Hodge v. The Cordish Companies Inc. et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Ellen L. Hollander on 7/14/2017. (c/m 7/14/17 jnls, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
HAROLD HODGE JR.
Civil Action No. ELH-17-254
THE CORDISH COMPANIES INC.,
Harold Hodge, Jr., the self-represented plaintiff, filed suit on January 27, 2017, against a
host of corporate and individual defendants. ECF 1. As set forth by Hodge, the defendants are
as follows (with abbreviations supplied by the Court): The Cordish Companies Inc. (“Cordish
Cos.”); Entertainment Consulting International (“ECI”); PPE Casino Resort Maryland LLC
(“PPE”); Maryland Live Casino (“MLC”); David S. Cordish; Reed Cordish; Jonathan A.
Cordish; Chase Martin; Joseph Weinberg; Robert J. Norton; Douglas Shipley; and “John Doe,” a
Security Guard at MLC. Id. Hodge appended several exhibits to the Complaint. ECF 1-1 to
With leave of court (ECF 20), Hodge subsequently filed an Amended Complaint. ECF
21.1 Exhibits to the Amended Complaint are docketed at ECF 25-1 to 25-4. Plaintiff‟s federal
claims are based on 42 U.S.C. § 2000a, providing federal question jurisdiction. See 28 U.S.C. §
1331. The remaining claims are predicated on the Court‟s supplemental jurisdiction. See 28
U.S.C. § 1367.
In response to ECF 1, defendants filed a motion to strike (ECF 8) and a motion to
dismiss. ECF 10. Hodge then moved for leave to amend the complaint. ECF 17. By Order of
April 25, 2017, I granted that motion. ECF 20. And, in light of the Amended Complaint, I
denied the first motion to strike and the first motion to dismiss, without prejudice. Id.
Hodge‟s suit arises out of an allegedly illegal search of his “purse” by an unidentified
security guard at the Maryland Live! Casino on January 2, 2017. The alleged search occurred
when Hodge and his wife attempted to enter the Casino‟s game rooms. ECF 21, ¶¶ 37-47.
Plaintiff asserts that “because he was a black male with a fur hat on,” he was regarded “as a thug,
pimp or just a trouble-maker” and was “targeted” for a search, without justification. Id. ¶ 4; see
also id. ¶ 42. According to plaintiff, “„white‟ and Hispanics [sic] female customers” were
permitted to enter the casino without a search, even when their purses were larger than Mr.
Hodge‟s “purse.” Id. ¶ 1; see also id. ¶ 42. Hodge seeks $82 million in compensatory and
punitive damages. Id. ¶ 92.
The Amended Complaint contains six causes of action, which I shall identify as counts.
In Count I, Hodge claims race discrimination, in a place of public accommodation, in violation
of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000a, et seq. (“Title II”).
Count II alleges discrimination based on gender, in a place of public accommodation, in
violation of Title II. In Count III and Count IV, plaintiff alleges race discrimination and sex
discrimination, respectively, each in violation of Md. Code (2015 Repl. Vol., 2016 Supp.), § 20304 of the State Government Article (“S.G.”). Count V alleges common law assault and Count
VI alleges “trespassing-intrusion.” See ECF 21.
Defendants have moved to dismiss, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). ECF 23. The
motion is supported by a memorandum of law (ECF 23-1) (collectively, “Motion”) and an
exhibit. ECF 23-2. According to defendants, dismissal is appropriate because, inter alia, Hodge
has failed to state a claim as to the individual defendants (ECF 21-1 at 2) and because Hodge is
not entitled to damages under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Id. at 3. Defendants also maintain
that there is no private right of action under S.G. § 20-304. Id. Hodge opposes the Motion (ECF
26) (“Opposition”) and defendants have replied. ECF 27 (“Reply”).
In addition, defendants have filed a Motion to Strike (ECF 22), claiming that many of
Hodge‟s allegations and submissions in the Amended Complaint “bear no reasonable relation to
the controversy at issue here” (id. ¶ 11) and “are nothing more than an attempt to smear the
names of Defendants in a public forum and introduce inadmissible evidence.” Id. ¶ 16. Hodge
has responded in opposition to the motion to strike (ECF 26) and defendants have replied. ECF
No hearing is necessary to resolve the motions. See Local Rule 105.6. The Court is
mindful of its obligation to construe liberally the pleadings of a pro se litigant, which are “held to
less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007); see also White v. White, 886 F.2d 721, 722-23 (4th Cir. 1989). Nevertheless, for
the reasons that follow, I shall grant the Motion, with leave to amend, and deny the Motion to
Strike, as moot.
