The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROSEMARY COLLYER, District Judge
Grace Hudson and her grandson, Karim Clayton, sue the District
of Columbia and Metropolitan Police Department ("MPD") officers
John Hackley and Richard Merritt ("Defendant Officers") for
police brutality, assault and battery, deprivation of civil
rights, negligent or intentional infliction of emotional
distress, false arrest, and malicious prosecution. Plaintiffs sue
the officers in their individual and official capacities. A
single motion for summary judgment on two different sets of
allegations has been filed by the Defendants. See Defendants
Merritt and Hackley's Motion for Summary Judgment as to Plaintiff
Hudson's Constitutional Claims and Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment as to Plaintiffs' Negligent Tort Claims and Plaintiff
Clayton's False Arrest Claim ("Defs.' Mem."). Defendant Officers
move for summary judgment as to Ms. Hudson's claim of an
"unreasonable seizure" in violation of the Fourth Amendment to
the United States Constitution and all Defendants move for
summary judgment on Plaintiffs' negligence claims and Mr.
Clayton's false arrest claim. The motion for summary judgment
will be granted in part and denied in part. BACKGROUND
On the night of November 8, 2001, Officers Merritt and Hackley
arrived at the 600 block of Keefer Street N.W., Washington, D.C.
The officers were in uniform and drove a marked MPD vehicle.
Defs.' Mem. Exh. 1, Deposition of Karim Clayton ("Clayton Dep.")
at 26. Finding "quite a few people on the street," Clayton Dep.
at 24, the officers ordered the crowd to disperse. Defendants'
Statement of Undisputed Material Facts ("Defs.' Facts") ¶ 3.
While clearing the area of people and debris, Officer Merritt
discovered a paper bag containing a video game console on a lawn
across the street from Ms. Hudson's home. Clayton Dep. at 26-27.
Officer Merritt asked to whom it belonged. Id. at 27. Tamar
Madison, a friend of Mr. Clayton, claimed the bag and attempted
to snatch it away from Officer Merritt. Id. at 27, 30. See
Defs.' Mem. Exh. 4, Clayton's Answer to Interrogatory No. 19
("Then [Tamar] grabbed the bag that the Play Station 2 was in.").
Officer Merritt allegedly responded by striking Mr. Madison with
his fist. Clayton Dep. at 30. Gad Doreous, another friend of Mr.
Clayton, who had been sitting on a car across the street, got up
and "asked the officer what was going on." Id. at 31. In
response, Officer Merritt allegedly struck Mr. Doreous twice with
his fists. Id. at 31-32.*fn1
Mr. Clayton watched the altercation between his friends and the
officers from the front porch of Ms. Hudson's home. He called to
Mr. Doreous to retreat to the porch. Mr. Doreous broke away from
Officer Merritt, who gave chase. Id. at 32-33. Upon reaching
the porch, Officer Merritt allegedly produced a metal baton and
repeatedly struck Messrs. Doreous and Clayton. Id. at 33. The two men backed into the house, closing and locking the
door behind them and shutting out Officer Merritt and the other
police officers. See id. at 34-35 (Mr. Clayton "pulled Gad into
According to Mr. Clayton, as he stood inside the house with his
foot against the locked door, Ms. Hudson descended the stairs and
joined him behind the front door. Id. at 35; Defs.' Mem. Exh.
6, Deposition of Grace Hudson ("Hudson Dep.") at 13. Soon
thereafter, a police officer allegedly kicked the door open,
knocking Ms. Hudson to the floor. See Defs.' Mem. Exh. 4,
Clayton's Answer to Interrogatory No. 19 ("The police officer
kicked the door open. The door hit my grandmother, and my
grandmother fell to the ground.").*fn2
Ms. Hudson is not certain what caused her fall and described
the event variously. See Hudson Dep. at 14-17. "It was like,
you know, two people coming in the door and just hit by me . . .
he is coming in and I am going out." Id. at 14. "He came in the
door and I was going to the door to find out what the disturbance
was." Id. at 15. "But all I know, when I saw this tall big
policeman coming in the door, and I was going to find out what
was happening, the next thing I know I was down on the floor with
my head hitting the frame of the door." Id. at 15-16. "I don't
know whether he pushed me or his coming in with the force to get
to the boys or whatever. All I know I was down on the floor." Id. at 16. "Like he hit me coming in the door. I
didn't say he hit me with his fist." Id. at 13.
An officer called an ambulance to take Ms. Hudson to the
hospital emergency room and the police arrested Messrs. Clayton
and Doreous. Mr. Clayton was found not guilty of simple assault
and possession of a prohibited weapon.
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. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A "genuine issue" is one
that "might affect the outcome of the suit," id., and "can be
resolved only by a finder of fact because [it] may reasonably be
resolved in favor of either party," id. at 250.
In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must draw
all justifiable inferences in the nonmoving party's favor and
accept the nonmoving party's evidence as true. Anderson,
477 U.S. at 255. A nonmoving party, however, must establish more than
"the mere existence of a scintilla of evidence" in support of its
position. Id. at 252. To prevail on a motion for summary
judgment, the moving party must show that the nonmoving party
"fail[ed] to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence
of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex,
477 U.S. at 322. ANALYSIS
The Court is not asked to rule on the accuracy of Plaintiffs'
recollection of the events of November 8, 2001. Rather,
Defendants argue that Plaintiffs' own descriptions of those
events demonstrate, as a matter of law, that Ms. Hudson's
constitutional claim is without merit and that they are also
entitled to summary judgment on the negligence claims and
A. Ms. Hudson's Constitutional Claim
Ms. Hudson asserts that the MPD officers violated her
constitutional right, enforceable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, to be
free from unreasonable seizure by law enforcement
officials.*fn3 The question raised is whether the officers'
forcible entry into her home, during which ...