United States District Court, D. Maryland
ADOL T. OWEN-WILLIAMS, JR., Plaintiff,
MICHAEL KWARCIANY, et al., Defendants.
Xinis United States District Judge
April 27, 2017, Plaintiff Adol T. Owen-Williams Jr.
(“Owen-Williams”), proceeding pro se,
asserted claims for “false arrest and detention, false,
imprisonment, malicious prosecution, abuse of process,
negligence, and intentional infliction of the emotional
distress” against Michael Kwarciany and the
“Montgomery County Police, ” in connection with
his arrest at or around October 19, 2016, and subsequent
conviction in January 2017. See ECF No. 1 at 1.
Owen-Williams requests compensatory damages and punitive
damages of $5, 100, 000.00. Id. at ¶ 73.
before the Court are Defendants' motions to dismiss the
Complaint under Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and
12(b)(6), and Defendants' motion for sanctions requesting
fees, costs and a pre-filing injunction against
Owen-Williams. See ECF Nos. 12 & 13, 14. For the
following reasons, the motions to dismiss, ECF Nos. 12 &
13, are GRANTED and the Complaint is dismissed. The motion
for sanctions, ECF No. 14, is GRANTED in part and DENIED in
Court takes the facts from Plaintiff's Complaint as true
for purposes of the motions to dismiss. Plaintiff Adol T.
Owen-Williams Jr. (“Owen-Williams”) is a duly
elected member of the Montgomery County Republican Central
Committee (MCRCC). ECF No. 1 at ¶ 1. Historically,
Owen-Williams has attempted to gain entry to MCRCC's
headquarters, located in Rockville, Maryland, and in
September 2015, Montgomery County issued a No. Trespass Order
to Owen-Williams, barring him from the MCRCC headquarters.
Id. at ¶ 8; see also ECF Nos. 13-3
& 13-4. Owen-Williams alleges that the No. Trespass Order
was issued because Michael L. Higgs (“Higgs”),
the former chair of the MCRCC, “was desperate to remove
Owen-Williams from the MCRCC due to the fact that Higgs and
several of his comrades did not want a Black American on the
MCRCC, ” ECF No. 1 at ¶ 8, and because
Owen-Williams “previously exposed to the Montgomery
County State Attorney's Office for Financial Fraud and
involvement in habitually viewing Child Pornography [sic] at
the MCRCC Headquarters, ” id. at ¶ 12.
Sometime before October 2016, the September 2015 No. Trespass
Order was rescinded or expired. See Id. at ¶ 8;
see also ECF No. 13-3 at 2.
October 17, 2016, Higgs called the Montgomery County Police
and identified himself as the “Owner or Owner
Agent” of the MCRCC headquarters. ECF No. 1 at ¶
20. Higgs stated that Owen-Williams was trespassing on the
MCRCC headquarters and requested his arrest. Id. The
next day, October 18, 2016, Owen-Williams received a phone
call from Detective Michael Kwarciany of the Montgomery
County Police Department (“Detective Kwarciany”)
regarding the “ongoing Civil Dispute” between
Owen-Williams and other members of the MCRCC. Id. at
¶ 7. Owen-Williams agreed to meet with Detective
Kwarciany later that afternoon. Id. At the meeting,
Detective Kwarciany informed Owen-Williams that Montgomery
County was serving him with “ANOTHER UNLAWFUL one (1)
year NO TRESPASS ORDER” for the MCRCC headquarters.
Id. at ¶ 8. Owen-Williams told Detective
Kwarciany that Kwarciany was “willfully overriding the
Court[‘s] TWO prior ruling[s] so as to impose
Kwarciany[‘s] will on Owen-Williams at the request of
one or more of the three individuals committing rampant
crimes at the MCRCC, ” and that Owen-Williams would
seek an “Injunction, Show Cause Order, and [/] or
Sanctions because of Kwarciany's unlawful actions.”
