United States District Court, D. Maryland
TANYA WILLIAMS, Individually and a Personal Representative of the Estate of ARVEL DOUGLAS WILLIAMS, et al. Plaintiff
ANTHONY DIX, et al. Defendants.
L. HOLLANDER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
litigation arises from the unfortunate death of 30-year-old
Arvel Douglas Williams ("Mr. Williams" or the
"Decedent"). ECF 1 (the "Complaint"). He
died on August 20, 2014, while in the custody of the Harford
County Sheriffs Office, following a high-speed chase,
collision, and the use of tasers. Id. Tanya
Williams, the Decedent's mother, individually and as the
personal representative of the Estate of Mr. Williams, and
his seven minor children, initiated this suit on August 19,
2017. Id. The Complaint asserts, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, violations of Mr. Williams' rights
under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
Constitution. Id. ¶¶ 34-36.
initially filed the action as a "Doe" suit against
seven unidentified Harford County Deputy Sheriffs.
Id. ¶¶ 11-17. The Doe defendants were not
identified by name until February 5, 2018, when plaintiffs
filed an Amended Complaint. ECF 11.
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), defendants have moved to dismiss
the Amended Complaint (ECF 29), supported by a memorandum of
law. ECF 29-1 (collectively, the "Motion"). They
contend that, under Maryland's statute of limitations,
the suit was untimely filed as to the named defendants. ECF
29-1 at 2. Plaintiffs oppose the Motion (ECF 34, the
"Opposition"), and included an exhibit that
contains two letters. ECF 34-1. No. reply has been filed, and
the time to do so has expired. See Local Rule 105.2.
hearing is unnecessary to resolve the Motion. See
Local Rules 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I shall grant
Procedural and Factual Background
noted, suit was filed on August 19, 2017. By November 17,
2017, plaintiffs failed to serve the defendants. See
Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(m); ECF 3. Accordingly, on November 20,
2017, 1 directed plaintiffs to effect service upon defendants
by December 4, 2017, or show cause why the claims against
defendants should not be dismissed. Id. Plaintiffs
moved for an extension of time to effect service until
February 2, 2018. ECF 5. I granted the motion for extension.
ECF 6. On February 2, 2018, 1 granted plaintiffs' motion
for leave to file an Amended Complaint, substituting named
defendants for the previously unnamed Deputy Sheriffs. ECF
Amended Complaint filed on February 5, 2018 (ECF 11),
plaintiffs identified the Doe defendants as Harford County
Sheriff Deputies First Class Anthony Dix, Keith Jackson,
Steve Minton, Vincent Denardi, Amanda McCormack, Donnie
Gividen, and Chris Gibbons (collectively, the "Deputy
Sheriffs"). By Order of April 2, 2018, I directed
plaintiffs to effect service of process upon the named Deputy
Sheriffs by April 16, 2018, or show cause as to why the
claims against the defendants should not be dismissed. ECF
April 16, 2018, plaintiffs filed an "Answer to Show
Cause and Motion for Enlargement of Time." ECF 24. In
the motion, plaintiffs advised that Deputies Dix, Jackson,
Minton, and Denardi were served on April 12, 2018. But,
plaintiffs requested additional time to serve the remaining
three defendants: Deputies McCormack, Gividen, and Gibbons.
Id. I granted plaintiffs' motion, directing them
to effect service by April 27, 2018. ECF25. Thereafter,
defense counsel ■■ agreed to accept service for
the three remaining defendants. ECF 27.
factual summary that follows is derived from the Amended
Complaint. ECF 11.
approximately 8 p.m. on August 20, 2014, Mr. Williams was
driving his Ford pickup truck at or near the intersection of
Routes 7 and 152 in Harford County, Maryland. Id.
¶ 18. Plaintiffs assert that at that time, Deputy Minter
observed Mr. Williams's vehicle and "attempted to
initiate a car stop," without "any cause or
justification." Id. ¶ 19. Mr. Williams did
not heed Deputy Minter's directive. Id. ¶
20. Instead, Mr. Williams drove westbound on Route 7 from
Route 152, and "was closely followed by Deputy
Minter." Id. Plaintiffs maintain that Mr. .
Williams was not traveling at a high rate of speed.
Id. Despite this fact, plaintiffs say, Deputy Minter
"called for additional officers to intercept
Williams' vehicle . . .." Id. ¶ 21.
Williams turned right onto Cowenton Avenue from Philadelphia
Road toward Joppa Road. Id. ¶ 22. At or near
the roundabout of Joppa Road and Cowenton Avenue, Mr.
Williams "then encountered a Baltimore county police
cruiser, #914 ... ." Id. The "police
cruiser collided with Williams' vehicle causing it to
become disabled." Id. ¶ 23. Once Mr.
Williams's vehicle was disabled, Deputies Dix, Jackson,
Minter, Denardi, McCormack, Gividen, and Gibbons "all
approached Williams' vehicle on foot." Id.
¶ 24. Plaintiffs contend that "[s]everal of the
Defendants drew their firearms upon approaching
to plaintiffs, Mr. Williams was "forcefully removed from
his vehicle," "maliciously" thrown to the
ground, and "violently and maliciously beat[en] . . .
about his face and body causing severe injury, pain and
suffering." Id. ¶¶ 25, 26. As other
defendants continued to beat Mr. Williams, Deputies Dix and
Johnson "deployed their taser guns" and,
"without cause or justification," used their tasers
against Mr. Williams, "striking him in his upper torso
three times . ..." /J.¶¶27, 28.
maintain that Mr. Williams "then exclaimed that he was
in medical distress and exhibited physical signs to that
effect." Id. ¶ 29. "Paramedics
responded to the scene," but Mr. Williams "died a
short time later." Id. ¶ 30. Plaintiffs
allege that Mr. Williams "was unarmed and posed no
threat of harm to any of the Defendants or any other
person." Id. ¶ 31.
Mr. Williams's death, "all seven of the Defendants
were temporarily suspended from duty" by the Harford
County Sheriffs Office, "pending an investigation by
[the] Baltimore County Police Department." Id.
Standard of Review