United States District Court, D. Maryland
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
being served, Defendant Washington County Board of County
Commissioners (“Washington County”) filed a
motion to dismiss the civil complaint filed by
self-represented Plaintiff Jerome Want. (ECF No. 6). Mr. Want
was sent a letter by the Clerk advising that, if he did not
file an opposition to the motion to dismiss, his complaint
may be dismissed without further warning. (ECF No. 7). Mr.
Want did not oppose the motion, but instead filed proposed
summonses for service of the complaint. (ECF No. 8). The
complaint, which Mr. Want filed in forma pauperis,
must be dismissed as to all named defendants, without
requiring service of the complaint, for the reasons noted
Want's complaint purports to assert a claim under Title
II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). (ECF No. 1
at p.1, ¶ 1; pp. 10-11). Mr. Want bases his claim on
allegations that “Washington County Maryland Government
has violated Plaintiff's rights . . . by not providing
sufficient equipment and competent drivers to meet his
physical needs as a disabled American.” (Id.
at p. 1, ¶ 1). Mr. Want explains that he has been left
“stranded for long periods of time without bus
transportation, ” and that his “frequent
complaints to county commissioners, the county transit and .
. . to Andrew Eshelman, [and] Kevin Cerrone have been
ignored.” (Id.). The narrative Mr. Want
provides as the factual background for his claims recounts
the occasions where the bus was late or did not arrive; the
bus driver did not inform him he did not need to transfer to
another bus; the bus stops did not have a place for him to
sit; and the county encouraged smoking at bus stops where an
ashtray was provided. (ECF No. 1 at pp. 2-8). He states that
he has been forced to walk long distances when the bus does
not arrive which is painful for him due to his back problems,
which provide the basis for his disability. He adds that the
discrimination against him as a disabled person includes:
a. persistently leaving [him] stranded
b. persistently not keeping to schedules in this small
community with very low traffic especially when [he] rides a
non rush hour periods.
c. by not providing sufficient buses to cover all routes d.
not making necessary and preventive repairs such as repairs
to brakes of buses and replacing suspension systems.
e. not providing sufficient compensation to attract competent
and committed drivers (qualitatively and quantitatively).
(ECF No. 1 at p. 11). In addition, Mr. Want states that
smoking should be banned at bus stops. (Id.).
County's motion to dismiss asserts that funding of public
transit is not a justiciable issue (ECF No. 6 at p. 2-3) and
that the ADA does not provide for the award of compensatory
or punitive damages (id. at p. 4-5). Washington
County further states that Mr. Want's attempt to have
this court “order Washington Co. MD Government to
allocate $2, 500, 000 as additional monies for the County
Transit budget” is, in essence, his attempt to allocate
local, state or federal government funds. (Id. at
2). Defendant explains:
County transit, including the “fixed route”
system which is the subject of Plaintiff's complaint,
serves the public as a whole. Funds to purchase additional
buses, to make repairs, or to pay drivers, must compete,
among many public concerns, with funding for safety,
sanitation, schools, and streets.
“The power to fix the fiscal policies and determine the
course of the fiscal operations” within our
representative system of government is set forth in Art. III,
§ 52 of the Maryland Constitution, which “was
adopted, in large measure, to correct the haphazard system of
appropriation that existed prior to 1915, which could easily
lead to a deficit.” Fraternal Order of Police
Montgomery Cty. Lodge 35 v. Montgomery Cty. Exec., 210
Md.App. 117, 131, 62 A.3d 238, 246 (2013). Locally, the
public transportation system in Washington County is
“under the jurisdiction of the County
Commissioners.” Code of the Public Local Laws of
Washington County § 1-603(f). And, most importantly,
funding for the County transit system is within the
discretion of the Commissioners, who “may provide the
money necessary to the establishment and implementation of
the system.” Code of the Public Local Laws of
Washington County § 1-603(b). Funding by individual or
judicial fiat would violate the foundational separation of
powers established in our American republic.
(Id. at 3).
reviewing the complaint in light of a motion to dismiss
pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6), the court accepts
all well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and
construes the facts and reasonable inferences derived
therefrom 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, ...