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Rugamba v. Rockledge Bus (Tour), Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

July 20, 2018

ROCKLEDGE BUS (TOUR), INC., et al., Defendants.



         THIS MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff Martin Rugamba's Amended Complaint (ECF No. 18), filed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1) (2018), alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2018) and Maryland tort law.[1] For the reasons that follow, the Court will permit Rugamba's § 1983 claim to proceed but dismiss his state law claims.

         I. BACKGROUND[2]

         A. The Original Complaint and Appeal

         On December 24, 2015, Rugamba filed the original Complaint (the “Original Complaint”) in this case. (ECF No. 1). In the Original Complaint, Rugamba raised several claims, including claims under § 1983, and invoked this Court's jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331 (2018). (Compl. at 1, ECF No. 1).

         The Court screened Rugamba's Original Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (2018). The Original Complaint's allegations are wide-ranging and nonsensical at times. First, Rugamba discusses alleged incidents occurring over the seven years he worked as a substitute teacher in the Los Angeles, California Unified School District. (Compl. at 1-2). Next, Rugamba generally discusses abuse and assaults he experienced while substitute teaching at a number of schools in Maryland. (Id. at 2). In his statement of facts, however, Rugamba discusses alleged attacks he experienced riding on Defendant Rockledge Bus Tour Inc.'s (“Rockledge”) private bus line on December 21, 2014. (Id. at 3). Rugamba also alleges that he experienced “[s]imilar attacks” while riding on a Maryland Transit Administration (“MTA”) train and bus. (Id.). Rugamba attributes these attacks to a “conspiracy” that began after he filed a lawsuit in New York “about assault and battery involving . . . HIV.” (Id.).

         With respect to the specific allegations in the Original Complaint, Rugamba states that in March of 2015 he was asleep on an MTA train when an MTA police officer (“MTA Police Officer 1”) “woke me up to see my ticket, ” then “ordered me to step out of the train because I was sleeping on the train.” (Id.). Rugamba alleges that the officer “yanked forcefully” at a bag “tethered” to his wrist, which “caused a strong pain” in his wrist, yelled at him to get off the train, “dropped [his] bag on the ground, ” and began to interrogate him. (Id.). Rugamba implies that the bag dropping on the ground resulted in cracks to his laptop's screen. (Id.). Rugamba pleads that MTA Police Officer 1 demanded and took his identification card and MTA day pass. (Id.). Rugamba states that she returned his identification card, but refused to return his MTA day pass. (Id.). A second MTA police officer threatened to arrest him after she ordered him to leave the station premises, and he instead requested his MTA day pass. (Id.). Rugamba states that he walked away without his MTA day pass and with “pain in my wrist.” (Id. at 4).

         Rugamba then alleges, on unspecified dates, that an MTA bus driver and train operator somehow caused pain in his arm “like a bee sting or needle injection.” (Id.). As to the train operator, Rugamba pleads that the MTA police involved in the March 2015 incident “arranged” for the train operator to “irritate” him “by acting up the pain in my arms in contemplation of an arrest should I [ ] antagonize him.” (Id.).

         Rugamba next discusses incidents at public high schools occurring in Spring 2014, when he was demeaned by school staff. (Id.). Rugamba goes on to relate an alleged incident at ¶ 7-Eleven convenience store, where he pleads that he was embarrassed when an employee accused him of stealing a burrito. (Id.).

         In his “First Cause of Action, ” Rugamba alleges that MTA Police Officer 1 violated his rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments[3] to the United States Constitution by “unreasonably hurt[ing]” him and confiscating his day pass without due process. (Id. at 5). He accuses the officer of engaging in an “arrest-fishing expedition, ” states that her actions deprived him of sleep, and that she was “playing her one-time part in a sleep deprivation campaign orchestrated by other stalker officers and their minions.” (Id.). He seeks the value of his day pass, $3.50, $100.00 to repair his laptop, and $20, 000.00 in emotional distress damages. (Id.).

         In his “Second Cause of Action, ” Rugamba pleads that Rockledge and its employees “committed aggravated battery, when they inflicted pain similar to the needle injection while I was asleep on the bus they operate.” (Id.). He further alleges that they “neglected to inform me if the HIV virus was involved in the battery in violation of public policy.” (Id. at 6). He requests $50, 000.00 in damages for “negligent infliction of emotional distress.” (Id.).

         In his “Third Cause of Action, ” Rugamba accuses Amtrak agents of taking pictures of him at their facilities and “stealing ad hoc pictures I stored on my computer and smart phone.” (Id.). He prays for declaratory relief indicating that the agents “are members of an underground unofficial cabal in the law enforcement.” (Id.).

         On January 11, 2016, the Court granted Rugamba's Motion for Leave to Proceed in Forma Pauperis but dismissed the Original Complaint without prejudice for failure to comply with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8. (ECF Nos. 3, 4). Rugamba appealed. (ECF No. 5).

         On June 28, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit dismissed Rugamba's appeal, finding that it did not have jurisdiction because “the deficiencies identified by the district court may be remedied by the filing of an amended complaint.” Rugamba v. Rockledge Bus (Tour), Inc., 667 Fed.Appx. 61 (4th Cir. 2016). This Court's decision, therefore, was “neither a final order nor an appealable interlocutory or collateral order.” Id. On July 27, ...

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