Ayele v. Washington Adventist Hospital et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION (c/e/m and m/ to Plaintiff 9/5/17 sat). Signed by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 9/5/2017. (sat, Chambers)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
Civil Action No. DKC 16-3778
WASHINGTON ADVENTIST HOSPITAL,
motion to dismiss filed by Defendants Montgomery County Police
(collectively, the “MCPD Defendants”) (ECF No. 6); (2) a motion
to dismiss filed by Defendants Washington Adventist Hospital,
Terry Forde — President and CEO of Adventist HealthCare, Inc.,
Adventist Defendants”)(ECF No. 8); (3) a motion to strike filed
slavery filed by Plaintiff (ECF No. 20); and (6) a motion to
request video recordings filed by Plaintiff (ECF No. 22).
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 amend the complaint will be granted in
part and denied in part, the motions to dismiss will be granted,
the motion to end modern day slavery will be denied, the motion
records will be denied as moot.
Plaintiff filed a previous suit against the Defendants on
August 29, 2016, but that case was dismissed without prejudice
proceed in forma pauperis and complaint.
Order Dismissing Case,
Ayele v. Washington Adventist Hosp., No. PX-16-3011 (D.Md. Oct.
28, 2016) (ECF No. 4).1
On November 22, 2016, Plaintiff brought
this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the MCPD Defendants,
Team,2 alleging that they violated his Fourth Amendment Rights.
(ECF No. 1, at 4).
This complaint alleges that Plaintiff was
improperly detained at a McDonald’s restaurant in Silver Spring,
Plaintiff also brought suit against the MCPD Defendants in
a separate action for libel per se but that case was dismissed
when Plaintiff failed to supplement his complaint with the
allegedly defamatory statements about which he complained.
Ayele v. My Montgomery Cty. Media, DKC-16-3900 (D.Md. May 19,
When Plaintiff failed to serve Defendant Maryland Crisis
Team with a summons or a copy of the complaint within 90 days of
filing and failed to respond within 30 days to an Order to Show
Cause (ECF No. 12), Defendant Maryland Crisis Team was dismissed
from the case. (ECF No. 15).
Adventist Hospital against his will, where he was held for a
period of time.
He purports to make a claim pursuant to the
Fourth Amendment. (ECF No. 1).
On January 26, 2017, the MCPD Defendants moved to dismiss
for failure to state a claim.
(ECF No. 6).
On February 1, the
Washington Adventist Defendants moved to dismiss for failure to
state a claim and lack of jurisdiction.
(ECF No. 8).
February 7, Plaintiff filed a document entitled “Michael Ayele
Analysis and Comments to Judge Peter Messit[t]e Order: Request
Technologies, and Jury Trial.”
(ECF No. 10).
counsel, and requested that all court proceedings be recorded
and made available to Plaintiff.
On February 24, the Washington
Adventist Defendants moved to strike the document.
On May 19, Plaintiff responded to the MCPD Defendants’
motion to dismiss and moved to amend the complaint.
request for appointment of counsel and directing the Washington
Adventist Defendants to mail Plaintiff a copy of their motion to
The order gave Plaintiff until August 16 to respond to
(ECF No. 18).
On August 25, Plaintiff filed a
motion to end modern day slavery (ECF No. 20), and a motion to
request video recordings of court sessions (ECF No. 22).
stopped him at the McDonald’s in early August 2015.
that, at that time, he “was posing no harm to [himself] or
(Id. at 2).
The police took him in a police car to
It appears he was held at the hospital pursuant
to Maryland’s civil commitment procedure.
He alleges that the
hospital discharged him sometime before early November.
Motion to Amend
A party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course
within 21 days after serving it or within 21 days after service
When the right to amend as a matter of
course expires, “a party may amend its pleading only with the
should “freely give leave [to amend] when justice so requires,”
and commits the matter to the discretion of the district court.
See Simmons v. United Mortg. & Loan Inv., LLC, 634 F.3d 754, 769
(4th Cir. 2011).
Denial of leave to amend is appropriate “only
when the amendment would be prejudicial to the opposing party,
there has been bad faith on the part of the moving party, or the
amendment would be futile.”
Edwards v. City of Goldsboro, 178
F.3d 231, 242 (4th Cir. 1999) (emphasis in original) (quoting
Johnson v. Oroweat Foods Co., 785 F.2d 503, 509 (4th Cir. 1986)).
