Claridy v. Anderson
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Ellen L. Hollander on 6/25/2015. (c/m 6/25/15 bas, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Civil Action No. ELH-13-2600
Plaintiff Deborah Claridy, a former deputy sheriff and lieutenant with the Baltimore City
Sheriff’s Office, filed suit against Baltimore City Sheriff John Anderson, in his individual
capacity, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. According to Claridy, Anderson violated her rights
under the First Amendment when he disciplined her and changed her job duties in retaliation for
her electoral campaign against him in 2010 for the office of Baltimore City Sheriff. ECF 1.1
Claridy’s effort to unseat the incumbent, Sheriff John Anderson, was unsuccessful. Claridy was
terminated from the Sheriff’s Office on October 29, 2013.
On March 9, 2015, I issued a Memorandum (ECF 24) and Order (ECF 25) in which I
granted defendant’s motion to dismiss (ECF 16) all of plaintiff’s claims for monetary damages,
with prejudice. Among other things, I determined that Sheriff Anderson was entitled to qualified
immunity with respect to Claridy’s claims for monetary damages. See ECF 24 at 41; ECF 25.
However, Claridy’s claims for injunctive relief survived dismissal. ECF 24 at 41; ECF 25. In
particular, I denied the motion to dismiss as to plaintiff’s claims that she is entitled to “injunctive
When suit was filed in September 2013, Claridy was represented by counsel. See ECF
1 at 11. However, since May 2014, she has been self-represented. See ECF 13; ECF 14.
relief” dismissing all disciplinary charges filed against her, and “purging Plaintiff’s personnel
file of all information pertaining to the charges. . . .” ECF 25; see ECF 1 at 10-11.
Defendant Anderson has now moved to dismiss the remaining claims for injunctive
relief. ECF 33 (“Motion”). He claims this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction because the
claims for injunctive relief are now moot. Id. In the Motion, supported by two exhibits, Sheriff
Anderson explains that the administrative disciplinary charges against Claridy (“IA Case
23F10”), at issue here, were administratively closed on October 29, 2013. See ECF 33-1 at 1
(Affidavit of Major Samuel Cogen) and ECF 33-1 at 2 (Dismissal Memorandum dated
10/30/13). Further, Cogen avers that plaintiff’s personnel file has been purged of any material or
documents related to IA Case 23F10. Therefore, defendant maintains that plaintiff has obtained
the relief she sought and thus her claim for injunctive relief is now moot.
Pursuant to the dictates of Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309, 310 (4th Cir. 1975), the
Clerk sent notice to Claridy on June 4, 2015 (ECF 34), advising her that Sheriff Anderson had
filed a motion to dismiss and that the motion could result in dismissal of the case. Further,
Claridy was advised of her right to respond to the motion within 17 days from the date of the
letter. No response has been filed by Claridy.
For the reasons expressed by the Sheriff, I agree that the case is now moot, and is thus
subject to dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
“‘[A] case is moot when the issues presented are no longer “live” or the parties lack a
legally cognizable interest in the outcome.’” United States v. Hardy, 545 F.3d 280, 283 (4th Cir.
2008) (quoting Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486, 496 (1969)). “‘The inability of the federal
judiciary to review moot cases derives from the requirement of Art. III of the Constitution under
which the exercise of judicial power depends upon the existence of a case or controversy.’”
Hardy, 545 F.3d at 283 (quoting DeFunis v. Odegaard, 416 U.S. 312, 316 (1974)). Therefore,
an actual controversy must exist at all times while the case is pending. See Steffel v. Thompson,
415 U. S. 452, 459 n.10 (1974); Williams v. Ozmint, 716 F.3d 801, 808 (4th Cir. 2013).
Where developments occur during the course of a case that prevent the court from being
able to grant the requested relief, the case must be dismissed. See Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. 83,
95 (1968). Indeed, “[w]here on the face of the record it appears that the only concrete interest in
the controversy has terminated, reasonable caution is needed to be sure that mooted litigation is
not pressed forward, and unnecessary juridical pronouncements on even constitutional issues
obtained . . . .” Lewis v. Continental Bank Corp., 494 U.S. 472, 480 (1990).
To be sure, there is a narrow exception to the mootness doctrine, in those cases where a
wrong is “capable of repetition yet evading review.” Lux v. Judd, 651 F.3d 396, 401 (4th Cir.
2011). This exception does not appear applicable in the context of this case. Rather, this is a
case in which plaintiff now lacks a “particularized, concrete stake in the outcome of the
case. . . .” Williams, 716 F.3d at 808-09; see also Hardy, 545 F.3d at 283. This is because, with
respect to the claims for injunctive relief, Claridy obtained the injunctive relief that she sought
through the litigation. See Simmons v. United Mortgage & Loan Inv., LLC, 634 F.3d 754, 763
(4th Cir. 2011).
Defendant’s exhibits, which are uncontested, establish that IA Case 23F10 was closed in
2013, and Claridy’s personnel file has been purged of any related documents and material.
Therefore, there is no further relief available to Claridy. It follows that there is no longer a “case
or controversy” for the Court to decide; the case is now moot; and thus the Court lacks subject
matter jurisdiction. See Warren v. Sessoms & Rogers, P.A., 676 F.3d 365, 370 (4th Cir. 2012).
An Order follows.
Date: June 25, 2015
Ellen L. Hollander
United States District Judge
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