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Parker v. Grand Hyatt Hotel

November 6, 2000

MICHAEL PARKER ET AL.,
PLAINTIFFS,
V.
THE GRAND HYATT HOTEL ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Granting in Part and Denying in Part the Plaintiffs' Motion to Amend Partial Summary Judgment; Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendant Hyatt's Motion for Clarification

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs Michael Parker and Yvette Robinson Parker ("the plaintiffs" or the "Parkers"), common-law husband and wife, filed the instant action against The Hyatt Corporation, Square 345 Limited Partnership, Centerock Limited Partnership, Washrock Realty Associates, and Mr. Russell Ricalde (collectively, "Hyatt" or "defendant Hyatt"), as well as the District of Columbia and Metropolitan Police Department Officers Darnell Houston and Hector Lugo ("D.C." or "defendant D.C."). The plaintiffs asserted claims for negligent supervision, intentional infliction of emotional distress, conversion, excessive force, false arrest and imprisonment, malicious prosecution, conspiracy, negligent infliction of emotional distress and violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. The Hyatt and D.C. defendants moved for summary judgment.

In a Memorandum Opinion issued September 18, 2000 ("Mem. Op."), the court: (a) granted the defendants' motions for summary judgment on the counts of negligent supervision, conspiracy and violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981; (b) denied the defendants' motions for summary judgment on the counts of conversion, excessive force, false arrest and imprisonment, and malicious prosecution; and (c) granted the defendants' motions for summary judgment on the counts of intentional infliction of emotional distress and negligent infliction of emotional distress with respect to Ms. Parker only. Mr. Parker's emotional-distress claims survived summary judgment.

The instant matter comes before the court on the plaintiffs' motion to amend partial summary judgment. Specifically, the plaintiffs seek to have the court's September 18 Order amended so as to limit the dismissal of Mrs. Parker's emotional-distress claims to defendant D.C. only. See Pl.'s Mot. to Amend Partial Summ. J. ("Pl.'s Mot.") at 2. The plaintiffs argue that Mrs. Parker should be allowed to pursue her emotional-distress claims against defendant Hyatt. *fn1 See id. In its opposition, defendant Hyatt seeks a clarification of the September 18 Order. Defendant Hyatt contends that the plaintiffs have alleged malicious prosecution only against defendant D.C., and since the plaintiffs' emotional-distress claims arise out of the alleged malicious prosecution, the plaintiffs cannot press emotional-distress claims against defendant Hyatt. See Def.'s Opp'n to Pl.'s Mot. to Amend Partial Summ. J. and Request for Clarification ("Def.'s Opp'n") at 2-3.

The court notes that the parties are now raising arguments they did not raise in their summary judgment filings. Since the issues raised merit consideration and resolution, the court will decide them in this Memorandum Opinion. For the reasons that follow, the court will grant in part and deny in part both the plaintiffs' motion and defendant Hyatt's opposition and request for clarification.

II. BACKGROUND

This case arose from events that transpired on July 6, 1997, when the plaintiffs dined at the Grand Slam Restaurant at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Washington, D.C. Upon entering the restaurant, the plaintiffs sat at a table, and Mr. Parker, a paraplegic, moved from his wheelchair to a chair at the table. See Hyatt's Mot. for Summ. J. at 1; D.C.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 1; Opp'n to Mot. for Summ. J. at 3.

Shortly thereafter, the plaintiffs noticed an eyeglass case that a previous restaurant patron had left, either at the table at which the plaintiffs were seated or at a nearby table. The plaintiffs moved the eyeglass case, either close to Mr. Parker or into the pouch on Mr. Parker's wheelchair. See Hyatt's Mot. for Summ. J. at 1; D.C.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 1-2; Opp'n to Mot. for Summ. J. at 3. The plaintiffs' waitress, Ms. Anita Garner, saw the plaintiffs' actions and summoned the Assistant Director of Hyatt Security, Russell Ricalde, who approached the plaintiffs. Mr. Ricalde asked if the plaintiffs had the eyeglass case, and the plaintiffs handed it over. See Hyatt's Mot. for Summ. J. at 2-3; D.C.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 2; Opp'n to Mot. for Summ. J. at 3-4.

Mr. Parker then became agitated that Mr. Ricalde had approached him, and Mr. Ricalde and Mr. Parker exchanged words. Mr. Parker's tenor during this exchange is in dispute. Mr. Ricalde then called for additional security. See Hyatt's Mot. for Summ. J. at 4-5; D.C.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 2; Opp'n to Mot. for Summ. J. at 4-5. The plaintiffs and the Hyatt defendants disagree about whether Hyatt security asked the plaintiffs to leave the restaurant and the plaintiffs refused to comply, or whether Hyatt security never asked the plaintiffs to leave. Hyatt security then withdrew from the scene, leaving the plaintiffs at the table, and called for the Metropolitan Police Department. See Hyatt's Mot. for Summ. J. at 5-6; D.C.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 2; Opp'n to Mot. for Summ. J. at 5.

Shortly thereafter, officers Darnell Houston and Hector Lugo arrived at the scene. The officers briefly questioned Mr. Ricalde, and then approached the plaintiffs' table and asked them to leave the restaurant. The parties differ on what happened next. The plaintiffs state that Mr. Parker agreed to leave and told the officers that he needed his wife's assistance in transferring him back to his wheelchair, but that before she could help him the officers violently grabbed him, put him in a choke-hold, and struck him. See Opp'n to Mot. for Summ. J. at 5-6. The plaintiffs assert that the officers then dropped him to the ground and kicked him. See Opp'n to Mot. for Summ. J. at 6.

In contrast, the Hyatt defendants claim that Mr. Parker refused to leave the premises voluntarily, so the officers attempted to move Mr. Parker to his wheelchair. The D.C. defendants claim that Mr. Parker agreed to leave and asked the officers to help him into his wheelchair. See Hyatt's Mot. for Summ. J. at 6-7; D.C.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 3. According to both defendants, while the police were in the process of lifting Mr. Parker, he began to violently resist them, which made it impossible to move him to the wheelchair. The D.C. defendants claim that, upon being struck by Mr. Parker, officer Lugo stepped back, and because officer Houston could not hold Mr. Parker by himself, Mr. Parker was dropped to the ground accidentally. The Hyatt defendants claim that, upon violent resistance from Mr. Parker, the officers placed him back in the dining chair, but that Mr. Parker purposely slid to the ground and complained of injuries. See Hyatt's Mot. for Summ. J. at 7-8; D.C.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 3.

At this point someone called for an ambulance, and when it arrived, Mr. Parker was taken to George Washington Hospital, where he was treated for alleged pain and abrasions. See Hyatt's Mot. for Summ. J. at 8; Opp'n to Mot. for Summ. J. at 6. After his discharge from the hospital, Mr. Parker was taken to the police station and was charged with unlawful entry and disorderly conduct. Ultimately, Mr. Parker was not convicted of the charges. According to the plaintiffs, the charges were dismissed, while the ...


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