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Turner v. Archer Western Contractors, LLC

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 18, 2017




         On June 30, 2017, plaintiff Steven Turner filed suit in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City against defendants Archer Western Contractors, LLC (“Archer Western”) and Michael Sutton. ECF 2.[1] Defendants removed the case to this Court on August 7, 2017, based on diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332. ECF 1; see also ECF 25.

         In his Complaint, Turner alleges that Archer Western sprayed “hazardous chemicals” onto his motor vehicles, causing the paint to peel. Id. at 1.[2] As a result of the spraying, Turner got “hazardous chemical on [his] hands and skin” and also on his face and eyes. Id. Further, he claims that the chemicals got into both of his vehicles and that he has “been breathing hazardous chemicals.” Id. Turner maintains that he has developed physical symptoms as a result of exposure to the chemicals, including breathing problems, throat problems, skin problems, and eye problems. Id. Turner seeks $20 million in damages. Id.

         The Complaint is accompanied by two “estimate/damage report” documents, prepared by MAACO Collision Repair & Auto Painting. ECF 2-1. Those reports indicate that two vehicles, presumably belonging to plaintiff, sustained a total of nearly $9, 000 in damages. See id.

         Turner has sent numerous submissions to the Court. See ECF 11; ECF 12; ECF 15; ECF 18; ECF 19; ECF 20; ECF 22; ECF 24. In most of his letters, Turner repeats the allegations in his Complaint. Furthermore, plaintiff has sent several exhibits to the Court, including photographs and prescription drug boxes. See ECF 17. However, because plaintiff did not provide a certificate of service indicating that copies of the exhibits had been served on defendants, I directed the Clerk to return them. Id.; ECF 21.

         Archer Western answered the Complaint on August 10, 2017. ECF 9. At the same time, Sutton moved to dismiss the case as to him (ECF 8), supported by a memorandum of law (ECF 8-1) (collectively, “Motion”), and an exhibit. ECF 8-2. Sutton urges dismissal, asserting that plaintiff has failed to allege “any facts whatsoever regarding . . . Sutton's involvement in this matter that would give rise to any liability on his part.” ECF 8-1 at 3. Turner responded in opposition to the Motion on August 29, 2017. ECF 22 (“Opposition”). He states: “I Steven Turner do not want my case dismiss [sic], I want my case to remain in court Judge Ellen Lipton Hollander for damage done to my health and the damage to my cars.” Id. In the Opposition, Turner does not mention Sutton. Id. Subsequently, Turner supplemented his Opposition. See ECF 24. Again, he never mentioned Sutton. Id.

         No hearing is necessary to resolve the Motion. See Local Rule 105.6. The Court is mindful of its obligation to construe liberally the pleadings of a pro se litigant, which are “held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); see also White v. White, 886 F.2d 721, 722-23 (4th Cir. 1989). Nevertheless, for the reasons that follow, I shall grant the Motion.

         I. Standard of Review

         A defendant may test the legal sufficiency of a complaint by way of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). In re Birmingham, 846 F.3d 88, 92 (4th Cir. 2017); Goines v. Valley Cmty. Servs. Bd., 822 F.3d 159, 165-66 (4th Cir. 2016); McBurney v. Cuccinelli, 616 F.3d 393, 408 (4th Cir. 2010), aff'd sub nom. McBurney v. Young, __U.S.__, 133 S.Ct. 1709 (2013); Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion constitutes an assertion by a defendant that, even if the facts alleged by a plaintiff are true, the complaint fails as a matter of law “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Whether a complaint states a claim for relief is assessed by reference to the pleading requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). The purpose of the rule is to assure that a defendant receives “fair notice” of the claims and the “grounds” for entitlement to relief. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). The rule provides, id.:

(a) Claim for Relief. A pleading that states a claim for relief must contain:
(1) a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction, unless the court already has jurisdiction and the claim needs no new jurisdictional support;
(2) a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief; and
(3) a demand for the relief sought, which may include relief in the alternative or different types of relief.

         To survive a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain facts sufficient to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; seeAshcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) (“Our decision in Twombly expounded the pleading standard for 'all civil actions' . . . .” (citation omitted)); see also Willner v. Dimon, 849 F.3d 93, 112 (4th Cir. 2017). But, a ...

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