United States District Court, D. Maryland
L. RUSSELL, III UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Benjamin Waters brings suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(2012) against Baltimore City Booking and Intake Center
(“BCBIC”), Warden Dionne Randolph, and BCBIC
Officers T. Brown, J. Francis, M. Fortcham, and P. Jackson
(collectively, the “BCBIC Defendants”), alleging
violations of his civil rights while he was detained at
BCBIC. (Am. Compl. at 3, ECF No. 3). Waters also names Baltimore
City Mayor, Catherine Pugh, and Baltimore City Assistant
State's Attorneys, Shari Greene and Tracy Varda, who
participated in his 2016 criminal prosecution on charges of
first- and second-degree assault and wearing or carrying a
deadly weapon with intent to injure. (Id.). Waters seeks
a written apology, money damages, expungement of his arrest
and court records, and “appropriately placed
cameras” in BCBIC to monitor the corrections officers.
(Id. at 5).
who is no longer detained, filed his complaint under 28
U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) (2012), which permits an indigent
litigant to commence an action in federal district court
without prepaying the filing fee. Under 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2), the Court is required to review civil complaints
filed in forma pauperis to determine if the plaintiff alleges
cognizable claims. Upon review, if the Court concludes that a
claim is “frivolous or malicious, ” “fails
to state a claim on which relief may be granted, ” or
“seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief, ” the Court must dismiss the
complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii).
Court is mindful, however, of its obligation to liberally
construe self-represented pleadings, such as the instant
Complaint. See Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94. In
evaluating such a complaint, the Court assumes the factual
allegations are true. Id. at 93 (citing Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007)).
Pro se complaints are entitled to special care to determine
whether any possible set of facts would entitle the plaintiff
to relief. Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9-10 (1980).
Nonetheless, “[w]hile pro se complaints may
‘represent the work of an untutored hand requiring
special judicial solicitude, ' a district court is not
required to recognize ‘obscure or extravagant claims
defying the most concerted efforts to unravel
them.'” Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs. for
Balt., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990) (quoting
Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1277
(4th Cir. 1985)).
overview of Waters' previous litigation history is
necessary to review of the instant action. Waters has on two
prior occasions filed lawsuits in connection with his
criminal detention in Maryland. Waters v. Warden, et
al., No. BPG-16-3238 (D.Md.), is an ongoing § 1983
action against the BCBIC Defendants and two additional BCBIC
employees, D. Williams and N. Mars, who are alleged to have
denied Waters meals on multiple occasions, physically
assaulted him, and conducted inappropriate body searches.
(Second Am. Compl. at 2, ECF No. 19,
BPG-16-3238). The Court has appointed counsel to
represent Waters in that case. (ECF No. 55, BPG-16-3238).
Waters v. City of Baltimore, et al., No. GLR-17-1113
(D.Md.), the Court dismissed without prejudice Waters'
claims of malicious prosecution, assault by officers at the
time of his arrest, and the denial of affordable bail to
permit the filing of a separate action limited to those
claims. (ECF No. 3, GLR-17-1113). The Court later dismissed
without prejudice Waters' claim that he was wrongfully
held at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center
(“CTPHC”) and forcibly medicated pending
adjudication of his criminal charges because Waters failed to
fully and properly amend the Complaint to provide additional
information as to these claims. (ECF No. 4, GLR-17-1113).
time Waters filed suit against the BCBIC Defendants,
Williams, and Mars, on September 23, 2016, Waters was a
pretrial detainee awaiting trial in the Circuit Court for
Baltimore City on charges of first- and second-degree
assault, and wearing or carrying a deadly weapon with intent
to injure, stemming from a July 7, 2016 incident involving a
police officer. (Mot. to Dismiss for Summ. J.
[“Defs.' Mot.”] Ex. A, ECF No. 12-2,
BPG-16-3238). Waters was initially confined on “5
North” at BCBIC. (Mem. Supp. Defs. Mot. at 2 n.1, ECF
12-1, BPG-16-3238). Waters alleges that while on “5
North, ” correctional officers (“COs”) J.
