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Gelin v. Baltimore County

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 5, 2017

EDWARD GELIN,, Plaintiffs,
v.
BALTIMORE COUNTY, MARYLAND, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          George L. Russell, III, United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Defendant Correct Care Solutions, LLC's (“Correct Care”) Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 17). Also before the Court is Baltimore County, Maryland's Motion to Dismiss Defendants John and Jane Does 1-8 (“Doe Defendants 1-8”) and Deborah J. Richardson (ECF No. 16). The Motions are ripe for disposition, and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md. 2016). For the reasons outlined below, the Court will grant Correct Care's Motion and deny Baltimore County's Motion.[1]

         I. BACKGROUND[2]

         Ashleigh Gelin (“Ms. Gelin”) was admitted to the Baltimore County Detention Center (“BCDC”) on November 4, 2013. (Am. Compl. ¶ 30, ECF No. 12). Baltimore County employs Correct Care to provide healthcare at BCDC. (Id. ¶ 10). Upon Ms. Gelin's admission, Correct Care noted her history of mental illness and signs of benzodiazepine and opiate addiction, withdrawal, bipolar disorder, depression, and psychosis. (Id. ¶¶ 31-35). BCDC and Correct Care staff, however, did not provide her with medication, failed to timely refer her to mental health professionals, did not sufficiently protect her from abusive fellow inmates, and did not place her on special observation. (Id. ¶¶ 41, 44-46, 48, 50, 53, 54). Ms. Gelin then took her own life on November 14, 2013. (Id. ¶¶ 55, 58).

         On November 11, 2016, Ms. Gelin's parents, Edward and Deborah Gelin (the “Gelins”) sued Baltimore County, Baltimore County Sheriff Jay R. Fisher, and BCDC employees Kyle Shuman, Roselor Saint Fleur, Victoria Titus, Jennifer Sevier, Diane Bahr, Michael Salisbury II, Michelle Rawlins, Nicholas Quisguard, Myesha White, Joseph Lux, Gregory Lightner, Carl Luckett, and Doe Defendants 1-10 (the “Original Complaint”). (See Compl., ECF No. 1). The Gelins alleged the following counts: violations of Ms. Gelin's constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2012) against all the individually named Defendants (Counts I-III); violations of Ms. Gelin's constitutional rights under § 1983 against Baltimore County and Sheriff Fisher (Count IV); violations of the Maryland Declaration of Rights against all the individually named Defendants (Counts V-VI); Negligence, Gross Negligence, and Wrongful Death against all the individually named Defendants (Counts VII-IX); and Negligent Hiring, Retention, and/or Supervision against Baltimore County, Sheriff Fisher, and Doe Defendants 1-10 (Count X). (See id. ¶¶ 87-182). For all Counts, the Gelins seek compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorneys' fees and costs. (Id.).

         On February 8, 2017, the Gelins filed an Amended Complaint. (See Am. Compl.). In the Original Complaint, the Gelins alleged that Sheriff Fisher was “in charge of managing and operating BCDC.” (Compl. ¶ 10). The Gelins amended their complaint to allege that instead, Richardson was “responsible for administering the Department of Corrections and in charge of all persons employed by the County to operate BCDC, ” (Am. Compl. ¶ 11). The Gelins further amended their Complaint to reflect that Defendants Shuman, Saint Fleur, Titus, Sevier, and Bahr were employed by Correct Care and were acting as agents of Correct Care and Baltimore County. (Id. ¶¶ 12-17). The Gelins correspondingly amended their Complaint to allege that Correct Care was liable for Negligent Hiring, Retention, and/or Supervision. (Id. ¶¶ 180-85).

         Baltimore County filed its Motion to Dismiss on behalf of Richardson and Doe Defendants 1-8 on March 6, 2017. (ECF No. 16). Correct Care filed its Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment, on March 7, 2017. (ECF No. 17). The Gelins filed Responses to Baltimore County's and Correct Care's Motions on March 20 and March 21, 2017, respectively. (ECF Nos. 20, 21). Correct Care filed a Reply to the Gelins' Response on March 28, 2017. (ECF No. 22). To date, the Court has not received a Reply from Baltimore County.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         “The purpose of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is to test the sufficiency of a complaint, ” not to “resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243-44 (4th Cir. 1999) (quoting Republican Party v. Martin, 980 F.2d 943, 952 (4th Cir. 1992)). A complaint fails to state a claim if it does not contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), or does not “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, ” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Id. (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). Though the plaintiff is not required to forecast evidence to prove the elements of the claim, the complaint must allege sufficient facts to establish each element. Goss v. Bank of Am., N.A., 917 F.Supp.2d 445, 449 (D.Md. 2013) (quoting Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir. 2012)), aff'd sub nom., Goss v. Bank of Am., NA, 546 F.App'x 165 (4th Cir. 2013).

         In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must examine the complaint as a whole, consider the factual allegations in the complaint as true, and construe the factual allegations in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268 (1994); Lambeth v. Bd. of Comm'rs of Davidson Cty., 407 F.3d 266, 268 (4th Cir. 2005) (citing Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)). But, the court need not accept unsupported or conclusory factual allegations devoid of any reference to actual events, United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979), or legal conclusions couched as factual allegations, Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         B. Analysis

         Baltimore County moves to dismiss all Counts against Richardson and Doe Defendants 1-8 for failure to meet § 1983's statute of limitations. Correct Care moves to dismiss the lone Count against it for failure to state a claim. The Court considers each set of Defendants in turn.

         1. ...


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