On January 2, 2017, Hodge and his wife “decided to „paint the town‟ a little and go to
Maryland Live Casino for the very first time.” ECF 21, ¶ 41 (emphasis in original). Hodge was
carrying a black “purse” that was “about the size of 9” x 3” x 9”.” Id. ¶ 37b.3 Hodge was
wearing the purse “around his neck on his shoulder.” Id. Ms. Hodge was also carrying a
“purse”. Id. According to plaintiff, he was dressed “in fine décor,” including a suit. Id. ¶ 44.
Given the procedural posture of this case, the Court assumes the truth of the facts
alleged in the Complaint.
The numbering of paragraphs in the Amended Complaint (ECF 21) is not consistent.
Two paragraphs are identified with the number “37” on page 21 of ECF 21. Accordingly, I shall
refer to the first paragraph 37 as “¶37a” and the second paragraph 37 as “¶37b”.
While the Hodges were in the lobby of the casino, they were “approached and stopped”
by an unidentified MLC security guard. Id. ¶ 37a. The security guard informed Hodge that he
would not be permitted to enter the game floor until he opened his “purse.” Id. ¶ 36. The
Hodges began to open their purses, but the security guard allegedly told Ms. Hodge that she did
not have to open her purse “because Maryland Live Casino did not check women [sic] purses or
belongings.” Id. ¶ 39.
According to Hodge, he “feared” that he would not be permitted to enter the casino if he
did not open his purse. Id. ¶ 41. He asserts: “Mr. Hodge had a few zippers on his black purse
and he was opening against his will the last one. Immedeately [sic], the (MLC) John Doe
Secuirty [sic] out of nowhere [leaped] reach [sic] towards Mr. Hodge and began to try to force
his purse open.” Id. ¶ 40 (emphasis in original). The purse was opened “without permission or
justification” (id. ¶ 41), and the occurrence was “extremely embarrassing” to the Hodges. Id. ¶
Hodge was allowed to enter the game rooms after the security guard completed the
search. Id. ¶ 44. The Hodges “played a few games in one of the game rooms” and then left the
casino. Id. ¶ 47.
Plaintiff contends that defendants “are using the discriminatory purse check of only black
men as and [sic] deterrent in the hope they will . . . turn around and . . . go back out the
door . . . .” ECF 21, ¶ 42. With respect to the claims lodged against the individual defendants,
plaintiff merely asserts that they “knew or should have known” of the illegal actions of their
staff. See, e.g., ECF 21, ¶¶ 56, 57, 58, 59. The Complaint also lists other cases (without
reference to case numbers or courts) in which claims of race discrimination were allegedly
posited; plaintiff contends that those cases were settled by “The Cordish Companies Inc. and
(ECI) LLC et al.” ECF 21 at 9.
Standard of Review
A defendant may test the legal sufficiency of a complaint by way of a motion to dismiss
under Rule 12(b)(6). In re Birmingham, 846 F.3d 88, 92 (4th Cir. 2017); Goines v. Valley Cmty.
Servs. Bd., 822 F.3d 159, 165-66 (4th Cir. 2016); McBurney v. Cuccinelli, 616 F.3d 393, 408
(4th Cir. 2010), aff'd sub nom. McBurney v. Young, ___ U.S. ____, 133 S. Ct. 1709 (2013);
Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999). A Rule 12(b)(6) motion
constitutes an assertion by a defendant that, even if the facts alleged by a plaintiff are true, the
complaint fails as a matter of law “to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Whether a
complaint states a claim for relief is assessed by reference to the pleading requirements of Fed.
R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). It provides that a complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” The purpose of the rule is to provide the
defendants with “fair notice” of the claims and the “grounds” for entitlement to relief. Bell Atl.,
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007).
