The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reggie B. Walton, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
I. Factual Background*fn1
On September 27, 2000, several police officers assigned to the
Police Department's Fifth District allegedly entered
plaintiff's home, located in the Northeast section of the District of
Columbia, and conducted a search without his permission. Am. Compl.
¶¶ 10-11.*fn2 During the course of this search, Officer Dunlap shot
and killed plaintiff's dog, Shadow Dancer. Id. ¶ 12. Plaintiff was
arrested and taken to the "lock-up" area of the District of Columbia
courthouse where he was confined for twenty-two hours with the general
prisoner population. Id. ¶ 13. Subsequently, plaintiff was charged
with the District of Columbia Code offense of threats to injure a
person, which was dismissed by the Superior Court of the District of
Columbia on October 19, 2000. Id. On May 4, 2001, a criminal information
was filed against plaintiff, which charged him with "Attempted Carrying a
Pistol Without a License, misdemeanor Threats, and Possession of an
Unregistered Firearm and Ammunition." Id. However, on August 30, 2001,
the government agreed to dismiss the information after the expiration of
12 months if plaintiff complied with "several conditions, including
avoiding violation of any law or rearrest based upon probable cause."
Plaintiff has filed a seven count amended complaint against the
District of Columbia ("the District") and the police officers in their
official capacities: Count I is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for false arrest; Count II is an action under § 1983 for deprivation
of property without due process of law; Count III is a § 1983 action
against the District on the theory of municipal liability; Count IV is a
claim against the District for its alleged negligent hiring, training and
supervision of its employees; Count V is a claim for intentional
infliction of emotional distress brought against the District; Count VI
is a claim filed against all defendants for
and Count VII is a claim against all defendants for false arrest.
The District has filed a motion to dismiss all counts of plaintiff's
amended complaint. First, the District argues that Counts I and VII
should be dismissed on the grounds that there was probable cause for
plaintiff's arrest or because the officers who made the arrest reasonably
believed that plaintiff's arrest was lawful. Defendant's Reply to
Plaintiff's Opposition to Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and Motion for
Partial Summary Judgment ("Def.'s Supp. Reply") at 5-6. In the
alternative, the District contends that plaintiff's false arrest counts
should be dismissed for his failure to state a claim for municipal
liability for which relief can be granted. Id. at 5. Second, the District
argues that Counts II and III should be dismissed due to plaintiff's
failure to state a claim for municipal liability upon which relief can be
granted and, pertaining to Count III, because there is no underlying
constitutional violation as Counts I and II failed to state actionable
claims. Id. Next, the District argues that Count IV should be dismissed
as "redundant and irrelevant" based upon the doctrine enunciated in
Hackett v. Washington Metro. Area Transit Auth., 736 F. Supp. 8 (D.D.C.
1990) and based upon this Court's order granting the parties' consent
motion to bifurcate any surviving municipality claims since the District
has agreed to indemnify the named officers. Id. at 6. Finally, the
District argues that it should be granted summary judgment on Count V,
plaintiff's claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress,
because the officers acted in a lawful manner and therefore did not
"exceed the bounds of decency." Id.
In opposition, plaintiff argues that he has alleged sufficient facts to
sustain his claims at this stage of the proceedings, since all that is
required in the complaint is a short statement of his claims sufficient
to provide the defendant with notice.
A preliminary matter this Court must address is the defendant's attempt
to convert its Motion to Dismiss [#7] into a partial motion for summary
judgment [#18]. Defendant originally filed its motion to dismiss on
February 26, 2002, to which plaintiff filed an opposition on March 28,
2002. In the defendant's reply to plaintiff's opposition, it attached
several documents*fn5 for the Court's consideration. Plaintiff filed an
amended complaint on May 29, 2002, and the Court conducted a status
conference in this matter on May 31, 2002, at which time it authorized
District to file a supplemental pleading to address any new issues
raised by plaintiff's amended complaint. The District filed its
Supplemental Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Partial Summary Judgment
("Def.'s Supp.") on July 16, 2002, seeking summary judgment on
plaintiff's claims of malicious prosecution, false arrest and intentional
infliction of emotional distress, to which it attached a statement of
undisputed facts and the declaration of Officer Scott Emmons. Def.'s
Supp. at 2.
