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Gazo v. Chesapeake Detention Facility

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 22, 2019

MAKUSHA GOZO, [1] Plaintiff


          Paula Xinis, United States District Judge

         Under consideration is self-represented Plaintiff Makusha Gozo's (hereinafter Gozo or Plaintiff) Complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 and supplemented at the Court's direction. Plaintiff also requested to proceed in forma pauperis which will be granted. Accordingly, the Court must review the Complaint to ensure that the Plaintiff has stated a legally cognizable cause of action. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii); 28 U.S.C. §1915A(b)(1). In undertaking this review, this Court is mindful that Gozo proceeds pro se, and so the Court must construe the Complaint liberally. See, e.g., Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976); Erikson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 (2007). Even adopting this forgiving standard and for the following reasons, Plaintiff's Complaint must be dismissed.

         I. Background

         Gozo is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution Loretto (FCI Loretto), located in in Pennsylvania. On December 19, 2018, Gozo filed a thirty-one page Complaint against the named Defendants “Chesapeake Detention Facility, the U.S. Marshal Service, Wexford Healthcare, [2] Trinity Food Service, Kefee Commissary Service, O'Keefee, Nestle, Proctor and Gamble, Phone Service Provider of Record, American Correctional Association, all Pertinent Inspectors, all respective successors and assignees as their names may appear as defendants.” ECF No. 3 at pp. 1, 7. The Complaint listed eight claims: 1) postal correspondence; 2) denial of access to the courts; 3) bank and tax fraud; 4) denial of medical care; 5) denial of diet; 6) unconstitutional confinement; 7) religious violations; and 8) municipalities and inspectors. Gozo asserts that Defendants have perpetrated “criminal torts, ” torts, and constitutional violations against him. As relief, Plaintiff requested restitution and damages exceeding $77 million, an audit by “one of the big four accounting firms, ” and a decrease in his sentence. ECF No. 1 at p. 30; ECF No. 5 at p. 4.

         On January 4, 2019, this Court directed Gozo to supplement and clarify the Complaint to include the dates when the incidents allegedly occurred, the names of the individuals personally involved in the incidents, the dates when staff allegedly used physical force against him to confiscate his legal mail, what injury, if any, he sustained, and facts supporting the Defendants' purported confiscation of religious property. Id. On February 19, 2019, responded with a twenty-seven-page document titled “Motion to Comply with Court Order.” ECF No. 5. The Court construes this filing as Gozo's supplement. Gozo names additional defendants Nike, Adidas Corporation, Maryland Commission on Correctional Standards, National Commission on Correctional Health, the Federal Quality Assurance Review, All Mail Room Staff, All Housing Unit Staff, Case Manager Anonye, Alicia King, Corporal Marsh, Corporal McCoy, Sergeant Pulley, and all Inmate Trust Fund Staff, and All Food Service staff. ECF No. 5. at 1. Gozo states that he cannot provide dates for the alleged incidents because “Defendants” denied him “confiscation forms” including grievance forms to file an Administrative Remedy Procedure Request (ARP). ECF No. 1 at 2; ECF No. ECF No. 5 at 5-4. From Gozo's submissions, the Court discerns the following operative facts.

         Plaintiff was a federal pre-trial detainee at the Chesapeake Detention Facility in Baltimore, Maryland from July 20, 2012 to January 9, 2014. ECF No. 5 at 4. Gozo was convicted by a jury of eighteen counts of filing false claims in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 287, and five counts of bank fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343, based on his filing false, fictitious and fraudulent tax forms for various Maryland corporate entities. Gozo was also convicted of filing false applications with Credit Unions. See United States v. Gozo, Criminal Action No. 12-393 (D. Md. 2013). On December 20, 2013, the Honorable Catherine C. Blake sentenced Gozo to 60 months' imprisonment on the false claims counts to run concurrently with each other and 132 months on the bank fraud counts, to run concurrently with the false claims counts. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed Gozo's conviction and sentence. United States v. Gozo, No. 14-4000 (4th Cir. June 17, 2015) (ECF No. 116, 119).

         II. Analysis

         Gozo seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which “ ‘is not itself a source of substantive rights,' but merely provides ‘a method for vindicating federal rights elsewhere conferred.' ” Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 271 (1994) (quoting Baker v. McCollan, 443 U.S. 137, 144 n. 3 (1979)). A civil action under § 1983 “creates a private right of action to vindicate violations of ‘rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” Rehberg v. Paulk, 132 S.Ct. 1497, 1501 (2012). To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege: (1) that a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States was violated, and (2) that the alleged violation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); see also Crosby v. City of Gastonia, 635 F.3d 634, 639 (4th Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 565 U.S. 823 (2011); Wahi v. Charleston Area Med. Ctr., Inc., 562 F.3d 599, 615 (4th Cir. 2009); Jenkins v. Medford, 119 F.3d 1156, 1159-60 (4th Cir. 1997). Against this statutory backdrop, the Court discusses Gozo's individual claims.

         A. Tort Claims

         To the extent Gozo has alleged violations of common law torts, he cannot bring those claims pursuant to § 1983, as this provision covers only a right, privilege or immunity secured by the Constitution or federal law. These claims are more properly asserted in state Court. Accordingly, the Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over them. See 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3)(2018); see also Carnegie Mellon Univ. v. Cohill, 484 U.S. 343, 350 (1988) (court retains discretion to decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction when claims for which the court has original jurisdiction are dismissed).

         B. Criminal Claims

         Gozo discusses at length the Defendants' purported violations of criminal law. ECF No. 1 at pp. 13, 18, 19, 23, 27, 2 (citing violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2, 247, 371, 1692 1701, 1703, 1344). Gozo may not assert a cause of action based on such violations. Consequently, these claims, too, must be dismissed. See Linda R.S. v. Richard D., 410 U.S. 614, 619 (1973) (stating private individuals have no constitutional or other right to a criminal investigation, nor any judicially cognizable interest in the prosecution or non-prosecution of another).

         C. Parties not Subject to Suit under § 1983

         Gozo names as Defendants certain entities and groups that are not subject to suit under §1983 because they are not persons acting under the color ...

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