United States District Court, D. Maryland
DAVID C. ZELLER, Plaintiff,
WARDEN, JCI, WARDEN, MCI-H and WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., Defendants.
THEODORE D. CHUANG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
David Zeller is incarcerated at Western Correction
Institution in Cumberland, Maryland. Zeller filed the instant
lawsuit with a Complaint that was difficult to understand due
to Zeller's nearly indecipherable handwriting, his
failure to write in straight lines across the page, and the
scattered and confusing nature of his narrative. In the
Complaint, Zeller alleges that he has schizophrenia, cervical
degenerative disk disease, and Hepatitis C. Compl. at 7, ECF
No. 1. He sought treatment for his Hepatitis C, received
treatment for this condition, but the treatment did not work.
Id. at 7, 9-11. By his own admission, Zeller
responded to the news that treatment had not worked by
screaming at the doctor, punching the doctor in the face,
which caused the doctor's nose to bleed, and then trying
to smash a nearby computer, until guards restrained him.
Id. at 11. He alleges that medical personnel have
not spoken with him since this incident. Id. at 11.
As relief, he asks for $100 million from the State of
Maryland and $100 million from Wexford Health Sources, Inc.
In the alternative, Zeller asks the Court to "hurt them
as terrible as [it] can." Id. at 8.
26, 2017, the Court ordered Zeller to supplement the
Complaint within 28 days. Order, ECF No. 5. Zeller was
ordered to: (1) list clearly what claims he wants to present;
(2) specify the names of the persons who provided him
inadequate medical treatment and how they did so; (3) state
what injury he has suffered; and (4) state the location and
dates of the alleged incidents and supporting facts. Zeller
was also directed to clarify whether he is claiming that he
received inadequate treatment for Hepatitis C, who provided
the allegedly inadequate treatment, where the treatment was
provided, and the dates he was treated. Zeller was cautioned
that failure to comply with the Order would result in
dismissal of the Complaint. Zeller responded with a series of
lengthy and often unintelligible filings. See ECF Nos. 6,
8-11, 13-16, 18.
filed this Complaint in forma pauperis under 28
U.S.C. § 1915, which permits an indigent litigant to
commence an action in federal court without prepaying the
filing fee. To protect against possible abuses of this
privilege, the statute requires a court to "dismiss any
claim that fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted." 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). The Court
is mindful of its obligation to liberally construe the
pleadings of pro se litigants such as Zeller.
See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007).
In evaluating a pro se complaint, a plaintiffs allegations
are assumed to be true. Id. Nonetheless, liberal
construction does not mean that a court can ignore a clear
failure in the pleading to allege facts that set forth a
cognizable claim in a federal court. See Beaudett v. City
of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985)
(explaining that "p]rinciples requiring generous
construction of pro se complaints are not, however,
without limits" and that courts need not "conjure
up questions never squarely presented to them"). As
filed, the Complaint fails to meet this standard, and the
supplements do not remedy this failure.
example, on June 7, 2017, Zeller filed a single page
supplement referencing two Administrative Remedy Procedure
Requests ("ARP") that he filed at Jessup
Correctional Institution ("JCI"). ECF No. 8. He
alleges that these ARPs were improperly dated, and that he
was not given a receipt. He filed as attachments ARP
#JCI-1250-16, which is dated October 29, 2016, and ARP #JCI
1351-16, dated November 12, 2016. The supplement does not
comply with the Court's order nor does it provide
sufficient information for this case to proceed.
19, 2017, Zeller filed correspondence alleging that he was
retaliated against by Sgt. Jorden and Cpt. Rowland, who
ordered him left in a cell on May 22, 2017 with urine on the
floor and ordered that it not be cleaned. ECF No. 9. As best
as can be discerned, Zeller claims that this conduct was in
retaliation for his filing this case in federal court. If
Zeller intends to raise a new retaliation claim, he must
present it in a separately filed complaint.
subsequent lengthy-and often times
indecipherable-correspondence, Zeller alleges other concerns
including his need for a fan, bananas in his diet, and dental
problems. Zeller's correspondence expresses his
dissatisfaction with many aspects of his imprisonment and may
reflect his desire to present other unrelated claims. If
Zeller intends to present these or other claims in future
complaints, he must clearly list his claims, identify why he
believes the facts he is alleging demonstrate a
constitutional violation or a violation of federal law,
specify the law or constitutional provision he alleges was
violated, list the names of the defendants and explain what
they did, state where and when the actions occurred, and
state the relief he seeks. Zeller is urged to write as
clearly as possible, as his handwriting is often
unintelligible, and to write in straight lines. He is also
strongly cautioned against using threats and profanity.
review of Zeller's supplemental filings, the noted
deficiencies in the Complaint have not been corrected. The
Complaint will be dismissed without prejudice for failure to
comply with a court order. The Court notes that Zeller's
claim that he has received inadequate medical care for
Hepatitis C is already proceeding in a separately filed civil
action, Zeller v. Wexford Health Sources, Inc., et
al, PWG-17-3136 (D. Md. Oct. 19, 2017).
hereby ORDERED that:
1. The Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice for failure
to comply with court order.
2. The Clerk shall CLOSE this case.
3. The Clerk shall MAIL a copy of this Order ...