United States District Court, D. Maryland
Xinis, United States District Judge.
Wade Mills filed the above-captioned civil rights action,
alleging that Defendant Officer Tyson assaulted him while he
was incarcerated at Patuxent Institution. ECF No. 1.
Defendant Patuxent Institution filed a Motion to Dismiss. ECF
No. 11. Mills was notified of his right to respond to the
motion, ECF No. 12, but has failed to do so. The motion is
now ready for review and the Court finds no need for a
hearing. See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that
follow, Defendant Patuxent Institution's Motion to
Dismiss is GRANTED and Defendant Tyson is DISMISSED from the
Court accepts the facts averred in the Complaint as true and
most favorably to Mills. On August 30, 2018, Officer Tyson
engaged in a “verbal battle” with Mills before
“punch[ing] [him] in the mouth splitting his top
lip.” ECF No. 1-1 at 1. Mills says that he notified
Lieutenant Lazerif of the incident and requested that his
injury be photographed. Id. at 2. Mills says that
Lazerif “neglected to respect [Mills']
wish[e]s” in violation of unspecified policy and
procedure. Id. Mills also notes that he filed an
administrative remedy. Id.
Complaint, Mills avers obliquely that “each defendant
is in violation of negligent hiring training and supervision,
defamation of character, assault, battery, mali[cious]
emotional distress.” Id. at 2-3. He seeks
“200, 000 a claim also 10 million in pain and suffering
under Local Government Tort Claim Act.” Id. at
3. Defendant Patuxent Institution has moved to dismiss
affirmed via affidavit that no one by the name “Officer
Tyson, ” was employed at Patuxent during the operative
time. ECF Nos. 9, 11.
Standard of Review
reviewing a motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Rule
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court
accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. Venkatraman v. REI Sys.,
Inc., 417 F.3d 418, 420 (4th Cir. 2005) (citing
Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th
Cir. 1993)); Ibarra v. United States, 120 F.3d 472,
473 (4th Cir. 1997). Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure requires only a “short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” Migdal v. Rowe Price-Fleming Int'l
Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26 (4th Cir. 2001); see also
Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 513 (2002)
(stating that a complaint need only satisfy the
“simplified pleading standard” of Rule 8(a)).
However, “formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations
omitted). To survive a motion to dismiss, “a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to
‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
677-78 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
appears to bring only state common law tort claims. Because
Mills and Defendants are residents of the same state and no
federal claims are specifically identified, the Court appears
lack subject matter jurisdiction over the Complaint.
See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331-1332. The Court,
however, will construe Mills' Complaint liberally and as
presenting a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for excessive force
in violation of his Eighth Amendment right to be free from
cruel and unusual punishment. Defendant Patuxent has
similarly construed Mills' Complaint and addressed the
constitutional claim in its dispositive Motion. ECF No. 11 at
7-14. The Court, therefore, will reach the legal sufficiency
of Mills' Complaint.
Court was unable to obtain service on “Officer
Tyson” and April Coccagna-Graham, the litigation
coordinator for Patuxent Institution, avers that “There
is no Officer Tyson employed here [at Patuxent Institution].
To my knowledge, in the 26 years that I have been employed
here, there has never been an Officer Tyson employed
here.” ECF No. 9-1. Coccagna-Graham further declares
that “if an officer is allowed onto a tier, a notation
is entered in the log book for that tier. According to C-2
tiers [where Mills alleges the assault occurred] logs from
August 30, 2018, there are no entries stating that an Officer
Tyson, or any officer, arrived on the tier.”
has not challenged the above affirmations, nor has he offered
an alternate possible name for the person who committed the
alleged assault. Accordingly, Defendant Officer Tyson will be
dismissed without prejudice so that Mills may refile his
Complaint if he learns the identity of the involved officer.
Court must also dismiss the section 1983 claims against
Patuxent Institution. Section 1983 authorizes a right of
private action against “[e]very person who,
under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or
usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia,
subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the
United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof
to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws.” 42 U.S.C. §
1983 (emphasis added). Patuxent Institution is not a
“person” within the meaning of § 1983, and
thus is not a proper defendant. See Will v. Mich.
Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 64 (1989)
(“[A] State is not a person within the meaning of
§ 1983.”); Md. Code Ann., Corr. Servs. §
1-101(o) (defining “state correctional facility”
as a “correctional facility that is operated by the
State” and stating that “state correctional
facility” includes Patuxent Institution); see
also Md. Code Ann., State Gov. ...