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Hinton v. City of Baltimore

United States District Court, D. Maryland

April 6, 2018

DREW HINTON Plaintiff
v.
CITY OF BALTIMORE, ET AL. Defendants

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          Marvin J. Garbis United States District Judge.

         The Court has before it Defendants, Hanna's, Jeanty's and Harty's Motion to Dismiss, Or In the Alternative For Summary Judgment [ECF No. 8], and the materials submitted relating thereto. The Court finds that a hearing is unnecessary.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Drew Hinton (“Hinton” or “Plaintiff”) brings a suit against Defendants P.O. Fred Hannah (“Hannah”), SGT. Francisco Jeanty (“Jeanty”), SGT Marlon Harty (“Harty”), and ten John Doe Defendants.[1] The Complaint asserts Section 1983 claims in Seven Counts: municipal liability, supervisory violations, unlawful arrest, excessive force, failure to intervene, malicious prosecution, and abuse of process. Defendants move to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

         On May 18, 2014, Plaintiff's fiancé drove her to the hospital in a rush because she was five months pregnant, was bleeding from her vagina, and believed she was suffering a miscarriage. Police stopped their vehicle and arrested her fiancé on an alleged outstanding warrant for failure to make child support payments. They forced Plaintiff to exit the vehicle and also arrested her for hindering an investigation, despite her allegation that she was not threatening in any way.

         When Plaintiff arrived at Baltimore Central Booking, the police officers were ordered to take her to the hospital. She discovers at the hospital that she experienced a miscarriage.

         Subsequently, all charges against Plaintiff relating to the May 2014 incident were dropped. Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on November 22, 2017.

         II. DISMISSAL STANDARD

         A motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint. A complaint need only contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)(citations omitted). When evaluating a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a plaintiff's well- pleaded allegations are accepted as true and the complaint is viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. However, conclusory statements or a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” will not suffice. Id. A complaint must allege sufficient facts 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).

         Inquiry into whether a complaint states a plausible claim is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. Thus, if the well-pleaded facts contained within a complaint “do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not shown - that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009)).

         Generally, a motion to dismiss filed under Rule 12(b)(6) cannot reach the merits of an affirmative defense. Goodman v. Praxair, Inc., 494 F.3d 458, 464 (4th Cir. 2007). However, affirmative defenses are appropriate to consider at the Rule 12(b)(6) stage “when the face of the complaint clearly reveals the existence of a meritorious affirmative defense.” Occupy Columbia v. Haley, 738 F.3d 107, 116 (4th Cir. 2013) (emphasis added).

         III. DISCUSSION

         Defendants argue that all of Plaintiff's claims are barred by the three-year statute of limitations.

         “Section 1983 contains no statute of limitations and, consequently, it has been held that the most analogous state statute of limitations would apply. In Maryland that has been held to be three years.” Duggan v. Town of Ocean City, 516 F.Supp. 1081, 1083 (D. Md. 1981). See also Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 5-101, Davidson v. Koerber, 454 F.Supp. 1256, 1261 (D. Md. 1978); Kashaka v. ...


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