King v. Mitchell et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION (c/m to Plaintiff 8/30/17 sat). Signed by Judge Deborah K. Chasanow on 8/30/2017. (sat, Chambers)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF MARYLAND
ROBERT JOSEPH KING
Civil Action No. DKC 16-3804
DENNIS SCHRADER,1 et al.
Presently pending and ready for resolution are a motion to
substitute parties filed by Plaintiff Robert King (“Plaintiff”)
(ECF No. 7), and a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants Dennis
Schrader, John Robison, Thomas Lewis, Inna Taller, Aram Faramarz
Mokhtari Aria, Wayne Noble, and Chandra Wiggins (“Defendants”).
(ECF No. 8).
The issues have been briefed, and the court now
rules, no hearing being deemed necessary.
Local Rule 105.6.
granted, and the motion to substitute parties will be denied as
On July 1, 2017, Dennis Schrader became the Acting
Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and is
Perkins operates a work adjustment program (“WAP”) which places
patients at jobs and pays them the current minimum wage of $8.75
(Statement of Facts, ¶ 2).
On March 18, 2016, Plaintiff filed a grievance with Perkins
stating that he “had waited for seven or eight months” without
receiving a job from WAP and alleging that he “was, for some
reason, being discriminated against.”
(Statement of Facts, ¶
treatment team, responded to the grievance and explained that
Plaintiff had not received a job placement because Plaintiff was
Unless otherwise noted, the facts outlined here are set
forth in the complaint and construed in the light most favorable
Although the complaint refers to purportedly
Plaintiff to the court did not contain any attached exhibits.
Because Defendants referred to those exhibits in their papers,
the court assumed that the copy of the complaint served on them
did contain the exhibits, and so counsel were directed to
provide copies to the court. Defendants did so in ECF No. 23.
Plaintiff takes issue with some of those attachments and
provided the court with the versions he contends are correct.
(ECF No. 25.)
The complaint begins numbering the paragraphs in each
section with number 1. Thus, the name of the section as well as
the number of the paragraph will be provided.
struggling to control his behavior and his treatment team did
treatment team determined the best course of action would be to
wait for Plaintiff to show a better ability to “manage his anger
and frustration” before placing him in a job.
On April 5, Defendant Wiggins, an employee of WAP, told
Plaintiff he had been placed in a job with the horticulture
Plaintiff’s schedule and when he would be available to work.
Wiggins informed Plaintiff that he would also need to speak with
Carol Adams, the program supervisor.
The next day Ms.
Adams and Plaintiff met, and Ms. Adams informed Plaintiff that
he would need a doctor’s note to participate in the program due
to his urinary incontinence.
(Statement of Facts, ¶ 7).
On April 7, Plaintiff met with his treatment team, and they
informed him that he would be limited to five hours of work per
week and that if his disabilities interfered with the job, then
he would not be allowed to work.
(Statement of Facts, ¶ 10).
On April 12, however, Wiggins told Plaintiff that he would “not
be working in Horticulture.”
(Statement of Facts, ¶ 16).
horticulture program was an appropriate placement for Plaintiff.
Wiggins offered Plaintiff a job in Perkins’ canteen.
(ECF No. 25-7).4
that he was being denied an opportunity to work because of his
Facts, ¶ 21).
On August 31, the EEOC dismissed his complaint
and issued a right to sue notice.
On August 7, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).
(Statement of Facts, ¶ 22).
Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq., because:
(1) they terminated his job in the horticulture program due to
his urinary incontinence; (2) they refused to offer a reasonable
Ms. Wiggins states that Plaintiff accepted the canteen
Plaintiff’s complaint is unclear about whether he
accepted the canteen position.
The complaint does note that
there would be a similar lack of restroom access there.
No. 1, Statement of Facts, ¶ 25). In a later filing, Plaintiff
asserts that he worked in the canteen for one day. (ECF No. 101, at 5).
The grievance also alleged retaliation for filing a
previous grievance. (ECF No. 25-8, at 2-3). Plaintiff did not
allege retaliation before this court.
accommodation (access to restroom facilities) that would allow
him to work in the horticulture program; and (3) they refused to
hire him to work elsewhere in Perkins (other than horticulture
or the canteen) because of his disability.
Questions, ¶¶ 1-3).
