United States District Court, D. Maryland
Richard D. Bennett, United States District Judge
Kevin Younger (“Plaintiff” or
“Younger”), “a prisoner in the Maryland
Division of Correction housed at the Maryland Reception,
Diagnostic & Classification Center (“MRDCC”),
” has brought this action against the State of
Maryland, current Secretary of the Maryland Department of
Public Safety and Correctional Services (“DPSCS”)
Stephen T. Moyer (“Secretary Moyer”), in his
official capacity, and former MRDCC Warden Tyrone Crowder
(“Crowder”) (collectively the “State
Defendants”); MRDCC “supervisory correctional
officers[s]” Pamela Dixon (“Dixon”),
Wallace Singletary (“Singletary”), and Neil
Dupree (“Dupree”); and MRDCC “correctional
officer[s]” Jemiah Green (“Green”), Richard
Hanna (“Hanna”), and Kwasi Ramsey
(“Ramsey”). Compl., ¶¶ 110, ECF No. 1.
Younger alleges violations of his rights under the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count One); Excessive Force,
in violation of Article 24 of the Maryland Declaration of
Rights (Count Two); Cruel and Unusual Punishment, in
violation of Articles 16 and 25 of the Maryland Declaration
of Rights (Count Three); Battery (Count Five); Intentional
Infliction of Emotional Distress (Count Six); Conspiracy
(Count Seven); Negligent Hiring, Training, and Supervision
(Count Eight); Gross Negligence (Count Nine); and Respondeat
Superior (Count Ten), in connection with his alleged
“assault[ ] and beating” by correctional officers
Green, Hanna, and Ramsey on September 30, 2013. Id.
¶¶ 37, 100-193.
pending before this Court are the State Defendants'
Motion to Dismiss or, in the alternative, for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 46) and Defendants Dupree and
Singletary's Motion to Dismiss or, in the
alternative, for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
60).This Court has reviewed the parties'
submissions, and no hearing is necessary. See Local
Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons stated herein, the
State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 46) is
GRANTED as to Younger's claims against the State of
Maryland in Counts Two, Three, Eight, and Ten of the
Complaint and Younger's claims against Secretary Moyer,
in both his individual and official
capacities, in Counts One and Eight of the Complaint,
pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure.The State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
(ECF No. 46) is DENIED as to Younger's claims against
Crowder in Counts One, Two, Three, Five, Six, Seven, Eight,
and Nine of the Complaint, and Dupree and Singletary's
Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 60) is also DENIED as to
Younger's claims against them in Counts One, Two, Three,
Five, Six, Seven, Eight, and Nine of the Complaint.
Additionally, the State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
(ECF No. 46) and Defendants Dupree and Singletary's
Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 60) are both DENIED as to
Younger's Conspiracy claim (Count Seven). Therefore,
Defendants State of Maryland and Secretary Moyer, in both his
individual and official capacities, are
DISMISSED from this action. All other claims against the
additional Defendants remain.
motion to dismiss stage, this Court accepts as true the facts
alleged in the Plaintiff's Complaint. See Aziz v.
Alcolac, Inc., 658 F.3d 388, 390 (4th Cir. 2011).
Plaintiff Kevin Younger (“Plaintiff” or
“Younger”) is “a prisoner in the Maryland
Division of Correction housed at the Maryland Reception,
Diagnostic & Classification Center
(“MRDCC”).” Compl., ¶ 1, ECF No. 1.
“On the evening of September 29, 2013, [Younger] . . .
witnessed a fight between two inmates and a correctional
officer in which the correctional officer was seriously
injured.” Id. ¶ 18. Although Younger was
not involved in the fight and had “no history of
disciplinary infractions at that time, ” he was removed
from general housing and transferred to “various other
cells in MRDCC” with “the two inmates who
participated in the confrontation” and “at least
two other prisoners.” Id. ¶¶ 18-21.
morning of September 30, 2013, Younger alleges that Wallace
Singletary (“Singletary”), a “supervisory
correctional officer” at MRDCC, ordered Neil Dupree
(“Dupree”), also a “supervisory
correctional officer, ” to “print out photographs
of the injured correctional officer so that they could be
shown to the incoming correctional officers before they began
their daily shifts.” Id. ¶ 24. He claims
that former MRDCC Warden Tyrone Crowder
(“Crowder”) and Dupree displayed the photographs
to correctional officers at that morning's “roll
call, ” “effectively sanction[ing] a retaliatory
attack against the five prisoners, including [Younger], who
they believed were involved in the previous day's
altercation, ” and that Crowder specifically
“admonished the correctional officers for their
handling of the altercation on the prior day, calling them
‘soft' and stating that they ‘should [have]
beat the inmates' who were allegedly involved in the
fight.” Id. ¶¶ 25-32.
claims that correctional officers Jemiah Green
(“Green”), Richard Hanna (“Hanna”),
and Kwasi Ramsey (“Ramsey”) were present at that
roll call, that they were well-known for their “violent
enforcement” of prison policies, and that Crowder,
Singletary, Dupree, and the Secretary of the Maryland
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services were
all well aware of “previous use of force
complaints” against them. Id. ¶¶
34-35; 87-91. Following the roll call, he alleges that Green,
Hanna, and Ramsey “sought to exact revenge on the five
prisoners, including [Younger]” and
“systematically moved about MRDCC . . . brutally
assaulting and beating” each one of them, including
Younger. Id. ¶¶ 36-37. Younger alleges
that around 7:00 a.m. on September 30, 2013, Green, Hanna,
and Ramsey “entered [his] cell, grabbing [him] by his
shirt and legs, and throwing him from the top bunk onto the
concrete floor, ” then proceeded to “strik[e] him
on his head, face, and body, with handcuffs, radios, and keys
. . . kick[ing] and stomp[ing] [him] as he lay defenseless on
the ground.” Id. ¶¶ 42-44. Younger
claims that “supervisory correctional officer”
Pamela Dixon (“Dixon”) “was seated at the
sergeant's desk at the end of the tier . . . in plain
view from [his] cell” during the beating. Id.
