Galloway v. Maryland Criminal Injuries Compensation Board
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Levi Russell, III on 10/30/2017. (c/m 10/31/17 bmhs, Deputy Clerk)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
DAVID EUGENE GALLOWAY,
Civil Action No. GLR-17-2001
MARYLAND CRIMINAL INJURIES
THIS MATTER is before the Court on David Eugene Galloway’s1 Complaint,
filed on July 18, 2017 against the Maryland Criminal Injuries Compensation Board
(“CICB”) and accompanied by a Motion to Proceed in Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 2). The
Motion is ripe for disposition, and no hearing is necessary. See Local Rule 105.6 (D.Md.
2016). For the reasons outlined below, the Court will grant Galloway’s Motion because
his financial affidavit indicates he is indigent, but the Court will dismiss the Complaint
Galloway alleges that on July 30, 2007, he was stabbed by unknown gang
members. He claims the CICB was obligated to compensate him for lost wages up to
$25,000, pay his medical bills up to $45,000, and pay for psychological counseling up to
$5,000. Galloway asserts he received only $4,000 in benefits, and after one year, the
Galloway filed the Complaint pro se. The Complaint, however, also is signed by
Maurice Robinson, who identifies himself as an attorney. Mr. Robinson has neither provided his
bar number nor entered his appearance in this case.
payments ceased. He claims he lost his job and home, and continues to suffer medical
problems due to his injuries. As relief, he asks for $217,000 in compensation for lost
wages, loss of employment, and his injuries. (Compl. at 6–7, ECF No. 1).
Standard of Review
Galloway filed this Complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, which permits an indigent
litigant to commence an action in federal court without prepaying the filing fee. To
protect against possible abuses of this privilege, the statute requires a court to dismiss any
claim that “fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted.”
The Court is mindful of its obligation to liberally construe the
pleadings of pro se litigants such as Galloway. 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 claim cognizable in a federal district court.
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”).
A pleading which sets forth a claim for relief must contain a short and plain
statement of the grounds upon which the court's jurisdiction depends. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
8(a). Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction and “may not exercise jurisdiction
absent a statutory basis.” Exxon Mobil Corp. v. Allapattah Servs., Inc., 545 U.S. 546, 552
They “have an independent obligation to determine whether subject-matter
jurisdiction exists, even when no party challenges it.” Hertz Corp. v. Friend, 559 U.S.
77, 94 (2010). The facts showing the existence of subject matter jurisdiction “must be
affirmatively alleged in the complaint.” Pinkley, Inc. v. City of Frederick, 191 F.3d 394,
399 (4th Cir. 1999) (citing McNutt v. Gen'l Motors Acceptance Corp., 298 U.S. 178
(1936)). “A court is to presume, therefore, that a case lies outside its limited jurisdiction
unless and until jurisdiction has been shown to be proper.” United States v. Poole, 531
F.3d 263, 274 (4th Cir. 2008) (citing Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co., 511 U.S. 375,
377 (1994)). Moreover, the “burden of establishing subject matter jurisdiction is on . . .
the party asserting jurisdiction.” Robb Evans & Assocs., LLC v. Holibaugh, 609 F.3d
359, 362 (4th Cir. 2010); accord Hertz, 130 S.Ct. at 1194; McBurney v. Cuccinelli, 616
F.3d 393, 408 (4th Cir. 2010).
The Maryland Criminal Injuries Compensation Board (CICB) is part of the
Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (“DPSCS”). Md. Code Crim.
Pro. §11-804 (2014). It “is a remedial body designed to provide aid and assistance to
victims of crime in Maryland.” See Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, Md. Dep’t of
Pub. Safety & Corr. Servs., http://www.dpscs.state.md.us/victimservs/cicb/index.shtml
(last visited Oct. 30, 2017). Crime victims can apply to the board for reimbursement of
medical and psychological expenses, loss of earnings or dependency, and funeral
expenses. Id.2 Thus, DPSCS is a state agency. The State of Maryland has not waived its
sovereign immunity to suit in federal court under the Eleventh Amendment to suit in
See Md. Code. Ann., Corr. Servs., Art., §§ 1-101(f) and 2-101.
Consequently, the Complaint must be dismissed.
Further, Galloway provides no basis for this Court to exercise jurisdiction over
this case. Galloway incorrectly asserts the U.S. government is a party to this matter as a
basis for jurisdiction. (Civil Cover Sheet, ECF No. 1-1). As explained above, the CICB
is a state entity, not a federal one. In addition, the Complaint alleges no violation of
federal law or a constitutional right upon which to premise federal question jurisdiction.
28 U.S.C. §1331. Since both parties are located in Maryland, there is no basis for
jurisdiction based on diversity of citizenship. See 28 U.S.C. §1332. Thus, the Complaint
provides no basis for this Court to exercise federal question or diversity of the parties’
jurisdiction over this matter.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court will grant Galloway’s Motion to Proceed in
Forma Pauperis (ECF No. 2). The Court will dismiss Galloway’s Complaint (ECF No.
1). A separate Order follows.
Entered this 30th day of October, 2017.
George L. Russell, III
United States District Judge
Appeals of CICB decisions may be filed in the Circuit Courts of Maryland. See
http://www.dpscs.state.md.us/cicb/CICBPamphlet (last visited October 30, 2017).
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