Huffman v. Wicomico County Detention Center

Filing 16

MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge George Jarrod Hazel on 7/24/2017. (c/m 7/24/2017 aos, Deputy Clerk)

Download PDF
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND Southern ,, Division ') .IOSIIUA A. HUFFMAN, Case No.: (;.111-16-514 I'laintiff, \'. WICOMICO COUNTY DETENTION CENTER, ell/I., * Defendants. * * * * * * * * * MEMORANDUM OPINION Joshua I-Iurtinan is a Maryland state prisoner \\ho is presently incarccratcd Corrcctionallnstitution in Cumbcrland. Maryland. Now pending is Ilurtinan's pursuant to 42 U .S.C. ~ 1983. which hc supplemcnted ECF NO.6. Dcfcndants. Licutcnant at Wcstcrn Complaint at the dircction of thc Court. lOCI' No. I: thc Wicomico County Detention Ccntcr ("'WCDC'). Byrd. Mrs. Williams. and Sergeant Gonzalez. i'vICO Shovcl. by thcir counscl. pursuant to Rules 12(0) and 56 ofthc Fcdcral Rules of Civil Proccdurc. mO\'C to dismiss thc Complaint prcjudicc. or in thc alternative. Opposition t()r summary judgmcnt. tiled ECF No. 12. I Ilurtinan with tiled an in rcply. lOCI' No. 14. Thc mattcr is rcady t()r disposition. Thc Court linds that a hcaring is unnccessary. Loc, R, 105.6, (D. Md. 2(16). For rcasOns to t()lIow. Dcfendants' See Motion to Dismiss is grantcd, I Service was attempled. but not obtained on Major Moore due to his death prior to the tiling of the suit. ECF No. 7.8. As will be discussed. the Complaint and Supph:mcnt raise no specific claims against Moore and is thus subject to dismissal as to Major Moore. I. BACKGROUND Between April and June 2015. Huflinan Ilurlinan alleges that he was kept in protective allowed only one hour of recreation facilities.!d Iluflinan was contined at WCDC. ECF No. I at 3. custody on lock down status "Il)r no reason" and time. during which there was no access to bathroom supplemented the Complaint to allege that there was black mold in his cell and that the kitchen was infcsted with roaches. ECF NO.6 at J. S. IIe also explained during his limited recreation complains time. he was ordered to use the shower as a bathroom. his cell lacked li'esh air causing him selt~reportcd COI'D (chronic obstructh'e pulmonary COI'D inhaler and purposefully to request his inhaler. and had no windows officers placed a fan in the hall which provided Huflinan of his disease). and anxiety attacks. ECF NO.6 at 3-4. Iluflinan ignored him when he tried to get their attention could do about the temperature. Iii. at 2. lie asthma attacks. worsening further alleges that staff would not let him use his emergency his cell "felt like I J 0 degrees" that or air conditioning. Iii. at 4. IlutTman e1aims !d at 7. lie states little relief: and told him there was nothing they !d. access to the law library. Id. at 5. lie posits also asserts he was denied adequate that be might have gone to the library live or six times. and caeh time his visit lasted less than one hour. It!. lIuriinan conditions ECFNo. II. asserts that "everyone" tiled complaints and grievances about the at WCDC. but they were ignored. !d at 6. As relief. he seeks $1 million in damages. I. STANDARD OF REVIEW Federal Rule of Ch'il Procedure "tilils to state a e1aimupon J 2(b)( 6) pnl\'ides which relief can be granted," purpose "is to test the sufficiency of a complaint Ill!' the dismissal of a complaint Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). This rule's and not to resolve contests surrounding 2 iI' it the facts. the merits of a claim. or the applicability of defenses'" I'r"sl"y \'. Cityoj"Clwrlol/e.ITill". 464 F.3d 480. 483 (4th Cir. 2006). To that end. the Court hears in mind the requirements R. Civ. 1'. 8. /Jell Aflanfic Corp. \'. Twomhly. 550 U.S. 544 (2007). and //s!lcro(i U.S. 662 (2009). when considering complaint of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). and must state"a statements. recitals of the clements do not sufliee." plaintilTpleads delendant III. Itlhal. 