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Gerald v. Greene

United States District Court, D. Maryland

February 5, 2019




         On December 18, 207,, pro se Plaintiff Jeremy Gerald filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U, SC S1983 naming "4 Unknown Baltimore Police Officers," "Baltimore City Jail," and "Detective Green" as Defendants. He presented claims arising from a traffic stop on December 30, 2014, his subsequent arrest, and his pretrial detention in Baltimore, Maryland.[2] (ECF I). Subsequently, he named "Officer Charles Ross, #J577," and "Officer J586," and "Officer J 607," and "Warden Baltimore City Detention Center." As relief he is seeking $100, 000. (ECF I at 5). Defendant Kathleen Landerkin, who was Warden at the Baltimore Cty Detention Center (BCDC), has filed a Motion to Dismiss[3] pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (ECF 19). Defendants, former Baltimore Police Department Detective Gregory Greene ("Detective Greene"), Police Officer Charles Ross (#J607, or "Officer Ross"), and Police Officer Gregory Edleman (#J586) (collectively, the "Officers"), pursuant to Rules 12(b)(6) and 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, filed a Motion to Dismiss, or in the Alternative for Summary Judgment with supporting police records. (ECF 24). Gerald was given an opportunity to reply to both dispositive motions (ECF 22, 25), but filed an opposition only to the Warden's Motion. (ECF 26).[4]

         After considering the parties' submission,, this Court finds a hearing is unnecessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For reasons discussed below, this Court shall GRANT Warden Landerkin's Motion to Dismiss (ECF 19) and the Officers' Motion to Dismiss (ECF 24).


         Traffic Stop and Arrest

         On December 30, 2014, [5] Gerald was traveling in the back seat of a vehicle that was stopped by Baltimore City Police Officers Ross and Montgomery for failing to come to a complete halt at a stop sign.[6] (ECF I at 2; Statement of Probable Cause, ECF 24-2 at 2). The driver identified himself to the Officers as Chang Kun Kim. The Officers asked Kim and Gerald where they were going. Id. Kim was unable to provide a clear response, likely because he was operating an unlicensed taxi service. (ECF 24 n. 4). The Officers ordered Kim out of the car, escorted him to a patrol vehicle, and questioned him. (ECF 1 at 3). Police Officers Melillo and Edleman arrived as backup. (ECF I at 3; ECF 24-2 at 3).

         When asked how he knew Kim, where they were going, and why he was sitting in the back seat, Gerald refused to answer. (ECF I at 3). Montgomery then asked Gerald for identification. (ECF 24-2 at 3). Gerald provided an incorrect date of birth. Id. The Officers informed Gerald that they could locate him on their database using the date of birth he had provided. Gerald offered no clarification. Id. In his Complaint, Gerald states that he refused to answer any more questions because he has a right to privacy, and that as a passenger he did not have to present information other than his identity. (ECF I at 3).

         The Officers asked Gerald to exit the vehicle and he complied. (ECF 1 at 3). Ross gave him another chance to provide correct information, but Gerald refused. (ECF 24-2 at 3). At this point, Ross attempted to handcuff him, but Gerald started to run away. (ECF 24-3).[7] Gerald was taken to the ground and put in handcuffs. (ECF 24-3). Gerald alleges in the Complaint that he was improperly grabbed and slammed to the ground, causing bruising, bleeding, and scarring to his face and lip. (ECF 1 at 3). The police report does not show any injury to Gerald. (ECF 24-2).

         Once handcuffed, Gerald provided his correct birth date. Ross ran the information and found an outstanding warrant from Virginia, where Gerald was charged with breaking and entering and grand larceny. (ECF 24-2 at 3; Notice of Extradition Hearing, ECF 24-3 at 3). Gerald was arrested and charged with giving false statements to an officer, a charge which was later dropped. (ECF I at 3; ECF 24-2 at 4). Kim received a citation for failing to stop at a stop sign. (ECF 24-2 at 4).

         On February 11, 2015, the Office of the Maryland Secretary of State accepted the Notice of Extradition Hearing issued by Virginia. (ECF 24-3). On February 23, 2015, Gerald consented to waive extradition. (ECF 24-4). Detective Greene was present at Gerald's extradition hearing. ECF 24-6 at 2. Gerald does not allege Greene was involved in the December 30, 2014 traffic stop. (ECF I).

         II. Pretrial Detention

         Following his arrest, Gerald was confined as a pre-trial detainee at the BCDC, formerly known as the Baltimore City Jail, where he is alleged to have been subjected to harsh and inhumane conditions. (ECF 1 at 4). Gerald states he was kept in his cell for 23 hours each day and permitted only one hour of out of cell activity. He was housed in this location for about one month. (ECF I at 4). Gerald was moved to another cell where he was permitted an opportunity for recreation once each week. (ECF I at 4). Gerald does not allege he suffered injury because of these conditions. (ECF I).

         Gerald was later placed in "open-bay" (no cell) housing where he alleges there were serious problems with security. He alleges two detainees attacked him with weapons, requiring treatment in the medical department.. (ECF I at 4). Gerald does not specify the date of the attack or describe the injuries he incurred.

         Gerald claims he was subjected to unlawful restrictions of his liberty due to the 23 hour per day lock-down and one hour per week of recreation and deliberate indifference to his injuries by corrections staff He alleges generally that his rights under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment's were violated. Further, he claims that he was not given access to the law library and his coat was not returned to him upon his release. (ECF 1 at 4-5).


         In ruling on a motion to dismiss, this Court "accept[s] as true all well-pleaded facts in a complaint and construe[s] them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Wikimedia Found v. Nat'l Sec. Agency, 857 F.3d 193, 208 (4th Cir. 2017) (citing SD3, LLC v. Black & Decker (U.S.) Inc., 801 F.3d 412, 422 (4th Cir. 2015)). Because Gerald is self-represented, this Court liberally construes his pleadings and holds them to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).

         The purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) is to test the sufficiency of the complain.. See Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). To survive a motion under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain facts sufficient to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corporation v Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007); see Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) ("Our decision in Twombly expounded the pleading standard for 'all civil actions'...." (citation omitted)). In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court '"mutt accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint'" and must" 'draw all reasonable inferences [from those facts] in favor of the plaintiff.'" E1 du Pont de Nemours & Co., 637 F.3d at 440 (citations omitted); see Houck v. Substitute Tr. Servs., Inc., 791 F.3d 473, 484 (4th Cir. 2015). A court is not required to accept legal conclusions drawn from the facts. See Papasan v. Main, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). "A court decides whether [the pleading] standard is met by separating the legal conclusions from the factual allegations, assuming the truth of only the factual allegations, and then determining whether those allegations allow the court to reasonably infer" that the plaintiff is entitled to the legal remedy sought. A Society Without a Name v. Virginia, 655 F.3d 342, 346 (4th. Cir. 2011).

         Under certain circumstances, a court may consider documents beyond the complaint without converting the motion to dismiss to one for summary judgment.. Goldfarb v. Mayor & City Council of Baltimore,791 F.3d 500, 508 (4th Cir. 2015). Where as here Defendants have submitted public police records in support of their Motion, a court may take judicial notice of publicly available records without converting a motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment., See, e.g., Zak v. Chelsea Therapeutics Int'l Ltd.,780 F.3d 597, 607 (4th Cir. 2015) ("[C]ourts are permitted ...

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