United States District Court, D. Maryland
CATHERINE C. BLAKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Watkins alleges violations of the Eighth Amendment to the
United States Constitution in this complaint filed pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. §1983. Defendant Wexford Health Sources,
Inc., ("Wexford") has filed a motion to dismiss or,
in the alternative, motion for summary judgment (ECF 15).
Watkins filed an opposition (ECF 20) and Wexford filed a
reply. ECF 21. Defendants, the State of Maryland, the
Maryland Division of Correction, Warden Kathleen Landerkin of
the Metropolitan Transition Center ("MTC"), Officer
Christopher MurrEstrada, Officer Uzoma Dike, Major Calvin
Vincent, and Lt. Tamara Patterson, (collectively, the
"State Defendants') also filed a motion to dismiss
or, in the alternative, motion for summary judgment (ECF 29).
Watkins was provided an opportunity to respond to Wexford and
the State Defendants' motions and include verified
exhibits and declarations (ECF 30). He did not oppose the
State Defendants' motion.
review of the submitted materials, the court finds that a
hearing is unnecessary. See D, Md. Local R. 105.6
(2016). For the reasons set forth below, defendants'
motions will be granted, The claims against defendants will
be dismissed with prejudice.
is a Maryland state inmate who is presently incarcerated at
the Maryland Correctional Institution in Hagerstown,
Maryland. On September 29, 2017, Watkins filed this complaint
pro se alleging that on September 14, 2016, he was attacked
by inmate Lester Ashe at the Metropolitan Transition Center
(MTC). Watkins alleges that on September 14, 2016, while he
was awaiting transportation to arrive at MTC to take him to
another facility, Ashe attacked him. Officers Murr-Estrada
and Dike broke up the fight. ECF 1 at 2. Watkins was escorted
to the medical office for treatment. Watkin alleges that he
had previously advised correctional staff at MTC and the
Maryland Reception and Diagnostic Center (MRDCC) that Ashe
was his enemy. ECF 1 at 2, 3. Watkins explains that Ashe had
shot him seven times on July 14, 2015, and later Watkins
testified as a State's witness in Ashe's prosecution
for attempted murder and other offenses in connection with
the shooting. ECF 1 at 2; ECF No. 29-2 at 19.
doctor who examined Watkins after the September 14, 2016
incident observed Watkins' right hand was swollen and
that he had several cuts and abrasions. ECF 1 at 3. The
doctor gave Watkins an ice pack and told him to get an x-ray
for his hand at the next facility. Watkins alleges that Lt.
Patterson and Major Vincent sent him to "lock up"
pending a hearing without investigating the
incident. ECF 1 at 3. Watkins avers that he was
denied further medical treatment and grievance forms as a
result. ECF 1 at 3. He alleges that "every time I asked
for treatment (my x-ray) grievances or to speak to someone
because I couldn't write, I was denied and told 'you
shouldn't have been fighting.'" ECF 1 at 3.
was subsequently transferred to Eastern Correctional
Institution (ECI). Watkins alleges he fractured his hand
during the attack and that had the doctor ordered an x-ray,
his hand would have healed faster. He claims his fractured
hand was not x-rayed until October 2016 and that this
"was too late." ECF 1 at 4. Watkins faults the
Warden of MTC for failing to "properly train his
employees so that this could have been prevented." ECF 1
is requesting $1, 000, 000 in compensatory damages from the
State of Maryland and the Maryland Division of Correction,
$500, 0000 five-hundred thousand dollars from Officer
Murr-Estrada and Officer Dike in their official and
individual capacities, $20, 000 from Lieutenant Tamara
Patterson and Major Calvin Vincent in their official and
individual capacities, and $500, 000 from Warden Kathleen
Landerkin in her official and individual capacity, and $500,
000 from Wexford.
complaint is subject to dismissal if it "fail[s] to
state a claim upon which relief can be granted,"
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). A complaint must contain "a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief," Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and must
state "a plausible claim for relief," Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009). "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. Rule l2(b)(6)'s purpose
"is to test the sufficiency of a complaint and not to
resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a
claim, or the applicability of defenses." Velencia
v. Drezhlo, No. RDB-12-237, 2012 WL 6562764, at *4 (D.
Md. Dec. 13, 2012) (quoting Presley v. City of
Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006)).
Courts are required to liberally construe documents filed by
self-represented litigants, holding them to a less stringent
standard than those drafted by attorneys, see Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). The requirement of
liberal construction does not mean that a court can ignore a
clear failure in the pleading to allege facts that set forth
a federally cognizable claim. See Weller v. Dep't of
Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990).
Claims against the State Defendants
State Defendants assert they are entitled to dismissal of the
claims against them on several grounds. They argue that
Warden Landerkin did not personally participate in the
alleged wrongdoings, the State of Maryland and the Division
of Correction (DOC) are immune from liability under the
Eleventh Amendment, the claims against "Warden
Landerkin, Officer Murr-Estrada, Officer Dike, Lt. Patterson
in their official capacities are barred under the Eleventh
Amendment, and Watkins fails ...