Leave to amend may be denied as futile “if the proposed
federal rules,” including federal pleading standards. Katyle v.
(quoting United States ex rel. Wilson v. Kellogg Brown & Root,
Inc., 525 F.3d 370, 376 (4th Cir. 2008)); Oroweat Foods Co., 785
F.2d at 510 (“Leave to amend, however, should only be denied on
the ground of futility when the proposed amendment is clearly
insufficient or frivolous on its face.” (citations omitted)).
pleading need not contain detailed factual allegations, but the
plaintiff must allege enough facts to make the claim appear
“plausible on its face.”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (2007); see
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere
Accordingly, denial of leave to amend is appropriate if the
court, taking as true the allegations of the proposed amended
pleading, would be compelled to dismiss the action.
Brown & Root, 525 F.3d at 376 (affirming the district court's
denial of leave to amend because the “proposed amended complaint
does not properly state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6)”).
related to his initial detention.
Based on these facts, the
Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2) mandates that courts “freely give leave”
Therefore, to the extent Plaintiff supplements the
initial complaint with additional facts related to his detention
by MCPD Defendants and the Washington Adventist Defendants and
based on these new facts increases the amount of damages, his
motion to amend will be granted.
(ECF No. 13, at 3-5).
I would like to re-iterate here that I have previously
requested Medical Information and Arrest Reports via
postal mail and e-mail to appropriate channels
handling FOIA questions at the Department of Mental
Health and Hygiene (DHMH) of Maryland, namely Amanda
Street . . . . For that reason, and because of her
failure to give [me an] official position in the form
of a letter acknowledging receipt of my FOIA requests
and the reasons for which she was not able to retrieve
requested records, I have decided to add her name in
During the pendency of this case, the Maryland legislature
changed the name of this department from the Department of
Health and Mental Hygiene to the Department of Health.
“Department of Health and Mental Hygiene – Renaming,” 2017
Maryland Laws Ch. 214 (S.B. 82).
(ECF No. 13, at 4).
Plaintiff has not pled facts that support a
legal claim for relief against Ms. Street and the Department of
Therefore, to the extent Plaintiff seeks to add Amanda
Street and the Maryland Department of Health as defendants, his
motion will be denied.
The motion also requests to add Springfield Hospital Center
and six of its employees as defendants.
(ECF No. 13 at 4-6).
The motion explains that, after he was released from Washington
Center where the doctors found him incompetent to stand trial.
He alleges that he was mistreated during his stay there.
No. 13 at 4-6).
Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, “plaintiff may
join multiple defendants in a single action only if plaintiff
asserts at least one claim to relief against each of them that
arises out of the same transaction or occurrence and presents
Wright, Arthur R. Miller, Mary Kay Kane, Federal Practice &
Procedure Civil § 1655 (3d ed. 2009).
Thus, “Claim A against
Defendant 1 should not be joined with unrelated Claim B against
George v. Smith, 507 F.3d 605, 607 (7th Cir.
He was committed to Washington Adventist
Hospital in August after being detained at a McDonald’s, and he
was released sometime before November.
He describes Washington
Adventist as an “asylum.” (ECF No. 13, at 4).
He alleges that
commitment process and that he was held at Washington Adventist
Hospital based on the proceedings of a “kangaroo court inside
the [h]ospital” (ECF No. 1, at 6).
Adventist Hospital, police arrested him and charged him with
Hospital, Plaintiff had an attorney.
In this case, a court
Springfield Hospital Center employee found him incompetent to
Although he claims both hospitals forced him to
Springfield Hospital Center was abusive.
(ECF No. 13, at 4-8).
events . . . . As such this complaint comprises multiple law
(internal quotation marks omitted); see Saval v. BL Ltd., 710
F.2d 1027, 1031 (4th Cir. 1983) (affirming the district court’s
automobiles were not properly joined).
Therefore, to the extent
his motion to amend seeks to add additional defendants involved
in his commitment to the Springfield Hospital Center, it will be
Motions to Dismiss
Standard of Review
The purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is
to test the sufficiency of the complaint.
Presley v. City of
Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2006).
need only satisfy the standard of Rule 8(a)(2), which requires a
“short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader
‘showing,’ rather than a blanket assertion, of entitlement to
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 n.3
That showing must consist of more than “a formulaic
assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement.”
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citations omitted).