Id. at ¶¶ 8-9.
received a phone call from Detective Kwarciany the following
day informing him that it would not be necessary for
Owen-Williams to file an injunction because “after
having discussed Kwarciany's previous day's actions
with the [Montgomery County Police] ‘Command Staff'
. . . they unanimously decided to AGAIN RECEND [sic] the
UNLAWFUL No. Trespass Order.” Id. at ¶
10. Detective Kwarciany then requested that Owen-Williams
come and meet with “Command Staff” at the
“Police Headquarters.” Id. However, upon
Owen-Williams' arrival to the “Police Headquarters
. . . Owen-Williams was violently ambushed and descended upon
by approximately 8-10 Police Officers who appeared to come
out of every closed door in the lobby of the building, and
violently placed under arrest.” ECF No. 1 at
¶¶ 11, 42, 48, 55. Owen-Williams was presented with
a “Statement of Charges” which contained three
charges, and Detective Kwarciany “made it pellucidly
[sic] clear that his UNLAWFUL Actions were being done at the
request, AND AS A FAVOR, to Michael Higgs, R. Dwights Patel,
and Mark Uncapher, ” to assist their efforts to remove
Owen-Williams from the MCRCC. Id. at ¶ 12.
around January 31, 2017, Owen-Williams was “convicted
of 2 of the 3 charges” detailed in the Charging Papers
- trespass, burglary, and malicious destruction of property -
and sentenced to two years' imprisonment. Id. at
¶ 15; ECF Nos. 13-4 & 13-5. The conviction was
“[b]ased primarily on the False Charges by
Kwarciany” and “absolutely zero factual or
physical evidence.” Id. at ¶ 15. On April
11, 2017, “upon a factual review of the false
statements made by Kwarciany and Higgs, ” an appellate
court overturned his conviction and dismissed the charges.
Id. at ¶ 17. Owen-Williams filed this lawsuit
on April 27, 2017, alleging state common law claims and
violation of his constitutional rights. See ECF No.
Standard of Review
ruling on a motion to dismiss brought under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), all well-pleaded allegations are
accepted as true and in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007). “However, conclusory statements or a
‘formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not [suffice].' ” EEOC v.
Performance Food Grp., Inc., 16 F.Supp.3d 584, 588 (D.
Md. 2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
“Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to
relief above a speculative level.” Twombly,
550 U.S. at 555. “ ‘[N]aked assertions' of
wrongdoing necessitate some ‘factual enhancement'
within the complaint to cross ‘the line between
possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief.'
” Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193
(4th Cir. 2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Although pro se pleadings are construed liberally to allow
for the development of a potentially meritorious case,
Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980), courts cannot
ignore a clear failure to allege facts setting forth a
cognizable claim. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc.
Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990) (“The
‘special judicial solicitude' with which a district
court should view such pro se complaints does not transform
the court into an advocate. Only those questions which are
squarely presented to a court may properly be
addressed.”) (internal citation omitted)); see also
Bell v. Bank of Am., N.A., No. RDB-13-0478, 2013 WL
6528966 (D. Md. Dec. 11, 2013) (“Although a pro
se plaintiff is general[ly] given more leeway than a
party represented by counsel . . . a district court is not
obligated to ferret through a [c]omplaint that is so
confused, ambiguous, vague or otherwise unintelligible that
its true substance, if any, is well disguised.”).
urge dismissal of this case under Rule 12(b)(1) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure because the Complaint
alleges only state common law claims, and thus in
Defendants' view, does not present a federal question.
Further, they argue, that to the extent any federal claim is
articulated in the Complaint, the claims must be dismissed on
grounds of qualified immunity or pursuant to Monell v.
Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978), or
for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). A fair reading of the Complaint
demonstrates that it adequately pleads claims against all
Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Accordingly the
Court retains federal question jurisdiction. See 28
U.S.C. § 1331. The motion to dismiss for lack of
jurisdiction is denied.
Section 1983 Claims
also assert that Owen-Williams has failed to state an
adequate claim, and so dismissal is warranted under Rule
12(b)(6). Defendants are correct.
any such claims against the Montgomery County Police
Department must be dismissed because the police department
itself is not an entity capable of being sued. Section 1983
provides for the liability of “[e]very person who,
under color of [state law], subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States . . . to the
deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured
by the Constitution and laws.” 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
“Local police departments, ” however, “are
not legal entities amendable to civil suit - the local police
department's parent municipal corporation is the proper
defendant.” Costley v. City of Westminster,
No. GLR-16-1447, 2017 WL 35437, at *1 n.1 (D. Md. Jan. 4,
2017), aff'd sub nom. Costley v. Steiner, 689
Fed.Appx. 753 (4th Cir. 2017), (citing Revene v.
Charles Cty. Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 874 (4th Cir.
1989). That said, because Owen-Williams is proceeding pro