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Hamilton v. Rowe

United States District Court, D. Maryland

October 25, 2019




         In response to Plaintiff Larry Hamilton's civil rights complaint, Defendants move to dismiss or for summary judgment based in part on their assertion that the complaint is barred by the doctrine of res judicata. ECF 12, see also Hamilton v. Washington Co. Det. Ctr., et al., Civil Action RDB-18-2851 (D. Md. 2018) (hereinafter Hamilton I). Hamilton has filed three motions to appoint counsel (ECF 11, 19, 24); a Motion for Federal Administrative Building Inspector (ECF 10), eight pieces of correspondence (ECF 16-18, 21-23, 26, 27) and a supplemental complaint (ECF 25). For the reasons stated below the Court concludes this action is barred by the doctrine of res judicata, denies Hamilton's pending motions, and grants Defendants' motion, which is construed as a Motion to Dismiss.

         Complaint Allegations

         Hamilton, a former detainee at Washington County Detention Center (WCDC), alleges that in "the shower area and other places throughout" the facility there is "excessive black mold spores." ECF 1 at 4. He adds that the mold is "mainly in the showers and ventilation areas." Id. He claims that as a result of being exposed to the mold he suffers from eye irritation, persistent cold-like symptoms, difficulty breathing, and a skin rash. Id.

         Prior Litigation

         In Civil Action RDB-18-2851 Hamilton sued WCDC, Captain Long, Warden Rose, Washington County Board of Commissioners, Washington County Sherriff s Department, Sherriff Doug Mullendore, and Meritus Medical Staff Correct Solutions. Hamilton I at ECF 1, ECF 4. The complaint concerned numerous allegations that Hamilton was denied medical care and claims that the conditions of his confinement were unconstitutional. One of the conditions he complained of related to the skin rash alleged in the instant complaint which he attributed to exposure to black mold. Id. at ECF 1, p. 6 ("I also been negligently subjected to taking showers in mold").

         This Court granted Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, [1] which was unopposed by Hamilton, and with regard to the alleged denial of medical care observed that:

The undisputed record establishes that Hamilton received adequate treatment for the medical complaints he presented to medical staff. To the extent he believed he was entitled to more than the treatment provided, his claim represents a disagreement with the treatment provided to him. Further, the complaint fails to establish that Hamilton suffered a cognizable injury due to the failure to provide him with the treatment of his choice. Hamilton has failed to attribute any deliberate failure to provide him with treatment for a serious medical need by the Defendants who have been served with the complaint, all of whom are correctional employees or municipal entities. The unserved medical care contractor is entitled to dismissal of the claims against it in light of the medical records establishing that Hamilton was provided adequate medical care.

Hamilton I at ECF 24, p. 11.

         With regard to Hamilton's claim against Washington County Board of Commissioners and the Sherriff s Department, this Court concluded he had failed to state a claim for municipal liability.

In suing a municipal government and agency under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Hamilton must prove two elements to succeed in this claim. First, he must establish the existence of a constitutional violation on the part of the police officers. See Los Angeles v. Heller, 475 U.S. 796, 799 (1986) (jury's finding that a police officer inflicted no constitutional injury on the plaintiff removed any basis for municipal liability against city and members of police commission); Temkin v. Frederick Cty. Comm'rs, 945 F.2d 716, 724 (4th Cir. 1991) (§ 1983 claim of inadequate training or supervision cannot be established without a finding of a constitutional violation on the part of the person being supervised); see also Dawson v. Prince George's County, 896 F.Supp. 537, 540 (D. Md. 1995). Second, Plaintiff must show that any constitutional violations were proximately caused by a policy, custom, or practice of the Defendants. See Monell v. Dep't of Social Servs. of N.Y., 436 U.S. 658, 691, 694 (1978). Municipal policy arises from written ordinances, regulations, and statements of policy, id. at 690; decisions by municipal policymakers, Pembaur v. Cincinnati, 475 U.S. 469, 482-83 (1986); and omissions by policymakers that show a "deliberate indifference" to the rights of citizens. See Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S. 378, 388 (1989).
Hamilton does not cite any injury he has sustained, nor has he described a constitutional violation that has occurred as a result of a policy, custom, or practice of either the Washington County Board of Commissioners or the Sherriff s Department. The claims against these Defendants must be dismissed.

Hamilton I at ECF 24, p. 10-11.

         In Hamilton's correspondence he seemingly responds to the Motion to Dismiss or for Summary Judgment, stating that counsel is attempting to "railroad the plaintiff' through introduction of medical records that show the medication he was provided was given by nurses, not doctors. ECF 16 at 10. He claims it is "criminal conduct" to prescribe "medicines not holding records and other criminal activity by the medical staff as no doctor was present as prior misconduct of staff." Id. Hamilton focuses the content of this letter on the quality of medical care provided to him while at WCDC and mentions only once the issue of black mold. Id. at 11. He attempts to differentiate between his current claim of ...

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