556 a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)( 6). Speci Iieally. a must contain "a short and plain statement "ltJhreadbare 1'. of Fed. plausible claim for rcliee of a cause of action. supported hy mere conclusory Iqhal. 556 U.S. at 678.79. "A claim has I~lcial plausibility 1~lCtualcontent that allows the court to draw the reasonable is liable for the misconduct as inference when the that the hi. at 663. alleged." DISCUSSION As a prcliminary matter. the Court notes that WCDC is a prison I~\eility. not a "person" subject to suit under 42 U.S.c. ~ 1983. Inanimate objects such as buildings. I~\eilities. and grounds do not act under color of state law and arc not subject to suit under ~ J 983. See I'r"ml ,'. Rel/o. 57 F. Supp. 2d 307. 310 (E.D. Va. 1999) (""ITlhe Piedmont and therefore not amenable to suit under 42 U.s.c. F. Supp. 1294. 1301 (E.D. N.C. 1989) ("Claims jail is not;, person amenable dismissed ~ 19X3."): [kooks \'. Pemhroke City.lail. 722 under ~ 19X3 are directed at 'persons' to suil."). Thus. Iluflinan's and the ~ 1983 claims against WCDC will be with prejudice. Further. liability on the part of the remaining named Defendants 31 () ("liability personally Regional Jail is not a 'person.' acted personally of the plaintiffs requires a showing that the of his rights. See I're\'(". 57 F. Supp. 2d at in the deprivation will only lie where it is aflinnatively in the deprivation detCndants shown that the oftieial charged acted rights."). 3 Apart from naming Delendants in the supplement to the Complaint. nowhere does Huflinan attribute a specilic action or omission to any Defendant that dcprived him of his constitutional rights. See Kenera/~l' ECF 2: ECF 6. The Court would reach the same conclusion even ifit wcrc to construe Huflinan's subsequent submissions. including his response to DeICndant's Motion to Dismiss. ECF Nos. 14 and a letter to the Court on November 13. 2016. ECF No. 15. as attempts to amend his Complaint. In those documents. Huflinan references an argumcnt he had with one Defendant. Ofticer Shovel. but does not allege that Officer Shovel took any action to deprive him of a constitutional right. ECF No. 14 at 2: ECF No. 15 at 3.2 A federal court may not act as an advocate for a sell~represented litigant. see Bmck I'. Carmll, 107 F.3d 241. 242-43 (4th Cir. 1996): Weller I'. D('I"I o(Social Sel'l's .. 901 F.2d 387. 391 (4th Cir. 1990). or "conjurc up questions ncvcr squarely presented:' 8eaude/l \', Cily o{Hal11l'ton. 775 F.2d 1274. 1278 (4th Cir. 1985). ('erl, denied. 475 U.S. 1088 ( 1986). The named Defendants thereli.,re are also entitled to dismissal of the Complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ, 1'. 12(b)(6): .1'1'(' also 28 U.S.c. ~1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) (mandating dismissal at any time if the Court determines the action fails to state a elaim on which relief may bc grantcd). Because Huflinan is sell~represented. the dismissal will be without prejudice and Huftinan will be permittcd to supplement his Complaint to explain the specific action that each named Defendant took to deprive him of a constitutional right. ~ Ill/ninan also mentions that Oflicer Kellulll allegedly refused to provide him \\'itll copies of his grievances for his records. ECF No. 15 at 5. Because Officer Kellulll is not a named defendant in this casc. any alle~ations against him cannot be considered by the Court. "' ~ ... 4 IV. CONCLUSION For the foregoing reasons. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 12. shall be granted. A separate Order filllows. Dated: July 'Z- Y. 2017 GEORGE J. HAZEL United States District Judge 5

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?