United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Marcus Deramus, proceeding pro se, filed this action
alleging various violations of his constitutional rights in
the United States District Court for the District of
Columbia. ECF No. 1. The case was transferred to the United
States District Court for the District of Maryland. ECF No.
3. Defendants have filed a Motion to Dismiss or, in the
alternative, for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 11. Plaintiff
opposed this motion, ECF No. 17, and later filed a Motion for
Leave to file an Amended Memorandum and Opposition to the
Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 23.No hearing is necessary. See Loc.
R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the following reasons,
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is granted and
Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to Amend is denied as
contends that in September 2001, he became aware that he
allegedly owed $19, 128 in child support to Ms. Green. ECF
No. 1 at 6. He contends that he was not, in fact,
delinquent on his child support payments, and that the
amounts allegedly owed were due to fraudulent affidavits and
documentation. Id. at 8-9. Nonetheless, the child
support delinquency remained on his credit report and kept
him from obtaining a car loan in September 2003. Id.
at 11. Plaintiff continued to contest the validity of the
child support delinquency through April 2005. Id. at
12-13. In June 2005, Defendants informed Plaintiff that he
was delinquent on child support owed to Ms. Marguerite
Ekongolo in the amount of $28, 829.09. Id. at 13.
Plaintiff alleges that this amount was determined without a
hearing of any kind to establish the debt or the paternity of
the child. Id. at 13. In January 2017, Plaintiff
sought to “dismiss both Statements & Allegations in
regards to support orders.” Id. at 18. This
effort was denied by Defendants. Id.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to amend a pleading “shall be freely given when justice
so requires, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a); however, a motion
for leave to amend should be denied when the amendment would
be futile. Devil's Advocate, LLC v. Zurich Amer. Ins.
Co., 666 Fed.Appx. 256, 267. An amendment to a complaint
is futile when the amended complaint could not survive a
motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Id.
motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court “must accept the
factual allegations of the complaint as true and construe
them in the light most favorable to the nonmoving
party.” Rockville Cars, LLC v. City of Rockville,
Md., 891 F.3d 141, 145 (4th Cir. 2018). To overcome a
12(b)(6) motion, the “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, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). A plaintiff must “provide sufficient
detail” to show “a more-than-conceivable chance
of success on the merits.” Upstate Forever v.
Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, 887 F.3d 637, 645 (4th
Cir. 2018) (citing Owens v. Balt. City State's
Attorneys Ofice, 767 F.3d 379, 396 (4th Cir. 2014)). The
mere recitation of “elements of a cause of action,
supported only by conclusory statements, is not sufficient to
survive a motion made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6).”
Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435, 439 (4th Cir.
2012). Nor must the Court accept unsupported legal
allegations. Revene v. Charles Cnty. Commis., 882
F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989). A plausibility determination
is a “context-specific inquiry” that relies on
the court's “experience and common sense.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679-80.
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges violations of the Fourth, Fifth,
and Fourteenth Amendments, and conspiracy. ECF No. 1 at 20.
These causes of action arise under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
18 U.S.C. § 241. He also references violations of the
Fair Debt Collection and Reporting Practices Act
(“FDCPA”), the Maryland Declaration of Rights,
and regulations promulgated by the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services (“HHS”). Id.
statute of limitations provides that “a cause of action
may or must be brought within a certain period of
time.” Beach v. Ocwen Fed. Bank, 523 U.S. 410,
416 (1998). The “purpose of a statute of limitations is
to ensure that causes of action be brought within a
reasonable period of time, ” thus “avoiding stale
claims, inconvenience, and fraud that may result from the
untimely assertion of such claims.” Delebrau v.
Bayview Loan Servicing, LLC, 680 F.3d 412, 415 (4th Cir.
2012). The Court must dismiss any claim filed after the
statute of limitations period has expired. See, e.g.,
Wenzlaff v. NationsBank, 940 F.Supp. 889, 890 (D. Md.
statute of limitations for § 1983 claims is borrowed
from the applicable state's statute of limitations for
personal-injury actions, even when a plaintiff's
particular § 1983 claim does not involve personal
injury.” Tommy Davis Const., Inc. v. Cape Fear Pub.
Util. Auth., 807 F.3d 62, 66-67 (4th Cir. 2015) (citing
Wilson v. Garcia, 471 U.S. 261, 275-80, 105 S.Ct.
1938, 85 L.Ed.2d 254 (1985)). In Maryland, the applicable
statute of limitations is three years from the date of the
occurrence giving rise to the cause of action. See
Md. Cts. & Jud. Proc. Code Ann. § 5-101; see
also Barnhill v. Strong, No. JFM 07-1678, 2008 WL
544835, at *2 (D. Md. 2008) (Maryland Declaration of Rights
claims are subject to a three-year statute of limitations).
The statute of limitations begins to run “when the
plaintiff possesses sufficient facts about the harm done to
him that reasonable inquiry will reveal his cause of
action.” Nassim v. Md. House of Corr., 64 F.3d
951, 955 (4th Cir. 1995). Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on
June 25, 2018, contesting the constitutionality of child
custody orders entered in 2002 and 2005. Therefore, the
federal and state constitutional claims in his original
Complaint and in his Amended Complaint are barred by the
statute of limitations; these claims must be dismissed, and
amendment of these claims would be futile. Plaintiff's
FDCPA claims are governed by a one-year statute of
limitations. Jackson v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC,
747 Fed.Appx. 159, 160 (4th Cir. 2019). Therefore, these
claims must also be dismissed.
conspiracy claim references 18 U.S.C. § 241, a criminal
statute that private actors are not permitted to sue to
enforce. See, e.g, Walker v. U.S. Army Dep't Def.
Med. Command, No. JKB-18-1778, 2019 WL 161498, at *2 (D.
Md. 2019) (holding that a private citizen could not state a
claim under § 241); Moore v. Bd. of Educ. of Balt.
Coun., No. RDB-16- 3439, 2017 WL 3172820, at *3 n.9 (D.
Md. 2017) (“[I]t is well established that a private
actor may not bring a civil claim pursuant to a criminal
statute unless that statute provides a private cause of
action.”). Therefore, Plaintiff's conspiracy claim
must be dismissed.
Plaintiff mentions or quotes a series of federal statutes and
regulations that require states to create procedures for
acknowledging the paternity of a child that comport with the
Due Process Clause. See 42 U.S.C. § 666; 45
C.F.R. 302.70(a)(5)(iii). To the extent that Plaintiff
contends that he was not afforded the procedures required by
these regulations, his claims still arise under the Due
Process Clause pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and, as
mentioned above, these claims are barred by the statute of