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Ayele v. Washington Adventist Hospital

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 5, 2017

MICHAEL AYELE
v.
WASHINGTON ADVENTIST HOSPITAL, et al.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          DEBORAH K. CHASANOW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Presently pending and ready for resolution are: (1) a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants Montgomery County Police Department (“MCPD”) and J. Thomas Manger, Chief of Police (collectively, the “MCPD Defendants”) (ECF No. 6); (2) a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants Washington Adventist Hospital, Terry Forde - President and CEO of Adventist HealthCare, Inc., and Erik Wangsness - President of Adventist HealthCare Washington Adventist Hospital (collectively, the “Washington Adventist Defendants”)(ECF No. 8); (3) a motion to strike filed by the Washington Adventist Defendants (ECF No. 11); (4) a motion to amend the complaint by Plaintiff Michael Ayele (“Plaintiff”) (ECF No. 13); (5) a motion to end modern day slavery filed by Plaintiff (ECF No. 20); and (6) a motion to request video recordings filed by Plaintiff (ECF No. 22). 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 amend the complaint will be granted in part and denied in part, the motions to dismiss will be granted, the motion to end modern day slavery will be denied, the motion to strike will be denied, and the motion to request video records will be denied as moot.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff filed a previous suit against the Defendants on August 29, 2016, but that case was dismissed without prejudice when Plaintiff failed to return a court approved motion to proceed in forma pauperis and complaint. Order Dismissing Case, Ayele v. Washington Adventist Hosp., No. PX-16-3011 (D.Md. Oct. 28, 2016) (ECF No. 4).[1] On November 22, 2016, Plaintiff brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the MCPD Defendants, the Washington Adventist Defendants, and the Maryland Crisis Team, [2] alleging that they violated his Fourth Amendment Rights. (ECF No. 1, at 4). This complaint alleges that Plaintiff was improperly detained at a McDonald's restaurant in Silver Spring, Maryland. He was taken from the McDonald's to Washington Adventist Hospital against his will, where he was held for a period of time. He purports to make a claim pursuant to the Fourth Amendment. (ECF No. 1).

         On January 26, 2017, the MCPD Defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (ECF No. 6). On February 1, the Washington Adventist Defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim and lack of jurisdiction. (ECF No. 8). On February 7, Plaintiff filed a document entitled “Michael Ayele Analysis and Comments to Judge Peter Messit[t]e Order: Request for Introduction of a Court Appointed Lawyer, Communication Technologies, and Jury Trial.” (ECF No. 10). The document reiterated parts of the complaint, requested appointment of counsel, and requested that all court proceedings be recorded and made available to Plaintiff. On February 24, the Washington Adventist Defendants moved to strike the document. (ECF No. 11). On May 19, Plaintiff responded to the MCPD Defendants' motion to dismiss and moved to amend the complaint. (ECF No. 13). On July 15, an order was issued denying Plaintiff's request for appointment of counsel and directing the Washington Adventist Defendants to mail Plaintiff a copy of their motion to dismiss. The order gave Plaintiff until August 16 to respond to the motions. (ECF No. 18). On August 25, Plaintiff filed a motion to end modern day slavery (ECF No. 20), and a motion to request video recordings of court sessions (ECF No. 22).

         Plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint contains additional details. (ECF No. 13). He alleges that police stopped him at the McDonald's in early August 2015. He alleges that, at that time, he “was posing no harm to [himself] or others.” (Id. at 2). The police took him in a police car to the hospital. It appears he was held at the hospital pursuant to Maryland's civil commitment procedure. He alleges that the hospital forced him to take psychotropic medication. The hospital discharged him sometime before early November. (Id. at 3-5).

         II. Motion to Amend

         A party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within 21 days after serving it or within 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), whichever is earlier. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(1). When the right to amend as a matter of course expires, “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(a)(2) provides that courts should “freely give leave [to amend] when justice so requires, ” and commits the matter to the discretion of the district court. See Simmons v. United Mortg. & Loan Inv., LLC, 634 F.3d 754, 769 (4th Cir. 2011). Denial of leave to amend is appropriate “only when the amendment would be prejudicial to the opposing party, there has been bad faith on the part of the moving party, or the amendment would be futile.” Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 242 (4th Cir. 1999) (emphasis in original) (quoting Johnson v. Oroweat Foods Co., 785 F.2d 503, 509 (4th Cir. 1986)).

         Leave to amend may be denied as futile “if the proposed amended complaint fails to satisfy the requirements of the federal rules, ” including federal pleading standards. Katyle v. Perm Nat. Gaming, Inc., 637 F.3d 462, 471 (4th Cir. 2011) (quoting United States ex rel. Wilson v. Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., 525 F.3d 370, 376 (4th Cir. 2008)); Oroweat Foods Co., 785 F.2d at 510 (“Leave to amend, however, should only be denied on the ground of futility when the proposed amendment is clearly insufficient or frivolous on its face.” (citations omitted)). A pleading need not contain detailed factual allegations, but the plaintiff must allege enough facts to make the claim appear “plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (2007); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” (citation omitted)). Accordingly, denial of leave to amend is appropriate if the court, taking as true the allegations of the proposed amended pleading, would be compelled to dismiss the action. See Kellogg Brown & Root, 525 F.3d at 376 (affirming the district court's denial of leave to amend because the “proposed amended complaint does not properly state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6)”).

         Plaintiff's motion to amend contains additional facts related to his initial detention. Based on these facts, the motion requests additional damages. (ECF No. 13, at 1-5). Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2) mandates that courts “freely give leave” to amend. Therefore, to the extent Plaintiff supplements the initial complaint with additional facts related to his detention by MCPD Defendants and the Washington Adventist Defendants and based on these new facts increases the amount of damages, his motion to amend will be granted. (ECF No. 13, at 3-5).

         The motion also requests to add Amanda Street and the Maryland Department of Health[3] as defendants. In support, Plaintiff states:

I would like to re-iterate here that I have previously requested Medical Information and Arrest Reports via postal mail and e-mail to appropriate channels handling FOIA questions at the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene (DHMH) of Maryland, namely Amanda Street . . . . For that reason, and because of her failure to give [me an] official position in the form of a letter acknowledging receipt of my FOIA requests and the reasons for which she was not able to retrieve requested records, I have decided to add her name in this complaint.

(ECF No. 13, at 4). Plaintiff has not pled facts that support a legal claim for relief against Ms. Street and the Department of Health. Therefore, to the extent Plaintiff seeks to add Amanda Street and the Maryland Department of Health as defendants, his motion will be denied.

         The motion also requests to add Springfield Hospital Center and six of its employees as defendants. (ECF No. 13 at 4-6). The motion explains that, after he was released from Washington Adventist Hospital, he was later arrested and charged with trespass. Apparently, he was taken to Springfield Hospital Center where the doctors found him incompetent ...


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