Grant v. Prince George's County Dept. et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION (c/m to Plaintiff 7/17/17 sat). Signed by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 7/17/2017. (sat, Chambers)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
DECONTEE S. GRANT
Civil Action No. DKC 15-2433
PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY DEPT.,
Presently pending and ready for resolution in this civil
(“the County”) collectively, (“Defendants”).
(ECF No. 47).
issues have been briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing
being deemed necessary.
Local Rule 105.6.
For the following
reasons, the motion to dismiss will be granted.
Unless otherwise noted, the facts outlined here are set
forth in the complaint and construed in the light most favorable
Plaintiff alleges that while unconscious during a
medical procedure on or about February 18 or 19, 2012, she was
(ECF No. 16, at 10).
In September 2012,
Plaintiff reported the alleged sexual assault to Detective Hill
in the Prince George’s Police Department, who contacted Doctor’s
The hospital informed Detective Hill that Plaintiff
was “knocked out” for a pelvic exam and had awoken before the
doctors could start the second part of the exam.
Detective Hill declined to conduct an investigation.
Plaintiff filed a grievance against Detective Hill.
Plaintiff in response to her grievance.
Plaintiff alleges that
Sergeant Nalley asked “where are you from?” when asking for her
personal information and said that he would look at her medical
record and make a decision.
He subsequently closed her
regarding her complaint against Doctor’s Hospital.
information for the time interval of the sexual assault” were
Lieutenant Webster an updated copy of her medical record.
Upon Lieutenant Webster’s inquiry, Plaintiff disclosed
that she had spoken with a lawyer but was unable to pay for
Plaintiff alleges that Lieutenant Webster and
refused to investigate the sexual assault.
In July 2014, Sergeant B. Selway informed Plaintiff that he
Plaintiff gave Sergeant Selway a copy of her medical files.
Plaintiff alleges that at a later meeting, Sergeant Selway’s
“face became angry when Plaintiff [spoke] about her meeting with
(ECF No. 16, at 7).
that the County’s personnel interfered with her grievances and
Captain Rodriguez stating that her grievance against Detective
contacted Plaintiff regarding a letter Plaintiff had sent to a
United States Senator’s office.
He informed Plaintiff that her
complaint for sexual assault would not be investigated because
it had already been closed by Lieutenant Webster.
assault case and subsequent cover-up from being exposed.”
Plaintiff asserts that she was re-victimized, treated as
sleeplessness, violation of her privacy, and violation of trust
in the public institution whose mission [it] is to enforce the
Tyrone on August 17, 2015.
(ECF No. 1).
The operative amended complaint was filed on September 30,
Detective Hill and PGPD (Count I); 42 U.S.C. § 1981 against Ms.
Detective Hill and PGPD (Count VI); and 18 U.S.C. § 241 against
(ECF No. 16).
Plaintiff seeks monetary and injunctive relief.
Detective Hill moved to dismiss for insufficient service of
process (ECF No. 13), and PGPD moved to dismiss on the ground
that it is not a legal entity that can be sued (ECF No. 25).
The other Defendants also filed motions to dismiss.
19; 30; 32).
Plaintiff was provided with a Roseboro notice
after each motion was filed.
See Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d
309, 310 (4th Cir. 1971); (ECF Nos. 20; 27; 31; 34).
On June 29,
2016, the motions to dismiss filed by Doctor’s Hospital, Ms.
PGPD’s motion to dismiss was denied, and the court construed
Plaintiff’s claims as being against the County.
(ECF No. 41, at
Detective Hill’s motion to dismiss was construed as a
motion to quash service and was granted.
(ECF Nos. 41; 42).
On October 12, 2016, Detective Hill and the County filed
the instant motion to dismiss (ECF No. 47), and the Clerk sent a
Roseboro notice to Plaintiff (ECF No. 48).1
response in opposition to the motion.
Plaintiff filed a
(ECF No. 49).
move to dismiss Plaintiff’s claims on the ground that Plaintiff
lacks standing or, in the alternative, has failed to state a
The issue of standing may be challenged on a motion to
proving that subject matter jurisdiction properly exists.
v. B.F. Perkins Co., 166 F.3d 642, 647 (4th Cir. 1999).
Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the court “may consider evidence outside
the pleadings” to help determine whether it has jurisdiction
over the case before it.
Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac
After filing her response, Plaintiff filed a statement
notifying the court that she did not receive a copy of the
Roseboro notice but was later able to access a copy of the
notice online, and requested that her response be considered
timely. (ECF No. 50). Plaintiff filed a timely response to the
motion to dismiss and it appears that she received sufficient
notice of the motion.
R.R. Co. v. United States, 945 F.2d 765, 768 (4th Cir. 1991); see
also Evans, 166 F.3d at 647.
