Clark v. Troxell
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Paul W. Grimm on 2/21/2017. (kns, Deputy Clerk)(c/m 2/22/17)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND.
Civil Action No. PWG-16-1426
In response to the above-captioned civil rights complaint, Defendant moves to dismiss or
for summary judgment.
ECF No. 14. Plaintiff was advised of his right to file an Opposition
Response and of the consequences of failing to do so, ECF No. 15, but has filed nothing further. \
No hearing is necessary to resolve the matters pending.
For the reasons that follow, Defendant's
See Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016).
motion, construed as a Motion to Dismiss, shall be
Plaintiff Marcus Clark, an inmate committed to the custody of the Maryland Division of
Correction and confined in Eastern Correctional Institution ("ECI"), claims he was removed
from a prison job for discriminatory reasons.
CompI. 5, ECF No. 1.2 He states that he was
assigned to work in the prison kitchen when Defendants Officer Troxell and Lieutenant White
I Plaintiff filed a Motion to Appoint Counsel.
ECF No. 13. A federal district court judge's
power to appoint counsel under 28 U.S.C. S 1915(e)(1) is a discretionary one, and may be
considered where an indigent claimant presents exceptional circumstances. See Cook v. Bounds,
518 F.2d 779, 780 (4th Cir. 1975). The claim asserted is not complex one. No hearing is
necessary to the disposition of this case, and there are no exceptional circumstances that would
warrant the appointment of an attorney to represent plaintiff under S 1915( e)(1). The Motion to
Appoint Counsel shall be denied.
2 Page numbers for citations to Complaint refer to CM/ECF page numbers.
walked through the dish room, where he was working. ld. 4. A third officer, Officer Johnson,
called Plaintiff over and asked if he had gotten paperwork from medical documenting that he
could not wear work boots.
Id. Plaintiff explained that the doctor had seen him and issued a
medical order excusing him from wearing work boots, which could be confirmed by consulting
computer records. ld. Johnson told Plaintiff it was not her job to go to the medical department
to get the paperwork and that Plaintiff should have been given a copy of it or it should have been
sent over to the work supervisor.
Plaintiff explained that he had no control over what
medical staff had done with the medical order and that the doctor had told him not to wear the
boots because they "may be making [his] condition worse."
Id. Plaintiff states that the work
boots were bruising his feet, but claims that Johnson stated she did not care. Id.
During his conversation with Johnson, White and Troxell began talking to Plaintiff.
White stated that she had not received anything from medical and Plaintiff stated he would write
a request for the order. ld. Troxell, the only named Defendant, then asked why Plaintiff wasn't
Plaintiff explained that he could not wear the boots as they may be
worsening his condition.
Plaintiff claims that Troxell became angry and gave him an
ultimatum to go put on his work boots or he would receive an infraction for refusing to work. ld.
After Plaintiff protested and said he was not refusing to work, rather the work boots caused him
extreme pain, Troxell sent him back to his housing unit and said they would be waiting for him
to tum in his "kitchen whites." Id.
Plaintiff states that White agreed that he was not refusing to work and suggested that
Johnson go to medical to find out what was going on. Jd. at 5. When Johnson went to medical
she obtained a copy of the medical order that stated Plaintiff should be excused from wearing
work boots. ld. Regardless, Plaintiff was still required to return to his housing unit. He claims
his dismissal from the job site constituted discrimination against him based on his disability.3
Id.. As relief, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages of $600,000. !d. at 3.
Standard of Review
In reviewing the complaint in light of a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P.
12(b)(6) the court accepts all well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true and construes the
facts and reasonable inferences derived therefrom in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Venkatraman v. REI Sys., Inc., 417 F.3d 418, 420 (4th Cir. 2005) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v.
Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)); Ibarra v. United States, 120 F.3d 472,473 (4th Cir.
