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GREENE v. AMRITSAR AUTO SERVICES COMPANY
June 18, 2002
BRYAN GREENE, PLAINTIFF,
AMRITSAR AUTO SERVICES COMPANY, LLC AND BALVIR SINGH JOHAL, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina, United States District Judge.
DENYING DEFENDANT AMRITSAR'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
This civil-rights matter comes before the court upon defendant Amritsar
Auto Services Company, LLC's ("Amritsar") motion for summary judgment.
The plaintiff, Bryan Greene, alleges that the individual defendant,
Balvir Singh Johal ("Johal"), a taxicab driver for Amritsar, refused to
provide service to the plaintiff because of the plaintiff's race, in
violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 1981
et seq., and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, as amended, D.C.
Code §§ 1-2519 et seq. ("DCHRA"). Upon consideration of the parties'
submissions and the relevant law, the court denies the defendant's
The gravamen of the complaint is that the plaintiff attempted to
procure taxicab service from defendant Johal, who allegedly refused
service on account of the plaintiff's race. See id. ¶¶ 13-15. The
plaintiff states that on the night of April 2, 2000, at about 9:30 p.m.,
he tried to hail a taxicab from the entrance of a hotel, located in the
southwest quadrant of the District of Columbia. See id. ¶ 10.
"Neatly" attired in a black baseball jersey, green checkered shorts,
army-green socks, black sneakers, and eyeglasses, the plaintiff carried a
green knapsack and a white shopping bag. See id. ¶ 11. He had
walked the few blocks from his office in the HUD building to the hotel.
See id. ¶ 10. The plaintiff explains that catching a taxicab at the
hotel is easier than trying to get one on the street outside the HUD
building, which is "virtually deserted" at that hour. See id. The
plaintiff entered the hotel lobby through a back staircase, walked across
the lobby, and exited the front door of the hotel in order to have the
hotel doorman hail him a taxicab. See id. ¶ 12.
The plaintiff signaled to the hotel doorman that he wanted a taxicab
and "tendered himself in a fit and proper state to be transported as a
taxicab passenger." Id. ¶ 13. As defendant Johal dropped off a
Caucasian passenger at the curb, the hotel doorman alerted the taxicab
driver to the presence of the plaintiff by "tapping the side of the
taxicab and telling the driver to stop so that the plaintiff could get
in." See id. ¶¶ 12-14. According to the plaintiff, defendant Johal
looked directly at him, "sized him up, and then began slowly to pull away
from the curb." Id. ¶ 14. The doorman alerted defendant Johal twice
of the plaintiff's desire to catch a taxicab, but defendant Johal
"refused to stop . . . and intentionally refused to provide taxicab
service to [the plaintiff]," allegedly "on the basis of the plaintiff's
race, color, or personal appearance." See id. ¶¶ 14-15.
The plaintiff subsequently initiated the present action, demanding a
jury trial, and asserting the following four causes of action against the
defendants: (1) violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended,
42 U.S.C. § 1981 et seq.; (2) violation of the District of Columbia
Human Rights Act, as amended, D.C. Code §§ 1-2519 et seq.; (3) breach
of the common law common-carrier duty, and; (4) negligent supervision.*fn1
See id. ¶¶ 23-38. For his injuries, the plaintiff requests injunctive
relief ordering the defendants to cease all racially discriminatory
activity, an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages, and
attorneys' fees and costs. See id. at 10.
A. Legal Standard for Summary Judgment
Summary judgment is appropriate when "the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a
matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Diamond v. Atwood, 43 F.3d 1538, 1540
(D.C. Cir. 1995). To determine which facts are "material," a court must
look to the substantive law on which each claim rests. See Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A "genuine issue" is one
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