United States District Court, D. Maryland
Lipton Hollander United States District Judge.
tort suit, plaintiff Steven Turner, who is self-represented,
sued defendant Archer Western Contractors, LLC (“Archer
Western”), a private construction contractor that, at
the relevant time, was performing work for the City of
Baltimore. ECF 2 (“Complaint”); see
also ECF 64-1 at 15 (claim denial from City of
Baltimore). Turner, an employee of Baltimore City's
Department of General Services, Fleet Management Division
(ECF 64-1 at 13), filed suit in the Circuit Court for
Baltimore City. However, defendant timely removed the case to
this Court, based on diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.
§ 1332. ECF 1; see also ECF 25.
particular, Turner alleges that Archer Western sprayed
“hazardous chemicals” onto Turner's two motor
vehicles, which were “on the parking lot at work,
” damaging their paint and causing him to develop
medical ailments. Id. at 1. Turner seeks $20 million
in damages. Id. Although the Complaint does not
contain specific counts, plaintiff appears to allege two
claims of negligence. Id. The first is for the
medical problems he has allegedly sustained. The second is
for the alleged damage to plaintiff's two vehicles.
discovery, defendant moved for summary judgment under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, on the ground that it was not negligent. ECF
62. The motion for summary judgment is supported by a
memorandum of law (ECF 62-1) (collectively,
“Motion”) and over 300 pages of exhibits.
Plaintiff opposes the Motion (ECF 64)
(“Opposition”) and filed two supplements. ECF 65;
ECF 66. Defendant replied. ECF 67 (“Reply”).
Thereafter, plaintiff filed four additional supplements. ECF
68; ECF 69; ECF 70; ECF 73.
the litigation, plaintiff has also submitted exhibits. They
include the following: Maaco Collision Repair & Auto
Painting damage estimates (ECF 2-1); plaintiff's medical
records (ECF 36-1 at 1; ECF 38-1 at 13-15; ECF 51 at 3-5; ECF
64-1 at 3-9; ECF 65 at 1, 10-13; ECF 73); health insurance
forms (ECF 28 at 6-13); slides on hazardous materials (ECF
36-1 at 2-4, 8-13); a community risk assessment guide on
hazardous materials (ECF 36-1 at 5-7); a letter dated
December 11, 2017, from plaintiff's employer, the Fleet
Management Division of Baltimore City's Department of
General Services (ECF 64-1 at 13); a claim denial from the
City of Baltimore, dated July 27, 2016 (ECF 64-1 at 15);
plaintiff's answers to defendant's interrogatories
(ECF 65 at 3-8); and photos of plaintiff's vehicles (ECF
68 at 15-22).
Court is mindful of its obligation to construe liberally the
pleadings of a pro se litigant, which are “held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007); see also White v. White, 886 F.2d 721,
722-23 (4th Cir. 1989). Nevertheless, no hearing is necessary
to resolve the Motion. See Local Rule 105.6.
reasons that follow, I shall grant the Motion as to the claim
pertaining to plaintiff's personal injuries and deny it
as to the claim pertaining to plaintiff's two vehicles.
alleges that Archer Western sprayed a “hazardous
chemical, ” “Vexcon-LL01 Certivex-Envio Cure
White LAS8052-41-3, ” onto his two motor vehicles-a
Ford F150 and a Hyundai Sonata. ECF 2 at 1; ECF 62-3 at 2
(plaintiff identifying the particular chemical); ECF 64-1 at
12 (description of vehicles). At the time, Turner worked for
the City of Baltimore in the Fleet Maintenance Repair Shop,
and he was located at the Back River Treatment Plant on
“Eastern Blvd.” ECF 64-1 at 12. The precise dates
of the incidents are not clear. But, they appear to have
occurred in late November of 2016. See ECF 62-4 at 2
(alleging sprayings on November 21 and 23, 2016); ECF 62-5 at
2 (alleging he “noticed a gray . . . spray paint and
chemical spray on [the] vehicles” on November 25,
to plaintiff, shortly after the incidents, the paint on his
vehicles peeled, requiring an estimated $8, 968.42 in
repairs. ECF 2; ECF 2-1 at 1-2 (Maaco Collision Repair &
Auto Painting damage estimates, dated December 5, 2016). As a
result of the spraying, Turner also claims that
“hazardous chemical [got] on [his] hands and
skin” and face and also got into his eyes. ECF 2 at 1.
Further, because the chemical entered both of his vehicles,
Turner allegedly breathed in the hazardous chemical.
Id. Moreover, as a consequence of Turner's
exposure to the chemical, he maintains that he has developed
several medical conditions, including breathing problems and
problems with his eyes, skin, and throat. Id.;
see, e.g., ECF 64-1 at 2 (medical record describing
Turner's rash); id. at 4 (medical record
describing “[b]lurring of visual image” and
purposes of the Motion only, Archer Western accepts
plaintiff's allegations as undisputed facts. But, Archer
Western maintains that there is no causal relationship
between the sprayings and Turner's medical problems or
between the sprayings and the damage to Turner's
vehicles. ECF 62-1 at 2-4, 2 n.1.
Standard of Review
Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is appropriate only “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-24
(1986); see also Formica v. Aylor, 739 Fed.Appx.
745, 754 (4th Cir. 2018); Iraq Middle Mkt. Dev. Found. v.
Harmoosh, 848 F.3d 235, 238 (4th Cir. 2017). The
nonmoving party must demonstrate that there are disputes of
material fact so as to preclude the award of summary judgment
as a matter of law. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 585-86 (1986); see
also Gordon v. CIGNA Corp., 890 F.3d 463, 470 (4th Cir.
Supreme Court has clarified that not every factual dispute
will defeat a summary judgment motion. “By its very
terms, this standard provides that the mere existence of
some alleged factual dispute between the parties
will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for
summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no
genuine issue of materia ...