigator in this court, and due to his high volume of filings is limited to litigating one case at a time on this court's docket. After the case was transferred to this court, plaintiff filed motions to stay proceedings (ECF 8 & 11) wherein he sought to have the case stayed until he felt he could proceed with the matter while managing his other litigation and medical concerns. The motions were denied and plaintiff was directed to advise the court how he wished to proceed. ECF 13. He indicated that he wanted this case to proceed. ECF 15.

         Thereafter, on June 15, 2016, plaintiff filed an amended complaint raising unrelated claims against Sgt. Fisher and Warden Corcoran. In the amendment, he stated that on January 21, 2013, he was awakened to his cell being flooded. ECF 16, p. 4. Plaintiff claimed that he and his cellmate called for Sgt. Fisher to unlock the cell door, to no avail. He stated he was trapped in his cell with ankle deep water on the floor for over an hour, and he slipped and fell twice due to these conditions, incurring additional injury. After receipt of defendants' dispositive motion, plaintiff again attempted to file an amended complaint raising these same allegations against Fisher and Corcoran regarding injuries arising from the flooding of his cell. ECF 35.

         Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15(a), "[a] party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within 21 days after serving it, or if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e), or (t), whichever is earlier." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1.. "In all other cases, a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave." Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Rule 15 dictates that "[t]he court should freely give leave when justice so requires." Id. Further, Fed R. Civ. P. 15(c)(1)(A) permits an amendment to a pleading to relate back to the date of the original pleading when "the law that provides the applicable statute of limitations allows relation back."

         The complaint was filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. S1983, which does not contain a statute of limitation provision. Section 1983 provides a federal cause of action, but looks to the law of the State in which the cause of action arose, specifically relying on the statute of limitations that each state provides for personal-injury torts. Wallace v. Kato,549 U.S. 384, 387 (2007) (citing Owens v. Okure, 488 U.S. 235, 249-50 (1989)). In Maryland, the applicable statute of limitations is three years from the date of the occurrence. See Md. Cts & Jud. Pro. Code S 5-101. Thus, Maryland ...


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