Francis, T. Brown, D. Williams, and M. Fortcham deprived him
of meals on seven separate occasions. (Second Am. Compl. at
2, ECF No. 19, BPG-16-3238). Waters also claims that CO P.
Jackson struck him in the upper body on August 3, 2016, and
that Jackson pulled him from his bunk and onto the floor of
his cell on August 8, 2016. (Id.). Waters also
alleges that on September 2 and 20, 2016, a female officer,
CO N. Mars, inappropriately searched him on the stairway near
BCBIC's gym. (Id.). On February 10, 2017, the
State's Attorney placed Waters' criminal case on the
stet docket and Waters was subsequently released from
detention. (Defs.' Mot. Ex. A).
claims against the BCBIC Defendants in the instant case
already are before the Court in Civil Action No. BPG-16-3238,
which is proceeding with counsel representing Waters. The
Court will, therefore, dismiss the claims against the BCBIC
Defendants without prejudice.
Waters' allegations against Mayor Pugh, Waters fails to
state a claim. Waters names Mayor Pugh as a Defendant because
she “runs the city [and] is responsible for the civil
servants”-a claim of supervisory liability. (Compl. at
3). To the extent that Waters' claim is based on a legal
theory known as respondeat superior, it is not a
cognizable theory of liability under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. See Love-Lane v. Martin, 355 F.3d
766, 782 (4th Cir. 2004) (no respondeat superior
liability under § 1983).
liability under § 1983 may, however, be “premised
on ‘a recognition that supervisory indifference or
tacit authorization of subordinates' misconduct may be a
causative factor in the constitutional injuries they inflict
on those committed to their care.'” Baynard v.
Malone, 268 F.3d 228, 235 (4th Cir. 2001) (quoting
Slakan v. Porter, 737 F.2d 368, 372 (4th Cir.
1984)). Supervisory liability under § 1983 must be
supported with evidence that: “(1) the supervisor had
actual or constructive knowledge that his subordinate was
engaged in conduct that posed a pervasive and unreasonable
risk of constitutional injury to citizens like the plaintiff;
(2) the supervisor's response to the knowledge was so
inadequate as to show deliberate indifference to or tacit
authorization of the alleged offensive practices; and (3)
there was an affirmative causal link between the
supervisor's inaction and the particular constitutional
injury suffered by the plaintiff.” Shaw v.
Stroud, 13 F.3d 791, 799 (4th Cir. 1994) (internal
quotation marks omitted). Here, Waters' statement that
Mayor Pugh is liable because she “runs the city [and]
is responsible for the civil servants” is insufficient
to satisfy the elements of a § 1983 supervisory
liability claim. Accordingly, the Court will dismiss the
claim against Mayor Pugh.
Waters' fails to state malicious prosecution and false
imprisonment claims against Assistant State's Attorneys
Greene and Varda. To state a malicious prosecution claim, the
plaintiff must allege: (1) “a criminal proceeding
instituted or continued by the defendant against the
plaintiff”; (2) “termination of the proceeding in
favor of the accused”; (3) “absence of probable
cause for the proceeding”; and (4)
“‘malice', or a primary purpose in
instituting the proceeding other than that of bringing an
offender to justice.” Montgomery Ward v.
Wilson, 664 A.2d 916, 922 (Md. 1995) (quoting Exxon
Corp. v. Kelly, 381 A.2d 1146, 1149 (Md. 1978)). Here,
Waters' criminal proceeding has not terminated in his
favor because the charges against him were placed on the stet
docket. See Hines v. French, 852 A.2d 1047, 1057
(Md.Ct.App. 2004). Thus, Waters' fails to state a
malicious prosecution claim against Greene and Varda.
the false imprisonment claim, this tort requires a showing
that the deprivation of liberty was without consent and
without legal justification. See Manikhi v. Mass. Transit
Admin., 758 A.2d 95 (Md. 2000). As State's
Attorneys, Greene and Varda are not the individuals who
arrested Waters, nor were they responsible for his detention
pending trial. Thus, Waters' fails to state a false