(ECF No. 1, Federal
Plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive
damages, declaratory and injunctive relief, and his release from
On January 9, Plaintiff moved to substitute
Dennis Schrader, the then-Secretary of the Maryland Department
of Health and Human Hygiene, for Van T. Mitchell, the former
(ECF No. 8).
Plaintiff submitted his
response in opposition and three supplements.
(ECF No. 7).
failure to state a claim.
(ECF Nos. 10; 13;
(ECF No. 12.)
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
Motion to Substitute Parties
Plaintiff moved to substitute Dennis Schrader for Van T.
Since the motion to substitute parties was filed, the
Maryland Laws Ch. 214 (S.B. 82), and Dennis Schrader’s position
(last visited Aug. 25, 2017).
As such, Plaintiff’s motion to
substitute parties is denied as moot.
Nevertheless, pursuant to
Motion to Dismiss
Individual Capacity Claims
individual capacities. (ECF No. 1, at 3).
These claims will be
individuals for violating its provisions.”
Altevorgt v. Kirwan,
No. WDQ–11–1061, 2012 WL 135283, at *5 (D.Md. Jan. 13, 2012);
(“Title VII, the ADA, and the ADEA . . . do not provide for
capacities.”); Baird ex rel. Baird v. Rose, 192 F.3d 462, 471-72
(4th Cir. 1999).
Official Capacity Claims - Damages
damages against Defendants in their official capacities.
No. 1, at 4).
Official capacity claims are properly construed
as “a suit against the official’s office” and as such are “no
different from a suit against the State itself.”
Will v. Mich.
Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989).
For a suit to
proceed against a state, either the state must have consented to
being sued or Congress must have validly abrogated the states’
Eleventh Amendment immunity.
Port Auth. Trans-Hudson Corp. v.
Feeney, 495 U.S. 299, 304 (1990).
Maryland did not consent to
Transit Admin., 741 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir. 2014).
immunity for claims brought under Title II of the ADA but not
for claims brought under Title I.
Tennessee v. Lane, 541 U.S.
509, 533-34 (2004); Bd. of Trs. of Univ. of Al. v. Garrett, 531
U.S. 356, 360 (2001).
Title I of the ADA prohibits employment
discrimination whereas Title II prohibits discrimination in the
Plaintiff does not identify explicitly the Title of the ADA he
claims was violated, but he and Defendants refer exclusively to
If the claim is employment based, Plaintiff
cannot rely on Title II.
See Reyazuddin v. Montgomery Cty., 789
F.3d 407, 420-21 (4th Cir. 2015).
Although there is a dearth of precedent addressing whether
a patient committed to a state mental hospital performing work
in or through the hospital is an employee for the purposes of
the ADA, many courts have examined whether prisoners performing
work in or through the prison are employees for the purposes of
generally that prisoners working directly for a prison pursuant
protected under employment rights statutes, but may be entitled
See Moyo v. Gomez, 32 F.3d 1382, 1385 (9th
Cir. 1994), amended, 40 F.3d 982 (9th Cir. 1994) (“[I]nmates
labor, are employees entitled to Title VII protection.”); Watson
v. Graves, 909 F.2d 1549, 1554-56 (5th Cir. 1990) (concluding
that inmates who worked for the sheriff in an unauthorized work
release program and not as part of their sentence were employees
for the purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”)).
these situations, there is a “‘bargained-for exchange of labor’
for mutual economic gain that occurs in a true employer-employee
Harker v. State Use Industries, 990 F.2d 131,
133 (4th Cir. 1993).
On the other hand, when work is part of a punishment or
done for rehabilitative purposes, a prisoner does not establish
Statutory definitions are sufficiently similar under the
ADA, Title VII, and the ADEA that courts can rely on cases
arising under any.
Reynolds v. Am. Nat’l Red Cross, 701 F.3d
143, 155 (4 Cir. 2012).
Inc., 731 F.3d 901, 907 (9th Cir. 2013) (holding that a prison
inmate was not an employee for the purposes of Title I of the
ADA because the inmate was obligated to work as a condition of
Harker, 990 F.2d at 133 (holding a prison
inmate working in a prison shop was not an employee under FLSA
because the work was performed “as a means for rehabilitation
and job training.”); Williams v. Mease, 926 F.2d 994, 997 (10th
Cir. 1991) (concluding a prisoner did not have rights as an
employee under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”)
or Title VII because his relationship with the prison “[arose]
out of his status as an inmate, not an employee.”).
situations where a prison work program serves rehabilitative and
Pa. Dep’t of Corr. v. Yeskey, 524 U.S. 206 (1998).