The court should grant the Rule
12(b)(1) motion “only if the material jurisdictional facts are
not in dispute and the moving party is entitled to prevail as a
matter of law.”
Richmond, 945 F.2d at 768.
federal court must establish standing.
See, e.g., Allen v.
Homeowner’s Ass’n Inc. v. Openband at Broadlands, LLC, 713 F.3d
175, 85 (4th Cir. 2013).
The doctrine of standing consists of
Article III and prudential standing.
See Elk Grove Unified Sch.
Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1, 11 (2004).
The requirements for
constitutional standing reflect that Article III “confines the
Allen, 468 U.S. at 750; see also Lujan v.
Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560 (1993) (“[S]tanding is
requirement of Article III[.]”).
“[Plaintiff] must, in other
words, show that the facts alleged present the court with a
‘case or controvesy’ in the constitutional sense and that she is
a proper plaintiff to raise the issues sought to be litigated.”
(1) [she] has suffered an “injury in fact”
that is (a) concrete and particularized and
(b) actual or imminent, not conjectural or
hypothetical; (2) the injury is fairly
traceable to the challenged action of the
defendant; and (3) it is likely, as opposed
to merely speculative, that the injury will
be redressed by a favorable decision.
Doe v. Obama, 631 F.3d 157, 160 (4th Cir. 2011) (quoting Friends
of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs. (TOC), Inc., 528
U.S. 167, 180-81 (2000)).
Plaintiff asserts civil rights claims against Defendants
under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986.2
She claims that
Defendants “are sworn to protect all citizens, enforce state
laws and county ordinances” (ECF No. 49, at 7), and that their
failure to investigate her sexual assault, enforce the Maryland
law criminalizing sexual offenses in the third degree, Md. Code,
Crim. Law § 3-307, and aid in the criminal or civil prosecution
Plaintiff also alleged violations of 18 U.S.C. §§ 241-242,
which are criminal statutes, in her amended complaint, and
references these claims in her opposition. (See ECF No. 49, at
2, 4). As previously held, it is beyond the court’s purview in
this civil matter to provide relief under criminal statutes.
(ECF No. 41, at 12-13); cf. United States v. Batchelder, 442
U.S. 114, 124 (1979) (“Whether to prosecute and what charge to
file or bring before a grand jury are decisions that generally
rest in the prosecutor’s discretion.”).
Plaintiff has also
raised in her opposition additional complaints of sexual assault
and harassment (see ECF No. 49, at 11-14), but she cannot amend
her complaint by asserting new facts in an opposition to a
motion to dismiss.
generally id. at 2-12).
Defendants argue that Plaintiff does
refusal to investigate her sexual assault complaint.
45, at 5).
There is no “constitutional, statutory, or common law right
public duties that are enforced by public opinion, policy, and
Doe v. Mayor of Pocomoke City, 745 F.Supp. 1137,
1139 (D.Md. 1990); accord Sattler v. Johnson, 857 F.2d 224, 227
(4th Cir. 1988) (noting plaintiff’s argument that he “had an
enforceable right as a member of the public at large and as a
victim to have the defendants criminally prosecuted” which was
“protected by the equal protection clause of the [F]ourteenth
constitutional right”); see also Linda R.S., 410 U.S. at 619
(citing cases holding that “a citizen lacks standing to contest
the policies of the prosecuting authority when he himself is
concluding that “a private citizen lacks a judicially cognizable
interest in the prosecution or nonprosecution of another”).
duty to investigate or prosecute a crime with which a public
official is charged is not owed to any individual member of the
Pocomoke City, 745 F.Supp. at 1139-40.
and the County did not owe Plaintiff a duty to investigate her
code by conducting a prosecution in her case, or assist her in
her civil suit against Doctor’s Hospital, and Plaintiff does not
have a right to compel them to act.
Plaintiff has not shown that she has standing to bring this
action because she has “failed to allege a sufficient nexus
between her injury and the government action which she attacks
to justify judicial intervention.”
Linda R.S., 410 U.S. at 617-
Accepting Plaintiff’s allegations as true, she sustained a
legally cognizable injury as a result of her sexual assault, but
that injury is not fairly traceable to the police department’s
refusal to investigate.
See id. at 618 (finding, in action
plaintiff “no doubt suffered an injury stemming from the failure
nonenforcement of the statute); Pocomoke City, 745 F.Supp. at
1139-40 (holding in § 1983 case that sexual assault victims “all
sustained legally cognizable injuries as a result of the sexual
redressing the specific injury for which it is sought.
Pocomoke City, 745 F.Supp. at 1140; see also Linda
R.S., 410 U.S. at 618.
Accordingly, Plaintiff lacks standing to
bring her claims against Defendants and the motion to dismiss
will be granted.
For the foregoing reasons, the motion to dismiss filed by
Defendants will be granted.
A separate order will follow.
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW
United States District Judge
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