United States District Court, D. Maryland
K. BREDAR, CHIEF JUDGE
civil complaint was filed on February 21, 2019, together with
motions to proceed in forma pauperis and to appoint counsel.
ECF 2 & 3. Because she appears to be indigent,
plaintiff's motion to proceed in forma pauperis shall be
granted. The filing docketed as a motion to appoint counsel
does not make a request of this court to appoint counsel;
rather, plaintiff states that Maryland does not provide
public defender representation at Medical Review Panels, but
should. ECF 3. This court does not have jurisdiction over
state administrative hearings, therefore the
“motion” to appoint counsel shall be denied.
asserts she is improperly committed to the psychiatric ward
on an involuntary basis and argues that her diagnosis of
“paranoid - delusional disorder” is incorrect.
ECF 1 at p. 1. She takes issue with the treatment provided to
her by Dr. John McDonald and claims that the 100 milligrams
of Haldol she is provided is dangerous and causes cognitive
problems. Id. at p. 3. She also characterizes the
conditions under which she is hospitalized as ineffective and
injurious, noting that she is not allowed fresh air, access
to outside news broadcasts is severely limited, windows are
obscured, and the therapeutic modalities employed are
“dumb.” Id. at pp. 1-3. She notes she is
currently involved in a custody battle and her current
diagnosis and hospitalization has nullified her credibility.
Id. at p. 3. As relief, she requests a stay of the
administrative hearing regarding the
refusal-of-psychiatric-medication decision because she was
not represented by counsel and seeks monetary damages.
Id. at pp. 3-5. She states there are less
restrictive forms of therapy that do not require her
hospitalization. Id. at p. 4.
filed this Complaint in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(a)(1), which permits an indigent litigant to
commence an action in this Court without prepaying the filing
fee. To guard against possible abuses of this privilege, the
statute requires dismissal of any claim that is frivolous or
malicious or fails to state a claim on which relief may be
granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii). This
Court is mindful, however, of its obligation to liberally
construe self-represented pleadings, such as the instant
Complaint. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007). In evaluating such a Complaint, the factual
allegations are assumed to be true. Id. at 93
(citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007)). Nonetheless, liberal construction
does not mean that this Court can ignore a clear failure in
the pleading to allege facts that set forth a cognizable
claim. See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901
F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Beaudett v. City of
Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985) (stating a
district court may not “conjure up questions never
squarely presented.”). In making this determination,
A[t]he district court need not look beyond the
complaint's allegations . . . . It must hold the pro se
complaint to less stringent standards than pleadings drafted
by attorneys and must read the complaint liberally.''
White v. White, 886 F.2d 721, 722-723 (4th Cir.
claims concerning the limitation on outside news sources and
lack of fresh air do not state a federal claim, nor do her
claims asserting medical malpractice. Those claims shall
therefore be dismissed.
extent she is raising a due process claim in connection with
being medicated over her objection, she has implied a federal
constitutional claim but will be required to provide more
details regarding such a claim. As an involuntarily committed
patient in a State psychiatric facility, Plaintiff has a
“‘significant' constitutionally protected
‘liberty interest' in ‘avoiding the unwanted
administration of antipsychotic drugs.'” Sell
v. United States, 539 U.S. 166, 178 (2003) (quoting
Washington v. Harper, 494 U.S. 210, 221 (1990)).
“[W]hen the purpose or effect of forced drugging is to
alter the will and the mind of the subject, it constitutes a
deprivation of liberty in the most literal and fundamental
sense.” United States v. Bush, 585 F.3d 806,
813 (4th Cir. 2009). “Involuntarily committed mental
patients retain a liberty interest in conditions of
reasonable care and safety and in reasonably nonrestrictive
confinement conditions.” Youngberg v. Romeo,
457 U.S. 307, 324 (1982). The Fourteenth Amendment ensures
that states will provide not only for the medical needs of
those in penal settings, but for anyone restricted by a state
from obtaining medical care on his own. See DeShaney v.
Winnebago, 489 U.S. 189, 200 (1989); Youngberg,
457 U.S. at 324. The claim, as presented, does not provide
details regarding the hearing provided to plaintiff that
resulted in an apparent decision to medicate her over her
objection, whether plaintiff has availed herself of the
appellate review procedure available in the state courts,
and, if so, the resulting decision.
extent plaintiff is seeking release from the hospital, the
complaint is more appropriately construed as a petition for
writ of habeas corpus. Before such a claim may be considered
by this court, plaintiff must demonstrate exhaustion of state
remedies. As a person committed to a mental health facility,
plaintiff has a right under Maryland law to file a petition
for writ of habeas corpus in a state circuit court located in
the county where he resides or where the facility is located.
See Md. Code Ann., Health-Gen. § 10-804;
see also Md. Code Ann., Cts & Jud. Proc. §
3-704. Before this claim, to the extent it is raised, will be
considered, plaintiff will be required to explain whether she
has challenged her involuntary confinement in the appropriate
this case implicates both a civil rights claim for damages
and a claim for habeas corpus relief, plaintiff will be
provided forms for filing a § 1983 civil rights
complaint and for filing a §2241 habeas corpus petition.
She is forewarned that failure to supplement the claims