Despite defendant's attempt to unilaterally convert its previously
filed motion to dismiss into one for partial summary judgment, doing so
only after it had already filed its reply to plaintiff's opposition to
its dismissal motion, the Court concludes that the timing of the
attempted conversion coupled with the lack of prior notice to the
plaintiff from the Court compels it to consider the defendant's pleadings
as solely a motion for dismissal pursuant to Federal Rule of Procedure
12(b)(6).*fn6 When considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, if "matters
outside the pleading are presented to and not excluded by the court, the
motion shall be treated as one for summary judgment and disposed of as
provided in Rule 56, and all parties shall be given reasonable opportunity
to present all material made pertinent to such a motion by Rule 56."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b). Thus, in the absence of notice from the Court to the
parties stating its intention to convert a defendant's motion to dismiss
into one for summary judgment, the Court must analyze the defendant's
challenge to a plaintiff's complaint as a motion to dismiss, despite the
defendant's attempt to achieve a Rule 56 conversion. See Gordon v.
National Youth Work Alliance, 675 F.2d 356, 361 (D.C. Cir. 1982) ("Under
. . . Rule 12(b)(6), a court need not consider matters outside the
pleadings at all. But once it decides to consult such matters it should so
inform the parties and set a schedule for submitting additional
affidavits and documents if the parties wish."); Baker v. Henderson,
150 F. Supp.2d 13, 16 (D.D.C. 2001) ("When a district court converts a
Rule 12(b)(6) motion to one for summary judgment, it must allow all
parties a reasonable opportunity to present all material made pertinent to
such a motion by Rule 56, and a chance to pursue reasonable discovery.")
(citing Taylor v. Federal Deposit Ins. Corp., 132 F.3d 753 (D.C. Cir.
1997)). Accordingly, the District's attempt to convert its motion to
dismiss into a partial summary judgment motion must be rejected.
To survive a motion to dismiss that is brought under Rule 12(b)(6), a
complaint need only provide "`a short and plain statement of the claim'
that will give the defendant fair notice of what the plaintiff's claim is
and the grounds upon which it rests." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47
(1957) (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)). And, when reviewing a motion to
dismiss, the court must accept as true all the factual allegations
contained in the complaint. Leatherman v. Tarrant County Narcotics
Intelligence & Coordination Unit, 507 U.S. 163, 164 (1993). Thus, a
complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless "it
appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in
support of [his] claim which would entitle [him] to relief." Conley, 355
U.S. at 45-46.
A. Plaintiff's § 1983 Claims
Defendant makes several arguments regarding plaintiff's claims brought
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. First, defendant argues that "a §
1983 complaint must allege that an established municipal policy or custom
caused the constitutional violation at issue." Def.'s Supp. at 4.
Defendant argues that Counts I through III fail to allege such a policy
or custom. In support of this argument, defendant relies upon Miller v.
Barry, 698 F.2d 1259 (D.C. Cir. 1983). In Miller, the court held that the
plaintiff's allegation that the police officer against whom he had filed
suit "was acting fully within the scope of his employment and pursuant to
the polices of defendant . . ." was not "specific enough to withstand
dismissal." Id. at 1261. The Miller court noted that "[p]etitioner
pointed to no rule, procedure or policy of the District which would
require or even permit the alleged unconstitutional actions. In other
words, he failed to allege that his claimed constitutional harm was
caused by a `policy statement, ordinance, regulation, or decision
promulgated or adopted by [defendants].'" (citing Monell v. Dep't of
Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978)).
In this case, plaintiff's complaint alleges that the "Defendant
District of Columbia is liable for plaintiff's injuries because [it] has
tolerated and permitted a pattern of police harassment, false arrest and
malicious prosecution . . ." Am. Compl. ¶ 1. Further, plaintiff
contends that "[p]rior to and including the date of the incident, the
District of Columbia, through its Metropolitan Police Department,
permitted and tolerated a pattern and practice of unjustified,
unreasonable, and unlawful harassment and deprivation of liberty and
property without due process of law." Id. ¶ 28. And, he alleges that
"policies and customs of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police have
caused officers of the District to believe that . . . misconduct would
not be aggressively, honestly and properly investigated, with the
foreseeable result being that police officers are more likely to harass
and deprive citizens of liberty and property without due process of law."
Id. ¶ 30. These allegations are sufficient. Defendant argues that
the complaint fails to "set forth any factual allegations to support its
legal conclusions." Def's Supp. at 5. However, this requirement would
enlarge the proper standard that plaintiff must meet to withstand the
defendant's motion to ...