1997). Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires only a "short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Migdal v. Rowe Price-
Fleming Int'l Inc., 248 F.3d 321, 325-26 (4th Cir. 2001); see also Swierkiewicz v. Sorema NA.,
534 U.S. 506, 513 (2002) (stating that a complaint need only satisfy the "simplified pleading
standard" of Rule 8(a)).
The Supreme Court of the United States explained a "plaintiff's obligation to provide the
of his "entitlement
requires more than labels and conclusions,
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do."
Bell At!. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (internal citations omitted). Nonetheless, the complaint does
"detailed factual allegations" to survive a motion to dismiss.
Id. at 555.
"once a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of facts
consistent with the allegations in the complaint." Id. at 563. To survive a motion to dismiss, "a
complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550
3 Plaintiff does not provide information regarding the nature of his alleged disability or the
medical condition that prompted the order to excuse him from wearing work boots.
u.s. at 570).
"A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. "But where the weB-pleaded facts do not permit the court to
infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged -- but it has not
'show[n]' -- 'that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Id. at 679 (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)).
"[O)nce a claim has been stated adequately, it may be supported by showing any set of
facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint.". Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563 (citing Sanjuan
v. Am. Ed. o/Psychiatry and Neurology, Inc., 40 F.3d, 247, 251 (7th Cir. 1994)).
Troxell asserts in part that the Complaint fails to state a claim under the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA). Def.'s Mem. 9-10, ECF No. 14-1. The ADA was enacted in 1990 "to
provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against
individuals with disabilities," 42 U.S.c.
12101(b)(1), and "to provide clear, strong, consistent,
12101 (b)(2). Title II of the ADA, which is at issue here, prohibits public entities, including
"any State or local government" and "any department, agency, special purpose district, or other
instrumentality of a State or States or local government," id.
12131 (1), from discriminating "by
reason of' disability against a "qualified individual with a disability," id.
For purposes of Title II, a "qualified individual with a disability" is defined as an
individual with a disability "who, with or without reasonable modifications to rules, policies, or
barriers, or the
proVISIOn of auxiliary aids and services, meets the essential eligibility requirements for the
receipt of services or the participation in programs or activities provided by a public entity." 42
12131(2). State prisoners, such as Plaintiff, may qualify as "qualified individual(s] with
meaning that they are entitled to protection under Title II of the ADA. In
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections v. Yeskey, 524. U.S. 206, 213 (1998), a unanimous
Supreme Court held that "the plain text of Title II of the ADA unambiguously extends to state
Although the Fourth Circuit "has not squarely addressed the issue," several
circuits "have determined that
l2132's words 'or be subjected to discrimination by that entity'
are meant to be a 'catch-all phrase that prohibits all discrimination by a public entity, regardless
of the context"'-in
other words, that Title II of the ADA applies to "anything a public entity
does." Seremeth v. Ed. of Cty. Comm'rs of Frederick, 673 F.3d 333, 338 (4th Cir. 2012) (citing
cases) (citations omitted); see also Paulone v. Frederick, 787 F. Supp. 2d 360, 380-81 (D. Md.
2011) (collecting authority).
Plaintiff has not alleged, nor does he offer any evidence to support a finding that he has a
disability. In addition, there is no allegation that Plaintiff was deprived of a benefit to which he
was otherwise entitled because of a disability.
Rather, he was simply not permitted to work on
one occasion. The allegation raised is not sufficient to state a claim under the ADA.
Troxell also asserts that Plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies and that he is
entitled to qualified immunity. Def.' s Mem. 6-7, 10-11. Because this Court has determined that
the Complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, the remaining defenses
need not be reached. Dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may
be granted requires the case to be flagged with a "strike" under the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
4 Under 28 U.S.C. S 1915(g) a prisoner litigant will not be granted in forma pauperis status ifhe
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
In a separate Order which follows, the Complaint shall be dismissed and the Clerk will be
directed to issue a strike.
Paul W. hmm
United States District Judge
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."
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?