To survive a motion under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), a complaint must contain facts
sufficient to “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; see
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 684 (2009) (“Our decision in Twombly expounded the pleading
standard for „all civil actions‟ . . . .” (citation omitted)); see also Willner v. Dimon, 849 F.3d 93,
112 (4th Cir. 2017). But, a plaintiff need not include “detailed factual allegations” in order to
satisfy Rule 8(a)(2). Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Moreover, federal pleading rules “do not
countenance dismissal of a complaint for imperfect statement of the legal theory supporting the
claim asserted.” Johnson v. City of Shelby, ___ U.S. ____, 135 S. Ct. 346, 346 (2014) (per
Nevertheless, the rule demands more than bald accusations or mere speculation.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; see Painter's Mill Grille, LLC v. Brown, 716 F.3d 342, 350 (4th Cir.
2013). If a complaint provides no more than “labels and conclusions” or “a formulaic recitation
of the elements of a cause of action,” it is insufficient. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Rather, to
satisfy the minimal requirements of Rule 8(a)(2), the complaint must set forth “enough factual
matter (taken as true) to suggest” a cognizable cause of action, “even if . . . [the] actual proof of
those facts is improbable and . . . recovery is very remote and unlikely.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
556 (internal quotations omitted).
In reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court “„must accept as true all of the factual
allegations contained in the complaint‟” and must “„draw all reasonable inferences [from those
facts] in favor of the plaintiff.‟” E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. v. Kolon Indus., Inc., 637 F.3d
435, 440 (4th Cir. 2011) (citations omitted); see Semenova v. Maryland Transit Admin., 845 F.3d
564, 567 (4th Cir. 2017); Houck v. Substitute Tr. Servs., Inc., 791 F.3d 473, 484 (4th Cir. 2015);
Kendall v. Balcerzak, 650 F.3d 515, 522 (4th Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 565 U.S. 943 (2011). But,
a court is not required to accept legal conclusions drawn from the facts. See Papasan v. Allain,
478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). “A court decides whether [the pleading] standard is met by separating
the legal conclusions from the factual allegations, assuming the truth of only the factual
allegations, and then determining whether those allegations allow the court to reasonably infer”
that the plaintiff is entitled to the legal remedy sought. A Society Without a Name v. Virginia,
655 F.3d 342, 346 (4th. Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 566 U.S. 937 (2012).
In general, courts do not “resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of a claim, or
the applicability of defenses” through a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Edwards v. City of Goldsboro,
178 F.3d 231, 243 (4th Cir. 1999); accord King v. Rubenstein, 825 F.3d 206, 214 (4th Cir. 2016).
The purpose of the rule is to ensure that defendants are “given adequate notice of the nature of a
claim” made against them. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555–56 (2007). But, “in the relatively rare
circumstances where facts sufficient to rule on an affirmative defense are alleged in the
complaint, the defense may be reached by a motion to dismiss filed under Rule 12(b)(6).”
Goodman v. Praxair, Inc., 494 F.3d 458, 464 (4th Cir. 2007) (en banc); accord Pressley v.
Tupperware Long Term Disability Plan, 533 F.3d 334, 336 (4th Cir. 2009); see also Meridian
Investments, Inc. v. Fed. Home Loan Mortg. Corp., 855 F.3d 573, 577 (4th Cir. 2017) (“A
defendant's claim that an action is time-barred is an affirmative defense that it can raise in a
motion to dismiss when the “face of the complaint includes all necessary facts for the
defense to prevail.”) (citation omitted). However, because Rule 12(b)(6) “is intended [only] to
test the legal adequacy of the complaint,” Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac R.R. Co. v.
Forst, 4 F.3d 244, 250 (4th Cir. 1993), “[t]his principle only applies . . . if all facts necessary to
the affirmative defense „clearly appear[ ] on the face of the complaint.‟” Goodman, 494 F.3d at
464 (quoting Forst, 4 F.3d at 250) (emphasis added in Goodman ).
Under limited exceptions, a court may consider documents beyond the complaint without
converting the motion to dismiss to one for summary judgment. Goldfarb v. Mayor & City
Council of Baltimore, 791 F.3d 500, 508 (4th Cir. 2015). A court may properly consider
documents that are “explicitly incorporated into the complaint by reference and those attached to
the complaint as exhibits . . . .” Goines, 822 F.3d at 166 (citations omitted); see U.S. ex rel.
Oberg, 745 F.3d at 136 (quoting Philips v. Pitt Cty Memorial Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180 (4th Cir.
2009)); Anand v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, 754 F.3d 195, 198 (4th Cir. 2014); Am.
