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King v. Schrader

United States District Court, D. Maryland

August 30, 2017

ROBERT JOSEPH KING
v.
DENNIS SCHRADER, [1]

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Presently pending and ready for resolution are a motion to substitute parties filed by Plaintiff Robert King (“Plaintiff”) (ECF No. 7), and a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants Dennis Schrader, John Robison, Thomas Lewis, Inna Taller, Aram Faramarz Mokhtari Aria, Wayne Noble, and Chandra Wiggins (“Defendants”). (ECF No. 8). The issues have been briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following reasons, the motion to dismiss will be granted, and the motion to substitute parties will be denied as moot.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background[2]

         Plaintiff is a patient at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center (“Perkins”), a psychiatric hospital operated by the Maryland Department of Health. (ECF No. 1 Parties, ¶ 2).[3]Perkins operates a work adjustment program (“WAP”) which places patients at jobs and pays them the current minimum wage of $8.75 per hour. (Statement of Facts, ¶ 2).

         On March 18, 2016, Plaintiff filed a grievance with Perkins stating that he “had waited for seven or eight months” without receiving a job from WAP and alleging that he “was, for some reason, being discriminated against.” (Statement of Facts, ¶ 3). On March 29, Defendant Noble, a member of Plaintiff's treatment team, responded to the grievance and explained that Plaintiff had not received a job placement because Plaintiff was struggling to control his behavior and his treatment team did not believe placing him in a job would help his recovery. (Statement of Facts, ¶ 5). At that time, Noble said the treatment team determined the best course of action would be to wait for Plaintiff to show a better ability to “manage his anger and frustration” before placing him in a job. (Id.).

         On April 5, Defendant Wiggins, an employee of WAP, told Plaintiff he had been placed in a job with the horticulture program. (Statement of Facts, ¶ 6). The two discussed Plaintiff's schedule and when he would be available to work. Wiggins informed Plaintiff that he would also need to speak with Carol Adams, the program supervisor. (Id.). The next day Ms. Adams and Plaintiff met, and Ms. Adams informed Plaintiff that he would need a doctor's note to participate in the program due to his urinary incontinence. (Statement of Facts, ¶ 7).

         On April 7, Plaintiff met with his treatment team, and they informed him that he would be limited to five hours of work per week and that if his disabilities interfered with the job, then he would not be allowed to work. (Statement of Facts, ¶ 10). On April 12, however, Wiggins told Plaintiff that he would “not be working in Horticulture.” (Statement of Facts, ¶ 16). She explained that the treatment team did not believe the horticulture program was an appropriate placement for Plaintiff. (Id.). Wiggins offered Plaintiff a job in Perkins' canteen. (ECF No. 25-7).[4]

         B. Procedural History

         In mid-April 2016, Plaintiff filed a grievance alleging that he was being denied an opportunity to work because of his disability. (ECF No. 25-8, at 2-3).[5] Perkins denied the grievance. On August 7, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). (Statement of Facts, ¶ 21). On August 31, the EEOC dismissed his complaint and issued a right to sue notice. (Statement of Facts, ¶ 22).

         On November 21, Plaintiff brought this action against Defendants, a variety of Perkins' officials and the then-Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in their individual and official capacities. He alleged they violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq., because: (1) they terminated his job in the horticulture program due to his urinary incontinence; (2) they refused to offer a reasonable accommodation (access to restroom facilities) that would allow him to work in the horticulture program; and (3) they refused to hire him to work elsewhere in Perkins (other than horticulture or the canteen) because of his disability. (ECF No. 1, Federal Questions, ¶¶ 1-3). Plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages, declaratory and injunctive relief, and his release from Perkins. (Id.). On January 9, Plaintiff moved to substitute Dennis Schrader, the then-Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Human Hygiene, for Van T. Mitchell, the former Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Human Hygiene. (ECF No. 7).

         On January 31, 2017, Defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 8). Plaintiff submitted his response in opposition and three supplements. (ECF Nos. 10; 13; 14; 16). Defendants replied. (ECF No. 12.)

         II. Standard of Review

         The purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the complaint. Presley v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006). A complaint need only satisfy the standard of Rule 8(a)(2), which requires a “short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” “Rule 8(a)(2) still requires a ‘showing, ' rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to relief.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 n.3 (2007). That showing must consist of more than “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” or “naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citations omitted). At this stage, all well-pleaded allegations in a complaint must be considered as true, Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268 (1994), and all factual allegations must be construed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Harrison v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 783 (4th Cir. 1999) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)). In evaluating the complaint, unsupported legal allegations need not be accepted. Revene v. Charles Cty. Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, ...


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