Similarly, a patient working in a mental hospital is an
performs the work for economic gain.
See McCaslin v. Cornhusker
(collecting cases concerning whether prisoners were entitled to
mandatory, and not all patients are able to participate.
who do participate receive minimum wage.
The complaint contains
Although not alleged in the complaint, Plaintiff
asserts that the State of Maryland considers WAP participants
(ECF No. 10-1, at 5).
instead provides an opportunity to work for patients who choose
to do so, a patient performing work through WAP is an employee
for purposes of Title I.
See Baker v. McNeil Island Corr. Ctr.,
859 F.2d 124, 128 (9th Cir. 1988) (finding an inmate could be an
employee if the job was optional and not required as part of his
disability discrimination in violation of Title I of the ADA.
See § 12112(b)(5)(B).
Amendment immunities for suits under Title I, Plaintiff cannot
recover damages, either compensatory or punitive, and his claim
for monetary relief must be dismissed.
See Bd. of Trs. of Univ.
of Al., 531 U.S. at 360.
Plaintiff requests a “declaratory judgment” but does not
specify what the judgment should say.
(ECF No. 1, at 24).
“sufficient facts under a cognizable legal theory.”
Thompson, 123 F.Supp.3d 719, 729 (D.Md. 2015).
Courts are not
“required to construct a party’s legal argument for him.”
v. Endicott, 998 F.2d 411, 417-18 (7th Cir. 1993).
In this case,
the complaint would require judicial reconstruction plausibly to
state a claim for declaratory relief, and, therefore, it must be
While a suit for damages is foreclosed, a private person
Garrett, 531 U.S. at 374, n. 9.
Even if Plaintiff has stated an
ADA claim,8 he has not stated a sufficient claim for injunctive
Plaintiff’s complaint broadly requests “[i]njunctive
relief” but does not specify the type of injunction sought (ECF
No. 1, at 24).
(He also separately seeks release from Perkins,
which will be discussed in the next section.) In construing pro
se complaints, “[d]istrict judges are not mind readers. Even in
Even if the complaint were read to request a declaration
related to the alleged ADA violations, sovereign immunity
prevents a declaration that state officials “violated federal
law in the past[.]”
Puerto Rico Aqueduct & Sewer Auth. v.
Metcalf & Eddy, Inc., 506 U.S. 139, 146 (1993); see Green v.
Mansour, 474 U.S. 64, 73 (1985). Thus, Plaintiff’s request for
declaratory relief would still be dismissed.
Defendants argue that Plaintiff has not and cannot state a
viable claim under the ADA.
The court need not address those
arguments at this time.
Beaudett v. City of Hampton, 775 F.2d 1274, 1278 (4th Cir. 1985).
behavior he wants enjoined, or why any such relief would be
available under the ADA.
Without this information, Plaintiff’s
It is not at all clear that, absent the availability of
money damages or unconditional release, Plaintiff would seek to
pursue an ADA claim.
Out of an abundance of caution, Plaintiff
will be given a brief period to amend the complaint, if he
wishes to pursue the limited type of injunctive relief that may
Plaintiff requests his unconditional release from Perkins.
release from Perkins is necessary or how it relates to his ADA
pursuant to Section 3-119 of the Maryland Criminal Procedure
Article (ECF No. 10-1, at 13), but Section 3-119 only governs
the method of applying for a release.
The standard for release
is that a person would not be a “danger . . . to self or to the
person or property of others if discharged.”
Crim. Pro. § 3-114.
His pleading contains no facts that relate
unconditional release is dismissed.
The ADA allows a prevailing party to receive reasonable
42 U.S.C. § 12205.
Plaintiff is not a prevailing party
and is therefore not entitled to Attorney’s fees.
See § 12205;
Farrar v. Hobby, 506 U.S. 103, 111 (1992).
For the foregoing reasons, the motion to substitute parties
filed by Plaintiff will be denied, (ECF No. 7), and the motion
to dismiss filed by Defendants will be granted.
order will follow.
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW
United States District Judge
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