(1994), and all factual allegations must be construed in the
Westinghouse Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 783 (4th Cir.
1999) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7 F.3d 1130, 1134
(4th Cir. 1993)).
In evaluating the complaint, unsupported legal
Comm’rs, 882 F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989).
couched as factual allegations are insufficient, Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678, as are conclusory factual allegations devoid of any
reference to actual events, United Black Firefighters v. Hirst,
Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 192 (4th Cir. 2009).
Pro se pleadings are liberally construed and held to a less
stringent standard than pleadings drafted by lawyers.
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble,
429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)); Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
Liberal construction means that the court will read the
possible to do so from the facts available; it does not mean
that the court should rewrite the complaint to include claims
Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1132 (10th
That is, even when pro se litigants are involved,
the court cannot ignore a clear failure to allege facts that
support a viable claim.
Weller v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs., 901
F.2d 387, 391 (4th Cir. 1990); Forquer v. Schlee, No. RDB–12–969,
2012 WL 6087491, at *3 (D.Md. Dec. 4, 2012) (“[E]ven a pro se
complaint must be dismissed if it does not allege a plausible
MCPD Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss
police departments are agents of the county and not treated as
separate legal entities.”
LaPier v. Prince George’s Cty., No.
Thus, MCPD is not a suable entity. Mason v. Montgomery Cty.
Police Dep’t, No. AW-13-1077, 2013 WL 6585928, at *1 (D.Md. Dec.
To the extent Plaintiff brings a claim against MCPD,
the claim will be dismissed.
personally involved in Plaintiff’s detention, and, therefore, to
the extent Plaintiff brings a claim against Defendant Manger in
his individual capacity, it will be dismissed.
To state a claim
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendant Manger in his
official capacity (which is simply a suit against the entity
which he represents), a plaintiff must allege “a direct causal
378, 385 (1989).
City of Canton v. Harris, 489 U.S.
A municipal policy includes “the decisions of
officials[.]” Connick v. Thompson, 563 U.S. 51, 60-61 (2011).
Plaintiff’s complaint fails to identify a specific policy, act,
or decision of the County that has a causal connection to the
capacity, it will be dismissed.
Washington Adventist Defendants’ Motion to
Section 1983 “imposes liability only where a person acts
custom, or usage.’” Richardson v. McKnight, 521 U.S. 399, 403
(1997) (quoting 42 U.S.C. § 1983).
Private actors, such as the
Washington Adventist Defendants, can be liable if “the conduct
allegedly causing the deprivation of a federal right be fairly
attributable to the State.”
457 U.S. 922, 937 (1982).
Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., Inc.,
The United States Court of Appeals
for the Fourth Circuit has identified three circumstances where
“[a] private entity regulated by the state acts under color of
state law (1) when there is either a sufficiently close nexus,
or joint action between the state and the private party; (2)
coercive power over, or provided significant encouragement to,
the private actor; or (3) when the function performed by the
S.P. v. City of Takoma Park, 134 F.3d 260, 269 (4th
In that case, the court specifically held that a
about the Washington Adventist Defendants’ relationship to the
(ECF No. 13, at 3).
He has not alleged facts to
support a conclusion that the Washington Adventist Defendants
were acting under color of state law, and, therefore, his claims
will be dismissed as to these defendants.4
Motion to Strike
Defendants filed a motion to strike Plaintiff’s “Analysis
(ECF No. 11).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(f) allows a court
impertinent, or scandalous matter.”
Plaintiff’s “Analysis and
Comments” (ECF No. 10), is not construed as a pleading, and,
therefore, the motion to strike will be denied.
The Washington Adventist Defendants also argue that there
is no federal jurisdiction.
Although Plaintiff’s complaint is
not a model of clarity, to the extent it raises a claim, the
claim is a violation of federal law. Thus, jurisdiction exists
to decide the matter.
Motion to End Modern Day Slavery
request any relief that can be granted by the court system.
Therefore, the motion will be denied.
Motion to Request Video Recordings
Having dismissed the rest of his action, this
motion will be denied as moot.
For the foregoing reasons, the motion to amend filed by
Plaintiff will be granted in part and denied in part, the motion
to dismiss filed by the MCPD Defendants will be granted, the
motion to dismiss filed by the Washington Adventist Defendants
will be granted, the motion to strike filed by the Washington
Adventist Defendants will be denied, the motion to end modern
day slavery will be denied, and the motion to request video
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW
United States District Judge
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