Chiropractic Ass'n v. Trigon Healthcare, Inc., 367 F.3d 212, 234 (4th Cir. 2004), cert. denied,
543 U.S. 979 (2004); Phillips v. LCI Int'l Inc., 190 F.3d 609, 618 (4th Cir. 1999).
A court may also “consider a document submitted by the movant that was not attached to
or expressly incorporated in a complaint, so long as the document was integral to the complaint
and there is no dispute about the document's authenticity.” Goines, 822 F.3d at 166 (citations
omitted); see also Woods v. City of Greensboro, 855 F.3d 639, 642 (4th Cir. 2017); Kensington
Volunteer Fire Dep’t. v. Montgomery Cnty., 684 F.3d 462, 467 (4th Cir. 2012). To be “integral,”
a document must be one “that by its „very existence, and not the mere information it contains,
gives rise to the legal rights asserted.‟” Chesapeake Bay Found., Inc. v. Severstal Sparrows
Point, LLC, 794 F. Supp. 2d 602, 611 (D. Md. 2011) (citation omitted) (emphasis in original).
However, “before treating the contents of an attached or incorporated document as true,
the district court should consider the nature of the document and why the plaintiff attached it.”
Goines, 822 F.3d at 167 (citing N. Ind. Gun & Outdoor Shows, Inc. v. City of S. Bend, 163 F.3d
449, 455 (7th Cir. 1998)). “When the plaintiff attaches or incorporates a document upon which
his claim is based, or when the complaint otherwise shows that the plaintiff has adopted the
contents of the document, crediting the document over conflicting allegations in the complaint is
proper.” Goines, 822 F.3d at 167. Conversely, “where the plaintiff attaches or incorporates a
document for purposes other than the truthfulness of the document, it is inappropriate to treat the
contents of that document as true.” Id.
Plaintiff is a frequent litigant in this Court.4 In this particular case, he alleges, inter alia,
that he was subjected to race and gender discrimination as a patron at Maryland Live! Casino,
which is a place of public accommodation.
A. Federal Claims
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the “Act”) was enacted “to prevent . . . discrimination in
voting, as well as in places of accommodation and public facilities, federally secured programs
and in employment.” Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, 379 U.S. 241, 246 (1964).
Title II of the Civil Rights Act contains seven sections and is codified at 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000a et
seq. Section 2000a(a), titled “Equal access”, provides: “All persons shall be entitled to the full
and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and
accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without
discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.” See also,
e.g., Stanford v. Halloway, DKC-16-1355, 2017 WL 1048257, at *1 (D. Md. Mar. 20, 2017)
(“Title II prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, or national origin in places
of public accommodation.”).
The Act defines “place of public accommodation” in § 2000a(b), as follows:
As observed by Judge Chasanow, Mr. Hodge is “no stranger to this Court.” Hodge v.
College of Southern Maryland, 121 F. Supp. 3d 486, 493 (D. Md. 2015), aff’d, 646 Fed. App‟x
294 (4th Cir. 2016) (per curiam), cert. denied, 137 S. Ct. 504 (2016), reconsideration denied,
137 S. Ct. 824 (2016). Indeed, he has filed numerous cases in this district. See Hodge v.
Stephens, AW-12-1988, 2013 WL 398870 (D. Md. Jan. 31, 2013); Hodge v. Bd. of Cnty.
Comm'rs, RWT-10-2396, 2010 WL 4068793 (D. Md. Oct. 15, 2010); Hodge v. Calvert Cnty.,
PJM-09-2252, 2009 WL 2884928 (D. Md. Sept. 4, 2009); Hodge v. St. Mary's Cnty. Sheriff's
Office, PJM-08-2522, 2009 WL 8708855 (D. Md. June 22, 2009); Hodge v. Taylor Gas Co.,
DKC-05-319, 2005 WL 5501493 (D. Md. June 21, 2005); see also Hodge v. Talkin, 949 F. Supp.
2d 152 (D.D.C. 2013), rev’d, 799 F.3d 1145 (D.C. Cir. 2015), cert. denied, 136 S. Ct. 2009
Each of the following establishments which serves the public is a place of public
accommodation within the meaning of this subchapter if its operations affect
commerce, or if discrimination or segregation by it is supported by State
action: . . . (3) any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, sports arena,
stadium or other place of exhibition or entertainment . . . .
