Henson v. State of Maryland et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge James K. Bredar on 4/25/2017. (c/m 4/26/17)(kr2, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
JAMES A HENSON, JR.,
STATE OF MARYLAND,
ANNE ARUNDEL CIRCUIT COURT,
Civil Action No. JKB-17-884
James A. Henson, Jr., a Maryland Department of Corrections (“DOC”) prisoner housed
at Western Correctional Institution, filed the instant civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§1983, against the State of Maryland and Anne Arundel Circuit Court. ECF 1, p. 1. For reasons
set forth herein, Henson’s motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis shall be granted and the
complaint shall be dismissed.
Henson seeks “access to the courts” and alleges a laundry list of complaints regarding his
confinement within the DOC. He reiterates his often raised claim of a vast conspiracy among
ECF 1, p. 3. It is unclear what relief he seeks. It is also unclear how the
named defendants, the State of Maryland and the Anne Arundel Circuit Court, are alleged to
have participated in the allegations raised arising out of prison conditions in the DOC. Id.
Henson’s complaint is filed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), which permits an indigent
litigant to commence an action in federal court without prepaying the filing fee. To guard
See Henson v. Likin, Civil Action No. RWT-11-2719 (D. Md.), Henson v. Miller, Civil Action No. RWT-12-763
(D. Md.) Henson v. Lambert, Civil Action No. RWT-12-3271 (D. Md.), Henson v. Smith, Civil Action No. RWT13-2266 (D. Md.); Henson v. Weber, RWT-14-340 (D. Md.) Henson v. Graham, RDB-14-2058 (D.Md.). In those
cases, the court concluded that Henson’s claims of a vast conspiracy to cause him harm had been subject to
investigation and found to be without merit and that Henson had otherwise failed to provide any facts in support of
his bald-faced conspiracy allegations.
against possible abuses of this privilege, the statute requires a district court to dismiss any claim
that is frivolous or malicious, or fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii).
In this context, this court is mindful of its obligation to liberally construe the pleadings of
pro se litigants. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
In evaluating a pro se
complaint, a plaintiff's allegations are assumed to be true. Id. at 93 (citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555–56 (2007)). Nonetheless, liberal construction does not mean that a
court can ignore a clear failure in the pleading to allege facts which set forth a cognizable claim.
See Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Beaudett v. City of
Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985) (stating a district court may not “conjure up
questions never squarely presented.”). In making this determination, “[t]he district court need
not look beyond the complaint's allegations . . . .
It must hold the pro se complaint to less
stringent standards than pleadings drafted by attorneys and must read the complaint liberally.”
White v. White, 886 F. 2d 721, 722-723 (4th Cir. 1989).
Under the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, a state, its agencies
and departments are immune from suits in federal court brought by its citizens or the citizens of
another state, unless it consents. See Pennhurst State Sch. and Hosp. v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89,
100 (1984). While the State of Maryland has waived its sovereign immunity for certain types of
cases brought in state courts, see Md. Code Ann., State Gov’t § 12-202(a), it has not waived its
immunity under the Eleventh Amendment to suit in federal court. Thus, Henson’s complaint
against both the State of Maryland and the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County, a State
agency, is barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
Title 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) obligates federal courts to dismiss cases at any time if the
action is legally frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or
seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. The complaint shall
be dismissed under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e). See Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S.
319, 325 (1989); see also Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 32 (1992); Cochran v. Morris, 73
F.3d 1310, 1315 (4th Cir. 1996); Nasim v. Warden, 64 F.3d 951, 954-55 (4th Cir. 1995).
Plaintiff is reminded that under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) he will not be granted in forma pauperis
status if he has “on 3 or more prior occasions, while incarcerated or detained in any facility,
brought an action or appeal in a court of the United States that was dismissed on the grounds that
it is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, unless the
prisoner is under imminent danger of serious physical injury.”
A separate Order follows.
April 25, 2017
James K. Bredar
United States District Judge
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