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Anderson v. Okojie

United States District Court, D. Maryland

September 19, 2017

SHAMAR ANDERSON Plaintiff
v.
OFFICER AKHERE OKOJIE Defendant

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          William M. Nickerson, Senior United States District Judge

         In response to the above-captioned civil rights complaint, Defendant moves to dismiss for failure to state a claim. ECF 25. Plaintiff was advised by letter from the Clerk of his right to file an Opposition Response and of the consequences of failing to do so. ECF 26. In response, Plaintiff filed two pieces of correspondence (ECF 27 & 28), neither of which address the assertions raised by Defendant. Rather, Plaintiff appears to accuse the Clerk or this Court of siding with Defendant and claims he has been unfairly denied counsel and improperly ordered to pay the filing fee pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1915. Id. No hearing is required to resolve the matters pending. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow, Defendant's motion shall be granted and the complaint dismissed without prejudice.

         Background

         By his complaint, Plaintiff Shamar Anderson, an inmate committed to the custody of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and confined to Western Correctional Institution (WCI), asserts that on March 11, 2014, while he was confined at Maryland Correctional Institution Jessup (MCIJ), he was assaulted by Akhere Okojie, a correctional officer. ECF 1 at p. 4. Anderson states that Okojie punched him in the face while another higher ranking officer was escorting Anderson to segregation. Id. He further claims that Okojie's coworkers, who Anderson does not name, "almost killed me with [mace]." Id. Anderson explains that two and one-half cans of mace were deployed and some of it went into Anderson's mouth and nose. Id. He claims his "skin was red hot, burning up." Id.

         As relief, Anderson seeks monetary damages in the amount of $25, 600 and cites pain and suffering, loss of school time, and fees required for medical sick call slips. Id.

         Standard of Review

         Motion to Dismiss

         In reviewing the complaint in light of a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6) the court accepts all well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and construes the facts and reasonable inferences derived therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Venkatraman v. REI Sys., Inc., 417 F.3d 418, 420 (4th Cir. 2005) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)); Ibarra v. United States, 120 F.3d 472, 473 (4th Cir. 1997). Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires only a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Migdal v. Rowe Price-Fleming Int'l Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26 (4th Cir. 2001); see also Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 513 (2002) (stating that a complaint need only satisfy the "simplified pleading standard" of Rule 8(a)).

         The Supreme Court of the United States explained a "plaintiffs obligation to provide the "grounds" of his "entitlement to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Ail. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted). Nonetheless, the complaint does not need "detailed factual allegations" to survive a motion to dismiss. Id. at 555. Instead, "once a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Id. at 563. To survive a motion to dismiss, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. "But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not 'show[n]' - 'that the pleader is entitled to relief" Id. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

         "[O]nce a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563 (citing Sanjuan v. Am. Bd. of Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc., 40 F.3d, 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1994)) (once a claim for relief has been stated, a plaintiff 'receives the benefit of imagination, so long as the hypotheses are consistent with the complaint').

         Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

         Defendant raises the affirmative defense of non-exhaustion and asserts the complaint must be dismissed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1997e. ECF 25 at pp. 4-7. Inmates are required to exhaust "such administrative remedies as are available" before filing an action. 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a), see also Ross v. Blake, U.S., 136 S.Ct. 1850, 1858 (2016) (An inmate "must exhaust available remedies, but need not exhaust unavailable ones."). The statute provides in pertinent part that:

No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such ...

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