Section 2000a-2 of the Act is titled: “Prohibition against deprivation of, interference with,
and punishment for exercising rights and privileges secured by section 2000a or 2000a-1 of this
title.”5 It provides:
No person shall (a) withhold, deny, or attempt to withhold or deny, or deprive or
attempt to deprive any person of any right or privilege secured by section
2000a or 2000a-1 of this title, or (b) intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to
intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person with the purpose of interfering with any
right or privilege secured by section 2000a or 2000a-1 of this title, or (c) punish or
attempt to punish any person for exercising or attempting to exercise any right or
privilege secured by section 2000aor 2000a-1 of this title.
Section 2000a-3 of the Act authorizes a private right of action to enforce Title II. See,
e.g., Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises, Inc., 390 U.S. 400, 401 (1968) (“When the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 was passed, it was evident that enforcement would prove difficult and that
the Nation would have to rely in part upon private litigation as a means of securing broad
compliance with the law. A Title II suit is thus private in form only.”). However, and of import
here, § 2000a-3 only authorizes suits for injunctive or declaratory relief; it does not permit suits
for damages. Piggie Park, 390 U.S. at 402 (“When a plaintiff brings an action under [§ 2000a3], he cannot recover damages.”); see also Rychenko v. Burnette, No. 1:16-CV-00214-MR-DSC,
2017 WL 130001, at *2 (W.D.N.C. Jan. 12, 2017) (“42 U.S.C. § 2000a-3(a) clearly states that
the only remedy available under Title II is injunctive or other preventative relief.”), report and
recommendation adopted, 2017 WL 872650 (W.D.N.C. Mar. 3, 2017); Gennell v. Denny's
Corp., 378 F. Supp. 2d 551, 556 (D. Md. 2005) (Chasanow, J.) (“Damages, however, are not
Section 2000a-1 contains other provisions that are not pertinent here.
available under § 2000a; „[o]nly injunctive and declaratory relief (and attorney's fees) may be
awarded under Title II.‟”) (citation omitted).
In addition, § 2000a-3(c) sets forth a prerequisite for a plaintiff seeking relief under Title
II of the Act. Although a plaintiff bringing suit under Title II need not exhaust his administrative
remedies, “in a state that has both laws prohibiting the alleged discriminatory conduct and state
authorities that can provide relief from such conduct, „no civil action may be brought under
[Title II] before the expiration of thirty days after written notice of such alleged act or practice
has been given to the appropriate State or local authority . . . .‟” Stanford, 2017 WL 1048257, at
*2; (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 2000a-3(c)) (alteration in Stanford); accord Barton v. Thompson, HAR95-2154, 1995 WL 860632, at *2 (D. Md. Nov. 28, 1995).
Notably, Maryland law prohibits discriminatory conduct in places of public
accommodation and provides for relief from such conduct. See Stanford, 2017 WL 1048257, at
*2 (“Maryland law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in public accommodations;
therefore, Plaintiff was required to provide notice to the state authority . . . .”). In particular, S.G.
§ 20-304 states:
An owner or operator of a place of public accommodation or an agent or
employee of the owner or operator may not refuse, withhold from, or deny to any
person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, or privileges of the
place of public accommodation because of the person's race, sex, age, color,
creed, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or
Of relevance here, S.G. § 20-1004 provides a process by which an aggrieved person can
pursue relief through the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights (“Commission”).6 See also
The Commission was previously known as the Maryland “Commission on Human
Relations.” During the 2011 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly approved a
change in the name; it is now known as the Commission on Civil Rights. See 2011 Md. Laws,
Stanford, 2017 WL 1048257, at *2; Barton, 1995 WL 860632, at *2. These provisions obligate
an aggrieved person to provide notice to the Commission prior to initiating suit. See 42 U.S.C.
And, contrary to Hodge‟s argument in his Opposition (ECF 26 at 22), this
requirement does not depend on whether the defendants are private parties or government
In the Motion, defendants contend that dismissal of plaintiff‟s claims under the Act is
warranted, inter alia, on the grounds that plaintiff did not comply with the notification
requirement of § 2000a-3(c) and because plaintiff seeks only damages. ECF 23-1 at 9-12. They
also challenge the sufficiency of the allegations as to the individual defendants. Id. at 6-8.
In his Opposition, Hodge argues, without citation to authority, that the Act “does not
have a notice requirement based upon the totality of the Circumstances [sic] in this case.” ECF
26 at 5. Hodge states: “This is a civil case brought against businesses and its owners and
employees and subsidiaries and not the federal or state government.” Id.; see also id. at 22.