¶ 50. Younger alleges that the officers “left
[him] in a pool of blood on the concrete floor of his
cell” and proceeded to beat each of the other prisoners
whose photographs were displayed in the same way.
Id. ¶¶ 48-49, 56.
contends that Green eventually returned to transport him to
the medical unit and ordered him to write on an Incident
Report Form “that he sustained his injuries by falling
from his bunk bed.” Id. ¶¶ 53-54. He
claims that Dupree, “[a]s the only supervisory
lieutenant, ” responded to the “medical
alerts” for all five prisoners following the beatings
and “observed correctional officers bringing [Younger]
down the stairs toward the medical unit.” Id.
¶ 61-62. Younger alleges that “Dupree asked [ ]
Ramsey what had happened” and accepted his explanation
that Younger “fell . . . despite [his] injuries being
markedly inconsistent with the asserted explanation, ”
and that Dupree further “failed to seek emergency
medical attention, . . . launch an investigation into the
five prisoners' injuries, . . . [or] interview
[Younger].” Id. ¶¶ 63-67. Younger
contends that “[t]he assault and beating of the five
prisoners . . . as a form of discipline, was consistent with
the culture of MRDCC under [ ] Crowder's
leadership.” Id. ¶ 69.
Internal Investigation Division (“IID”) report
ultimately concluded that “on the morning of September
30, 2013 . . . Ramsey, Green, and Hanna . . . [did assault]
the prisoners, including [Younger], who they believed were
involved in the fight on the previous evening with the
correctional officer.” Id. ¶ 80.
“Crowder is no longer the Warden of MRDCC following the
assault on the five prisoners, ” and Ramsey, Green, and
Hanna have been criminally indicted. Id.
¶¶ 82-83. “On May 6, 2015, [ ] Hanna plead
guilty to conspiracy to commit first degree assault on the
five prisoners, including [Younger], ” and a jury found
Green and Ramsey “guilty of second degree assault and
misconduct in office for the assaults.” Id.
¶¶ 85-86. Younger has now brought this civil action
against the State of Maryland, Secretary Moyer, and Crowder
(collectively the “State Defendants”);
“supervisory correctional officers[s]” Dixon,
Singletary, and Dupree; and “correctional
officer[s]” Green, Hanna, and Ramsey, alleging
violations of his rights under the United States Constitution
and the Maryland Declaration of Rights as well as various
Maryland tort law claims.
Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure for lack of subject matter jurisdiction
challenges a court's authority to hear the matter brought
by a complaint. See Davis v. Thompson, 367 F.Supp.2d
792, 799 (D. Md. 2005). This challenge under Rule 12(b)(1)
may proceed either as a facial challenge, asserting that the
allegations in the complaint are insufficient to establish
subject matter jurisdiction, or a factual challenge,
asserting “that the jurisdictional allegations of the
complaint [are] not true.” Kerns v. United
States, 585 F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 2009) (citation
omitted). With respect to a facial challenge, a court will
grant a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter
jurisdiction “where a claim fails to allege facts upon
which the court may base jurisdiction.” Davis,
367 F.Supp.2d at 799. Where the challenge is factual,
“the district court is entitled to decide disputed
issues of fact with respect to subject matter
jurisdiction.” Kerns, 585 F.3d at 192. As this
Court has explained in Dennard v. Towson Univ., 62
F.Supp.3d 446, 449 (D. Md. 2014), “[a]n assertion of
governmental immunity is properly addressed under Rule
12(b)(1).” (citing Smith v. WMATA, 290 F.3d
201, 205 (4th Cir. 2002)). A plaintiff carries the burden of
establishing subject matter jurisdiction. Lovern v.
Edwards, 190 F.3d 648, 654 (4th Cir. 1999).
Motion to Dismiss Under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure
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
United States Supreme Court's recent opinions 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 (4th Cir.
2012) (citation omitted). In Twombly, the Supreme
Court 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. First, 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); see also Wag
More Dogs, LLC v. Cozart, 680 F.3d 359, 365 (4th Cir.
2012) (“Although we are constrained to take the facts
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, we need not
accept legal conclusions couched as facts or unwarranted
inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments.”
(internal quotation marks omitted)). Second, a complaint must
be dismissed if it does not allege “a plausible claim
for relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.
The State Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (ECF No.
The State of Maryland
Plaintiff Younger has brought claims against the State of
Maryland for Excessive Force, in violation of Article 24 of
the Maryland Declaration of Rights (Count Two); Cruel and
Unusual Punishment, in violation of Articles 16 and 25 of the
Maryland Declaration of Rights (Count Three); Negligent
Hiring, Training, and Supervision (Count Eight); and
Respondeat Superior (Count Ten), Younger now ...