Wells v. US Department of Veteran Affairs
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Chief Judge Catherine C. Blake on 9/19/2016. (dass, Deputy Clerk) (c/m 9/19/16-das)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
DEANDRE B. WELLS
U.S. DEPT. OF VETERAN AFFAIRS
: CIVIL NO. CCB-16-1356
Plaintiff DeAndre Wells, representing himself, has filed a complaint against the
Department of Veterans Affairs (the “VA”), and the VA has responded with a motion to dismiss.
It will be granted but with leave to amend in 21 days.
The complaint is unclear about the specific facts and legal theories upon which Mr. Wells
attempts to support a claim. It appears that he believes he was subjected to verbal abuse,
amounting to intentional infliction of emotional distress, when he attended a meeting at the VA
with several VA employees to discuss vocational rehabilitation. Mr. Wells filed an
administrative claim, which was investigated but denied. Assuming without deciding that the
federal government may have waived sovereign immunity for this claim under the Federal Tort
Claims Act, see Cantrel v. United States, 2013 WL 822045 (D. Md. March 4, 2013), Mr. Wells
has not alleged facts that would state a claim under applicable Maryland law. See Arbabi v. Fred
Meyers, Inc., 205 F. Supp. 2d 462, 465–66 (D. Md. 2002). Further, while Mr. Wells refers to
both the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act, he has not adequately stated facts showing that,
because of a disability, he was discriminated against in regard to a public service, program, or
activity for which he was otherwise qualified. See Constantine v. The Rectors & Visitors of
George Mason Univ., 411 F.3d 474, 498 (4th Cir. 2005). In short, while Mr. Wells may have
been rudely treated by a VA employee, which would be inappropriate and regrettable, it is not
sufficient to state a claim for money damages against the VA.
Further, it is not clear whether Mr. Wells’ wife, Crystal Wells, is intended to be a
plaintiff. She is not listed as a plaintiff on the complaint and did not sign it, but some portions of
the complaint appear to seek compensation for her own emotional distress. This also is not
sufficient to state a claim.
Because Mr. Wells is representing himself, he will be given an opportunity to file an
amended complaint clearly stating additional facts to support his claims, if he has any. There
does not at this time, however, appear to be sufficient basis to appoint an attorney. A separate
September 19, 2016
Catherine C. Blake
United States District Judge
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?