Hodge did not respond to defendants‟ argument concerning the viability of his claim for
damages. See ECF 26. But, with respect to the individual defendants, plaintiff argues: “The
Individual Defendants are also personally liable under the legal theories asserted by the Plaintiff,
because of the extraordinary circumstances and because the Individual that is owner of a
business can be seen as the business and/or the Corporate entity itself.” Id. at 7.
As discussed below, dismissal of Hodge‟s claims under the Act is appropriate because
Hodge has failed to provide the appropriate notice to the Commission.
Dismissal is also
appropriate because Hodge seeks only monetary damages, which are not available under the Act.
Chap. 580; see also Bd. of Directors of Cameron Grove Condo., II v. State Comm'n on Human
Relations, 431 Md. 61, 64 n.3, 63 A.3d 1064, 1066 n.3 (2013).
The opinion of the late Judge Hargrove in Barton, 1995 WL 860632, provides guidance
as to defendants‟ argument concerning the notice requirement of the Act. In Barton, as here,
plaintiff sought relief under Title II of the Act. Id. at *2. But, Judge Hargrove observed: “The
Complaint contains no evidence that either Plaintiff notified the appropriate state agency prior to
initiating this action in federal court.” Id. Thus, he concluded: “Plaintiffs' failure to plead the
proper jurisdictional prerequisites in their Complaint is a sufficient basis to dismiss their Title II
claim.” Id.; accord Stanford, 2017 WL 1048257.
Here, Hodge did not allege in his Amended Complaint that he provided notice to the
Commission. See ECF 21. Nor did he claim in his Opposition that he provided such notice, or
otherwise produce evidence of having provided notice. See ECF 26. Accordingly, dismissal is
appropriate due to plaintiff‟s failure to comply with the notice requirement of § 2000a-3(c).
Furthermore, even if Hodge had provided the requisite notice to the Commission,
dismissal would nevertheless be warranted. As noted, Hodge seeks only monetary damages in
his Amended Complaint. See ECF 21, ¶ 92. But, as indicated, such damages are unavailable
under the Act. 42 U.S.C. § 2000a-3(a); see also, e.g. Piggie Park, 390 U.S. at 402. Because
Title II does not permit Hodge to obtain the monetary relief that he seeks, his claims under Title
II are subject to dismissal. See, e.g. Rychenko, 2017 WL 130001, at *1 (dismissing case under
Title II because plaintiff only sought money damages); Gennell, 378 F. Supp. at 556 (same).
In view of my disposition, I need not resolve defendants‟ contention challenging the
sufficiency of the claims against the individual defendants. However, a review of the Complaint
reveals that the allegations as to the individual defendants are woefully thin in terms of any
particularized wrongdoing. If plaintiff opts to amend his suit to include such claims, he must set
forth specific factual allegations of wrongdoing by each particular defendant. See, e.g., Tillman
v. Wheaton-Haven Recreation Ass'n, Inc., 517 F.2d 1141, 1144 (4th Cir. 1975) (explaining that,
in the context of an action alleging deprivation of rights by a corporation, “[i]f a director does not
personally participate in the corporation's tort, general corporation law does not subject him to
liability simply by virtue of his office”).
B. State Claims
In view of my disposition of plaintiff‟s federal claims, I decline to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction as to plaintiff‟s State law claims, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3). See United
Mine Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715, 726 (1966). Therefore, I shall dismiss those
claims, without prejudice. However, if plaintiff elects to file another amended complaint, he
may reassert his State law claims.
C. Motion to Strike
Because I shall dismiss each of plaintiff‟s claims, I shall deny the Motion to Strike (ECF
22) as moot. However, if plaintiff elects to pursue his suit, he is reminded that allegations in a
suit may not be “impertinent, or scandalous.” See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(f).
In view of the foregoing, I shall GRANT the Motion (ECF 23) as to plaintiff‟s claims
under 42 U.S.C. § 2000a, without prejudice. And, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3), I shall
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff‟s State law claims, and shall dismiss
those claims, without prejudice to the right of Hodge to refile those claims in conjunction with
the submission of a viable federal claim.
An Order follows, consistent with this Memorandum.
Date: July 14, 2017
Ellen Lipton Hollander
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?