United States District Court, D. Maryland
J. MESSITTE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
February 29, 2016, the Court received for filing an
“Affidavit” submitted by detainee Ray Blanchard.
ECF No. 1. Blanchard raised a laundry list of claims
regarding his detention at the Prince George's County
Detention Center (“PGCDC”). He alleged that he
was denied access to the PGCDC grievance system; PGCDC staff
used excessive force against him on July 14, 2015; detainees
are provided inadequate medical treatment; the PGCDC
commissary is overpriced; PGCDC staff hinder, obstruct and
prevent the forwarding of personal, legal and special mail;
detainees are denied due process in the taking of telephone,
commissary, and other privileges prior to a disciplinary
hearing; and detainees are denied “leisure and law
library” public information. Id.
Supplemental Complaint, Blanchard alleges that on July 14,
2015, excessive force was applied against him when Officer
Reid pushed Blanchard's arms against the wall and grabbed
him around the collar and forced him “into the
direction of the multipurpose room.” ECF No. 14. He
also claims that Reid defamed him by stating very loudly
“you mother fuckers aint nothing [but a] bunch of
crackheads and dope fiends” and continued to use
obscene language. Id.
further states that his medical needs were seemingly
neglected as to his rheumatism, eyeglasses, medically
restricted housing, pain medication, and ace wrap bandages.
claims that he and other detainees were denied meaningful
access to the courts as they were denied copies of
information related to civil litigation, the attorney
grievance process, habeas corpus, and
additionally claims that his grievance was not responded to,
and he was subject to officer “harassment.”
January 25, 2017, Blanchard's Motion for Appointment of
Counsel, Motion Requesting Amendment and Consolidation with
Ali v. Prince George's County Dep't of
Corr., et al., Civil Action No. PWG-16-186 (D. Md.),
 Motion to
Amend the Civil Rights Complaint, and Motion for Default
Judgment were denied. Further, Defendants McTernan,
McDonough, and Reid's Motion to Dismiss and
Alternatively, for Summary Judgment was dismissed without
prejudice. Blanchard was instructed to file a Supplemental
Complaint. ECF Nos. 21 & 22.
court-ordered Supplemental Complaint names PGCDC Director
McDonough and Correctional Officer Reid as
Defendants. He states that on July 14, 201,
Correctional Officer Reid used excessive force against him
and another PGCDC detainee. He claims that Reid
“forcibly pushed [Blanchard's] arms higher on the
wall for no legitimate purposes, additionally using
obscenities.” Blanchard additionally claims that Reid
later grabbed him around the collar and forcibly pulled him
in the direction of the multipurpose room. ECF No. 27, p. 4.
He additionally names “Zone Commanders” Waddy and
Kamara and Correctional Officer Kwaitan as Defendants,
claiming that Waddy and Kamara failed to respond to his
request for a grievance form to raise a claim about
Reid's alleged action and Kwaitan informed him it was
“not a grievable issue” and refused to retrieve
him a grievance form on other occasions, thus violating PGCDC
policy. He maintains that these “tactics are used to
prevent and discourage …detainees to access the
courts.” Id., pp. 5-7. The Supplemental
Complaint also discusses the non-response of Major Cedrick
Gamble to a State court writ of mandamus which was seemingly
filed regarding the distribution of grievance forms. He
raises an equal protection claim, claiming that he was
treated differently from other detainees who requested and
received forms. Finally, Blanchard alleges that Director
McDonough is liable due to her responsibility for the overall
operation of PGCDC and she is “very familiar with the
numerous facts and allegation[s] of ‘official
misconduct' and ‘excessive force'”
leveled in the Supplemental Complaint and has failed to
correct the illegal conduct.6 Id., pp. 9-11. He
seeks declaratory, injunctive, and other miscellaneous
relief, as well as monetary damages. ECF No. 27, pp. 9-12.
Motion to Dismiss
McTernan, McDonough, and Reid have filed a
“Second” Motion to Dismiss, arguing that
Blanchard's supplemental filing fails to set out a
federal claim. ECF No. 30. Blanchard has filed an Opposition.
ECF No. 34. As previously noted, the purpose of a motion to
dismiss filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) is to test the
sufficiency of the Complaint. See Presley v. City of
Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006). A
Plaintiff's Complaint need only satisfy the standard of
Rule 8(a), which requires a “short and plain statement
of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). “Rule 8(a)(2)
still requires a ‘showing, ' rather than a blanket
assertion, of entitlement to relief.” Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 n. 3 (2007). That
showing must consist of more than “a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action” or
“naked assertion[s] devoid of further factual
enhancement.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (internal citations omitted).
stage, the Court must consider all well-pleaded allegations
in a Complaint as true, Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S.
266, 268 (1994), and must construe all factual allegations in
the light most favorable to the Plaintiff, see Harrison
v. Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 6 In
an accompanying Affidavit Blanchard raises multiple claims
regarding detainees at PGCDC involving access to courts,
excessive force, medical treatment, cleaning supplies and
toiletries, mail obstruction, and property and
“nutritious' food deprivations. ECF No. 27-2. He
asks that his claims against Defendants Meskaram, Abu,
Remero, McTernan, and Prince George's County Corrections
be dismissed without prejudice. Id. 783 (4th Cir.
1999) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d
1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)). Because Blanchard is
self-represented, his submissions are liberally construed.
See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). In
evaluating the Complaint, the Court need not accept
unsupported legal allegations, Revene v. Charles Cnty.
Comm'rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989), nor must
it agree with legal conclusions couched as factual
allegations, Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679, or
conclusory factual allegations devoid of any reference to
actual events, United Black Firefighters v. Hirst,
604 F.2d 844, 847 (4th Cir. 1979); see also Francis v.
Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 193 (4th Cir. 2009).
“[W]here 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.' “
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2)). Thus, “[d]etermining whether a complaint
states a plausible claim for relief will...be a
context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to
draw on its judicial experience and common sense.”
Id. A Complaint needs to give the parties sufficient
notice as to the type of claim being alleged. See Chacko
v. Patuxent Inst., 429 F.3d 505, 509 (4th Cir. 2005).
asks that his Complaint against Defendants Meskaram, Abu,
Remero, and McTernan be dismissed without prejudice. His
request shall be granted. This leaves Blanchard's claims
of “excessive force” against Reid, his
supplemental claims regarding the PGCDC grievance process
against Correctional Officers Kwaitan, “Zone
Commanders” Waddy and Kamara, and Major Gamble, and his
supervisory liability claim against Director McDonough for
the Court's examination.
alleges that Reid used excessive force against him when on
July 14, 2015, during a cell “shake down, ” Reid
forcibly pushed Blanchard's arms higher on the wall,
grabbed Blanchard around the collar, and forcibly pulled him
in the direction of a multi-purpose room. As interpreted
under the Constitution, pretrial detainees such as Blanchard
cannot be punished at all, much less “maliciously and
sadistically.” Ingraham v. Wright,
430 U.S. 651, 671-672, n. 40 (1977); Graham v.
Connor, 490 U.S. 386, 395, n. 10 (1989). A plaintiff must
prove “ ‘that Defendants inflicted unnecessary
and wanton pain and suffering' upon the detainee.”
Carr v. Deeds, 453 F.3d 593, 605 (4th Cir. 2006).
(quoting Taylor v. McDuffie, 155 F.3d 479, 483 (4th
Cir.1998)). “The proper inquiry is whether the force
applied was in a good faith effort to maintain or restore
discipline or maliciously and sadistically for the very
purpose of causing harm.” Id. (quoting
Taylor v. McDuffie, 155 F.3d 479, 483 (4th Cir.
1998)). A plaintiff is no longer required to demonstrate that
his injuries are not de minimis. Wilkins v. Gaddy,
559 U.S. 34, 38-39 (2010).
Supreme Court held that “the appropriate standard for a
pretrial detainee's excessive force claim is solely an
objective one.” Kingsley v. Hendrickson, __
U.S. __, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2473 (2015). It is enough that a
pretrial detainee show that the “force purposely or
knowingly used against him was objectively unreasonable,
” id., regardless of an officer's state of
mind, id. at 2472 (cited in Dilwworth v.
Adams,841 F.3d 246, 255 (4th Cir. 2016). Pursuant to
Kingsley, this Court must consider whether under the
“facts and circumstances” of this particular